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Pass The Salt

Pass The Salt

While you may be looking for ways to decrease the amount of salt in your own diet, most horses can be allowed as much of the mineral as they want.

Salt provides electrolytes that play a critical role in most of the body's electrochemical processes. If a horse does not get enough salt, his body balances his blood sodium levels by retaining less water. This can lead to dehydration, especially during the summer months when electrolytes are already lost through sweating.

Healthy Front Hooves

Healthy Front Hooves

Despite textbook images to the contrary, equine hooves rarely appear"perfect" Further, no two hooves are created equal even on the same horse. If you pick up your horse's left and right front feet, for instance, you will notice a variety of natural differences between the two. As depicted above, the general shape can vary greatly, and left and right front heel bulbs and frog shape and location within the heel can differ considerably. Notice this left front medial (inner) heel bulb is pushed up slightly, as is typical of many feet. Wall thickness at the toe usually varies between feet due to farrier technique. A line drawn down the middle of the foot reveals a typically wider lateral (outside) half on both feet and an asymmetric radius of the medial versus lateral half of the foot.

The outside appearance is dictated by forces within the foot, coffin bone angle and shape, and internal parameters, which radiographs reveal are strikingly different from one foot to the other. So the next time you start to fret over the fact your horse's feet don't match textbook images of the "normal" hoof  remember that all feet differ due to factors such as age, environment, genetics, and farriery. Imperfect-looking hooves can often be very healthy, and trying to "correct" them can do far more harm than good .

Retained Placenta

 Retained Placenta

If the placenta (fetal membranes) have not passed from the mare's uterus within 4 hours after foaling, the uterus can become inflamed and or infected. Retained placenta can also lead to laminitis and, in rare instances, shock and death. Do not pull on the hanging placenta; this can result in serious problems.

In some mares, the placenta is not evident and it is difficult to determine whether the placenta has been retained or has been passed normally. Signs of a retained placenta include a small red to black tag seen occasionally at the vulva, or lack of an expelled placenta in the foaling area.

Mares that previously have had a retained placenta after foaling may have the problem again in future foalings. Approximately 2-10% of broodmares repeatedly have this problem. Treatment may be required to help reduce permanent fertility problems.

If you are in the San Diego area and you have a horse with a retained placenta, call Dr. Garfinkel at 619-659-1180.

Chronic Diarrhea

Chronic Diarrhea

General Information

Chronic diarrhea is diarrhea that recurs intermittently or persists for longer than 2 weeks. The manure has a "cow pie" to watery consistency. Some normal horses occasionally pass a few ounces of liquid after a normal bowel movement; this can dirty the tail but should not be confused with chronic diarrhea.

Joint Injections

Joint Injections

Dr. Garfinkel might inject medications into horses' joints to combat such problems as synovitis and osteoarthritis (com­monly injected joints indicated in red). Two of the main categories of medication they currently use are hyaluronic acid (HA) and polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG).

How Insulin Works in a Horse

How Insulin Works in a Horse

In healthy horses, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin in response to increased glucose levels in the blood from high-starch and -sugar meals. Here's why: During digestion, villi (tiny hair like projections) lining the the small intestine's wall absorb glucose into the bloodstream, signaling the pancreas to release insulin-a hormone that helps the body turn glucose into energy.

Deworming

wormsOne of the biggest changes that has influenced almost every horse owner is the new recommendation for intestinal parasite control. Gone are the days of deworming an entire barn on a fixed, repeatable schedule. Studies over the past 10 years increasingly report cases of parasite resistance to dewormers commonly used on farms, such as ivermectin and fenbendazole. In an effort to slow the development of parasite resistance on horse farms, parasitologists and veterinarians are now recommending horse owners have fecal egg counts taken on their horses prior to treatment to determine which animals should be dewormed more frequently and which require minimal treatment. This way, Dr. Garfinkel can identify "high shedders," meaning horses that shed the majority of parasite eggs. Not every horse in a herd needs to be dewormed every six weeks, since overdeworming can hasten the development of-parasite resistance.