Farm Call: Your Questions Answered

Skunk Cabbage Toxic to Horses?

August 01, 2002

Q.

Recently our horses have begun eating skunk cabbage that grows on the property. They have not done so before. They have plenty of grass plus hay and grain, all of which they also eat. One veterinarian says it is harmful to them; another says it's OK but that it has no nutritional value. I am concerned and am wondering if you have any information about this problem. We live in coastal

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Mare Milking Early

August 01, 2002

Q.

I have a Paso Fino mare whose due date is three months away and her milk bag is full, hot, and dripping very white milk. She has been waxed over for about a week now, but thankfully she seems to be in no distress. I can find no one with this experience so I am asking for any advice I can get. I am concerned about many things. Will she go full-term? Will she have lost all her colostrum?

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Forging in Young Horses

July 01, 2002

Q. Q: My trainer says that my 1 1/2-year-old Thoroughbred colt is forging, but only at the trot. Is there something that can be done to correct this problem (i.e., specific exercises)? Is this common in young horses?

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Hermaphroditic Teaser "Mare"

July 01, 2002

Q.

A stud farm I once visited was using a hermaphrodite mare as a teaser, with none of the problems of having a stallion (i.e., no problem with mares in foal to the teaser stallion should he escape). How can you tell if a mare is a hermaphrodite (what does she look like, and what is her behavior like)? Sue

What you are looking for is a "male pseudohermaphrodite." This anomaly is an

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Sheath Cleaning Frequency

July 01, 2002

Q.

 Gray is a 22-year-old Quarter Horse gelding. My question is how/whether to clean his penis. When he lengthens it to urinate, I try to pick off the black crusty stuff, but it is somewhat unpleasant to do this. There is no smell, no yellow color, and no swelling, so I assume this is normal--but how proactive should I be in cleaning? Keith

Horses seem to vary quite a bit in

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Environmental Factor in Cushing's?

June 01, 2002

Q.

I have been treating an aging pony mare for Cushing's syndrome. She had been chronically foundering for three years when she abruptly started exhibiting diabetic symptoms. After reading your article on Cushing's and conferring with my veterinarian, we put her on pergolide. Her diabetic symptoms disappeared, and she is now back to normal.

My other mare, a 19- or 20-year-old

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Feeding Laminitic Broodmares

June 01, 2002

Q. My best friend's broodmare has unilateral laminitis (laminitis in one front hoof); she is a 19-year-old Quarter Horse and is currently five months pregnant. The concern is what to feed her to keep the foal healthy, and to keep her from suffering further damage. We cannot find any resources that cover both the pregnancy and laminitis...

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Don't You Stick Your Tongue Out at Me!

May 01, 2002

Q. My 5-year-old Thoroughbred mare sticks her tongue out when I ride her, especially when asked to accept the bit or to go "on the bit." I have had an equine dentist examine and float her teeth, and I have tried different bits.

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Bute Toxicity in Neonates

May 01, 2002

Q. Q: My wife and I were told that giving Bute (phenylbutazone) to a mare in foal can cause heart defects in the foal, similar to aspirin taken by women in early pregnancy. Is there any connection? A: Signs of phenylbutazone toxicity in foals whose dams are treated with the drug are rare. However, some researchers have reported that the blood levels in foals from treated mares are similar...

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Flushing Solution?

May 01, 2002

Q.

I worked at a breeding farm when I was in high school, and after we inseminated the mare we flushed the tube with some type of solution that either was skim milk or reminded me of skim milk. What was that solution and was it necessary?
Suzi

 The solution you are referring to is semen extender. It is used to increase the volume of fluid inseminated, and it contain

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Pregnant Mare Weight Gain

April 01, 2002

Q.

We have a 6-year-old Quarter Horse mare and a 21-year-old Paint mare, both in foal to the same Quarter Horse stud. Both were five months along in mid-November (they were bred one week apart). The 6-year-old gained 31 pounds in a six-week period, and the 21-year-old gained 15 pounds in the same time period. Both mares have been ultrasounded and no problems were noted. We have not changed their

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Ruptured Stomach

April 01, 2002

Q.

I had a broodmare which died from a ruptured stomach. From what I can find out, this is reasonably rare and I would like to know if I was somehow to blame. Jess

 Rupture of the stomach is relatively rare. Primary rupture is usually caused by impaction of the stomach with feed material or, more commonly, by dilation of the stomach with gas or contents from the small

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Mesquite Tree Beans Toxic?

April 01, 2002

Q.

