Category Archives: Horse Health

Equine West Nile Questions

1. How do the horses become infected with West Nile virus?

The same way humans become infected-by the bite of infectious mosquitoes. The virus is located in the mosquito’s salivary glands. When mosquitoes bite or “feed” on the horse, the virus is injected into its blood system. The virus then multiplies and may cause illness. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds or other animals.

2. How does the virus cause severe illness or death in horses?

Following transmission by an infected mosquito, the virus multiplies in the horse’s blood system, crosses the blood brain barrier, and infects the brain. The virus interferes with normal central nervous system functioning and causes inflammation of the brain.

3. I have a new horse with no vaccination history, how should I proceed?

If no history is known it is safest to assume previous vaccinations have NOT been given and give the two shot series of the Fort Dodge or one of the Vetera to establish protective titers. In some cases a simple phone call to the previous owner to establish past vaccination history can be helpful in creating a vaccination protocol for your new horse.

4. Can pregnant mares be vaccinated?

Yes, there is NO scientific evidence that West Nile vaccinations cause abortions or deformities.

5. What age should I begin vaccinating foals?

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recommends that foals start the vaccination series for West Nile at 5 months.

6. My horse is vaccinated against eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), western equine encephalitis (WEE), and Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE). Will these vaccines protect my horse against West Nile virus infection?

No. EEE, WEE, and VEE belong to another family of viruses for which there is no cross-protection.

7. Is West Nile infection treatable?

There are several treatments aimed at minimizing symptoms and arresting progression. At this time there is no specific cure for the disease. While some horses make a complete recovery, others survivors may have long term deficits. Approximately 33% of horses that contract West Nile disease will die or be euthanized.

8. There is a horse in my barn diagnosed with West Nile, is my horse at greater risk?

The virus is not transmitted from horse to horse. Horses are known as “dead-end hosts”. This means that horses do not create enough virus particles for mosquitoes to transmit West Nile virus from an infected horse to a healthy horse. However the conditions in your area may be right for local birds to carry the disease. Your best protection is proper vaccinations and strict mosquitoe control measures.

Dr. Garfinkel is a graduate of the highly regarded College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. She has been practicing in the East County of San Diego since 2000, and has built a reputation of providing high quality and compassionate care.

Visit her website at http://drgarfinkel.com and sign up for her free monthly newsletter.

Originally posted 2015-01-18 06:26:47.

Designing Your Horse’s Spring Training Program

takephotosBy

Levels of equine athletic training are becoming more acutely researched, more competitive, and more geared towards the longevity of the athlete’s career than ever before. To be ahead of the herd, a horse needs cross training and other varied forms of exercise to achieve the all-around competitive level required in most sports. The components of optimal fitness are cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and ideal weight.

In order to reach optimal levels of cardio-endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility at an ideal weight, workouts need to be calculated, and increased over time. This includes the frequency, intensity, and duration of every exercise. It sounds complicated, but can be easily monitored. By keeping track, you can carefully build on each component which adds gradual strength with less threat of injury. Listening to your horse, your instincts, and how you both feel has a lot to do with each workout. If your instincts tell you not to workout, don’t. If you remain conscientious, while sticking to your long term plan, missing a workout won’t affect the end result.

The Components

Cardiovascular Endurance is the ability of the heart and lungs to provide oxygen to exercising muscles for a prolonged period of time. This is achieved by long, slow rides, as well as fast, explosive sprints. This type of fitness is required for just about every sport, and should be started slowly to allow the connective tissue of the legs, and the cardio-respiratory system to adapt without stress. A strong foundation and a strong heart is what keeps a horse strong during competitive events. In events lasting several days, this strong foundation can be what separates the healthy winners from the injured drop outs.

In the event that you or your horse are not quite in the mood to do whatever exercise that you have scheduled for a specific day, a long, slow walk is always more beneficial than nothing. This will keep the foundation strong and help to prevent injury in the long run.

Muscular Strength is the maximum amount of force a muscle can overcome during one single contraction. This is achieved by a variety of modes. Up hill training is an excellent way to achieve strength in the limbs and specifically the core muscles of the back and abdominals. Muscular strength is required in just about every sport. Sprints, rollbacks, and resistance training can be incorporated into an effective strength training program. With increased strength adaptation on hills, explosive exercises can be added gradually.

Muscular Endurance is the number of repeated contractions a muscle can perform against a resistance without fatiguing. This is achieved by a combination of cardiovascular and explosive sprint work meant to take the levels of both strength and cardio-fitness to the highest levels. Through aerobic exercise and strength training, muscular endurance will occur naturally. This type of work is added after the foundation work has been done. The foundation work depends on your horse’s starting point, but a couple of weeks of long walks, three times a week is a good start before you start getting more aggressive.

Flexibility describes the range of motion of a joint. Increased flexibility is achieved through various static stretching (stretches held for 30 seconds) exercises done by the rider. Stretching the legs is heavy work for you to perform, but you’ll find that your horse will not only enjoy it, but will learn how to stretch himself out in the paddock. Research has recently shown that static stretching not only aids in flexibility, but has shown to add overall strength to the body.

Dynamic Flexibility is like stretching because it helps the horse to be more flexible, but this type of flexibility exercise is done through bending exercises under saddle. Serpentines, circles, figure 8’s, and various drills up and down the arena are a perfect example of a dynamic flexibility exercise.

