Monday, December 21, 2015

Equine Joint Therapies: What to Know - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
Dec 15, 2015

If your horse’s joints are starting to be painful, chances are you have a lot of questions: Will he return to soundness? Should I scratch from the next show? How much time will he need off? Then you do a quick Google search to see what types of treatment your veterinarian might prescribe, and things get even less clear: Will he use a systemic product or a topical one? Intra-articular injections? Or maybe physical therapy? Which option is best?

While navigating equine joint therapy options can be challenging, it’s easier when you have a good understanding of each treatment and how it works. To that end, Laurie Goodrich, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, reviewed some common joint treatments for horses at the 2015 World Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Oct. 8-10 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Goodrich is an associate professor of surgery and lameness in the Department of Clinical Sciences and the Orthopaedic Research Center at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in Fort Collins...

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How Genetically Modified is Your Horse's Feed? - Full Article

By Diane E. Rice
Dec 7, 2015

You might be surprised to find out with this introduction to GMOs

You love your horse. You show that love in the way you care for every detail of his existence: You monitor him closely for possible illness and injury; keep his living quarters clean and parasite-free; ensure his tack is supple, oiled, and well-fitted; and secure the best veterinarian and farrier services your money can buy. His hay smells sweet and appears fresh, with no trace of dust or mold, and the listed ingredients in his feed are poised to support his health and -performance.

But no matter your choice of feed mixtures and proportions, what’s deep within each grain, down to the cellular level?

You might be surprised to learn that there’s almost no such thing as an equine or other animal feed that’s free of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Oats are one of the few feed grains commonly used for horses that haven’t been genetically engineered to improve at least one quality, says Marty Adams, PhD, PAS, equine nutritionist and horse feed manager at Southern States Cooperative in Richmond, Virginia.

“Cheerios really played it up when the public wanted non-GMO oats,” says Adams. “It was great marketing for them, but the truth is oats were already GMO-free because they’re grown in a cooler, drier climate, so the weed control needed in warmer, wetter areas (accomplished with GMOs resistant to the herbicides used to kill surrounding weeds) just wasn’t needed.”

But few horses live by oats alone. These days equine feeds might contain alfalfa, beet pulp, corn, flaxseed, rice, soybeans, and/or wheat, of which there are GMO varieties, in addition to vitamins, minerals, and sweeteners such as molasses...

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Ask the Vet: Rest Stops on Long Trailer Rides - Full Article

How often do horses need food, water, and a chance to get off the trailer during long trips?
December 17, 2015

Throughout 2015, Dr. Lydia Gray will be answering your horse-health questions at Got a question for Dr. Gray? Send it to and use subject line "Ask the Vet."

Q: How often do you need to stop and offer your horse water during a long-distance trailer ride? And how often should horses be allowed off the trailer to stretch their legs?

A: As you suspect, trailering is not only stressful for horses but requires quite a bit of energy expenditure to maintain balance during stops, starts, turns, and even just going straight. Experts such as in the resource I consulted—Guidelines for Horse Transport by Road & Air, edited by Catherine A. Kohn—suggest riding in a trailer uses as many calories as walking and twice as many as resting! Since weight loss, dehydration, and fatigue are real concerns then, what advice do these same experts give regarding feeding, watering, and resting?...

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Equine Ulcers – You Really Need To Know More! - Full Article

Kerry J. Ridgway, DVM
Institute for Equine Therapeutic Options

Ulcers in the digestive track are more than just the latest “disease du jour.” Thus far, for a problem that has been recognized for about 20 years, we are still seeing and understanding only the tip of a metaphorical iceberg. More than two thirds of the iceberg is still not visible and much is still being discovered about this ulcer “iceberg.” We do know that there are, basically, only two kinds of horses – those who have ulcers and those who will have ulcers!

We should all recognize that gastric and intestinal ulcers are literally a slow or non-healing acid burn - a burn such as if hydrochloric acid was splashed on your face. The horse’s ulcers are a combination of this hydrochloric acid, as well as volatile fatty acids and bile acids. In horses, the acid burns holes into the lining of the stomach, small or large bowel. The acids may burn a crater deeply enough to cause bleeding or even burn through and penetrate the gut. When the acid burn craters do heal they can create scar tissue and strictures, especially in the small intestine that may lead to colic.

Therefore, the real purpose of this paper is three fold.

