Tag Archives: horse vets in North East

Test That Crest

Until October of this year Boehringer in conjunction with Liphook are offering free blood tests for equine Cushing’s desease. Because of this we thought it would be a good idea to provide some information on this condition!

Equine Cushing’s typically affects older horses and ponies, usually over the age of 15 or so but there are examples of individuals as young as 8 suffering from the disease. Animals present with a curly, shaggy coat and commonly have excessive fat pads on their rumps, crests and above their eyes.

Overweight and Cresty neck

Overweight and Cresty neck

Despite these, animals can look thin as they also lose muscle and so may have a poor topline or poor muscle mass in general. Other signs include increased thirst and urination, having poor wound healing and suffering from recurrent foot abscesses.

Slow shedding coat and quite thin

Slow shedding coat and quite thin

One of the most concerning things about Equine Cushing’s (and other endocrine diseases such as EMS) is that it predisposes horses and ponies to developing laminitis, which can have devastating consequences if not treated promptly.

The blood test looks for a hormone called ACTH, which is usually elevated in cases of Cushing’s. This hormone encourages the production of steroids within the body, which account for the clinical signs seen. The treatment of Cushing’s aims to decrease the production of ACTH.

If your horse or pony shows any of the signs above then we recommend they have a health check and blood sample to determine the underlying cause.

Please note that charges for taking of the blood sample, postage and any necessary health checks and visit fees will still apply. please ring the Simply Horses Vet Clinic to make an appointment or with any queries

A Foal is a fragile thing

Although the weather feels like it is still winter, we are actually in the middle of the foaling season! The past couple of weeks we have seen many happy, healthy foals for mare and foal checks, the best part of this job! However, we have also seen some foals with health problems, some very serious. It’s important to remember a foal is programmed not to show any signs of illness or weakness, so it doesn’t attract the attention of predators.
This makes it difficult to spot signs that your foal is ill. Important signs to look out for are;

1) Changes in behavior of the foal

2) Not getting up when stimulated

3) Not drinking regularly

4) Showing signs of colic

5) Not following the mare around

you can look at the mare’s udder to see if the foal has been drinking recently. In the very early stages of a foals life it is vital to recognize that the foal is ill as soon as possible, as they are born without any energy reserves and will deteriorate very very quickly if they stop drinking from the mare.

mare and foal

Not a happy foal

I was called out by a concerned recently, the foal had been suckling and her behavior had been normal at first, but a couple of hours after the birth the foal started to lose interest in the mare and was very lethargic. This alert owner had spotted the difference in the foals behavior and called us out for an examination. After my clinical
exam I decided the foal was suffering from perinatal asphyxia syndrome, meaning it had been deprived of oxygen during the birth. It is typical for these foals that they look fine initially, but then slowly deteriorate to the point where they are not suckling anymore and
become very ill. This specific foal was very precious to the owner, so we decided to refer it to a large hospital so it could be monitored 24/7 and they could give it a permanent feeding tube, as the foal had stopped drinking. Thanks to the quick response of the owner
and the intensive therapy it received the foal is now back home and doing really well. We all love a happy ending!

This case also illustrates the importance of having the vet out after the foal is born for a mare and foal check, as subtle signs of illness will be picked up during the clinical exam of the foal. A lot of conditions in foals can be treated on the yard with good result, but the sooner treatment can be started the better!

PS if your mare is expecting a foal and you want some help and advice about the birth, here at Simply Horses we have a very useful foal package, consisting of detailed information about the birth process,
tips on what to do and what not to do, a discount voucher for a mare and foal check by one of our vets and lots of other goodies!

Well adjusted healthy foal

Well adjusted healthy foal

Simply horses vaccine amnesty

Once again here at Simply Horses we are offering our clients in conjunction with Merial our vaccine suppliers the chance to get your horse vaccinated through the Vaccine Amnesty.
If your horse is over 12 months of age and has never been vaccinated or your vaccinations have lapsed then you can benefit from this offer. You pay for the first vaccination (this must be done during the month of October) Merial will pay for the second vaccination at 4-6 weeks (you will have visit costs if applicable) then you pay for the third vaccination in 5-7 months. This applies to Flu/Tet only NOT tetanus.
Please ring the clinic 0191 3859696 to take advantage of this offer. We have already had an outbreak of equine flu in the North East so this is a great chance to protect your horse in the future and help keep him as healthy as you can

Healthy horseser

Simply Horses Pasture Management Using Electric Fences

Electrical Fencing for Horses

 

At Simply Horses one of our daily problems is what to do with overweight horses, this is a major challenge to all vets and their clients, as the solutions can be complex. However one effective management option, is some form of restricted grazing using electric fences and Olivia Henderson has kindly offered to give us an overview of this subject, for the benefit of our clients.

