Tag Archives: horse vets in Sunderland

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 Vets – The benefits of Worm Egg Counts

Simply horses Vets: The Importance of Worm Egg Counts in your worming program

We are rolling out some new worm egg count kits and just wanted to give you a bit more information about why it is important to use them.

We are now seeing widespread resistance to wormers that are frequently used, which means that the wormers are no longer killing the worms. This is occurring everywhere, not just in the North East. As well as this problem, there are no new worming drugs currently being created. This means we need to worm responsibly and try to prevent further resistance developing, so the wormers we are using will remain effective.

It has been found that approximately 80% of the horses in a herd, grazing on the same field, will be producing 20% of the worm eggs on that field. This means the remaining 20% of horses are producing 80% of the worm eggs on the field. It is important to target the 20% and reduce the amount of contamination they are producing. This is done using worm egg counts (WEC).

A faecal sample needs to be collected from all horses on the pasture on the same day. This will then be sent to the laboratory to identify worm eggs. If a horse has a low count of eggs, then they do not need to be treated (saving you money and helping reduce resistance). The horses with high worm egg counts need to be treated.

WECs should be performed 3-4 times a year. Some horses have a low count on one sample, but a high count on subsequent samples. This is because the samples look for eggs that are only produced by mature adult worms. If worms are present that are not mature then the WEC will be low, but once they are mature, they will start producing eggs that are detected in a faecal sample.

To help reduce worm burden in your horse and the amount of wormer that needs to be used, it is important to poo pick your pasture as well. This is especially important when doing WECs. As the eggs are passed in faeces and horses become infected by ingesting these eggs, the pasture needs to poo picked at least twice weekly, but ideally daily, to reduce the egg contamination on the grazing.

Even though you are doing WECs, it is important to worm twice yearly with a tapeworm product. Tapeworm eggs do not show up well on a WEC, so the best way to ensure your horse is protected is to have a blood sample taken or worm regularly for tapeworm.

What to do if you think the worms are resistant to the wormer you are using? In these cases a WEC needs to be done before treatment and then another sample taken 14 days later and compared to the original sample.

The vets at Simply Horses are carrying these new kits in their cars they are £9.50 each and this will reduce to £8.75 if there are 6 or more horses on one yard tested. They are easy to use and have everything you need to send your sample to the lab, the results are back in 24 hours direct to Simply horses where one of our vets will interpret the results and contact you with them and give you the best possible advice on what is the best course of action for your horse.

The EasyShoe a Way To Shoe The Barefoot Horse | Simply Horses Vets

On the 19th February Simply Horses Vet clinic will be hosting the first live demonstration in the UK of the brand new revolutionary Easy Shoe from easy care.
A group of 20 local farriers will be having a practical demonstration on how to nail and glue these innovative shoes. At long last we have a shoe that is flexible and good for the hoof, for those horses we cannot boot or are unable to go totally barefoot for whatever reason.
We will be doing an online webinar / video after the event if anyone is interested.
For more information contact the clinic on easyshoe @ simply-horses.net
A new dawn in shoeing horses, at last a flexible shoe that allows the hoof to move, especially the heels so essential for good hoof function.

Introductory Video

 

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.<

Horse insurance – cheapest isn’t always best

Finding the right horse insurance…..Not an easy task!

I have just recently bought a new horse and as he hopefully will keep me going for quite a few years decided that he needed to be insured, so I spent the week leading up to his collection trawling the internet for quotes and this really did open my eyes.

This is despite working or years at equine vets including Simply Horses Vet Clinic and dealing with lots of insurance claims.

The first main thing I found was to “read the small print” and I might add with some companies the small print was VERY small indeed, bring out the magnifying glass. What at first glance seemed a really good deal on further reading really was not! There were lots of exclusions to the policies and I mean lots, some didn’t have fixed excess instead it was a percentage of the claim, which if your horse needed surgery for whatever then I would have ended up with a hefty bill at the end which was the whole point of insuring my horse in the first place, some had limited pay out for diagnostics, some even only paid for the initial vet visit and no follow up treatment what so ever, what good was that?

As veterinary fees have risen there has been an increase in “budget” insurance policies which seem to give the minimum cover, so although the premiums are cheaper this may not be cost effective in the long run.

Most of the larger insurance companies that specialise in equine cover had very easy to navigate sites and I was able to tailor my cover to my needs, what activities I was going to use this new horse for, did I want remedial shoeing covered, complementary treatments and the extra cost of bedding if he had to be on box rest this all went into the mix and of course public liability is included on most of the larger companies which is peace of mind when out hacking if you end up in the awful situation of damaging a vehicle.

Another good pointer is speak to your horsey friends and ask who they use and what it covers, also ask your vet for advise although they are not allowed to “push” a specific company they will tell you the names of companies that offer good cover. There are discounts to pick up too if you make a one off payment instead of monthly, I managed a bit more discount as I already had my vehicle and trailer insured with them there is no harm asking what discounts are to be had.

Happy Simply horses clients, confident with their insurance

Happy Simply horses clients, confident with their insurance

 

So in a nutshell

• Can you afford not to insure your horse?
• Cheaper isn’t always best
• Insure for your needs
• Read the small print
• Go with an equine specialist

I learnt a lot from my hours spent looking but it was time well spent, I know I have the best cover for my horse for the activities I intend to do.

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.

November Equine Flu Outbreak in Tyne and Wear

We have received news of another Outbreak of Equine Flu in the North East.

 

Simply Horses vet clinic  advises that any horse that hasn’t had a flu booster vaccination in the last six months should get a booster vaccination done as soon as possible. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at Simply Horses. This is especially important if your horse is old, very young or competing regularly.

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

Nine Ways To Get In Shape To Own A Horse

  1. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don't pick it up right away. Shout “Get off,stupid! Get off!”
  2. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice “Relaxing into the fall”. Roll lithely into a ball, and spring to your feet!
  3. Learn to grab your cheque book out of your purse/pocket and write out a £100 cheque without even looking down.
  4. Jog long distances carrying a head collar and holding out a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbours what you're doing. Panama . They might as well know now.
  5. Fix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling it to a halt. And smile as if you are really having fun.
  6. Hone your fibbing skills. “See darling moving hay bales is fun!” and ” I'm glad your lucky performance and multi-million pound horse won you first place – I'm just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place”.
  7. Practice dialing your chiropractors number with both arms paralyzed to the shoulder, and one foot anchoring the lead rope of a frisky horse.
  8. Lie face down in the mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself: “This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience…”
  9. Marry Money!