There are a lot of factors that may inhibit flexibility. Sometimes the joint itself has lost mobility, sometimes the muscles have lost elasticity, and worst of all, sometimes fat gets in the way. I like to incorporate dynamic flexibility exercises into the cool down, and also during the rest periods in endurance work. Once the muscles are warm and full of blood, they can achieve great gains in flexibility. Instead of just walking your horse during the little breathers in sprint training, you can ask him to walk in circles to keep his rib cage open and flexible.

Sport Specific Training

Sport Specific Training is specifically performing the sport that you’ll be competing in. It is necessary for developing motor skills as they relate to your specific sport, but doesn’t include all of the components for a balanced fitness program. By performing the movements used in your sport, timing and balance are developed. This type of training should be focused during the horse’s schooling sessions which will be incorporated into the off days of the exercise schedule. Schooling and workouts are two different forms of training and should be practiced separately. Schooling is teaching the horse how to perform specific movements, and workouts are performed for the purpose of gaining strength and fitness. By taking an un-schooled horse into the arena and pushing him or her through a specific sport routine at the maximum levels will never teach him or her to be accurate in their specific sport.

A barrel horse needs to be strong and powerful, but if he isn’t schooled in how to turn a barrel properly and with precision, he’s not a great barrel horse. He should be taught how to do this separately from his workout.

He needs some added flexibility exercise in order to bend more effectively. If he’s too muscular, he’ll create excess heat within his body which may lead to early fatigue. A barrel horse needs a good cardio program so that his body efficiently delivers oxygen to the muscles and organs.

He needs a good strength program to accommodate the explosive forward movement and speed, and he needs the flexibility to be able to bend around the barrel tightly. Once that’s all done, he needs to cool down and be stretched out so that his muscles aren’t stiff and shortened for the next bout of competition.

This horse needs a program that’s divided up into segments over one week periods, then tied together to make up several months. One trick is to keep the horse from peaking too soon or losing too much weight, while balancing the workouts to include schooling, aerobics, strength, endurance, and flexibility. During this time, the horse’s chemical metabolism will be responding to each of your exercises which will affect how much water he should drink, what and how much he should eat, and how much massage and stretching is indicated.

Any animal, any breed, any age, any size, can be brought to their own level of optimum fitness if given reasonable goals. It will be your responsibility to set the goals, and follow through with gradual progression to safely achieve those goals. The overload should be designed so that the body can adapt to a slow progression of increased challenges without causing injury.

Mix It Up

Like humans, a horse’s program should include time on the track, the weight room, and whatever strategy that you can implement that includes flexibility training. Of course, you will need to improvise with hill work and explosive work instead of a weight room, but you will become creative as you witness your horse getting stronger.

This should be fun for you and your horse. Of course there are rules, and there are definitely some things that are forbidden, like stretching a cold muscle, but this time together is yours to enjoy, and you should remain open to substitutions and changes as circumstances change.

One of my favorite things to do is ride my horse in an arena with loud music blasting. I love to focus on patterns, and challenges. Fortunately for me, I’ve always had a horse that enjoys the same thing. Once my horse is strong, I (sort of) let him choose the plan for the day. In my own fitness programs, I’ve substituted a day of skiing or a long hike for an aerobic class. Why not? As long as you include all of the important components, and maintain the current intensity, your horse will appreciate the variety of trails, hills, and arena work.

Keeping an open mind as you go, you can change things according to weather, illness, injury, or whatever else comes up. Be sure to record the exercises as you normally would, and note when you made substitutions.

Avoiding boredom is one of the main challenges faced during a long term fitness program. Timing is another important factor. Each body part requires specific training strategies. The muscles, including the heart take up to 6 months to reach their peak, connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) take one to two years to develop their maximum strength, and bones take up to 3 years to fully develop. This is why it’s recommended that horses not begin intense physical exercise before the age of 4.

Be aware of the types of surfaces in which you are training, and choose grass or wood chips over dirt when possible. Deeper footing adds to intensity, so pay attention to how your horse feels, and make wise choices when possible.

Establish Your Starting Baseline

In order to measure improvements, you need to establish your starting position. You can then set your goals for the future. A veterinary consult is helpful at this point, and you should start recording everything.

Ask the vet about your horse’s weight, conformation, and movement as it relates to your fitness plan. The next step is to determine if there are any risk factors that require special attention. Some risk factors would be pregnancy, recent injury or surgery within the past 6 months, diet (how much, special requirements, required supplements), and special needs like shoes and tack.

Voice all of your concerns to the vet during this pre-program vet check. Tell the vet what your goals are. Ask him or her if your goals are realistic. Ask questions about your horse’s resting heart rate as opposed to what the vet might estimate the maximum heart rate to be.

If there are any questions about the horse’s tack or hooves, be sure to consult with a reputable professional before beginning the program. Having these items analyzed in advance can prevent some painful and expensive issues later in the program.

Keep Records

Height/Weight When you have the vet do the initial consultation, you will have them do the initial height and weight reading for recording. A height and weight tape can be purchased at most feed stores or catalogs for your follow up measurements.

