Farm Call: Your Questions Answered

Mare vs. Stallion Genes

April 01, 2003

Q.

Q: I hear people talking about how genetic lines all trace through the paternal side of the horse. What about the mares? What quality of foal would you get if you doubled on the maternal side, linebreeding (mating related individuals to concentrate on genetic material) on the mare's side (providing she has the quality)? Is there a difference?    Barb

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Braces for Horses?

March 01, 2003

Q. I read in a magazine that you can have braces put on a horse to correct an overbite. How can I learn about this? I have a super nice filly that is show quality except for the overbite. If I can get this corrected on my filly, I will show her.

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Fescue Allergy?

March 01, 2003

Q.

I have a 6-year-old Arabian gelding who used to spend up to about 12 hours a day on our fescue pasture. As a 4-year-old, he developed lesions on his three white legs on the cannon bone area that were crusty, raw underneath, very sore, and made him lame. His hind legs swelled terribly. One veterinarian said it was scratches, one said a systemic allergy to fescue grass, and one had no idea.

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Frozen Feed?

December 01, 2002

Q.

Q: I live in northeastern Ohio, and it gets pretty cold here at times. My question is: Have you heard of horses getting colic from frozen sweet feeds? I have had horses for the past 40 years and have yet to come upon this happening, but have a friend who is quite certain that this can happen. Any suggestions? I have mixed oats with my feed at times and supplemented with

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Recovering from the Flu

December 01, 2002

Q.

Q: There was recently a flu-like breakout at the barn where I board, and some other boarders disagreed on how long, or even if they need to, keep horses in and relatively isolated. Some folks are turning them out soon after the fever breaks, and others are screaming that they should be kept in for a week.     Charles

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Soothing Itchy Eyes

November 01, 2002

Q. My 20-year-old Appaloosa mare seems to have increasingly puffy, swollen eyes each spring and summer. I think the problem is allergy-related, and it seems to be getting worse just the last couple of years.

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Guinea Grass Toxicity

November 01, 2002

Q.

I have a 12-year-old gelding that can't eat guinea grass (Panicum maximum), not even for three days, because it causes the hair around his face, neck, and belly to fall out in patches. As soon as he stops eating it, his hair grows back within a week or two; by four weeks you wouldn't even know he had lost his hair. He is otherwise healthy, and it doesn't seem to hurt him in any other way.

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Vaccinating Geriatric Horses

November 01, 2002

Q. Can you help me find a list of geriatric horse vaccinations (for whichever diseases affect geriatric horses, how much and how often to give them, and any other information you can provide)? I have lists for broodmares, pleasure horses, competition horses, yearlings, and foals--but I am missing a vaccination chart for geriatric horses. Lija

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Finding a Suitable Cooled Semen Facility

October 01, 2002

Q. Q: I'm considering using shipped cooled semen for my mare. I want to find a reliable farm/facility to take the shipment and breed her. How do I find a qualified facility? What questions do I need to ask about quality? Is there a site or a book to inform me about this? A: Equine practitioners offering ambulatory services can often provide this service on the farm. However...

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Probiotics and Yeast Cultures

October 01, 2002

Q.

My personal experience has been very positive in using probiotics and yeast in the equine diet. My question is about the best formulation of the products. Does using only yeast culture with no bacteria diminish the effects? Which bacteria are beneficial, and which are just "cosmetics" that aren't necessary? What is the minimum number of these organisms that must be present in order to be

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What's a Thumper?

September 01, 2002

Q.

My training is in equine myotherapy; I specialize in sports massage, stretching, and hydrotherapy. Sometimes I get asked about a thumper. I have an idea of what it is and its use, but am not sure if I'm correct. The only thing I am sure of is that I heard one horse sustained a serious back injury from the use of a thumper. Can you supply me with information on this tool and perhaps what i

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Eye Removal

August 01, 2002

Q.

Q: I was just informed that my 2-year-old Quarter Horse needs to have his right eye removed. He is a rescue that I received through the court, and when I got him he was blind in his right eye. My veterinarian says that it looks like he was hit with some type of blunt force, leaving him with no chance of sight. I need to know what the procedure consists of. His eye seems to be

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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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