Farm Call: Your Questions Answered

Dirty Mares

June 01, 2001

Q. Vet Q&A: My veterinarian said my mare probably didn't conceive this year because she was "dirty." We treated her and cleared up her problem, but what are our chances of getting her pregnant, and could she get "dirty" again? A: The term "dirty mare" can be very complicated, and one that applies to as many as 85% of broodmares that have problems conceiving.

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Headshaking Problem

June 01, 2001

Q.

My horse is driving me crazy! Every time we go out to ride, he starts flipping his head. I've changed his bridle, put on gallons of fly wipe, and had his ears and eyes checked. What is his problem, and what else can I try?

Headshaking in horses has been observed by horsemen and veterinarians for nearly 100 years. Several causes have been suggested, including middle ear disorders

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Stall Walking

June 01, 2001

Q. I have a yearling Thoroughbred that constantly circumnavigates his stall. This is causing an uneven wear pattern on his hooves. How do I stop him from doing this? We do not want to put him in a standing stall, and have tried hanging a tire in the stall to no avail. He is outside when the weather is good and is quite happy there.

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Gas Colic

June 01, 2001

Q. Question and answer about gas colic in horses, including causes, symptoms/clinical signs, and recommended treatments in both adult horses and foals. Gas colic is an extremely common reason for horses to exhibit signs of abdominal pain and, fortunately, one that has a very good prognosis for survival.

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High-Performance Broodmares?

June 01, 2001

Q. Q: I have heard that breeding a mare does irreversible damage to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles -- that once a mare is bred, she can't return to the performance ring, i.e., reining. Any reports or information on mares that have been returned to the performance ring after being bred would be greatly appreciated. A: This is utter nonsense--many mares compete at the highest levels after...

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Muscle Toning and Development

June 01, 2001

Q.

A number of horses I've seen appear to have asymmetrical muscle development, particularly over the shoulder area, which can make saddle fitting difficult. Many publications seem to say that the larger shoulder indicates that the horse is having to work harder with this leg and that muscle mass has therefore increased--just like with a weight lifter. However, I have also heard that the

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Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) and Breeding

May 01, 2001

Q. I have a 6-year-old Quarter Horse mare N/H (heterozygous) for hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), and a lot of vets have told me that I can breed her to a Thoroughbred, and the baby should be fine. Would she be OK if I get her bred this year?

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Disinfecting For Strangles

May 01, 2001

Q.

I have a pony on a farm where strangles has broken out. There are about 80 horses on this farm on about 100 acres (split into different pastures). We don't know where the infection started, but horses which show signs are being treated. What do you do about a farm that is so big with so many horses? How do you treat that big of a problem? Can you spray the pastures with a bleaching agent?

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Deworming Drugs

April 01, 2001

Q.

I wanted to ask if any vets or horse owners have heard of problems with the Quest wormer. I have heard from two different people in two different horse areas that this wormer has caused some problems for horses such as stomach aches or mild colic, and a family member's gelding got a belly ache after being wormed with Quest. If anyone has heard of this, I'd really like to hear about it. I'

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Bute and the Urinary Tract

April 01, 2001

Q.

Can you direct me to any information regarding the effect of phenylbutazone (Bute) on the urinary tract of a gelding, specifically symptoms and prognosis for full recovery?

Peter

Phenylbutazone works by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandins, the chemical byproducts of inflammation. Prostaglandins appear to have an influence on perfusion (blood

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Checking Out Equine Insurance

April 01, 2001

Q.

Q:  I recently read your article in the February 2001 issue about horse insurance by Les Sellnow. What I would like to know is how to check and find out if the horse insurance you have is with a company with a good reputation. I have had my insurance for eight years, and I have never had to use it. I've been told by several people that when it came time to make claims,

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Umbilical Hernias

March 01, 2001

Q. Q: I am currently looking at a filly to purchase. She had an umbilical hernia, which the owner had repaired. I was wondering if this is a heritable condition. What is the likelihood that if this filly was used for breeding purposes in the future, she would pass on umbilical hernias to her offspring? Could a former hernia affect her future athletic performance? Any information you could give

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EPM Vaccine and the Western Blot Test

March 01, 2001

Q.

