Seasonal Care

Horse owners are familiar with the tragic pictures shared on social media of the emaciated horse rescued by the authorities, or the one that could not be saved due to its poor condition. Malnourished horses are a reality even in our affluent Western world. Sometimes these horses are the result of well-intentioned people trying to “save” unwanted horses, only to find they are unable to do so because of cost or scarcity of feed.

Equine Cushing’s Disease, more correctly called Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is a non-cancerous but progressive enlargement of the pituitary gland in the horse. It is estimated that 20 percent of horses over the age of 15 will develop PPID. Note that Cushing’s Syndrome in humans and dogs (when not due to giving too much steroidal medication) involves an actual tumour of either the pituitary or the adrenal glands, (either benign or malignant), whereas Cushing’s Disease in horses has a different cause.

Whether or not to blanket a horse is an often-debated question and there are many logical and justifiable reasons to go either way. In normal weather conditions, many horses do not need a blanket, especially if they have access to food and shelter and have grown a healthy, thick winter coat. But for horses with special needs such as older or geriatric horses, pregnant mares, horses with compromised health conditions, or horses that have been clipped, blankets are certainly appropriate. Consideration should also be given to the horse’s breed, hair coat quality, feeding routine, and its acclimatization to the existing conditions.

The Equine Heart, what should my horse's heart rate be, what is a normal rhythm horse heart, equine electrocardiogram, heart rate variability horse

Skipped Beats, Sudden Death… and Why We Shouldn’t Worry Too Much. When you first start examining patients as a veterinary student, you’re very keen to (gently) poke and prod every animal you come across. Realizing you can assess cardiovascular function by palpating peripheral pulses is very empowering!

equine Laminitis in Horses with EMS and Cushing’s Disorder, Dr. Jaini Clougher ECIR Group. Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Cushing’s disorder (PPID) phenylbutazone (Bute) horse is rocked back onto its haunches therapeutic hoof boots with pads vitamin e laminitis

Equine laminitis has been with us for a long, long time. Fortunately, in the last 10 to 20 years there have been great strides in understanding the causes of this terrible condition. Laminitis is now regarded as a syndrome that occurs secondary to something else, rather than a discreet disease all in itself. This has allowed much more focused research and effort in treating the cause rather than treating just the symptoms that occur in the hoof. It doesn’t matter how great the trim is, or what shoes are used, or how deep the bedding. If initiating causes such as EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome – see Equine Metabolic Syndrome & Equine Cushing’s Disease, Early Summer 2018 issue of Canadian Horse Journal) or PPID (Cushing’s disorder) are not addressed, the laminitis and the pain will continue.

Horse owners have been wetting or soaking hay as a feed management practice for many years. Soaking hay for horses can be invaluable when feeding a hay that is a little dusty as a result of soil contamination or where it was stored in the barn. Horses that have allergies and are sensitive to the natural dust and particles in hay can benefit significantly from wetting or soaking hay.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Equine Cushing’s Disease (also known as Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction, or PPID) are reasonably common conditions we encounter in our horses. This article will deal primarily with EMS, but because PPID can be a cause of increased insulin levels in horses, it needs to be mentioned as well.

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