Tag Archives: simply horses

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

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.

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 find out about farriery in Italy

How the Italians do it!

As an Italian vet working in the UK there are many similarities with how farriery works.  In Italy a farrier is called a Maniscalco (which is derived from the words ‘mare’ as in horse and ‘shall’ meaning duty/responsibility).  Incidentially, the English word ‘marshal’ derives from the German words ‘marah’ (horse) and schalh (servant) – meaning who is responsible for taking care of horses.

In Italy farriers can train at local level or train via military farrier colleges which are now open to the public rather than just military.  It takes 2-3 years of both theory and practical work (apprenticeship) before an Italian farrier is qualified to European standards.    However, there are other shorter courses for farriers in Italy but these do not give qualifications for working outside Italy.  Unfortunately, there are also people who call themselves farriers, who have learnt the ‘skills’ from their fathers, ie family businesses carried down.  Whilst they may have experience they have no recognised qualification.

 

Recently, in Italy barefoot farriery has become popular resulting in the craft of farriery gaining new impetus.  Obviously, barefoot farriery requires learning new techniques and farriers have had to adapt and learn these new techniques.

 

 


As in the UK Italian farriers work closely with owners (who know the type of work the horse is required to do) and vets (who, for example, will ensure the appropriate measures are undertaken when a horse has joint problems, etc).

 

At equestrian sporting events in Italy a farrier would be present, along with vets and first aid personnel for people.

New research into suspensory ligament injuries in dressage horses

At Simply Horses we see our fair share of suspensory ligament injuries, the following article is very informative regarding research why dressage horse may suffer more than most.

Suspensory ligament injuries are relatively common in dressage horses, but there is little scientific information available on their causes. A recent study by researchers at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket. examined the possible link between movement patterns at the collected and extended trot, and risk for suspensory ligament injuries.

Scientists used a high-speed camera to capture four Warmbloods working in collected and extended trot on three different surfaces. Each horse wore brushing boots fitted with inertial motion sensors and markers at five points on the hind legs to aid in video analysis.

The results demonstrated that when horses performed the collected trot across all three surfaces tested, there was a decrease in speed and stride length (measured in metres) but an increase in stride duration (measured in seconds) compared to extended trot.

Conversely, in the extended trot, horses showed an increase in flexion of the hock and extension of the fetlock when the limb was in contact with the ground. This suggests that there might be more strain placed on the suspensory ligament at extended trot compared to the collected trot, the team relayed. The authors suggested that this could be because the horse is moving over a greater distance at a greater speed at extended trot, increasing relative protraction and retraction of the hind limb, putting more strain on the soft tissue structures of the leg.

This might be particularly problematic for young horses in dressage training, as there is industry pressure for these horses to demonstrate extended paces–particularly if they are extravagant movers–but these young animals might not have sufficient muscular strength to support this movement, the team relayed.

“They key aspect in terms of young horses is to ensure that they are trained slowly and correctly to build up core muscle strength and not pushed to demonstrate extravagant paces before they have the strength through their body to support their limbs,” said Vicki Walker, BSc, MSc and study author. “Any new exercises should be introduced slowly and only undertaken for very short periods initially.”

For all dressage horses, it’s important to ensure the surface you ride on is level and stable, as other studies suggest that the gait of the horse is influenced by characteristics of the surface and that certain characteristics can increase the risk of injury. These could be exacerbated when the horse is working on a new surface, as it is likely to be less coordinated and tire more easily, the team said

“In order to protect horses from overload injury, it is important to avoid spending too long in any single exercise and not to repeat any single exercise too many times, especially when the horse is becoming tired,” said Walker. “At the extended trot in particular, there may be considerable forces on the limbs, so it is important that the horse is coordinated … it may be safer to avoid performing extended trot when a horse is getting tired at the end of a session.

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

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!