Resting Heart Rate Take resting heart rate for 5 consecutive days the first thing in the morning to determine normal resting heart rate. Again, because of the nature of the beast, size, breed, and fitness level, there isn’t an exact average resting heart rate. Each horse will have its own normal. Be sure that you document this morning resting rate because later in the program, you will be monitoring the morning rate. An elevated heart rate in the morning can indicate over training, and this is something to watch closely.

Take Photos

You will be really happy to have your success recorded.

Put It Together

This is the fun part. Take the freedom to be creative with this. Start slowly, be sure to warm up properly, and then put it together according to what you and your horse choose. Once the foundation has been laid, you’re free to do as you choose. Here are some ideas;

For the first couple of weeks, lay the foundation with walking three times a week

Add one day of schooling. By this, I mean to take one day to slowly take your horse through his specific sport movements in a calculated and organized way at about 60% of his maximum.

You are now ready to add some strength work either by getting more aggressive and explosive in specific sports movements or by adding some hill work. Utilize the cool down time for dynamic flexibility like serpentines and figure 8’s.

After the under saddle cool down, while the horse is still somewhat warm, add some stretching to keep the horse flexible and not too bulky and stiff.

As time goes on, you can perform the sport specific exercises more and more aggressively to improve the horse’s endurance until you’re performing at 100% while still maintaining the precision that was taught during the schooling segments.

http://www.kathyduncan.blogspot.com, Kathy Duncan is the author of The Fit Horse Companion, a manual for horse health and fitness including massage therapy and hydrotherapy.

Equine Emergencies: Treatment and Procedures
Equine Fitness: A Program of Exercises and Routines for Your Horse
The Fit Horse Companion

Originally posted 2014-12-31 15:29:13.

How Do I Measure My Horse For A Rug?

As we head towards winter, it’s time to start thinking about your horse’s winter wardrobe. Do they need a new stable rug or turnout rug? Getting the right size and fit is essential to protect them fully and safely through the colder months. A rug that fits incorrectly can cause problems, like discomfort and chaffing if it’s too tight, or slipping and getting caught up in your horse’s legs if it is too big.

So if you’re in the market for a new horse rug, here are some tips on achieving a great fit. Your horse will thank you.

How do I measure my horse for a rug?

You have two options here:

  • If you already have a rug that’s a good fit for your horse, lay it flat and measure it from the middle of the chest at the top end down the length of the rug to the opposite end.
  • Or to measure your horse, use a soft tape measure starting at the centre of your horse’s chest measuring horizontally along to your horse’s rump where you would expect the rug to end.

Horse rugs are sized in feet and inches, going up a size in 3 inch increments. Select the size closest to your measurement. Generally it is best to go up rather than down to the nearest size if your horse is in between sizes. However, use your discretion here – if your horse is quite slight, it may be wise to go down slightly to the smaller size. Likewise, if your horse is very sturdy it might be an idea to go up a size.

Trying a horse rug on

After purchasing your rug you need to check you’ve got the right fit. When trying it on your horse for the first time leave the tags on and try it on over a thin summer sheet if possible. This will stop the rug getting hairy and will mean that you should be able to return it for an exchange or refund in immaculate condition if it doesn’t fit. To test out the size, check the fit around your horse’s chest, withers and shoulders by running your hands around and under the edge of the rug. The fit should be snug enough that it doesn’t slip back, but not so much that it restricts movement or rubs. Get a second opinion on the fit from an experienced horse owner if you’re not sure, you don’t want to end up with a costly mistake!

By   writes about Equestrian Products.

The Old Dairy Saddlery specialise in providing the best quality horse riding equipment at affordable prices. For a great range of horse rugs, visit the website.

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse
Manna Pro 0092954236 Apple Horse Treats, 5-Pound
Horsemen's Pride 10

Originally posted 2014-12-29 04:41:52.

Lameness in Sport Horses

lamenessinsporthorsesLameness can present itself in a number of different ways and for different reasons;

– There is more that one area of pain
– The horses performance drops
– The horse shows behavioral changes

Sometimes assessment of the problem can be challenging if there is no clear reason for the change / drop in performance and associated lameness. Knowing the history of the horse can greatly assist in the diagnosis of the problem. The horses training schedule, length of time taken to reach levels of fitness and types of exercises will help to determine what types of strains and stresses muscles etc, have been put under.

When assessing the horse the main aims are to determine whether the problem relates to;

Pain

Weakness

–Young horses often show signs of weaknesses possibly relating to being tired. Training programs for youngsters should be relative to growth rate.

Neurological defects

Clinical Problems

— Poor shoeing can lead to bilateral foot pain, fetlock pain, hock pain, carpal pain, thoracic lumbar pain, sacroilliac pain, tying up.

— Good shoeing can assist horses with some minor problems stated above, when they perform.

Rider problems

— A poorly skilled rider can hinder horses when e.g. jumping – poor eye coming into a jump can cause a greater strain on horses’ muscles / ligaments / joints. This can cause tying up due to weaknesses from this.

Horse problems – sometimes the horse is just not skilled enough, suitable or has the right temperament for the discipline it is being ridden in.

Show Jumping and Dressage.

