VETERINARY AND HEALTH

Kissing spines in horses

Back pain in horses is fairly common. It can either be primary, associated with the bones in the spine, or secondary i.e muscular pain secondary to a poor fitting saddle, low grade lameness causing muscle tension and a restricted gait or lack of top line. Primary back pain is most commonly caused by over-riding/impinging dorsal…

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Applying a foot poultice

The most common reason for very severe lameness in horses is a solar abscess or “pus in the foot”. This is most common after wet weather when the bottom of the foot becomes softer and more likely to be hurt. It is important to get your vet to examine any lame horse even if you…

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Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance is increasing throughout human and veterinary medicine, and at the same time there are no new classes of antibiotics being produced. This means that there is an increasing population of “superbugs” which are resistant to many or all antibiotics. This may lead to longer recovery times, or in some cases it may unfortunately…

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Supplements

Using Supplements The market for supplements is huge and many owners find different supplements useful for caring for their horse. However, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the vast number of options available for your horse. Manufacturers of supplements do not have to tell you how much of an active ingredient is present in…

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Sarcoids

What are Sarcoids? Sarcoids are a relatively common tumour seen in horses of all kinds. Although they generally cause no major health problems because they are limited to spreading on the skin alone, the presence of sarcoids can cause irritation, problems with tack and a loss of value if selling your horse. It is believed…

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Bandaging

When your horse is injured a bandage may be needed to keep the wound clean, prevent movement and apply pressure so that the wound can heal more quickly. Large wounds and any wound over the knee, hock or fetlock should be checked by your vet. What do you need in your bandaging kit? It is…

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Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium Tetanii which is an anaerobic organism (does not need oxygen). It survives in the environment (soil and droppings) for long periods of time. Tetanus is not contagious, meaning it cannot be spread horse to horse. It penetrates the body via wounds. Puncture wounds and foot penetrating wounds carry…

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Sweet itch

Sweet itch, also known as Culicoides Hypersensitivity, is a skin disease caused by an allergy to midge bites. It presents as pruritis or itching, usually of the mane and tail but can also occur on the underside of the abdomen. Preventing or minimising bites is the most effective way to control symptoms.  This needs forward planning…

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Weight management

Our horse is an amazing product of evolution. Over thousands of years they have developed to survive on the sides of mountains with little food pursued by all sorts of predators. This means that they do a little too well when we provide them with a life of luxury, food brought to their door and…

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Strangles

What is strangles? Strangles is a highly contagious, bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by Streptococcus equi equi.  The disease can affect horses, ponies and donkeys of all ages. Although the disease can make affected horses quite unwell for a couple of weeks, most make a full recovery. It is the highly contagious…

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Sheath examination

What is the sheath and what does it look like normally? The term sheath describes the pocket of skin around your horse’s penis. Unless your horse is relaxed or urinating, its penis will usually be retracted and you won’t be able to see the sheath. Over time skin secretions and dead skin cells can build…

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Equine Gastric Ulceration Syndrome

What is gastric ulceration and why does it happen? Equine Gastric Ulceration Syndrome (EGUS) is a common disease affecting the equine stomach. The horse’s stomach is divided into two very distinct areas, the non glandular/squammous and glandular region. These are separated by a sharp demarcation called the margo plicatus. Horses can develop ulcers in both…

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Coughing and equine asthma

Winter is a time when we often hear our horses coughing more.  Whilst in many situations this is not a major issue, in others, especially middle aged to older horses, this could be due to a disorder called equine asthma. Signs tend to be noticed more in winter as horses spend more time indoors. This…

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Vaccinations

Horses, ponies and donkeys are susceptible to a number of diseases, some of which we can vaccinate against. What are vaccinations? A vaccination is a way of producing an immune response against a specific disease. It primes the immune system so that an appropriate immune response can be stimulated if your horse comes in to…

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Splints

‘Splints’ refer to a hard, bony swelling that appears on the inside (or occasionally outside) of the horse’s lower leg. They are caused by damage to the splint bones or the ligament between the splint and cannon bone. Although they can occur at any age, they are common in younger horses in training. They can…

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Hoof Abscesses

What is a hoof abscess? A hoof abscess describes a painful build-up of purulent material (pus) within the hoof capsule. It will often be extremely uncomfortable for the horse, causing an obvious lameness at walk. Foot abscesses are caused by bacteria entering the hoof capsule and setting up an infection. The bacteria can enter in…

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Mud fever

Traditionally, mud fever has been associated with the wet muddy conditions we see in the winter. However, it can occur throughout other times of the year. What is mud fever? Mud fever, also known as pastern dermatitis or ‘cracked heels’ is a skin condition generally caused by a bacteria called Dermatophilosis Congolensis. This bug is…

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First aid for wounds

Skin wounds are extremely common in horses, particularly on the limbs or face. Many wounds only require simple first aid in order to treat them, though more serious ones will require veterinary attention. Arming yourself with some basic first aid knowledge and a suitable first aid kit will enable you to treat minor wounds effectively…

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Choke

‘Choke’ can be a very scary experience for owner and horse alike. The name is misleading, as it refers to an obstruction (usually food) in the oesophagus (food pipe) rather than the trachea (wind pipe). The most common sign of choke is sudden coughing, wretching and discomfort immediately after eating. This is often followed by…

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Atypical Myopathy

Atypical Myopathy (Sycamore Poisoning) Atypical myopathy (also known as ‘sycamore poisoning’) is a severe and potentially fatal muscle disorder of horses caused by eating sycamore ‘helicopter’ seeds and, to a lesser extent sycamore leaves, that fall onto pasture in the autumn & winter or sycamore seedlings which grow in the spring. The seeds and seedlings…

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