New Years Resolutions and Horses

New Years Resolutions and Horses

Tuesdays with Tony

 Ahh a new year, another chance to make your dreams come true! 2018 offers us each the opportunity to start fresh, to turn over a new leaf. I know you horse-crazy cats pretty well by now, and I bet I can guess some of your New Years resolutions. For some of you, it might be to make it to Pony Finals. For others, it might be to get in the money in the 2D. Some of you might even have the goal of riding your horse for the first time in several years. Whatever your competition goals this year, Springhill Equine can help you achieve them. My docs are well versed in getting your horse to where he needs to be to make your wildest dreams a reality. I need to find someone to help me with that… cats have dreams too, you know!

Resolution #1: Get my horse on a Wellness Plan

   First, let’s start with the basics. In order for your horse to get back in the game and stay there, you will need to make sure his healthcare needs are taken care of. The easiest way to do that is with one of my all-inclusive Wellness Plans. Not only do they cover all of your horse’s routine medical care like vaccines, dentals, and Coggins, but they also offer peace of mind in the form of No Emergency Fees should your horse meet with an unexpected illness or injury this year.

    Whether your goal is trail riding or racing, or somewhere in between, your horse can’t be expected to do his best if he isn’t feeling well. Each Wellness Plan comes with 2 complete physical exams each year to catch the little problems before they become a big deal. These visits are also a great opportunity to check in with one of our vets, and discuss any concerns you may have with your horse’s performance. If there is an underlying medical problem, you will certainly need to get that taken care of before you can move up to the next level in your sport. I realize that this advice would have more clout coming from someone who actually participated in sports, which I decidedly do not.

Resolution #2: Have that nagging, super-minor, only-sometimes, usually-works-out-of-it lameness checked out

  Just because a judge wouldn’t necessarily notice it in the show ring doesn’t mean it’s not there. If you feel your horse is off, even if it’s only a little hitch when he comes around that 3rd barrel and it only happens when he’s tired, you should really have one of my amazing vets look into it.
    There are a few reasons you should have a mild lameness worked up sooner rather than later. First, even a minor lameness could be a sign of a serious injury, and continuing to work your horse could make the injury worse. Second, the lameness could be an early sign of a disease that can be prevented. For example, if your horse is diagnosed with early arthritis, there are medications you could start him on now that are proven to protect his joints from further damage. Third, and most importantly, that nagging, barely-there lameness could be affecting your horse’s performance, and getting it properly treated could make the difference between first and last place at your next competition. Wouldn’t you love to know if something as simple as a shoeing change could make him feel—and thus perform—10 times better?

Resolution #3: Achieve my competition goals

   Once you have your horse’s health in order, this third step will be easy! With the help of my splendid team of vets, techs, and staff, your horse will be looking and feeling his best. I like to offer our clients the total package – from nutrition to dentistry, from farriers to trainers, rest assured someone at Springhill can point you in the right direction. Remember, a healthy horse is a happy horse, and happy horses win prizes!
    I’m afraid the only competition I have to look forward to this year is the occasional cat fight between myself and Teanie over someone’s tuna sandwich. So, I must live vicariously through all of you and your horses. Your New Years resolutions are truly important to me, and I want to see you stick to all of them!
     WishIng you and your horse the best of luck and a Happy New Year!!!!
      -Tony

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Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Office Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!

Lameness: Video Diagnosing and Rehab

Lameness: Video Diagnosing and Rehab

Tuesdays with Tony

This ‘riding of horses’ thing amazes me. First, that they let you humans do it. Second, how much devotion you humans have to it. I wish my minions had that level of devotion to scratching my chin just right all day long. That would make me a happy cat. Where am I going with this ‘level of devotion’ thing? I helped analyze videos this week. You may have an idea about what this means. I thought popcorn and soda, but in reality it’s the analysis of every footfall, every wiggle, every head movement, and even what the human is doing while a horse is doing what it does. In the end, the rider had very concrete exercises to deal with the issues this horse was having.

Lameness

It started with a “left shift when jumping” problem. The rider came to my Docs because her horse was shifting hard to the left. She wanted to eliminate a pain or physical problem. Always a wise idea. Unlike cats, most of the time horses want to do what you humans are asking. If they aren’t doing it, eliminating a painful cause is a good idea! A very thorough lameness exam ensued. Despite flexions, circles, backing, head up, head down, over the hill, and going through the wood, no lameness could be created. Now, there are lots of lamenesses that can’t be recreated on the ground, so the Docs had the rider get on and ride. You won’t believe what they noticed under saddle!  Ah, I crack myself up. I was on Facebook reading clickbait articles until the wee hours of the morning with Teanie last night.

Anyway, under saddle the Docs saw this horse pushed his right hind to the inside. They called it “tripoding.” I’m pretty sure they made that term up, but you get the idea. Next they had the horse jump over small jumps coming towards them, going away from them, and finally from the side. They recorded all of these angles on video. Then they spent a whole lot of time watching these videos over, and over, and over. I finally went to sleep. A cat can only watch a horse repeatedly take off and land over the same exact jump so many times. The result was a list of things this horse was doing that caused him to shift left. For instance, he always pushed off with his left leg, and he would do just about anything to make that happen. At the same time he pushed off with his left leg, he dove right with his shoulders, and his right stifle bowed out.