The first purpose is to provide a short synopsis regarding the dangers and sometimes-dire consequences of ulcers.
The second is to alert you to the signs and symptoms pointing to the presence of ulcers.
The third, and a very important purpose: Empower you to use a simple examination technique that can give a very strong presumptive diagnosis of GI ulcers. This technique can, in many cases, bypass the need for endoscopic examination if, for example, this procedure is not readily available or is not affordable. Confirmation by administration of appropriate medications is often used as a diagnostic tool and confirmation of a “presumptive” diagnosis.

Twelve Good Reasons to Understand GI Ulcers in Horses:

1. Ulcers increase the risk to the horse’s health, safety and welfare
2. Ulcers increase the risk to the rider’s safety and welfare
3. Ulcers cause loss of performance and competitive edge
4. Ulcers can upset or interrupt an entire competition schedule
5. Ulcers are very expensive to treat and to resolve – recurrence is common
6. Ulcers cause many “behavioral” problems
7. Ulcers set up many muscle, myofascial and chiropractic issues
8. Ulcers increase risk of injury and lameness as a result of number seven (Musculo-skeletal problems
9. Ulcers increase the risk of colic and diarrhea problems
10. Ulcer stress may deplete the immune system and make a horse more susceptible to disease
11. Ulcers often create “hard keepers” and cause weight loss. The result – an unthrifty horse. (However, some horses with excellent weight also have ulcers)
12. Toxins released from altered gut flora increase a risk of laminitis/founder

When horses develop painful and restricted movement associated with excess muscle tension, and poor ability to use the spine – resulting in pain - they cannot perform at the desired level. They are, thus, more prone to injury if pushed to jump higher, run faster, suddenly change direction, etc. In the case of cross country eventing, show jumping, racing, cutting, gymkhana, marathon competitive driving and other high performance demands, the risk of injury is greatly increased. A body in pain is always at risk and increases the likelihood of a fall. Needless to say a fall is always potentially dangerous for both horse and rider.

Next, it is appropriate to review the signs and symptoms associated with ulcers. Many of these the reader may already be familiar with. Others are less well known, but may serve even better to make one aware that a horse may be experiencing ulcer pain...

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Choosing an Ex-Racehorse - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
Nov 11, 2015

Before you take the plunge, learn what to be wary of as well as what to expect

When I bought my retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Dorado, I did just about everything wrong: I didn’t have a history on him, I didn’t know how old he was, and I didn’t have my veterinarian peform a prepurchase exam. But I’d fallen in love. Six years later, he’s 19 going on 5, and although he’s still in work, he requires regular (and expensive) veterinary care to help manage the lasting effects of injuries he sustained during his six years on the track.

The bottom line here? I got lucky! My horse has stayed sound with this maintenance, helped me become a better rider and horsewoman, and taught me just how important it is to carefully manage every aspect of your horse’s health care program. But there’s an easier way to get the ex-racehorse of your dreams. Here, we’ll get you started on the correct path to choosing an off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) or other retired racehorse, and our sources will share some important points to consider when evaluating prospects...

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What's Lurking in Your Forage? - Full Article

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
Nov 9, 2015

Find out what contaminants could hurt your horses

The hay delivery truck has just pulled out of the drive, leaving behind stacks of expensive hay bales that are a leafy, verdant green, void of obvious mold, and … mmm … they smell so fresh! But wait, how do you know this is the best possible hay for your horse? Could there be hidden horrors lurking within?

Equine nutritionists say the answer is a resounding yes. From toxins and molds to opossum droppings and animal carcasses, forage can contain a variety of harmful contaminants...

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Understanding How An Acute Injury Becomes Chronic Pain And How It Affects Your Horse - Full Article

Understanding how acute injury and pain can develop into chronic pain is an important factor in determining the source of pain and lameness in your horse.

Acute Injury Pain

acute-compensatory Acute pain is defined as a sudden onset of pain of limited duration usually due to injury. A playful kick or nip by a pasture mate will cause limited area muscle tenderness. A loss of footing resulting in a slip or fall might cause a muscle strain or sprain which results in localized soreness. A horse that has been laid off for a time and is ridden too aggressively will become body sore. Cuts, bruises, muscle strains and sprains are examples of acute injury and pain.

Chronic Muscle Pain

Chronic muscle pain, sometimes called cumulative trauma, or repetitive stress injury, is pain not caused by a recent injury...

