Horse Health

Health news, veterinary advice, and educational tools to keep your horse healthy provided by The Horse

The Horse's Fetlock Joint: Injury, Disease, and Repair

"The fetlock joint is, arguably, the joint that makes a horse a horse," said Larry Bramlage, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, a partner at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., during the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. "Its unique anatomy and physiology allow the high-...

ASPCA Provides Thoroughbred Retirement Grants

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has unveiled a new initiative that will aid in the retirement of Thoroughbred racehorses. Six equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country were selected to take up the challenge of saving more Thoroughbreds than ever before.

Thoroughbred Trainer Pleads Guilty to Abuse Charges

Thoroughbred trainer Chad Moore will serve 180 days in jail and is barred from owning or training animals for five years after pleading guilty to six counts of animal abandonment under an agreement entered in Clermont County Municipal Court on Tuesday.

Strangles a Topic of Veterinary Discussion

Strangles, caused by the bacterium Streptococcus subspecies equi (often referred to as S. equi) is a highly contagious disease of horses worldwide. Recent discussion at the AAEP Convention confirms that strangles remains an important clinical problem that can be frustrating to both horse owners and veterinarians.

Racehorse Training Injuries Vary by Stable in New Study

Which kind of injury is most common to a racehorse? That all depends on who trains it and at which track, according to a group of British researchers. Their recent survey of three major Thoroughbred stables in the United Kingdom showed that the patterns of training-related injuries vary significantly between training centers and trainers.

Indistinct Gait Deficits: Musculoskeletal and Neurologic Causes

Strategies to identify specific problems of a horse with indistinct or unusual gait deficits, particularly if it's unclear whether they're related to the musculoskeletal system, neurologic deficits, or behavior, were discussed at the 2009 Association of Equine Practitioner's convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. Bradford Bentz, VMD, dis...

Normal Steroid Levels in Racehorses

Steroid usage in racehorses has received a good deal of attention in the media, perhaps reaching a peak during the 2009 Triple Crown season when Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on the legally administered steroid stanozolol, then flopped in the Belmont without it. While no one could ever prove the steroid helped the horse win or that his lo...

EPM Diagnosis and Treatment Recommendations

Have you ever wished you could pull all the scientific recommendations on equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) diagnosis and treatment together in one place? Done! At the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev., one practitioner summarized the available literature on EPM diagnosis and treatment fo...

Furosemide Study Discussed at AAEP Convention

Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), or bleeding into the airways, is an "extremely prevalent condition associated with high-intensity exercise in horses," according to Paul S. Morley, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor of clinical sciences at Colorado State University. At the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, ...

Horse Lysine Requirements Focus of Study

Lysine is one of the 20 amino acids essential to horses, but it often is the most deficient in their diets due to its inadequate levels in commonly-fed cereal grains. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which form muscle, enzymes, and hormones throughout the body. Horses can only use them if all essential amino acids are present at sufficient ...

Breeding the Problem Mare AAEP Discussion

Anytime veterinarians talk about breeding the problem mare, it always develops into a lively, animated discussion. The Table Topic on Breeding the Problem Mare was no different at the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention in early December.

Racing Quarter Horses and Horseshoe Toe Grabs

You've probably heard the old adage from mule fanciers: "Mules is just different." Well, it seems that the same principle holds among racehorses; racing Quarter Horses, it seems, are just different. From racing Thoroughbreds, that is. Researchers presented results from their study of racing Quarter Horse injuries and horseshoe toe grabs at t...

Equine Parasites: 6 Tips on Learning to Live With Worms

If you read the title of this article and said, "WHAT?!?" don't worry--you're not alone! No horse owner wants to think of even a single worm burrowing in their horse's innards. But a goal of zero tolerance for worms is no longer a realistic one; increasing resistance of worms (particularly small strongyles) to common deworming drugs ...

Horses and Veterinarians: How to Get Along

"Veterinarians work under a great handicap when handling horses--almost everything the veterinarian does to a horse is either frightening or painful," began Robert Miller, DVM. However, that doesn't mean there's no way for a veterinarian to work comfortably with a horse, he says. With a bit of patience, time, and understanding of the hor...

Acepromazine for Tranquilizing Male Horses: Pros and Cons

Acepromazine, often called simply Ace, is commonly used to tranquilize horses for veterinary procedures. However, its use in male horses can cause penile prolapse, or an inability to retract the penis back into the sheath. This effect is desired in some instances, such as when acepromazine helps the horse "let down" for sheath cleaning.

Equine Influenza Vaccine Protocols: Boosters are Best

"Equine influenza virus remains the leading cause of viral respiratory disease in the horse," noted Justin D. McCormick, MS, DVM, of Steinbeck Country Equine Clinic in Salinas, Calif., during the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Las Vegas, Nev. "Illness can cause serious setbacks in training, w...

Equine Reproduction Advances Discussed at AAEP

What was the hottest news in equine veterinary medicine in 2009? During the popular Kester News Hour session at the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention, three top veterinarians (who focus on equine reproduction, internal medicine, and lameness/surgery) summarized the top news topics and the most significant research repor...

Colic: In-Depth Discussion by Vets at AAEP

Almost all horses with colic can be saved if the problem is recognized quickly and treatment is instituted rapidly, said Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of North Carolina State University, during the "In-Depth: Colic" portion of the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention's scientific program. The conven...

