Bumps and Bangs of Life

It looked bad. My daughter Barbara and a college friend purchased a 2-year-old registered Quarter Horse filly (Casey) last year that had 30 or so days of training on her. They wanted to give the filly some additional training in order to sell her and pay for some school expenses. She was going great. Could do the Quarter Horse jog and the English trot. They tried her over a few low jumps, and she loved it. Good manners, but with a little spark.

Then came "the ankle." Casey came in from the field one day with a bump on the inside of her right front ankle. No lameness. Vet at the boarding farm said everything seemed okay. Nothing outstanding on palpation. Poutice her, and keep her working. But the bump didn't go away. Casey was perfectly sound. She came to our farm in Kentucky before college started, and the ankle worried me. We had our vet, Carol McLeod, DVM, X ray the filly. The concern was a fractured sesamoid, but the X rays came back clean. Is there a tendon or ligament involved? Ultrasound exams showed nothing! It's a "fibrous mass" that will not affect the filly's soundness. Treat the puffiness, put her back to work, and sell her without worry. The moral of this story is: Be careful of bumps and bangs, but keep in mind appearances aren't everything. I've seen some of the best equine athletes in the world in a variety of disciplines, and none was perfect.

So, if you have a chance to get a nice, "gently used" ex-racehorse, some other performance athelete, or even a young horse like Casey, have your veterinarian check him/her out. But don't worry too much about appearances; you might get a "diamond in the rough."

Are You Prepared?

This time last year we were still awash with tragic news from the Gulf Coast hurricanes. People were scurrying about in the aftermath trying to rescue their animals, and themselves, from death and destruction. They were trying to prepare for life after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

So, how many of us promised ourselves that we would become better prepared? Those first-aid kits would be restocked (or purchased). Water and food would not run out at our places, or there would be a plan to care for animals if it did. Trailers would not sit ignored for months on end, with no idea if the tires were road-ready, much less if the spare was inflated.

For myself, I take the Fifth.

Yes, I did get the first-aid cabinet restocked. Through last winter the feed bins always had at least a two-week supply for all the animals.

Honestly, now I couldn't tell you if the first-aid kits are complete or not. I'll bet dollars to horse cookies that the scissors are gone again. And I certainly haven't kept the gas cans stocked this summer with the fluctuating prices.

My animals are up-to-date on vaccinations and deworming. How about yours? Has everyone had a West Nile virus booster? Are the rabies and tetanus vaccinations up to date?

Don't let disaster hit before planning for adverse conditions. The life you save might be your own, or that of your best four-legged friend.

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About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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