Farm Call: Your Questions Answered

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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Proud Flesh

May 01, 2000

Q. Q: My horse had a cut on his lower cannon bone and my vet gave me instructions on how to wrap it to prevent proud flesh. What is proud flesh, and can it really become a problem, or is he being overly cautious? A: Exuberant granulation tissue, or proud flesh as it is more commonly known, is part of the normal wound healing response in the horse. Granulation tissue is the pebbly...

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Coffin Bone Fractures

March 01, 2000

Q.

My horse has been diagnosed with a fractured coffin bone. What could have caused it, and what is the prognosis?

Fractures of the coffin bone or distal phalanx usually occur in the horse following some type of trauma, often from kicking, or a large force placed on the coffin bone (i.e., racing on hard tracks). However, they can occur from a penetrating object or as the result of

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Foal Heat Diarrhea

February 01, 2000

Q.

Can you please tell me what foal heat diarrhea is, and what causes it? Some people say it's because of the mare's hormones being transferred in her milk during foal heat, but other people have said that is an old wives' tale.

Foal heat scours (diarrhea) is a term used to describe the diarrhea that occurs in foals between seven and 10 days of age. It is

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Bladder Rupture

January 01, 2000

Q.  It's nearly foaling season on the farm where I work, and a groom was telling me about a foal last year that died of bladder rupture on this farm. Is this something that I can prevent? How do I recognize it?


Bladder rupture is a tear or leak in the urinary bladder that results in uroperitoneum. Uroperitoneum, the accumulation of urine in the peritoneal

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Patchy Hair Loss

October 01, 1999

Q. I noticed that my Arabian mare was missing a patch of hair under her mane at the beginning of the summer. Since then, the spot has gotten larger. What causes this? How can I treat it?

Hair loss in the horse can be caused by something simple, such as environment and temperature, or it can be caused by a more serious dermatophyte (fungus), such as ringworm, that invades the hair

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Foal Diarrhea

September 01, 1999

Q.  I am a new owner of a broodmare who just had her first foal, which now has diarrhea. What can I do about it? How serious is it for him? How do I keep this from happening again?

The causative agents for diarrhea can be bacteria, viruses, parasites, or a range of non-infectious agents or conditions such as toxins, lactose intolerance, or "foal heat" diarrhea. Foa

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Steroids

July 01, 1999

Q.

Q: My horse had a soft tissue injury and my veterinarian gave him steroids. Some of the people in my barn say I need to be careful that he doesn’t get too aggressive or get foundered. I’m confused. How can steroids do all of that?


A: The steroids, an extremely broad category of drugs and natural hormones,

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Buying a Horse/Prepurchase Exams

June 01, 1999

Q. Q: I'm in the market for my first horse. I've seen people at my barn buy horses, and they always have a veterinarian check the horse over before making the purchase. What exactly does the veterinarian check for and why is this so important? A: For the sake of space and the amount of information available on this topic, this article will deal with the private sale of horses.

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Feeding Beet Pulp

May 01, 1999

Q. Q: I've been told I should feed beet pulp to help put weight on my skinny Thoroughbred. But I'm worried about the stories I've heard about beet pulp expanding in the horse's stomach and causing colic -- or worse! Is beet pulp a good addition to my horse's diet, and if so, how can I feed it safely?


A: Beet pulp is the fibrous

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Do I Need a Dental Exam For My Horse?

March 01, 1999

Q. Q: I have a Morgan mare who, I think, might have something wrong with her teeth. What should I expect from a dental examination for my horse? A: The veterinarian and the owner need to discuss what the owner wants and expects from a dental examination. Dental examinations can vary from a superficial examination to identify major abnormalities only, to a detailed examination that hopefully will

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