Hyaluronic Acid and Steroids: Effects on Equine Cartilage Cells

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a major cause of wastage in the equine industry, especially considering that an estimated 81% of the 9.3 million horses in America are involved in equitation and performance. A mainstay treatment for OA is the use of intra-articular (IA) injection of hyaluronic acid and corticosteroids. The 2009 American Association of Equine Practi...

Equine Multinodular Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pneumonia (lung inflammation) in horses can be quite serious, particularly the recently described form termed equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis. At the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev., one veterinarian discussed his experiences with the diagnosis and treatment of five cases of the di...

Arthrodesis of the Hock Joint

Osteoarthritis of the distal (lower) hock joints (bone spavin) is a common performance problem in sport horses. At the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev., Chris Bell, DVM, discussed fusion of the tarsometarsal (TMT) joint by injection with ethyl alcohol.

Hay Quality (Book Excerpt)

Much of the assessment of the quality of your hay can be done the old-fashioned way: Break open a bale and scratch n' sniff! Good quality hay should be green rather than yellow or brown. (Keep in mind that some hays, particularly some varieties of clover, can cure to quite a dark color, and that this is not necessarily an indicator of mold growth.) It...

Reducing Your Horse's Exposure to Dust

Researchers have shown that significant amounts of mucus in a racehorse's airway can negatively affect his performance, and they've theorized that dust in the horse's environment contributes to that mucus. Therefore, the logical next step is to reduce dust in a horse's environment in order to optimize his respiratory health. But how do you...

Deworming Drug Efficacy in European Horses

Numerous research papers and presentations over the last several years have noted that internal parasites in horses are growing more resistant to the deworming drugs (anthelmintics) we have available. A study of European horses presented at the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev., provided th...

TradeZone: AAEP 2009 - Lameness Treatments

TradeZone: AAEP 2009 - Lameness Treatments

If there's one thing Thoroughbred owners encounter at some point, it's a lameness scenario. Something's not right with your horse's gait, and you and your veterinarian tirelessly work to figure out the cause of the lameness. Read More

Accelerated Vaccination Combats Horse Influenza Outbreaks

Equine influenza (the "flu") used to be considered a mere annoyance by many, but major outbreaks such as H1N1/swine flu in humans and the Australian equine influenza outbreak of 2007 have changed our thinking. These days, when a flu outbreak is reported, masks, hand sanitizers, and shots run out faster than bread and milk before a winter storm.

Voluntary CEM Surveillance Testing Announced

Stallion owners are asked to participate in a voluntary surveillance test effort for contagious equine metritis (CEM) in order to help animal health authorities collect accurate information on the presence (or absence) of the disease in the United States. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's veterinary services program has set a...

Equine Carpal Spavin Treatment

Carpal spavin is a degenerative form of osteoarthritis located at the junction of the medial splint bone (the inside part) and the second carpal (knee) joint. Not only does this result in crippling lameness, but quality of life issues often lead to euthanasia of affected horses. At the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention, h...

Different West Nile Virus Genetic Lineage Evolving?

It's a variant of Murphy's Law: Anytime you think you have a handle on something, the unexpected happens and you're off balance again. The equine health world might be in this boat now concerning West Nile virus infection in horses. With several different types of vaccines available and in widespread use in the United States over the last seve...

Current Joint Therapies in Equine Veterinary Practice

The results of a veterinarian survey on joint therapies were summarized by Dora Ferris, DVM, a staff veterinarian in Colorado State University's Orthopaedic Research Center, at the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. In a 2009 survey of veterinarians, of 831 respondents, 80% practice ex...

Treating Horses with Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells (AAEP 2009)

Stem cell therapy has been used for soft tissue injuries, including stifle meniscal lesions following surgical debridement, and for treating tendon injuries. Bone marrow-derived stem cells are reported to achieve improved bone and cartilage effects as compared to fat-derived stem cells. It takes two to three weeks from the time marrow cells are collected ...

Understanding Forages (Book Excerpt)

Hay, the most common type of forage fed to horses, averages 28% to 38% crude fiber and has a DE level of about 1.95 to 2.5 Mcal per kg. (Cereal grains, by contrast, contain between 2% and 12% crude fiber and have a much higher DE, averaging 3.3% to 3.7% Mcal/kg.) Hay is high in calcium and low in phosphorus--and happily, grains are generally high in phosp...

Horse Hoof Trimming Guidelines (AAEP 2009)

One of the biggest troubles with discussing horse hoof trimming and balance is that when it comes to hoof balance, there isn't a set definition. This makes it challenging for everyone to achieve a balanced foot. At the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev., one practitioner discussed guidelines ...

EquiRab Rabies Vaccine Effective in Study (AAEP 2009)

Rabies is one of those diseases you want to avoid at all costs--it's rapidly progressive, fatal, and can be transmitted from your horse (or any other infected animal) to you. While vaccines are available for horses, no data was published on their efficacy in the literature until December 2009.

Severe Laminitis in Horses: Modified Surgical Treatment (AAEP 2009)

When a horse has a severe case of laminitis with marked instability of the coffin bone, cutting the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) is a treatment that veterinarians often recommend. This surgical procedure is commonly done halfway down the back of the cannon with the horse standing and sedated, but researchers recently described a modified technique th...

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