Spring grass pic

Electric fencing was once painful, unsafe, expensive, unreliable and difficult to maintain, but now the opposite is true. This has means that the benefits are unrivalled compared to other fencing solutions when it comes to looking after horses.

 

Electrical fences provide an effective psychological and physical barrier. As a domesticable animal, horses are not likely to leave familiar surroundings if they’re properly cared for. The current running through an electric fence is not enough to hurt but instead gives a small shock which is simply enough to train them to avoid the fence in future.

 

There are several different types of electrical fencing: permanent; semi-permanent and temporary, and there are many different components and ways to construct a fence. Electric wiring can be used to replace other fencing or can be used in conjunction with wooden and or traditional fencing in order to protect horses and the fence from damage.

 

It’s easy to install; it can be done by one person, with minimal tools, saving on time and labour, and although believed to be more expensive due to power use, overall electrical fencing is more cost effective than other fencing options such as wood, rail, stock wire or barbed wire. As many horses rub against wooden fence posts, they can easily become breached or sag and frequently need repairs that are costly in both time and money. Wires which are barbed are also easily damaged and pose a large risk to the horses – they can easily hurt themselves and become tangled.

 

Temporary fencing is very popular due to it’s flexibility; it can be used standalone or be added to permanent electric fencing to create temporary paddock areas, for example if an isolation area is needed in case of illness or aggression, or for strip grazing.

 

Horses typically gain weight in the spring and summer months when they are kept outside and the grass is plentiful and fast growing. It’s advisable to monitor your horses weight frequently; many companies offer weight tracking charts which are helpful as small changes might not be noticeable if you see your horse most days.

 

Strip grazing – sectioning off a small area of the paddock so that the horses only have access to a limited amount of grass – is used to restrict the amount of food that horses have access to. This can be very effective for weight control, as many horses dislike being muzzled, and is also used to prevent laminitis; it is thought that too much rich grass in the diet – grass containing a high level of sugars – can contribute to the condition. This can be avoided by moving horses to a new strip in the evening when the sugars are at their lowest, and also altering the strips to avoid prolonged grazing on the rich grass roots. Within a permanent paddock temporary electric fencing is perfect for this.

 

An effective way to strip graze and ensure that horses get enough exercise is to make a track around a paddock – when the water is kept at one end then the horses will be encouraged to move around all day. The temporary electric fencing can then be moved depending on weather and grass growth.

 

Remember however that all horses should eat a minimum of 2.5% of their bodyweight as food and restricting intake will not help with weight control. In fact your horse is at greater risk of developing problems such as gastric ulcers, stereotypic behaviour, colic, or dental problems. It’s important therefore to consider their calorie intake rather than volume of food – it may be recommended to supplement grazing with low calorie feed to extend their chewing time.

 

There are also certain types of temporary fences which are portable so that if you take a horse out riding or attend a show you can allow them to rest and graze securely by erecting the temporary fence to create a small area for them. These fences are usually light and easily packed into a rucksack, and ensure that your horse is getting all the exercise they need as part of a weight loss regime.

 

Overall electric fencing can be a valuable asset in securing horses safely and cost-effectively. There is a solution for almost any requirement; if you are unsure of what you might need there are useful online tools which can help you define your electric fence needs and get the best for you and your horses.

 

Author Bio:

Olivia Henderson is the content specialist for Fi-Shock – a world leaders in electric fence systems. Fi-Shock electric fencing systems provide safe, superior quality energisers, accessories, conductors (tape wire and rope), insulators, and electric fence components. Electric fences are an economical alternative to conventional or barbed wire fences.<

Simply Horses Vets , Equine Education

Working for a certificate

Having been out of University for just over 4 years now, I decided it was time to go back to the books and study. I enrolled on a certificate in advanced veterinary practice (certAVP), that I could do from home while continuing to work. So I am now once again a student at the University of Liverpool.

simply horses vets study Loenardo horse and rider

The aim of the certAVP is to provide more in depth knowledge in a specific field of veterinary practice. As I am still in the early stages, I am learning more general information before going into a more in depth area of interest. Eventually I will be doing more specific work on medicine subjects, including hearts and lungs, colics, liver problems and several others.

I am sent weekly reading lists, along with weekly assignments. These vary from short responses, to longer case reports. I am also required to attend online meetings and online discussion boards with other vets enrolled on the certificate. These give me the opportunity to discuss alternative diagnoses and treatments with vets from this country and also those outside the UK working for the same certAVP.

I have been very lucky to have the help of my colleague, Keesjan, who started working for us a few months ago. He has done a lot of work in medicine (already holding certificates) and provides a lot of support for me when working up cases.

I hope that this certAVP will bring more to our clients and allow us to provide a better service to you all. In the mean time, it is back to the study for me as I have deadlines to meet!

