Keeping your horses healthy for over 20 years; Equine Health Management is a group of independent equine veterinarians who share office space. This unique setup allows us to better serve our clients by providing extended services such as 24 hour Emergency care, Dental, Reproductive, and Sports Medicine specialist in addition to our general equine medicine.
The grime that builds up on grooming brushes and other tools is more than just unsightly; it may harbor bacteria and fungi that can cause a number of diseases. Any tools that come in contact with your horse or his wastes—including muck buckets, shovels, wheelbarrows and hoof picks—ought to be sanitized with a disinfectant periodically. It’s especially important to sanitize any tools you’ve used caring for a sick horse. Here are the basic steps:
Scrape or knock off any hair or caked-on dirt and debris.
Clean with a squirt or two of dish or laundry detergent in a gallon or more of water. Scrub your grooming brushes against each other to remove all dirt; use scrub brushes on larger tools and buckets.
Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
For extra disinfection, soak the tools in a commercial sanitizer, such as phenol, quaternary ammonium, accelerated hydrogen peroxide or a peroxygen-based product, or a mild bleach solution for at least 10 minutes as recommended by your veterinarian. The type of disinfectant needed will vary with the targeted micro-organism and the surface of the material being cleaned. Read the labels for handling instructions and safety precautions; use rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your skin and eyes.
Rinse feed and water buckets thoroughly, making sure no soap or chemical residue remains.
Set the items out in bright sunlight to dry—the ultraviolet light will kill more pathogens.
So-called "marish" behavior aggressiveness, impatience and general grumpiness is more common during estrus because of increased hormone levels. As days become shorter, the mare's body produces the hormone melatonin, which shifts her into anestrus. During this period, no eggs are released. The transition to anestrus begins in late fall. By winter solstice, a mare will be in the deepest part of the phase and may seem more calm and easygoing.
Not all behavior changes in mares are hormone related, however, and it's wise to investigate them even if you think you know the cause. If your mare's personality seems different this winter, start recording your observations, including checks of her vital signs, in a daily journal. Call your veterinarian if she shows any other signs of illness. Continue the journal through the spring and summer, noting her reaction in various environments and situations, such as being in the pasture with other horses or being tacked up for riding. Comparing her attitudes during the winter and summer can help you identify possible hormone related behaviors.
1. Protect Medication. Check the labels of all injectable, topical and oral medications for information about proper storage. Many cannot withstand cold temperatures and will become useless, if not harmful, if they freeze. Either store cold-sensitive products in a climate-controlled tack room, or take them to your house for the winter. Check expiration dates and replace any products that have gotten too old. If you're unsure whether one of your drugs is still safe, ask your veterinarian. He can also advise you on how to properly dispose of old or damaged products.2. Mow and drag your pasture. Cutting weeds before they go to seed will help keep them under control next year, and especially if you're taking your horse off the grass for the winter, dragging the manure will give it plenty of time to decompose. But don't mow to less than four inches-the grass still needs reserves to help the roots survive the cold months.
3. Walk your fence lines. Shake the posts as you go, looking for loose boards or wires, protruding nails or fasteners, leaning or other signs of developing weakness. Carry a tool belt to make minor repairs as you go, as well as brightly colored tape to mark areas that will require more attention later.
4. Inspect your blankets. Even if you cleaned and stored your blankets properly at the end of last season, it's a good idea to take them out and have a look at them well before you'll need them again. Mold, insects or rodents may have gotten to them while they were in storage. Check for loose straps, frayed fabric, holes or foul smells, and repair or replace any blankets that need attention.
Also make sure each garment still fits properly. Youngsters, athletes, seniors or laid-up horses may have gained or lost a significant amount of weight over the summer and may not be able to wear the same blanket again. A properly fitting blanket allows a hand to fit snugly under and slide around along the shoulder, withers, and rump.
5. Adjust the airflow in each stall. Too little ventilation in a horse's stall means the airborne dust can accumulate quickly to unhealthy levels; too much airflow can mean bone-chilling drafts. Check how the air is moving in each stall with one of these two methods:
Scuff your boots in the bedding, enough to kick up dust. After five minutes use a flashlight or other light source to check the air. If you can still see floating particles, the air is too stagnant.
Hold a strip of toilet paper, about a foot or two long, at arm's length at different places in the stall. You want to see it waving gently, to indicate a gentle breeze. If it's either hanging motionless or flapping vigorously, the airflow is too low or too high. Open and close the doors and windows until you reach the ideal amount of ventilation. Usually, a few open windows on the leeward side of the barn, sheltered from snow and rain, provide a healthy supply of fresh air.
Riverside county is still battling cases of West Nile. Our office alone has seen over 5 cases last year. Now Available, A revolutionary DNA vaccine that doesn't require a virus to carry it into the horse. Instead, the engineered DNA goes directly into the nucleus of the host's cells, causing the cell to create an immune response that mimics the body's response to natural infection. This process will enhance the ability to safely vaccinate the immune compromised patient young and old. Call your doctor today for more information.
The American Assoication of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recently undated its Guidelines for Vaccination. Rabies has been added to the list of core vaccines that should be administered to all horses annually in addition to our current list of West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis, Western Equine Encephalomyelitis, and Tetanus.