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Client Education/Equine Directory Information
Below is some client education information for everyone.
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Preventative & Medical
Another thing that has been related to ulcer formation is a horse’s diet. A recent study was performed at Texas A&M to determine if there was a difference in gastric ulcers in horses fed alfalfa hay versus horses fed Bermuda grass hay. The study involved 24 quarter horse yearlings that were fed alfalfa hay and a grain concentrate for 28 days and later were fed coastal Bermuda and the same grain concentrate for another 28 days. Horses were housed in dry lots and were exercised 3 days per week. Results indicated that horses fed alfalfa hay had significantly less stomach ulcers than horses fed coastal hay. So if you have a horse that has had problems with stomach ulcers, or a performance horse in whom you want to prevent ulcers, consider feeding alfalfa hay instead of a grass hay like coastal or Bermuda.
Other causes of decreased stomach pH (leading to gastric ulcers) include intermittent feeding, stall confinement, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is healthier for a horse to graze than to stand in a stall; for stalled horses, continuous feeding of hay is the best way to prevent the decrease of gastric pH. NSAIDs can decrease the protection of the stomach, which is why you should only give phenylbutazone (bute) or banamine at the dosage and for the length of time prescribed by your veterinarian.
Common symptoms of stomach ulcers include intermittent colic, decreased appetite, poor performance, and stretching out to urinate. Diagnosis of ulcers requires an endoscope to be placed in the stomach to visualize the ulcers, and there is a new blood test that is apparently accurate. Although there are numerous products available in the horse magazines claiming to treat and prevent stomach ulcers, only Gastrogard is actually FDA-approved for this purpose and can be used once daily for the condition.
You should not use any mediation in the horse’s eye until it has been examined by a veterinarian. Many ophthalmic medications contain cortisone, a corticosteroid that can make the horse’s eye susceptible to infection, especially a fungal infection. Also, the incorrect use of antibiotics in a horse’s eye can increase the risk of fungal infections, which are common in horses and can lead to loss of the eye.
Scrapings and cultures of the corneal ulcer are required to make a diagnosis of corneal fungal infection. Any infection of the equine cornea is potentially serious and usually requires treatment every 4 to 6 hours, which can be a difficult problem. The eye must be dilated to prevent internal damage and relieve pain. Treatment with topical antifungals and antibiotics is required until the ulcer is healed. A tube system may need to be inserted in the eye to allow frequent treatment, since many horses greatly object to treatment. If a horse’s corneal ulcer does not heal within a week, it should be considered infected and different treatment will likely be required.
Lameness & Sports Medicine
An example is the pre-purchase examination that was done on a horse for which the client was considering for his daughter to learn to ride. Although the horse was selling for only $500, the pre-purchase examination revealed that the horse had caudal heel pain and possible navicular problems. If the client had purchased this horse, he would have spent much more money in corrective shoeing and treatment than he would have by paying more money for a different horse. Another example is a horse with equine metabolic syndrome that had previously foundered. Although the horse was not lame at the time of the examination, laminitis (founder) is a permanent condition that will be a problem for the rest of the horse’s life, and without a pre-purchase examination, most buyers cannot tell the horse is affected.
A pre-purchase exam can be simple or complex, and depending on the cost of the horse, does not have to be very expensive. If the intended use of the horse is for high-level performance, then hoof and leg x-rays as well as other tests may be indicated. However, a regular physical and lameness exam by a veterinarian is well worth the money prior to the purchase of a horse. If you are considering purchasing a horse, after you have ensured the horse’s suitability for you and before you write the check, call your vet for a professional, non-biased opinion.
4.5 months: booster dose WNV; second dose tetanus (non-vaccinated mare); second dose EEE/WEE
5 months: first dose rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4); first dose Potomac horse fever (PHF)
6 months: third dose WNV (because endemic area); first dose tetanus (if mare is vaccinated); third dose EEE/WEE (because endemic area); first dose influenza inactivated injectable (if mare is non-vaccinated); second dose rhinopneumonitis; first dose Strangles intranasal (with second dose Strangles three weeks after the first); first dose rabies (if mare is vaccinated); first dose equine viral arteritis (EVA) in intact colts intended for breeding
7 months: third dose rhinopneumonitis; second dose tetanus (if mare is non-vaccinated); second dose influenza inativated injectable (if mare is non-vaccinated); second dose rabies (if mare is vaccinated); second dose PHF
8 months: third dose tetanus (if mare is non-vaccinated); third dose influenza inactivated injectable (if mare is non-vaccinated)
9 months: first dose influenza inactivated injectable (if mare is vaccinated)
10 months: second dose influenza inativated injectable (if mare is vaccinated)
11 months: third dose influenza inactivated injectable (if mare is vaccinated); first dose influenza intranasal modified live virus (if mare is vaccinated)
12 months: second dose rabies (if mare is non-vaccinated); third dose rabies (if mare is vaccinated)
Because of these outbreaks, many stables and racetracks have imposed vaccination requirements for all horses. However, in most circumstances these vaccination requirements for adult horses may not be such a good idea. One reason is that most adult horses have been exposed to the herpes virus already and are carriers. Also, the neurological disease, although severe, is fairly rare when you look at the entire population of horses. The nervous system form of the disease has also been observed in horses that have been vaccinated routinely every 3 to 4 months and the current vaccines do not claim to prevent the nervous form. In fact, vaccination is believed by some to even increase the chances of the nervous system disease occurring.
EHV 1 can also cause abortion in pregnant mares and it is recommended to vaccinate pregnant mares with Pneumabort-K (Fort Dodge) or Prodigy (Intervet) for abortion prevention. These two vaccines, as well as Calvenza EHV (BI) and a modified live vaccine called Rhinomune (Pfizer) are also recommended for use in other horses that have not been exposed to the disease. It is not recommended to vaccinate exposed horses. Although vaccination with these products will not prevent the nervous system form of EHV 1, it may prevent shedding of the virus and help to protect other horses.
The United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, England and Ireland will not allow horses that are positive for piroplasmosis on the blood test to enter their countries, but not all the tests are 100% accurate. Although there is a drug that treats infected horses, it is rare to completely clear the infection. Even though recovered horses are clinically normal, they are able to transmit the disease to other horses either through ticks or needles. This is just one reason to control ticks on your horses and to always use a new, sterile needle when giving an injection.
- Examination of external genitalia (visual appearance and conformation)
- Vaginal speculum examination
- Examination of all portions of the reproductive system: vulva, vagina, uterine cervix, uterine body and horns, and ovaries. This may include rectal palpation, per rectum ultrasound, uterine swab for microscopy and culture, uterine brushing for cytology, and hormonal analyses (if abnormalities or history suggest a need for this).
The data collected from these examinations will be evaluated to determine the apparent health of the reproductive system, and a prognosis for expected future reproductive performance will be given.
My mare has been examined and determined to be a suitable candidate for breeding. What does breeding my mare entail?
Following the insemination, a rectal ultrasound should be perfomed on day 14-16 (to determine whether the mare conceived and to ensure that there isn’t a twin pregnancy), day 28 (to determine that the embryo is still viable and to evaluate the heart rate), and day 60 (to determine that the embryo is still viable). Rectal examinations may also be performed at 5 months, and then again if indicated.
If you choose to breed your mare with frozen semen, more frequent rectal examinations/ultrasounds must be performed, and the breeding must be followed by the uterus being flushed. Most veterinarians prefer to breed mares with frozen semen at their facilities. The cost is usually much higher than in breeding with fresh chilled semen.