Charlotte Stedman MRCVS

Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance.Will Durant (1885-1981) U.S. author and historian.

Simply Horses Laminitis research update

Vets have announced plans to conduct a clinical trial evaluating an experimental drug that has shown promise in treating horses stricken with the debilitating hoof disease laminitis.

They have treated four horses suffering from laminitis with the investigational anti-inflammatory drug so far. They said that one horse experienced remission that has lasted for more than a year, and three others have shown some improvement. A paper on the first laminitis case has been accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed Journal of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia.

Alonso Guedes, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVA, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine, plans to begin the clinical trial to assess the drug’s safety and establish a tolerable dose in the spring. Further clinical trials would be needed to establish the drug’s effectiveness as a laminitis treatment.

The experimental compound, known as t-TUCB, belongs to a group of anti-inflammatory compounds called sEH (soluble epoxide hydrolases) inhibitors. It stems from a discovery made more than 40 years ago by UC Davis entomology professor Bruce Hammock, PhD, while doing basic insect biology research. He and colleagues have identified a group of anti-inflammatory compounds, including the sEH inhibitors, that have proven to be effective in relieving inflammatory discomfort and pain related to nervous system disorders in mice and rats. Their work has been published in scientific journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Guedes noted that the safe management of laminitis-related pain is one of the biggest challenges for equine veterinarians. Often, euthanasia is the only humane alternative for alleviating pain and suffering in horses afflicted with the condition. Consequently, the survival rate for laminitis is estimated to be only 25%. Very few surviving horses return to their previous levels of activity, and laminitis often reappears.

Funding was provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the UC Davis Center for Equine Health.

Equine Dental Care & Simply Horses Vet Clinic

Looking after your horses teeth:

Nowadays it is recognised that horses teeth must, like our own teeth, be regularly examined.  Unlike our teeth, a horse’s teeth carry on growing and should naturally wear down as they eat.  However, they rarely wear down evenly and so need intervention to ensure the horse can eat properly, perform to their best and generally be comfortable.
Most of us have had toothache, know what it feels like to have a sharp point on a tooth, know how sore an ulcer is, etc.  But imagine having a bit in your mouth with one of the above problems.  We will trot off to our dentist – a professional, who has studied for years to obtain their dental degree.
A six monthly check up is recommended so all potential problems can be identified and remedied before serious pain and complications set in.  The best option is to get your veterinary surgeon to do the check up – and this can be conveniently carried out at vaccination time.  A veterinary surgeon can legally perform all aspects of equine dentistry – and most will have attended species specific veterinary dental courses.   They will also be fully insured to carry out the procedures.
In order for a thorough examination to be carried out it is often necessary to use sedation, either orally or via injection.  A gag will be used – it is impossible to examine the teeth at the back of the mouth without one!   The vet will sometimes wear a head torch – a horse’s teeth go a long way back and it’s a bit dark at the back! A head stand sometimes would help to keep the sedated horse in position– which as well as saving the owner/handler having to stand trying to hold the head up and still, also enables the vet to get a proper view.
Once this is in place the vet can carry out the examination, show the owner/handler any problems and then perform the necessary treatment.
Unfortunately, there are numerous people who call themselves ‘horse dentists’ or equine dental technicians (EDT’s) who are regularly examining and ‘treating’ horse’s teeth.  However, DEFRA are now trying to ensure that these people are properly qualified and their work regulated.  In order to qualify as a DEFRA approved EDT they have to pass a 2 day exam.   Even then they are restricted to the type of work they can perform, some of which must be carried out under the direct supervision of a qualified veterinary surgeon.


With the gag in place the powerfloat can be used by the vets to painlessly remove sharp edges on the horses teeth.

For more information, please click  here to see our Dentistry section on the website

SimplyHorses Laminitis update

Simply defined, laminitis is inflammation of the sensitive laminae in the hoof of the horse, caused by stressful events, trauma, infection, or parturition. This definition sheds little light on the destructive process that occurs within the hoof or how to treat a horse afected with this condition.

Laminitis is commonly known as a secondary process and is a result of a variety of primary processes. Some of the primary causes that initiate laminitis are grain overload, colitis, colic, diarrhoea, Cushing’s disease, retained placenta, exhaustion, direct hoof trauma, excessive weight baring on a single limb change in diet or environment and stressful travel.

Once the laminitic process has begun it can be classified into the developmental, acute, and chronic phases. Treatment plans are based largely upon the stage of the disease and the amount of damage to the laminae

The developmental phase typically begins with the onset of the primary process (e.g. hoof trauma or colic). Symptoms such as elevated digital pulse and warmth in the hooves are typically mild and generally present within 12-24 hours. Treatment for horses in the developmental stage of laminitis should be proactive, not reactive, and based largely on the probability of the disease occurring. Most treatment goals are aimed at eliminating the cause of the episode, preserving circulation, providing axial support and reducing the bodies biomechanical influence on it self.