My horse recently had a horrible colic episode due to mesquite tree beans. Every summer these trees produce large bean pods, which evidently taste like candy to horses. According to my vet, they also slow down gut motility--hence the colic. I have lived in Texas with horses and mesquite trees all of my life, and I have never before heard of a horse getting sick from eating the beans. Sinc

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Skin Problems and Climate

March 01, 2002

Q.

We recently purchased a horse in Kentucky which we shipped to Montana to be a ranch horse. His coat is taking a beating with the cold, dry air. He has little hair on his face, and his coat is thin and flaking. Are there any supplements or ointments that would help? Does brushing help?    Franny

It is most unusual to see horses with dry, flaky skin solely due to a

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Equine Lymphoma Cancer

March 01, 2002

Q.

I am trying to find out if equine lymphoma cancer is hereditary, and any other causes and effects. I had to euthanize my 5-year-old Quarter Horse recently because he had this. How could I have known sooner that he might have had it? Could a purchase exam have detected it? He was never sick a day until this--then in three or four weeks, he was gone. He presented signs that he just wasn't

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Shoeing Prescription for Ringbone

February 01, 2002

Q.

 My eventer was recently diagnosed with ringbone. I am led to believe that he should be shod so he can break over more easily, so I'm thinking of a rolled shoe. My question for the experts would be: How well can he jump with a rolled shoe? Wouldn't his "grip" on the ground be compromised? What else can be done? He has high periarticular ringbone and after just one shot of Adequan

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Protein-Losing Enteropathy Diagnosis

February 01, 2002

Q.

My 3-year-old Quarter Horse gelding has been diagnosed with protein-losing enteropathy, but I can't find a whole lot of information on it for horses. The veterinarian says that if the steroids and antibiotics don't work, he doesn't think there's much hope. Verna

"Protein-losing enteropathy" is a catchall name for a group of problems that can affect a horse's intestinal tract,

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Scrape That Won't Heal

February 01, 2002

Q.

My 2-year-old Percheron gelding has a scrape just above his right hock (on the outside in the groove). He has had it since birth, but it was more irritated this summer. In winter, it gets dry, scabby, and hairless. What can I use to heal it, and possibly grow hair? It's about two inches by a half-inch. He's in otherwise excellent condition and on a regular deworming and immunization

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Front Foot Flick

February 01, 2002

Q.

My 12-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse often "flicks" his left front foot when putting it forward. His previous owners said it was only a cosmetic problem, but my friends say it hurts him when I ride. However, after our latest three-mile ride, he didn't show any pain. What could cause this, and might he be in pain? Leslie

Your horse should see a veterinarian who is familiar with

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Retiring Performance Mares to the Broodmare Band

January 01, 2002

Q.

Q: I was interested to read the question on mares returning to performance careers after foaling ("High Performance Broodmares" in the August 2001 issue of The Horse, article #2766 at www.thehorse.com). My question is a slight reversal of this. What, if any, problems could I expect from a mare who has been a performance horse (endurance)

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Moon Blindness Attacks

January 01, 2002

Q.

 Q. Is there any food, treat, or climate that causes moon blindness flare-ups? My horse recently had one, and I want to prevent any more if possible. I already use a fly mask for "sunglasses." Paige

A. Unfortunately, we don't know what factors cause recurrence of inflammation in horses with equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) or "moon blindness." However, one of the causes o

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Ketoprofen Side Effects?

January 01, 2002

Q. Is ketoprofen an alternative to bute for navicular horses?

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Turnout Time for Warmblood Foals

December 01, 2001

Q. I am being told by "professionals" that warmblood foals should be turned out a limited amount of time. The "professionals" were a farrier (who shoes Olympic-quality horses) and a respected veterinarian. Their reasoning is that warmblood babies grow too fast and this would slow his growth down. This colt is trying to canter in a 12-foot by 12-foot stall with his 17.2-hand mom--he's chewing wood and

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Testing Passive Transfer of Antibodies

December 01, 2001

Q.

Q. In an article about the newborn foal’s care (article #287), Christina Cable, DVM, talks about the CITE test as one of the most frequently used tests for foal antibodies in her area. Could you please give me more information about this

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Which Foot to Pad?

December 01, 2001

Q.

Q. I just read your June “Ask the Vet” article about muscle toning and development (article #2775). It describes my horse exactly! Her left shoulder is more developed, and the right shoulder is farther forward and flat. Her left foot has a low heel and the right is slightly clubbed. Because of this, she has a hard time moving to the right, especially on 20-meter and

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