Subtle lameness may only slightly impede the horse’s performance and as many injuries tend to be repetitive, accumulating over time. Many trainers prefer to wait until the end of the season to investigate fully into the cause and future treatments. As the season ends and workloads reduce the demands on horses become less, the lameness seen at the height of competition season may be seen less, affecting the horse less.

Conformation has a clear impact on injury. Foot balance is essential for this discipline and despite a good farrier being able to shoe to accommodate for problems that may be evident. If a horse has an upright foot concussion related problems can occur more frequently.

When training Show Jumpers engagement and collection is required however this can accelerate problems in the thoracic lumbar region as it puts a lot more stress and strain on the area. Forelimbs will be constantly put under a lot of impact pressures, a good rider that stays stable and with a good center of balance will prevent the horse from having to cope with uneven weights as they regain position after a jump.

The experience and strength of the horse will, if not suitable for the job, hinder the horse, causing more stresses and strains as it jumps incorrectly due to tiredness and fatigue. The training surface needs to be considered carefully to help rather that slow down the training of the horse. Too hard and concussions can occur, too deep and suspensory injuries can occur. Joint, bone, foot bruising, inflammation of these areas and hoof wall problems are all common when horses are ridden on unsuitable surfaces.

When training Dressage horses training schedules are often dependent on the horse’s age. The dressage horse will spend a lot of time in the arena performing a lot of gymnastic exercises. Injuries and lameness are often tissue specific rather than concussive. The dressage horse needs to spend a lot of time working towards strengthening in order to not fatigue when performing difficult weight bearing movements. Desmitis in the hind limbs can occur due to the transfer of weight between front and hind limbs if the horse has not built up enough strength. Acute injuries are not often seen, instead, due to the repetitive nature of the training, it is these types of lamenesses that can occur. As the horse spends so long working in the arena, the surface is so important. Consistency and levelness across the entire surface must be maintained. It is worth considering that constant work on a soft surface as found in arena will not stimulate remodeling within the horses bones, important for strength. Training should incorporate work on hard ground occasionally to achieve this. Caution should be taken though not to shock the horse.

Published At: Isnare Free Articles Directory http://www.isnare.com
Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=391993&ca=Pets

Tammy is a avid equine rider who loves to promote the best ways to be looking after horses. Tammy works part time for anythingequine.co.uk who specialise in Horse Boots as well as equestrian rugs and Equetech equine in the UK.

Originally posted 2014-09-22 00:07:13.

Get That Horse Some Factor 50 and a Sunshade Please

sunshadeI was walking my dog early this morning to avoid the heat and I noticed a field of lovely horses of all different varieties, shapes and sizes, all clustered under one small tree. It was already getting warmer and on closer inspection , in fact I scoured the whole field. they were doing their best to stay cool because the water supply they had was totally inadequate.

Now taking aside the care of these particular horses , which I can assure you I will be dealing with. I wondered how many other well meaning owners were assuming their horses were ok in summer. People seem to assume horses will be fine in summer and only worry about them in winter, but horses overheat easily.

Dogs, cats, and even horses with sparse hair and light colored hair and skin are more likely to get sun related diseases. Sunburn is as painful in animals just as it is in people. It is recommended to keep your pet or horse out of the sun especially during the summer from 10 am to 4 pm. Horses can be protected in a barn and even a shade tree can really help. But the point is that they do need some protection from the sun.

Many cancers can affect the skin of animals and most come with too much sun exposure. Sunscreen can be used on animals but may be difficult to apply if they are hairy. Also, you must be careful the pet does not lick the sunscreen, as it could be bad for them. There are even sun suits available for your pet to prevent sun burn, although the pet may get hot in these or may chew them off. So there really is no substitute for providing them with the proper shade.

The single most important way to help horses in hot weather is to give them easy access to clean, fresh water. Like humans, horses control their temperature through sweating. But sweating leads to dehydration if the water and minerals aren’t replaced.

The safest solution is to install plenty of troughs and keep them full, as shallow water is sometimes hard to reach for smaller horses or ponies. Choosing self filling troughs is the easiest, option but can be expensive. Whatever the solution owners need to ensure the water is clean and thathorses are drinking it.

You can also turn horses out only in the evening, keeping them stabled in the day during summer, to minimize exposure to blazing sun and flies. But this only works if the stables are cool and well ventilated, otherwise they can quickly become far too hot. Keeping them in a really airless wooden stable isn’t the answer; they will just as easily fry in there. But brick or concrete stables are much cooler. All this calls for is a bit of common sense. If you would get hot closed in there then so will they.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that you may also be unaware that there is another potentially serious illness in horses that can easily be confused with straightforward sunburn, and that’s Photosensitization.

Photosensitization is a long word for what can be a serious skin condition. It looks like sunburned, crusty skin that can die and fall or rub, off. It is usually caused by a reaction to something the horse has eaten. Howeverthe skin problem doesn’t appear until the horse is exposed to sunlight. Three things can cause photosensitization. First, there can be a photo activating substance in the horse’s skin, second it can be caused by exposure to UV light, and thirdly it can be caused by lack of skin pigment, which enables more light to penetratethe skin.

Removing the horse from the sun will give them immediate relief. Exposure to the sun causes a chemical reaction in the skin which can be painful. Affected horses can be turned out at night and kept out of direct sunlight during the day. Depending on how bad the skin damage and loss is, it can a long time for them to get better.