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Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Frustrations of White Line Disease - Full Article

By Nancy S. Loving, DVM
Oct 21, 2015

Learn how to detect and manage this insidious hoof infection

An infection has been simmering in your horse’s foot. It gave little indication it was there until it had invaded extensively into the hoof’s deep tissues. Now it’s causing the hoof wall to crumble and your horse to be foot-sore. To add insult to injury, it’s proving incredibly frustrating and difficult to treat. Such is often the case with white line disease (WLD).

It All Begins With a Gap

The term white line disease is actually a misnomer; the white line (the soft, fibrous inner layer of the hoof wall) itself is not affected. Rather, the infection takes hold in the area just in front of the epidermal laminae (the sensitive tissues that attach to the hoof wall and help suspend the coffin bone within the hoof capsule)...

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Bandaging Fundamentals - Full Article

By Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
Oct 19, 2015

There are right and wrong ways to bandage horses' limbs, no matter the wrap's purpose.

At some point nearly every horse, from the fine-boned, flashy Arabian halter horse to the cowboy's sturdy, no-frills roping mount, will sport a wrap or bandage on one or more legs. Just because we see bandages around the barn frequently doesn't mean bandaging and wrapping are easy, and that bandages and wraps are interchangeable and always appropriate. Before you reach for the nearest roll of Vetrap or grab that splint boot out of your tack trunk, look at some of the basic principles behind bandaging or wrapping equine limbs.

Owners commonly apply bandages to shield recent wounds or tendon or -ligament injuries, to protect during shipping or performance, and to prevent fluid accumulation in the limb ("stocking up") during stall rest. Reid Hanson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, professor of equine surgery and lameness at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, in Alabama, adds topical dressing application, immobilization, and support to this list. However, bandaging and wrapping, while useful, are not wholly benign. Improper application and/or use of an inappropriate bandaging material can do more harm than leaving the leg unwrapped...

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The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Your Horse - Full Article

By Taryn Yates, DVM
Oct 20, 2015

Equine chiropractic care is a rapidly emerging field among veterinarians due to increasing demand from horse owners for alternative therapies. It is an art of healing that focuses primarily on restoring the spinal column’s normal movement and function to promote healthy neurologic activity, which in turn supports effective musculoskeletal function and overall health. Chiropractic care centers on detecting abnormal motion of the individual vertebra and its effects on the surrounding tissues. Reduced mobility between two vertebral bodies can irritate the nerves exiting the spinal cord, leading to decreased nerve supply to the tissues. This altered nerve function causes problems such as pain, abnormal posture, uncoordinated movement, overloading of leg joints, and muscle changes...

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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Stop the Growth and Development of the Equine Hoof Early in Life: The Best Way to Screw Up Your Well Bred Superstar Blog - Full Article

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 by Garrett Ford

RB Rich didn't win the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (the richest race in the history of Arabian racing), but a bigger battle was won at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on November 8th, 2015. Rich's invitation to race on the biggest stage in Arabian racing and the chance at the 1.2 million euro purse was the highlight of his young career and also a huge milestone for the EasyShoe Compete.

RB Rich raced the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons in a glue-on racing shoe that was once prohibited by our local track in Colorado. It's not unusual for a young horse to use the same type of hoof protection each year but what is unusual is for a young horse to start his career in a flexible form of hoof protection. RB Rich is the first horse that we are aware of to start his race career in the flexible glue-on EasyShoe Compete that not only conforms to track traction rules, but allows the hoof and internal structures of the hoof to develop and strengthen after application. Most young track horses are shod in a non flexible form of hoof protection early in life which in turn slows and hampers some of the critical development of the hoof.

Many readers are nodding their heads with agreement at this point while many others are calling me a tree hugger. I ask all the non-believers to think about what the athletic fate of their young daughters and sons would be if their feet were cast to a rigid 2x4 board from ages four to eight. The casted young foot was not allowed to flex when it hit the ground and the arch never developed, expansion was limited and the heel never developed to support the load of the body, feeling was lost and proprioception compromised. We would never do it to our children but the majority of the equestrian industry does it to their most promising young prospects. Many equine industries rush to get steel and aluminum shoes on the two and three year old superstars so training can begin, races can be won and trophies can be collected...

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Friday, December 04, 2015

Read Before Riding: Horses Have Consciousness - Ful Article

By Simon Worrall, National Geographic

Horses have been domesticated for 5,000 years, but we’re still learning about how they think.

Horses were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago and have been deeply connected to humans ever since. In The Horse: The Epic History Of Our Noble Companion, Wendy Williams harnesses a lifetime in the saddle to explore our ancient relationship with the horse, from the cave paintings of Chauvet to the steppes of Eurasia, and the dude ranches of the American West to a laboratory in Texas where behavioural scientists are plumbing the depths of equine consciousness.