I am very excited to hear that there is a vaccine for EPM (equine protozoal myeloencephalitis)! Three and a half years ago, I had to put down an outstanding colt who was only 14 months old. He suffered from both CVM (cervical vertebral myelopathy) and EPM. The vet did not seem to feel that the EPM was severe and probably was a new infection. Since the colt came from New Mexico in the

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Narcolepsy in Horses

February 01, 2001

Q.

I am requesting information regarding narcolepsy. I haven't found any sources with any information.

Gail

In a book I edited with Warwick Bayly, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, entitled Equine Internal Medicine (published by W.B. Saunders in 1998), there is a section on narcolepsy (page 454). In part, it reads: "Narcolepsy is a rare, incurable sleep disorde

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Power Lines and Horses

February 01, 2001

Q.  Have you ever published anything on the effects of power lines and electromagnetism around broodmares? My farm is trying to circumvent the local electric company from pursuing site location in our mares' field.

Angie

To my knowledge, there has been no information published on the effects of power lines around horses. The topic is controversial in

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Long Gestations

February 01, 2001

Q.

Do you have information on mares which have had exceedingly long gestations with loss of the foal at birth and premature placental separation? My mare had one pregnancy that resulted in the above problems and is now in her second pregnancy. What are the chances that she will have a repeat incident? How should she be monitored as she nears her foaling date?

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Are Straight Hocks a Problem?

January 01, 2001

Q.

Does having straight hocks cause a horse to trip or to react any different than a horse without this? Will they tire more easily climbing hills when on a trail? What safety considerations should I be thinking about? --Lynn

This is an excellent question. Horses with hocks that lack angulation are considered "straight," and this is considered a conformational flaw.

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Problems with Cataracts?

January 01, 2001

Q.

Q: I am thinking of buying a 6-year-old mare that has cataracts in both of her eyes. What kind of problems would I be in for if I decide to buy this sweetheart?

via e-mail


A: If you are seriously interested in this horse, you should invest in an examination by a veterinary

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Any Headshaking Articles?

January 01, 2001

Q. I own a 7-year-old appendix Quarter Horse that I have competed successfully on the Quarter Horse circuit at the national level. Early last fall, this horse began severely shaking or nodding his head at times. It usually was triggered by flies or gnats, but seems to have gotten worse. My veterinarian has diagnosed this as "head shaker syndrome" (headshaking).

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Collecting Colostrum

December 01, 2000

Q.

Q: How can I collect colostrum from a mare and save it for future use, and how long can I keep it?


A: Colostrum or "first milk" is the thick, yellow secretion from the mammary gland that's present immediately after birth. Produced in the mare's udder during the last two to four weeks of gestation in response to hormonal changes,

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Pin Firing

October 01, 2000

Q.

I am about to purchase a gelding who is off the track. I notice he has lines of scars on his cannons that the owner says are from "pin firing." What is pin firing, what is its purpose, and how often is it performed? Is there any long-term damage as a result?   via e-mail

Pin firing or thermocautery has therapeutic value for certain conditions in the horse. When

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Popped Knees

September 01, 2000

Q.

I was talking to one of my e-mail friends last night, and she said her horse had a "popped" knee. I hated to seem ignorant, but I have no idea what that means. Can you help?

via e-mail

"Popped knees" is a

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How Much Bute Is Too Much?

July 01, 2000

Q. My veterinarian recently prescribed "Bute" when my gelding came up sore after an endurance ride. He advised a specific dosage, but I wonder if I could be helping my horse more by increasing the amount of Bute or giving it to him more often. Can I give him more without making him sick?

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Researching the Equine Embryo

June 23, 2000

Q. For the first time in history, scientists are viewing the fine details of the equine embryo at major stages of early development, thanks to the use of the transmission electron microscope (TEM).

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When Should I Call the Vet?

June 01, 2000

Q. A reader asks how she can know when it is time to call the veterinarian for a health problem in her horse, and when advice from Internet chat rooms is enough information.

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