Many horses with light skin can get sunburned. If your horse develops severe skin blisters and open wounds after exposure to the sun, it’s always wise to seek advice from your veterinarian to find out the cause.

Humans are constantly reminded by dermatologists about exposure to the sun and the risk of skin damage and cancer. Although you may not have ever considered it before, our pets can also be susceptible todiseases related to too much sun. So next time you see an animal that is not sufficiently protected, have a care, and even at the risk of some verbal abuse, let the owner know, as diplomatically as possible, that they could do better.

Source: Free Articles

About the Author

Roger Bourdon’s aim is to bring the joys of horseback riding to everyone with his books and website at http://anyhorsebackriding.com where you can get really cool free hints and tips on learning to horseback ride.

 

I was walking my dog early this morning to avoid the heat and I noticed a field of lovely horses of all different varieties, shapes and sizes, all clustered under one small tree. It was already getting warmer and on closer inspection , in fact I scoured the whole field. they were doing their best to stay cool because the water supply they had was totally inadequate.

Now taking aside the care of these particular horses , which I can assure you I will be dealing with. I wondered how many other well meaning owners were assuming their horses were ok in summer. People seem to assume horses will be fine in summer and only worry about them in winter, but horses overheat easily.

Dogs, cats, and even horses with sparse hair and light colored hair and skin are more likely to get sun related diseases. Sunburn is as painful in animals just as it is in people. It is recommended to keep your pet or horse out of the sun especially during the summer from 10 am to 4 pm. Horses can be protected in a barn and even a shade tree can really help. But the point is that they do need some protection from the sun.

Many cancers can affect the skin of animals and most come with too much sun exposure. Sunscreen can be used on animals but may be difficult to apply if they are hairy. Also, you must be careful the pet does not lick the sunscreen, as it could be bad for them. There are even sun suits available for your pet to prevent sun burn, although the pet may get hot in these or may chew them off. So there really is no substitute for providing them with the proper shade.

The single most important way to help horses in hot weather is to give them easy access to clean, fresh water. Like humans, horses control their temperature through sweating. But sweating leads to dehydration if the water and minerals aren’t replaced.

The safest solution is to install plenty of troughs and keep them full, as shallow water is sometimes hard to reach for smaller horses or ponies. Choosing self filling troughs is the easiest, option but can be expensive. Whatever the solution owners need to ensure the water is clean and thathorses are drinking it.

You can also turn horses out only in the evening, keeping them stabled in the day during summer, to minimize exposure to blazing sun and flies. But this only works if the stables are cool and well ventilated, otherwise they can quickly become far too hot. Keeping them in a really airless wooden stable isn’t the answer; they will just as easily fry in there. But brick or concrete stables are much cooler. All this calls for is a bit of common sense. If you would get hot closed in there then so will they.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that you may also be unaware that there is another potentially serious illness in horses that can easily be confused with straightforward sunburn, and that’s Photosensitization.

Photosensitization is a long word for what can be a serious skin condition. It looks like sunburned, crusty skin that can die and fall or rub, off. It is usually caused by a reaction to something the horse has eaten. Howeverthe skin problem doesn’t appear until the horse is exposed to sunlight. Three things can cause photosensitization. First, there can be a photo activating substance in the horse’s skin, second it can be caused by exposure to UV light, and thirdly it can be caused by lack of skin pigment, which enables more light to penetratethe skin.

Removing the horse from the sun will give them immediate relief. Exposure to the sun causes a chemical reaction in the skin which can be painful. Affected horses can be turned out at night and kept out of direct sunlight during the day. Depending on how bad the skin damage and loss is, it can a long time for them to get better.

Many horses with light skin can get sunburned. If your horse develops severe skin blisters and open wounds after exposure to the sun, it’s always wise to seek advice from your veterinarian to find out the cause.

Humans are constantly reminded by dermatologists about exposure to the sun and the risk of skin damage and cancer. Although you may not have ever considered it before, our pets can also be susceptible todiseases related to too much sun. So next time you see an animal that is not sufficiently protected, have a care, and even at the risk of some verbal abuse, let the owner know, as diplomatically as possible, that they could do better.

Source: Free Articles

Originally posted 2014-02-05 02:21:31.

My Horse Is Terrified of the Wormer Paste!

The yard was unusually busy and filled with anxiety when I arrived. Amongst the chatter I managed to glean that not long before lunch one of the livery horses had collapsed and been rushed to the vet school. Her life was hanging in the balance.

The cause was every liveries worst nightmare… an encysted red worm burden. It was so severe she had been given less than a 50% chance of surviving. Even if she did survive she would have permanent damage to her intestine that would mean careful dietary management for the rest of her life.

The horses at the yard, as with many yards, were turned out in groups and the groups never mixed. So any horse not in the group with this mare were most likely going to be unaffected. That didn’t stop many of the liveries going in to an emotional meltdown. My head was spinning and my stomach turned over as I digested the news. This mare shared a field with my youngster!

Regular worm counts as well as wormer for red worms and tape worm are part of my horses worming regimen so, in theory, my youngster should be fine. If only that was enough to stop me worrying.

The whole yard was put on ‘lock down’, grazing was off limits and horses were all stabled. An emergency worming programme was put in place and every horse had to follow this programme over the course of a week. It’s bad enough having to worm a horse a few times a year, I wasn’t about to disagree given the potential risk for my youngster.