FES Tuesdays with TonyRehab

Now we have something to work on! What does that work look like? Incredibly detailed and somewhat tedious. Work a cat would not be good at. For this horse, it started with an FES session. That’s Functional Electrical Stimulation. This therapy is like pilates for horses. It stretches muscles and gets things moving. This guy was very tight in his neck and hip area! He’ll get a session a week for 5 to 6 weeks to help the rehab work go farther, faster. That rehab work is going to be in hand and under saddle work to help him strengthen the stifle so it can stay strong on that right side, and work to help him “lock in” to a straight line. Right now he rides like a wet noodle!

Not getting the performance you want? Talk to my Docs. They’ll have you clocking 1D times, jumping higher, or collecting better in no time! Until next week….

Tony

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Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Office Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!

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Tuesdays with Tony – Blessed Be The Old Farts

Tuesdays with Tony – Blessed Be The Old Farts

Blessed be the old farts.  Around here there is a kind of reverence for the older horse.  I will admit to jealousy.  It’s not pretty, I know, but it’s real.  I mean, I’m a cat.  I deserve all the reverence around here.  In an effort to explore the causes for this misguided worship I talked with my minions, I mean humans, about the phenomenon.

Turns out all my humans went with something along the lines of enjoying their horses, learning from them, and feeling appreciative of all the horses gave to them during their athletic careers.  The humans said they wanted to make sure their horses had wonderful retirements since they had earned it.  I was a little confused by the “earned it” thing, since I don’t need to earn anything, but I digress.

What messes up a horse’s retirement?

Do they golf? Do they play Canasta and Bridge?  Apparently no.  They wander around a field and eat. This is a typical day for me if you substitute ‘Clinic’ for ‘field’, so not sure if I’m retired already or how that works.  Anyway, dental issues, lameness, and not feeling so hot are the biggies that interfere with retirees’ ability to wander around and eat.

The Teeth

Let’s start with dental issues.  Horses are this really weird thing called an hypsodont.  It means they have a whole lot of tooth when they are young, which they wear down to nothing over their lifetime.  The super cool thing is you humans are doing such a good job taking care of your horses that they now outlive their teeth.  Sure. that sounds scary, but with good nutrition it’s not a problem.  What it does mean is that you may notice your horse not wanting to eat.  You humans do a pretty darn good job knowing your horses.  When Tiny backs off on feed, don’t worry that we are going to think you’re crazy.  We won’t! We do the exact same thing! What we are going to do is schedule an appointment for one of our Docs to come take a look in Tiny’s mouth.  They might find some teeth that need to be adjusted a little bit or potentially extracted.

The Legs

Moving on to lameness.  This one I identify with.  I have jumped down from high places one too many times and I’m starting to develop a bit of arthritis in my right front paw.  Life catches up with us all.  All those daring feats of athleticism we displayed in our younger years show up as aches and pain in our later years.  Laminitis (same as founder) may rear its ugly head as well.  Once again the signs can be subtle, and you, the awesome human, may notice Flicka is in a different corner of the pasture than normal.  Once again, we won’t think you’re crazy when you tell us this.  We do the exact same thing! In this case our Docs are going to evaluate feet, legs, and the musculoskeletal system in general to identify a cause for the lameness.  If it’s arthritis, they will often recommend NSAIDs (horse aspirin) like bute or Equioxx, and movement, even in small amounts.  If it’s laminitis, a test for Cushings is almost always called for.  This is a test even a dog could pass!  It’s just a blood draw.  They also get on the phone with the farrier to make sure your horse’s entire team has the information they need.

When all of it goes wrong

Next there’s the “not feeling so hot”.  Again, when you call to say Mister isn’t right, but you can’t put your finger on it, we will be nodding our heads. We know that feeling!  This one is a little tougher.  Our Docs will put on their detective hats and start the investigation with you.  They won’t start with you because you are the prime suspect, they will start with you because you are the best source of information.  You know your horse.  You know if Mister ate and drank normally, and has he been sleeping normally? Rolling over? Is he in the same place in the herd hierarchy?  Next they will take your information, combine it with a good physical exam, and determine a course of action.  Usually, this involves some blood tests (remember they’re so easy a dog can pass them), along with an ultrasound of the chest and abdomen.  Only thing difficult about an ultrasound is the cold alcohol they put on your skin.  Based on these easy, peasy tests, our Docs will help you map out the best treatment options.  Lots of times these tests turn up Cushings disease.  Cushings is an endocrine disease which messes with every system there is to mess with.  Good news though: one small pink pill daily is the treatment. And if you schedule an appointment by the end of the week, our monthly special is $10 off this blood test!

