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A large portion of our equine practice involves the diagnosis and treatment of medical problems. We start with a thorough physical exam. This involves taking a heart rate and respiratory rate, taking temperature, listening to heart/lungs/guts, checking eyes eyes/ears/mouth for abnormalities, looking for lumps/bumps, and checking digital pulses. Depending on the situation, we will focus on a certain area of the horse. In many cases, we need to do further diagnostics such as blood tests, radiology, or endoscopy to diagnose the problem and be able to treat appropriately.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a cellular-based form of regenerative medicine that is derived from your horse’s own blood. The blood is processed in a way that concentrates platelets at 2-8 times the normal level. Platelets are cells within the blood that help stop bleeding and initiate the process of healing. Platelets are instrumental in the process of healing because they contain numerous growth factors and possess various proteins that act as a matrix for bone, connective tissue, and epithelial migration. These particular traits have generated a huge interest in the Human and Veterinary Medical Field.
The therapeutic growth factors and proteins that platelets are loaded with are best used to treat tendon, ligament, and soft tissue injuries.
Platelet-rich plasma can help improve the outcome of soft tissue injuries and get your horse back to work faster. Platelet-rich plasma is used for tendon, ligament, and soft tissue injuries. It has become increasingly popular in the Equine Medical Field for soft tissue injuries because there is limited treatment options proven to be effective. This list provides some examples of injuries PRP can be beneficial towards:
We offer nutrition consultation and ration formulations as part of our equine veterinary services. Good forage (grass pasture or hay) is the cornerstone of every horse’s diet. Hay should be green, leafy and dust and mold free. Grain should only be fed if there is good reason (such as regular, strenuous exercise, pregnancy/lactation, or an older horse losing condition).
Every horse should have access to salt, minerals and vitamins on a regular basis.
Pregnant mares can be maintained on just good hay and a mineral block until the last 2 months of gestation at which time grain should be added (1/2 – 1lb of grain per 100lb of body weight). She should be kept on grain at least until 2 months after she foals (unless there is very good grass pasture).
Young, growing horses require more protein then adult horses. Alfalfa hay has good protein levels or else a supplement such as soybean meal can be added to the ration.
We carry many of the vaccines important to horses in our area.
Core vaccines are the ones that are recommended in all horses. These include eastern/western equine encephalomyelitis (sleeping sickness), tetanus, West Nile Virus, and rabies. In general, sleeping sickness, tetanus, and West Nile need to be given two shots at least 4 weeks apart and then yearly after that if not vaccinated before. If the horse has been vaccinated then just an annual shot is needed. These vaccines can be purchased in an all-in-one combo.
Although the incidence of rabies in horses is low, it is fatal and has considerable public health significance. It’s, therefore, a recommended core vaccine. Rabies vaccine can only be administered by a veterinarian. This can be done at your annual health check. In general, rabies vaccine needs to be given just once yearly. You should call ahead if wanting to vaccinate to make sure we have some in stock when you arrive.
With all the core vaccines, the recommendations may differ with pregnant mares and with foals depending on the situation. For more in depth, accurate information check out the website below: http://www.aaep.org/-i-165.html
These are vaccines that are recommended in certain situations especially when horses are doing a lot of traveling and come in contact with many other horses from different places. The most common risk-based vaccines are equine herpes virus (Rhino), equine influenza, and strangles. For in depth, accurate information check out the following website: http://www.aaep.org/-i-166.html
Pregnant mares should be vaccinated for Rhino at 5, 7 and 9 months of gestation.
The goal of parasite control in horses is to limit parasite infections so animals remain healthy and clinical illness does not develop. The goal is NOT to eliminate all parasites from a particular individual. Elimination is impossible to achieve. By deworming too often to try and achieve this, we kill off the whole susceptible parasite population and increase the development of parasite drug resistance.
Fecal Egg Counts
It is recommended to do fecal egg counts (FEC) on your adult horses to determine: 1) the type of parasites that you are dealing with and 2) the extent to which they are shedding. Horses grazing together share the same parasite population, but there are large differences in their levels of egg shedding. Egg counts are very concentrated in certain horses. Approximately, 25% of adult horses shed around 80% of the eggs. We can then use fecal egg counts to select the moderate and high egg shedders for deworming. Studies have shown when effective drugs are used, treating all horses exceeding a FEC of 200 eggs per gram, only leads to treating about 50% of the horse population, but still provides about 95% reduction of the overall egg shedding.
Recommendations for Fecal Sampling and Storage
Samples should be stored in leak-proof containers or plastic bags.
Collected manure should be as fresh as possible. Samples less than 12 hours old are acceptable, and should be refrigerated immediately after collection.
Fecal samples that are or have been frozen are not acceptable because it damages the eggs and reduces the recovery rate.
Products to Use
There are plenty of dewormers on the market. When you bring in a fecal sample, we are able to identify whether your horse needs to be dewormed or not and able to identify the different types of worm eggs to then be able to choose the best dewormer in your situation.
In general, ivermectin/moxidectin products are effective against small strongyles, large strongyles, bots and pinworms most of the time. Praziquantel is effective against tapeworms and is included in some ivermectin/moxidectin products. Fenbendazole is effective against roundworms.
