Tag Archives: simplyhorses

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

It Should Not Happen to a SimplyHorses Vet

Well quick post at the end of another bank holiday Monday, some interesting cases including live set of twins and unfortunately a difficult foaling with dead foal. One of the twins is very weak so lots of nursing a some luck may see us through. In 26 years I have seen 2 sets of twins make it to adulthood, though both sets were always small 😉

I also saw a horse that had had a lucky escape with lots of deep wounds but non life threatening. It never ceases to amaze me how horses can damage themselves, reminds me of talking to a American vet who related the tale, of coming out one day to find his mare with all 4 feet off the ground impaled on a wooden fence post. He could see this post as a bulge under the skin on her back!! Once the post was cut and the mare back with all 4 feet on the ground, the post was removed and the mare never looked back!!! The post had run up the side of her abdomen under the skin and not penetrated any important structures, intestines, peritoneal cavity etc 😉 As he said it could only happen to a vet.

Paul

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!

As Any Lady Will Say The Holy Grail Of Equine Podiatry, GOOD HEELS

The evidence suggests that the principle function of the rear part of the foot (the heels) is to dissipate energy during the impact phase of the stride. It would be hard to single out one structure but we know the soft tissue structures, interposed articulations and the digital venous plexuses play a major role in absorbing the energy of impact. The major reason for maintaining healthy heels in the foot.

NO heels no effective foot, no foot no horse!!!!

An Ideal foot