Seasonal Care

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.

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.

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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!

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Where you keep your horse can influence the risk of tapeworm infections, according to research from Poland. Recommendations for deworming horses have changed over the years to take account of widespread anthelmintic resistance and changing patterns of infection.

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.

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For a prey animal that instinctively depends on sight for survival, a horse’s loss of vision or even the loss of an eye is devastating. Yet, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common cancer found in equine eyes and the second most common tumour in horses.

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At first, you might notice something wrong with your horse’s skin. He may start making unusual noises or being hypersensitive to your touch in the flank area – signs that would normally point to a medical issue such as a dermatological condition.

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