In foals the major pathogen of concern is P. equorum (a roundworm) which differs from adult horses. First deworming should be carried out at about 2-3 months of age. Use a fenbendazole product like Safeguard for 5 days in a row. Second deworming is recommended just before weaning (at about 6 months of age). At weaning, FEC are recommended to determine whether worm burdens are primarily strongyles or round worms, to facilitate the right choice of dewormer. They should then receive 1-2 more treatments before the age of 1.
Yearlings and two-year olds should continue to be treated as high shedders, and receive at least 2 yearly treatments with efficacious drugs.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Equine dentistry is a growing component of our practice as more and more people are becoming aware of its importance. Dental problems can cause a horse to lose weight, drop feed, or tilt its head when eating. A horse may also have problems with the bit when being ridden.
We have all the equipment necessary to perform high quality dental care. We usually find we can do a better job when power floating is done and have just purchased a brand new float. Some touch ups can be done with the manual floats when needed.
Many horses develop sharp points on the sides of their teeth due to the way a horses chews its food. These points may start abrading the cheeks and tongue, causing painful sores. "Floating" means removing these sharp points and smoothing the edges of the teeth.
Wolf teeth are small premolars just in front of the first cheek teeth. 60% of horses get wolf teeth, usually just on the upper jaw. They often erupt around 6 months of age and can be removed as they may cause problems with the bit later on.
Depending on the horse, floating may need to be done every 6 months or every couple of years. We can check their teeth on their annual exam and decide whether they need to be done or not.
We offer a full range of reproductive services including mare breeding soundness exams, artificial insemination, and pregnancy evaluation as early as 14 days after conception using ultrasonography. It is recommended that you have your pregnant mares checked at around 15 days post-bred to look for the presence of twins. At this stage, the embryos are still movable and we can attempt to get rid of one twin. Only 1 in 300 000 twins survives in horses, so this is why we attempt to eliminate them.
Artificial insemination has become quite popular with mare owners. It enables them to breed their mare to a stallion with superior genetics even if he is thousands of miles away. The usual procedure is to begin ultrasounding the mare when when she comes into heat. We monitor growth of the follicle via ultrasound and AI at the optimal time, as close to ovulation as possible. We have recently added frozen AI to the list of equine reproduction services we offer.
The most common causes of equine lameness in our practice area include sole abscesses, navicular syndrome, sprain/strain injuries, arthritis and fractured bones. Some lamenesses are very subtle and difficult to localize to a particular area. We have a round pen outside where we conduct our lameness exams. If we are unsure where the horse is sore, we start by carefully feeling the limbs for any heat or swelling. We then apply pressure to the hoof using hoof testers to detect any soreness in the foot itself. If there is no response, we start doing nerve blocks. This means injecting local anesthetic around the nerves to specific parts of the leg. If the horse stops limping after a particular nerve block, we know where he is sore. We have a portable digital x-ray that can be used to help diagnose particular problems. We are able to perform joint injections if that is a suitable treatment for the problem.
We offer a wide range of equine surgical procedures including laceration repair, sarcoid removal, castrations, cryptorchid surgeries and caslick’s procedures.
The term cryptorchid refers to a male horse with only one testicle descended. The other testicle is either in the inguinal ring or up in the abdomen. The inguinal rings are small holes in the body wall through which the testicles descend into the scrotum. If one or both testicles fail to pass through the inguinal rings the horse will be a cryptorchid. This trait is hereditary, meaning if a stallion is a cryptorchid, a high percentage of his sons will also be cryptorchids. For this reason, we recommend gelding all cryptorchid horses. When we do a cryptorchid surgery we require that the horse be starved out for at least 12 hours prior to surgery. We anesthetize the horse and roll him on his back for the procedure.
As caslick’s procedure refers to the act of suturing a mare’s vulva together, leaving only a small opening at the bottom for her to pass urine. We do this in mares that are prone to get uterine infections. Suturing the vulva together helps prevent contamination from entering the uterus through the vulva. Some performance horse breeders are starting to have a caslick’s procedure done on all young mares in training in order to preserve the uterus for future breeding.
Sarcoids are the most common skin tumors of horses. As sarcoid can take on a variety of forms and may resemble proud flesh or just a dry, grey wart. Most commonly, we will surgically remove the sarcoid and then freeze the base with liquid nitrogen. Another option is to inject the tumor witha chemotherapy drug known as cisplatin.
Prospective buyers want to make sure there purchase of a new horse is sound and in good health. We give the horse a thorough exam. This includes listening to the heart and lungs, examining eyes, ears, nose and teeth, checking for any lamenesses that may be present and evaluating conformation. Blood work, x-rays, fecal exams, etc. may be done if requested.
More and more horses are being bought and sold across the American border and more and more people are starting to take their horses on vacation down south. For a horse to cross the American border, it must have a negative Coggins test within 6 months of crossing the border and a health certificate/export paper signed (and the horse examined) by an accredited veterinarian within 30 days of crossing the border. If the horse is going to the States permanently, the owner must also arrange to have an American veterinarian meet them at the border to inspect the horse.
A Coggins test refers to the test done to detect a disease call Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). EIA is cause by a virus and is transmitted via mosquitoes, biting flies or needles used on more than one horse. Clinical signs of EIA typically involve periodic episodes of fever and lethargy, however a horse may have the disease for months or years and never show any signs. There is no treatment and no vaccination for EIA, which is why horse owners are anxious to avoid it at all cost. Many horse shows and sales require a negative Coggins test before allowing a horse to enter.