My horses started out great with their week-long wormer regimen. They weren’t happy about it, but we were coping. Then around day 3 the yard owner decided that he would ‘help me out’ and he decided to worm my youngster before I arrived at the yard that day. I wasn’t particularly happy about it, but all seemed well.

Day 4 came around and it was time for the wormer. I prepped the tube and opened my youngsters stable door. He had one glance at the wormer tube and reacted as if I had thrown a snake in to the stable with him. This was not his usual reaction and I heaved a sigh as I could only imagine the scene the previous day with the yard owners approach to worming my youngster.

I pot the tube away and calmed my horse. Then went to find the yard owner. As my horses reaction had indicated, the previous days wormer administration had not gone well at all and it seemed that an approach along the lines of ‘pin it down with 4 men and a boy’ was taken. This was devastating news to me. My horse as showing me that a lot of emotional damage had been done in a very short space of time. Damage that was going to take more than one nights training to resolve.

There was nothing else for it. I had to quickly put a training plan together in my head as to how I was going to worm my horse that evening. It had to be done. The risk of not doing it was just too great. My approach was that of microshaping. I looked for the smallest approximation of the behaviour I needed from my horse to make this procedure as emotionally and physically safe as possible.

I wanted to tease apart what aspect(s) of the wormer was an issue so i broke it down in to steps to find what was OK and I could build from there. Starting where things were not OK was not going to lead to better things. I asked if I could open the stable door (no wormer in sight), yes, click and treat. Could I go in to the stable, then touch him, could I build up to touching him around his nose and his then his mouth. As long as he was calm and relaxed with each step of the process it was reinforced a number of times before moving on. At any time if he gave any indication that things were not OK then I took a step back in the training plan.

The next steps involved the wormer itself; could I stay on the other side of the door and simply hold the wormer tube, click for calm behaviour, wormer tube away and treat. We built this up gradually so that I could step in to the stable with the tube in my hand and he stayed calm.

It was surprising how quickly he learned that staying calm and relaxed about the process was preferable to getting anxious. Anxiety could easily have escalated but by approaching the training a small step at a time, by repeating each step and following Karen Pryors 10 Laws of shaping behaviour the end result was being able to worm my horse without force.

After just one nights training the behaviour was definitely not as good as I would have liked it to be, but we had a few more nights to work on that.

Over time I polished the behaviour by asking the horses to voluntarily bring their mouth to the wormer tube, open their lips and place their lips over the tube.

The final bells and whistles to the process was to teach the horse a cue where they knew “this time I plan to give the wormer”. If they were not ready they removed their mouth from the tube. If they are ready their mouth stays over the tube. Giving wormer paste to our horses is a necessary evil for most of us. However, we can give the horses control over the worming process and allow it to be their choice when the paste is given. We can make it a more positive experience for the horses.

The good news is, my horses are still in control over their wormer paste, neither of them were affected by the outbreak and the mare… she survived!

See some of the positive reinforcement wormer training in action; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y6JIuOxNm0

Find out how clicker training can benefit you and your horse, contact; amanda@smaarthorses.co.uk
http://www.smaarthorses.co.uk.

By 

Originally posted 2013-05-25 01:06:25.

Worming and Resistance in Horses

Everyone knows how important it is to worm our horses regularly to make sure they are healthy and happy! This is especially important for those horses that are on pasture 24 hours a day, but is also important for stabled horses.

A few tips for worming horses:

 

  • Treat all horses grazing together at the same time and with the same product.
  • Take into account the horse’s age and type, local environment and climate.
  • Keep an accurate record of when you worm your horse and the product used.
  • Treat horses that are at grass during the winter, even if only for short periods.Do not overstock the paddocks.
  • When moving horses to new grazing worm them 48 hours before the move to help prevent the spread of parasites.
  • No single worming drug will kill all the horse’s internal parasites
  • Do not administer the drugs more frequently than recommended.

 

The key to worm control is to break the life cycle of the parasite, through drugs and pasture management.

Killing the four main groups (Large Redworms, Small Redworms, Tapeworms and Bots), will also kill all the other important worms. When you are moving from the warmer months and into autumn and winter, you may notice Bot flies hanging around your horse (mainly their legs). These annoying flies lay small white eggs on your horse in autumn, so using an effective boticide (ivermectin) when you worm at this time of year.

Worm Resistance

If the active ingredient in a worming product is used continuously on a property for a long time, there is an increased likelihood that the worms (especially Small Strongyles) may develop resistance to that family of drug, rendering the products no longer effective. Make sure to rotate wormers every year or so – this means getting a different wormer with a different active ingredient and not just a different brand – make sure you read the label or ask someone (such as your vet or the supplier of the worming paste) which active ingredients are different from the wormer you have been using.

The reason we do this is to ensure the worms within our horses are not building up a resistance to the type of drug in the wormers we are using – this can be a real problem as horses can carry heavy infestations of worms in their gut even though they are wormed on a regular basis, and start to lose condition and become unhealthy.