Talking from her home on Cape Cod, she explains why we are having to rethink our preconceptions about animal consciousness; how a mathematical horse fooled humans; and why missing that second cup of coffee to go and muck out the barn can bring rich rewards...

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Ulcers in Horses: Digestive Supplements and Acid Rebound - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · September 8, 2015

Diagnosing gastric ulcers in horses and clearing them with omeprazole takes commitment, but the benefits of gastrointestinal well-being outweigh any outlay of time, money, or inconvenience. As horse owners wrap up an ulcer-healing protocol, they should be aware of one side effect of omeprazole therapy, a condition known as acid rebound.

Reported in both humans and horses, acid rebound occurs after treatment with proton-pump inhibitor drugs such as omeprazole. In the days after treatment, a surge in acid production may happen, causing a significant drop in gastric pH and leaving the horse vulnerable to formation of new ulcers and digestive discomfort.

Nutritionists and veterinarians often recommend feeding a digestive supplement in combination with anti-ulcer medications and continuing supplementation as long as the risk of ulcers persists...

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Thursday, December 03, 2015

2018 FEI World Equestrian Games logo revealed - Full Article

By Editorial

Organizers of the next World Equestrian Games in Bromont, Canada, have unveiled the Games logo, as officials marked the 1000-day milestone before the event.

The president of the board of directors of the organizing committee for the 2018 Games, Fran├žois Duffar, released the new logo, which is based on a giant letter B to emphasize the host city and the colour red, representing the Canadian flag.

In a continuation of the branding developed for the 2014 Games in Normandy, the logo includes a rider’s head merging with the shape of a horse to reflect the close, harmonious relationship between the rider and their mount...

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Australia: TBQA Slams Push for Mandatory Hendra Vaccine - Full Article

Breednet - Media Release - Thursday, 3 December 2015
The controversial issue of making Hendra Virus vaccination mandatory in the racing industry is once again the spotlight.

Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland President, Basil Nolan has slammed a symposium convened by Racing Queensland yesterday to discuss the topic.

Mr Nolan said of the fifty or so people who were invited to the meeting, most were vets, who are obviously in favour of compulsory vaccination, whereas there were a limited number of opponents.

Therefore, from the outset the vast majority of those in attendance were going to be in favour of compulsory vaccinations for racehorses, while those opposed had so few representatives they couldn't be given a fair hearing...

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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Chomping at the bit: Have we had it wrong all along? - Full Article | 1 December 2015

Marauding horsemen from the East once dominated vast swathes of the known world. Could some of them, notably the nomadic Bedouins, have grasped a crucial element of horsemanship that has since been largely lost? A bridle with its roots in antiquity is providing some tantalising insights.

Veterinarian Robert Cook can still recall his week working in Kuwait nearly 30 years ago.

Cook travelled to the region in 1986 to deliver a series of lectures on horses and his grateful sponsors had organized a drive deep into the desert by way of thanks.

He was introduced to a small group of tribesmen who arrived with one horse. The animal was head-shy and they asked Cook through an interpreter if he would examine its mouth...

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Riding in the Rain - Full Article

Chase Endurance | November 30, 2015

“Do you ride in the rain?” I asked one of my new friends from the Fraser Valley Endurance Riding Green Beans. “Of course,” he replied “we live on the West Coast.” With a sense of optimism I replied “Let’s go for a mountain training ride on Saturday.”

The Main Corral horse trailer parking lot is always packed on an early Saturday morning, full of those dedicated ultra marathon trail runner vehicles, which leaves little room for my big rig. However, as I started parking extremely close to a little blue hybrid, the runners started trickling in from the trails to the parking lot and readily made space for me. To my surprise, Christine, from my endurance riders group, appeared – without a horse. I’ve heard stories of her running the flagged courses before our endurance horses set off on their 50-mile treks. No wonder she’s such a strong athlete and has been placing in the top 10 quite regularly. I think I will take a page out of her book and start some trail running of my own (another item on my list of athletic endeavours to fit in somewhere on my already jam-packed schedule).

Guido pulled up and found a spot to park his rig. He had a tough little sorrel Tennessee Walker mare that was picked up at an auction. Whisper has turned out to be quite the endurance competitor by completing several 50-milers in her first year (Guido’s first year too). You can tell by watching the two of them together that they have a strong bond and will have many wonderful adventures in this sport...

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