Horses are like fine wine, they only grow better with age.  Totally patronizing the humans there, they told me to write that.  Anyway, let your horse live long and prosper with a little TLC.  The humans yak on a lot about Super Seniors, so this is the first in a four part Tuesdays with Tony expose.  Tune in next week for part 2

-Tony

Tuesdays with Tony – Big Burly Men

Tuesdays with Tony – Big Burly Men

Last Wednesday evening was an atypical night for me. There was pizza, which is always a plus. But then about a half dozen big burly men with a bunch of tools showed up, pulling trailers with–get this–built-in furnaces! The docs called them Farriers. Turns out all you have to do is let them know there will be pizza, and they will come from far and wide. Beth brought in her horse, Princess Chubby Butt, to be the test subject. The docs learned how the farriers approach a problem foot, and the farriers learned why things are not always as they seem on X-rays. It was a great learning experience for everyone…OK, I’ll admit even I learned a thing or two.

It turns out if you ask 6 different farriers the same question, you get 6 different answers. In fact, it is widely accepted that if you ask 20 different farriers the same question, you will get 20 different answers. Luckily, we have a bunch of great farriers in our area, and although they may have different opinions about the right way to approach a problem, none of them are wrong. If your horse was experiencing a foot lameness, it used to be commonplace for your vet to blame your farrier, and for your farrier to blame your vet. But here at Springhill Equine we are trying to change that!

We see the vet, farrier, and horse owner as a team, and we try to come up with a solution by putting our heads together. Whether the problem is laminitis, club foot, navicular disease, arthritis, thrush, etc… you need a vet and farrier working together to get the foot going in the right direction. Farriers are often grateful to see what’s going on inside the foot with the aid of X-rays, and I know the docs are grateful to have somebody else in charge of hammering nails into the horse’s foot!

All in all, our first vet/farrier team building/brainstorming meeting (event name pending) was a huge success, and we hope to have more in the future. Oh, and Princess Chubby Butt is loving her fancy new shoes! If you are ever looking for a farrier, there is a long list of names in the desk that I like to sleep on, and we would be happy to find one to meet your horses’ needs.

Until next week,

Tony

 

farrier seminar 2Tony on farrier truckfarrier seminar 1

Tuesdays with Tony – See Tony Event

Tuesdays with Tony – See Tony Event

Tuesdays with Tony – These Boots Were Made For Trotting

Tuesdays with Tony – These Boots Were Made For Trotting

While clicking through the internet over this long holiday weekend I came upon this picture of yours truly:

It got me thinking about boots.  I make these boots look darn good.  This got myself, Teannie, and our weekend guest, a charming horse name Goose, talking about boots in general.  We marveled at all the colors, textures, patterns, and types of boots that humans have for their feet.  Teannie and I remarked that as the perfect creatures we are, we never have to wear such things.  OK, so that one time I had to wear a cast for a long time after Teannie broke my foot when I made, what she considers a disparaging, remark about her ears, but other than that, no foot wear.  Goose informed us we just didn’t know all the fun we were missing.  He gets to wear boots all the time when he works, and he finds them stylish and comfortable.  I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him we don’t work.  However, Goose’s statement did make me head off for some research about boots and horses.

My first question to you humans is REALLY??!!??!? Do you really need all of the 8,482 different types of boots I found? There are open front boots, support boots, cross country, splint, ankle, bell, and galloping just to name a few.  And the colors and patterns.  Don’t get me started on all that.  Let’s just say I am never wearing anything in tie dye.  Especially not on my feet.  Looking in to the why so many freakin’ kinds of boots did inform me that many different kinds are needed for all the crazy things you guys do with horses.  Lots of people like the all around support kind.  If you jump over things, you like the kind open in front.  If your horse hits his ankles you like the ankle kind.  You get the gist.  Anyway I will give you all the different kinds.

My next question was can they seriously do all the things they say they can?  Here’s where life gets a little fuzzy.  Let’s start with support.  When it comes to the equine limb that is a tricky statement at best.  Support what? If you support the fetlock, then more concussion goes up the limb and that can be damaging to the shoulder.  With all the weight horses bring to the game, it turns out “support” can’t be done without compromising range of motion, which means no more daring moves of athletic prowess.  So how about concussion? This one does turn out to have some validity.  When you ask horses to turn quickly around trash cans, jump over sticks, and prance sideways they have a tendency to tangle up those long legs at some point in the process.  Those tangles can have some serious forces behind them.  A good boot will absorb some of the concussion and prevent lacerations from hooves.

Goose pointed out that sometimes his legs get hot in those boots.  Seems reasonable in this ridiculous Florida weather; also important for the health of your horse’s tendons and ligaments.  Tendons and ligaments can take normal heat but researchers have found temperatures of up to 145F following exercise!  Newer boot manufacturing techniques are looking at the heat build-up problem and working on solutions.  I would certainly put boots on just before exercise and take them off just after work to keep those legs happy.

In case you need a good reason to make your horse wear boots, watch this video at around 18 minutes in.  Words of warning it is a bit graphic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsvS6gEBJuE

And on that note, I’m off to ponder my new line of feline footwear.

tony n boots

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