No one treatment regiment has proven to be effective and will they vary largely among vets and farriers. Eliminating the primary process is generally the first step in the treatment process. Consistent quality Radiographs of the feet are essential at this point. Some vets have also shown venograms to be  helpful in providing a prognosis and establishing a treatment plan at this stage. However other equine vets are not convinced on the true value of this diagnostic modality. Modified shoes, various equine  Boots, axial support and ice therapy have been very useful at SimplyHorses.

The acute stage begins with the onset of pain and lameness, typically with in 24-48 hours, and lasts until the pain and lameness subsides and the horse recovers or displacement (rotation, sinking or both) of PIII occurs. Horses in the acute phase generally but NOT always exhibit common signs such as, elevated digital pulse, warm hooves and painful response at the toe to palpation and/or hoof testers. Loss of appetite, limited intake of fluids and the typical laminitic stance  are also commonly observed signs. In this phase the inflammatory process is at its climax and blood supply to the digit may be severely compromised. This hypoperfusion within the digit may lead to ischemia, necrosis, and oedema compromising the integrity of the laminae. Aggressive treatment during the acute phase generally provides a more favourable outcome and may preserve the integrity of the laminae. Use of non steriodial anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as bute to control pain is common practice. But must be carefully controlled by your vet. As previously stated, eliminating the primary process is generally the first step in the treatment process.

Consistent quality Radiographs of the feet and accurate soft tissue measurement are critical. Treatments will also vary largely among practioners and no system has been proven to be universally effective.

Treatment should also target reducing the biomechanical forces that further compromise weakened laminae. This is a very important aspect of the treatment and is often neglected. Preserving the circulation to the hoof, and reducing the bodies’ biomechanical influence on it self are important aims in a treatment plan.

The chronic phase begins when clinical or radiographic signs of displacement are noted. This rotation and/or sinking of PIII occur as a result of a failed laminar bond, which suspends the bone within the hoof capsule. This displacement compresses the corium at the coronary band as well as under the tip of PIII, resulting in further compromised perfusion, abnormal hoof function, and chronic pain.

Treatment of chronic laminitis is primarily based on therapeutic trimming and shoeing, while continuing to control pain and the initial trigger. Treatment plans will be based largely upon the owner goals, damage to the feet, type of displacement and practioners experience.

Generally goals of therapeutic shoeing, aided by radiographs, are to restore PIII’s orientation to the ground establishing proper bony alignment and to restore normal function of the hoof.

Dramatically reducing the biomechanical exertion of the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) is paramount to successful treatment as well. These efforts allow new laminae to generate as the hoof grows, eventually providing stability to PIII. It is important however to note that the amount of damage incurred during the early stages is directly related to how well a horse will recover.

Therapeutic shoeing may be accompanied by surgical intervention; performing a deep digital tenotamy allows us to realign the horses’ boney column and generate a new laminar attachment with minimal mechanical influence from the deep digital flexor tendon. Again treatment plans will vary largely among vets; rocker shoes, rail shoes, wood clogs, glue on shoes have been useful at SimplyHorses.

Treating laminitis at any stage can be a daunting task.  Awareness by owners, veterinarians and farriers of horses that are high risk as well as early diagnoses and treatment according to the probability the disease occurring rather than waiting for laminitis to occur may certainly provide the most favourable outcome. It is also important to recruit a vet/farrier team that keeps realistic goals in mind such as, maintaining comfort of the horse, preserving and/or restoring adequate perfusion to the hoof and reducing the biomechanical influence of the DDFT.

Horse Terminology

Event Prospect = Big Fast Lively Horse
Dressage Prospect = Big Slow Horse
Hack Prospect = Pretty Colour
Endurance Prospect = Fast Horse which will turn sometimes
Has raced = Not very fast
Flashy = White Socks
Attractive = Pretty colour
15.2hh = 14.3hhh
16.2hh = 15.3hh
To Loving Home = Very Expensive
To Show Home Only = Extremely Expensive
Needs Experienced Rider = Potentially Lethal
Elegant = Thin
In Good Condition = Fat
Free Moving = Bolts
Quiet = Lame in Both Front Legs
Dead Quiet = Lame in All Four Legs
Good in Traffic (Bombproof) = Lame all Round, Deaf and Blind
Loves Children = Kicks and Bites
Pony Type = Small and Hairy
Arab Type = Looks startled and Flighty
TB Type = Looks Terrified
Warmblood Type = Big and built like a bodybuilder
Draught Type = Big and Exceedingly Hairy
Easy to Catch = Very Old
Must Sell = Wife has left home and taken kids
All Offers Considered = I am in Traction for 6 months