Many veterinarians agree that 90% of equine lamenesses originate in the foot. But if it’s not in the foot, there are many other areas where lameness can hide. One area practitioners should examine if a horse is hind-limb lame is where the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) attaches to the hock, suggests Sue Dyson, MA, Vet MB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, ...
Older horses can be at risk of sustaining an uncommon injury: acute rupture of the proximal (upper) superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) where the cannon bone meets the carpus (knee). This is because as horses age, the SDFT stiffens and becomes less elastic, decreasing its resistance to cyclic loading to the point that it can potentially tear.
Water treadmill workouts are gaining in popularity, especially for rehabilitating injuries. Compared with swimming pool exercises, water treadmill therapy allows the horse to maintain correct posture and gives a handler the ability to control the speed, incline, water height, and resistance of the workout.
Lameness evaluations can be extremely subjective. When examining a horse with a mild lameness, in particular, veterinarians often don’t agree on a diagnosis—some are prone to seeing a more sound horse, others a more lame one. To overcome such disparities, practitioners have turned to objective methods such as force plates and inertial sensor s...
Any rider that's ever hit the ground knows that horseback riding can be unforgiving. But imagine your mount, running just feet in front of another horse, falling out from underneath you at upwards of 30 miles per hour. That's the reality jockeys face on a daily basis.
Tradition in many breeds holds that all horses have the same birthday: January 1. But when it comes to feeding young horses, it might be better to do so according to each horse's individual birth date, a Japanese research team recently concluded.
A simple combination of psyllium and magnesium sulfate appears to be both safe and effective for helping horses evacuate sand from their colons, an international group of researchers recently reported.
As one calendar year draws to a close and another begins, many people resolve to take steps to improve their lives. And while the wisdom of some resolutions remains questionable—such as paying off your credit card in full every month … with another credit card—others likely do have a positive impact on peoples' lives.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive deterioration of joint health with no known cure. Not only does OA negatively affect athleticism and quality of life but it is also a major cause of economic loss throughout the equine industry.
While equine surgeons enjoy sharing the mantra “if in doubt, cut it out,” researchers recently reported that when it comes to some osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) lesions, letting nature run its course might be the better option.
When your horse starts displaying signs of colic—decreased manure production, a lack of appetite, or pain—your first call should be to your veterinarian. While some mild colics can pass without much trouble, other types must be diagnosed and treated quickly—medically or surgically—to improve the horse's likelihood of survival. ...
A series of unspecified complaints prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to send warning letters to several firms the agency said were marketing equine ulcer products without its approval.
Researchers have determined that epistaxis—the most severe form of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) in which blood runs from the horse’s nostrils—has a genetic basis. And, according to a group from Australia, a combination of genes as well as exterior influences can lead to epistaxis.
It's not uncommon for an owner of a particularly keen horse to affectionately say he has a “big heart.” But if that animal is a sport horse that completes intense workouts, he might, quite literally, have a huge heart.
When it comes to catastrophic injuries in racehorses, most people immediately think of severe limb fractures. But these athletes sometimes suffer life-threatening fractures beyond the limbs. Lumbar vertebral fractures, for instance, can occur in the loin area near where the rear of the saddle sits.
From trips across the state to flights around the world, today's horses are regular globetrotters. And while most horses arrive at their destinations happy and healthy, some will arrive with some unwelcome baggage: a fever and possibly even clinical disease.
Carbohydrates, including starches, sugars, and fiber, provide horses with the energy they need to meet their daily requirements. But what type of carbs should you be feeding? High-starch diets, for instance, can increase the risk of metabolic disease, while high-fiber diets might better support horses' nutritional health.
While there's no definitive cure for recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, commonly known as heaves), veterinarians are well-versed in managing the condition. Many will add a corticosteroid—either systemic or inhaled—to an affected horse's therapeutic regimen, but which type is the better choice?
If your horse tends to colic, it’s probably best to get him out in the field, researchers say. That’s even more important if he has stereotypies like cribbing, windsucking, or weaving.
If you’ve ever had to deal with equine gastric ulcers, you—and your wallet—will likely be happy that researchers have learned that a much lower dose of one omeprazole formulation could be just as effective in treating the condition as the standard dose.
When a horse suffers a musculoskeletal injury, the following events typically include a diagnosis, treatment, and return to soundness. To make a full athletic recovery, however, affected horses might benefit from specific forms of rehabilitation that restore function to the back's deep stabilizing muscles.
When it comes to diagnosing a horse's lameness, the veterinarian's eyes are no longer the ultimate diagnostic machine. In fact, in one study (Keegan 2010) only 52% of participating veterinarians agreed on which of a horse's limbs was lame while assessing him visually.
Equine locomotion seems like a sophisticated thing. All those delicate bones, joints, tendons, and muscles must move in tandem to propel the horse's large body forward at varying speeds.
It started in a diarrheic foal in North Carolina in 1999. A few years later, researchers found it in Japan. Today, scientists have discovered the virus in Europe. And what’s more, they’ve found it in horses' respiratory fluid, whereas before, it’s only been isolated in feces.
Horses can suffer musculoskeletal pain and injuries anywhere along the axial skeleton that comprises the skull, vertebral column, sternum, and ribs. Bringing these horses back to form post-injury can be difficult and time-consuming, but possible thanks to both time-tested mobilization exercises and cutting-edge physical therapy techniques.