Ensure that your horse gets the correct dose for his weight. Don’t under-dose as this can lead to resistance in the worm population and the horse not being wormed effectively. This is particularly important to remember when you have a larger horse such as a friesian, as these horses often weight more than the highest dose level on the worming paste – often these pastes only go up to 550kg-500kg, and many friesians are over 650kg, with our heaviest horse weighing in at around 750-800kg!! The ‘mectin’ family of worming product is the most common class of wormer used in Australia currently – wormers such as Equimax (abamectin), Equest (moxidectin) and Equimec (ivermectin) are some examples. The ‘mectins’ are very good wormers, but there are growing concerns that over-use will lead to resistance in the horse industry and cause a loss of it’s effectiveness.

How to Avoid Resistance

Give the correct dose – especially do not under-dose

Use an effective worming product (not a product where resistance has developed, as it may make the problem worse)

Prevent the horse from spitting the paste back out and reducing the dose he gets – put the wormer all the way to the back of the tongue, and make sure to hold the horses head up for around 15 seconds after administering or until you can see that he swallows all of the paste. Rotate wormers (the drug not just the brand) – this can be done yearly.

Maintain good pasture hygiene – rotate paddocks and harrow in the summer months, or pick up manure in paddocks, or clean stables out daily. These measures avoid increasing the worm burden in the paddock/stable and hence also in the horse.

Remembering these simple steps and guidelines will ensure that your horse is happy, fit and healthy, on the inside and outside.

Natasha Althoff
Ebony Park Performance Friesians
where dreams are made reality
http://www.ebonyparkstud.com.au

Originally posted 2013-05-08 01:10:53.

Equine Back Problems: Sacroiliac Pain in the Horse

Sacroiliac pain
Sacroiliac pain

When owners and riders think about the horses back, the sacroiliac region is an area that is often overlooked or not considered significant. However injury in this area can cause the horse to be in a lot of pain or discomfort and can cause problems without there being any visible abnormality.

A study by the University of Minnesota reported that over half of the 124 horses presented to the clinic with suspected back pain had a sacroiliac problem. This suggests that the sacroiliac should be given some serious consideration when looking at back problems.

The sacroiliac junction connects the horses spine at the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis. The joint is capable of very little movement and contains little or no joint fluid. It is supported by the ventral sacroiliac ligaments. In the area are also dorsal sacroiliac ligaments although these do not have anything to do with the joint structure.

Causes of pain in the sacroiliac region include:

Ligament injuries of the ventral sacroiliac ligaments or the dorsal ligaments running from the tubersacrale to the sacrum.The significance of this injury depends on the severity ie, if the ligament it torn or just strained.

Misalignments of the tubersacrale can cause discomfort in this area as joints may not be functioning within their normal range of movement (ROM). A McTimoney practitioner will often treat this area to support optimal joint function.

Fractures, predominantly stress fractures of the iliac wing have been found in racehorses. These are often too small to be seen on x-rays and are so found post mortem, this means they may well be present in horses of other disciplines but due to the lower incidence of post mortem examination they may not be picked up.

In certain equestrian disciplines the SI region can be put under extreme strain. Extremes of engagement, hind limb action or speed can over stress the joint. This means showjumpers, racehorses, dressage horses and some western disciplines such as barrel racers are at risk. Conformation of the horse is a consideration and whether the horse has conformation which is suitable for the job they are doing.

Sacroiliac injury can also be a result of falling, slipping and rearing particularly those that have gone over backwards.

Signs which may suggest that your horse has SI pain include:

  • Lacking topline and in consistent muscle development across the back and hind quarters
  • Lack of impulsion, reluctance to engage the hindlinmbs when ridden and reluctance to go forward
  • Bucking or kicking out whilst ridden
  • Hindlimb lameness where other conditions have been ruled out

Definitive diagnosis is difficult unless there is an obvious injury as the joint is deep and therefore cannot be examined by usual methods such as x-ray. The vet may suspect SI injury when the pain cannot be localised by nerve blocks right up to the stifle. Sacroiliac pain may be suspected by the McTimoney practitioner if the horse is sensitive to palpation over the tubersacrale.

Prognosis is generally good although this depends on the nature and severity of the injury. Ample time off work must be given to allow for ligament repair, it is thought that when recovery has been poor it can be due to not allowing enough time off work. Treatment options address the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem and can include: acupuncture, manipulation and corticosteroids.

Carole McClelland is a McTimoney and Sports Massage Therapist and treats animals in Gloucestershire and surrounding areas. For more information please visit Carole McClelland McTimoney for Animals Gloucestershire

Originally posted 2013-04-01 17:12:53.

The Basics of Equine Dentistry

Equine dentistry is as essential to horse welfare as good farriery and veterinary care. Dental care should begin at a year old, although a check by an equine dentist soon after birth can be useful to check for developmental problems.

There is no qualification required by law for one to practice as an equine dentist, however it is important to ensure that the EDT your select has undertaken relevant and lengthy training. This may include a degree, an apprenticeship, or relevant exams. There is no right way to become a EDT, and it is the quality of the work and not the letters after the practitioner’s name that is key.

An equine dentist will usually begin by allowing the horse time to touch and smell and become acquainted with him or her. Gentle examination of the face may then begin, with attention paid to symmetry of the features and muscular development, any unusual swellings or discharge, and any tenderness of the TMJ joint. The horse’s lips will then be parted to allow the incisors, canines and bars to be examined. Wolf teeth may also be discovered.