Your horse just had a fabulous workout, got really sweaty, and used up a lot of energy. Now what does he want you to do?
Scientists from the University of Liverpool and Queen Mary University of London, both in England, have examined the mechanisms that cause tendon aging in horses, which could open up the possibility of better treatment for both horses and humans in the future.
With any medication comes a risk of side effects. For instance, long-term phenylbutazone administration to treat a musculoskeletal issue can result in gastrointestinal problems; pergolide to treat Cushing's disease can cause a decreased appetite; and vaccine administration to protect against disease can cause injection site swelling and muscle sorenes...
Horse owners might dismiss mild coughing or nasal discharge in their horses, but could these two inflammatory airway disease (IAD) signs be linked to a more serious condition? Recent research results from the University of Berne's Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine indicate that, yes, these signs could be early indicators of recurrent airway obstructi...
The next time your equine athlete is on stall rest, don't ask why his barnmates seem so much sounder than him unless you really want to hear the answer: Researchers recently determined that several factors—from the animal's history to your own training and management techniques—appear to make horses more or less likely to miss training...
Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, also called heaves) appears to have a genetic basis, but that genetic basis isn’t the same in all horses, Swiss researchers say. While the clinical signs can be the same, the disease's underlying genetic mechanisms can vary from one horse family to another.
If your broodmare has a “bun in the oven,” that bun might benefit from some live yeast, French researchers say. No, the yeast isn’t meant to make the bun rise, but it could give your foal's digestive system a better start in life.
The idea for the nasal strip worn by Triple Crown contender California Chrome—patterned after a human version that deters snoring—occurred to equine veterinarian Ed Blach, DVM, MS, MBA, in the middle of the night.
Bleeding from the nostrils—technically termed epistaxis—has long been recognized as a problem affecting racehorses during or after intense exercise. The underlying cause of the condition, however, remains elusive.
If only horses could speak up and let us know when something hurts, right? Guess what: They can.
With six bones articulating in close range and multiple tendons and ligaments controlling extension and flexion, the hock, or the horse equivalent of the human ankle, has many moving and shock-absorbing parts. Add to those the animal’s weight and the fact the joint is almost always in flexion, and you’ve got a recipe for a perplexing number of...
When a racehorse breaks down on the track, you're not only faced with the devastating loss of a horse, but also economic loss and, potentially, an injured jockey. One of the most common sites of catastrophic injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses is the fetlock and its surrounding structures.
With more horses living to a ripe old age than in the past, veterinarians have become incredibly well-versed in managing senior equids. But there are still some points that researchers are working to understand. For instance, exactly what impact does aging have on the immune system?
The senior horse population is, and has been, on the rise. But with increasing age comes the potential for health problems. So what are the best ways to ensure senior horses stay healthy all through their golden years?
Bone was once considered an inert material with its structure defined by genetics. But it turns out there’s a lot more at work, explained Larry Bramlage, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS: “Selective breeding dictates the initial skeleton, but adaptive training in response to exercise modifies it further.” He and other racehorse surgeons are striving ...
Since it was first identified in 2007, deadly equine multinodular pulmonary fibrosis (EMPF) has been reported in numerous horses across North America and Europe. While still considered a rare disease, EMPF appears to be related to a very common one—equine herpesvirus (EHV)—and early treatment appears to be the main hope for survival.
A strong immune system is crucial to a horse's overall health status, as a weakened immune system can leave the animal at increased disease risk. And although they're uncommon in horses, immunodeficiencies can have serious consequences for affected animals.
Some veterinarians hypothesize that overactive immune responses in mares can cause early pregnancy loss, and new research results show that a reduction in a certain kind of immune system cell could be a red flag for diagnosing equine miscarriage.
Most horse owners appreciate the sight of a well-muscled horse, along with the time and effort riders or trainers must commit to helping that animal fill out. But chances are, fewer owners consider the factors within a horse's body that allow him to build—or lose—muscle mass.
All horses'—from young to old, high-performance to sedentary, rescued to syndicated, and everywhere in between—gastrointestinal (GI) tracts function in the same manner. And owners of all types of horses should take the same steps to help keep their animals' GI systems functioning optimally.
Equine researchers have evaluated common horse feeds' digestibility (the percentage of the digestion and absorption of various nutrients present in a feed source) primarily in mature horses, but little is known about the digestive capacity of young, growing horses.
Many reproductive losses occur in the very early stages of pregnancy, but veterinarians emphasize that losses late in gestation can happen as well. A Louisiana State University (LSU) reproduction specialist recently described how practitioners can monitor pregnant mares to minimize such losses, particularly those mares difficult to get in foal in the firs...
Lameness caused by foot problems is common in the horse, and it can significantly impact how well a horse can perform. Hoof bruising, heel soreness, hoof cracks all create discomfort that alter a horse’s gait and prevent him from giving his utmost to an athletic task. Nearly all equine foot diseases have their root in biomechanics, noted a Universit...
Get out your protractors: New research shows that the various angles of the outer and inner hoof are directly linked to various kinds of lameness, and knowing the angles could help determine which kind of lameness a horse has or is likely to get.
Each year equine veterinarians attending the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention flock by the thousands to one of the meeting's headline events: the Kester News Hour. Stephen Reed, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., presented a summary of many recent practical and applicable equine medi...
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