The speculum will then be placed on the horse and the strap tightened sufficiently. Once open the EDT may use touch or vision or both to determine the physiology of the horses teeth. If the horse is calm a head torch or hand held torch may be used to aid diagnosis. The EDT will usually begin rasping the upper molar arcades. EDTs differ in their approach, some preferring to rasp without the use of the speculum in order to make sure there is plenty of slack in the cheek tissue between the teeth and the rasp. Others prefer to rasp with the speculum on for accuracy. Once the upper molar arcades have been floated, the EDT will move on to the lowers, finishing with bit seats if desired. If calculus is present on the canines it can be removed once the speculum has been taken off.

Good equine dentists then will grind the horse’s jaw to listen for any teeth ‘catching’ which could mean that further rasping is required. They will also wait to see the horse is eating comfortably after their treatment.

An EDT should leave his or her client with a comprehensive dental chart. This should record the owner’s and horse’s details, such as name, address, breed, or age. The horse’s dental anatomy should be recorded in some way, either in the medium of a diagram, verbally, or both. The EDT should list the procedures they have performed on the horse, alone with any recommendations for the horse’s future care. The dental chart may also act as a receipt, containing proof that payment was both made by the client and received by the EDT.

By

Laura Faye is an equine dental technician covering Sussex, Kent and Hampshire

http://www.farrasequine.com

 

Originally posted 2013-02-15 06:35:28.

5 Hidden Benefits of Equine Massage

Equine therapeutic massage is swiftly becoming a valuable supplement to the intelligent horse owners’ equine care regiment. These folks have learned the secret benefits associated with horse therapeutic massage. What is so secret? Just about anyone knowledgeable about massage and/or holistic health care approaches has learned about the the traditional series of the benefits of bodywork with respect to horses. Even so, no one has converted that checklist into the merits for you, the actual horse owner. Unless you have unexpectedly discovered and observed the genuine benefits for you and your horse, it is likely you are not aware why massage is certainly not merely a once-a-year luxury.

The standard report on the features of horse therapeutic massage reads as such:

  • Dilates blood vessels
  • Returns blood once again all the way to the heart
  • Helps remove lethargic lymph material
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Prevents adhesions
  • Stretches connective tissue
  • Lessens stiffness and also swelling
  • Has a stimulative or possibly sedative impact in nervous system
  • Brings attention to the area getting massaged

Just how many equine owners genuinely know how this collection may affect them? Quite frankly, a small amount of of them do. Unless a person has excelled in the field of biology and physiology in high school or college, chances are this age old checklist is Greek to them! Let’s finally bring it up to date as well as convert this particular collection into exactly how horse massage rewards you, the horse owner. We are going to begin with condensing the list into three principal themes: circulation, muscle performance, and mental acuity.

  • CIRCULATION: Massage boosts blood flow for all parts of the body. All of the cells in the body must have oxygen and also nutrients delivered to them, through circulation of blood, to build brand new cells, generate energy, export toxins, and preserve all cellular functions. Inadequate blood circulation results in a decline in every one of these areas. In essence, you now are generally working along with a half-baked horse that would most likely have varied health difficulties.
  • MUSCLE PERFORMANCE: Equine massage physically breaks down the knots along with contracted muscle fibers that can’t perform their task successfully. leading to improved muscle quality and also much more thorough and well balanced muscle actions. Your horse is made up of 700 skeletal muscles and that is 60% of the entire body mass of your horse! Working a horse with tight, continuously contracted muscles is the same as functioning in a condition of resistance. Your horse is using a lot more energy to perform and is achieving significantly less than its optimum capabilities and thus, is headed for injury.
  • MENTAL ACUITY: Horse bodywork talks to the nervous system in a manner that the horse will certainly exerience an important state of relaxation, mental lucidity, and personal healing. The horse functioning in a state of constant psychological anxiety and restricted focus will never perform to their complete potential.

When massage is performed over a consistent basis the results build upon themselves with time. Once-a-year massages are in essence the equivalent of placing a band-aid on fundamental problems and the horse never reaps the added benefits of continual recovery. In addition, regular equine massage not only benefits the horse, it benefits YOU, the actual horse owner, and here is how:

You may experience a reduction in vet visits which ultimately may keep your horse out from the lay-up stall saving you time and money.

You may have a horse that can move more efficiently, with significantly less pain and achieve more physically, which will equal a better overall performance for you.

You may have a horse that experiences less tendon and ligament injuries equaling greater performance time and significantly less lay-up time; keeping you in the saddle.

You may possess a horse that rebounds quicker from workouts and is feeling ready to work on a consistent basis providing you a willing horse to ride.

You may have a much more content mount with a better work attitude making your daily ride a pleasure as opposed to a fight.

Whether you ride for pleasure or overall performance, equine massage is a straightforward addition to your horse’s healthcare plan which could help you stay in the saddle and on top of your performance.

By

Jane Wesson DC, ESMT, HHP LMT

Jane oversees Eqiuine Pacifica, an equine massage school based in beautiful San Diego, California. When not running her own successful horse massage and equine bodywork practice, she can be found teaching others how to care for these majestic, yet often misunderstood, animals.

 

Originally posted 2013-02-08 06:34:34.