Dry Weather and Colic

Dry Weather and Colic

Tuesdays with Tony

This weather sucks. I know you’re shocked to get my honest opinion, but as a cat I feel I owe it to my adoring fans to be true to my nature, and my nature doesn’t like this weather. It’s true that I also don’t like rainy days, but I do like rain often enough that the grass doesn’t prick my paws as I walk around the Clinic property ensuring all is as it should be in my kingdom. The horses aren’t loving it either, but they have different reasons. 

 

Bits of grass, and lots of sand

 

Out in the pasture right now there are tiny bits of grass hanging on for dear life, just hoping for something resembling rain. The best we’ve gotten lately are some really foggy mornings. Those tiny bits of grass are looking really, really tasty to your horse. When your horse goes to grab that tiniest morsel of green goodness, they also pull up the roots. Those sad roots have nothing to hold onto right now, and give up the fight easily. With the roots comes sand, and you should know sand is less than ideal for the equine GI tract. If you don’t, you need to evaluate your reading habits because you aren’t reading my blog often enough. Right now horses are spending all their time looking hard for those tiny morsels, which means lots of sand is going in their GI tracts. It also means some green stuff (weeds) that isn’t grass looks better now than it normally would. 

Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic

A Rain Dance would be nice

 

Sure, a rain dance would be nice, but in the meantime what’s a horse owner to do to try to help their horses make good decisions? HaHa! Horses never make good decisions. Just kidding (sort of). Anyway, real help. Look at your pasture set up to see if you can rotate the heck out of your pastures. Using the plastic step-in T-posts and electric tape is an easy way to block off areas of pasture to let them recuperate. Give pastures at least 10 days, and 14 days if possible, before putting horses back on them. While you won’t grow amazing grass this way, you will keep things at a tolerable level. If you can’t block off pastures, consider putting hay out. Now we normally talk about this at the first freeze, but with no grass, now’s a good time to start with hay. To avoid unscheduled visits from one of my Docs, be sure to slowly increase the amount of hay you’re putting out over 7-10 days. Don’t put a roll of coastal out until they are walking away from flakes, and be sure to add ½-1 flake of alfalfa or peanut hay daily to their diets. If you really want to minimize the risk of colic from hay, go with alfalfa or orchard/alfalfa pasture bales. Lots of horses can’t eat these without packing on the pounds, and for those coastal hay is a great option. 

 

Other ways to avoid Unscheduled Visits

 

This drought has been very noticeable for one thing around the Clinic: more colics. Let me tell you what my Docs don’t want to see you for: A Colic. They don’t like them any more than you do!!! Here’s my step-by-step process to avoid unscheduled visits thanks to the dreaded C word:

  1. Give your horse at least ½ flake peanut or alfalfa hay daily. One flake would be even better. These hays are high in natural salt content so they get your horse to head to the water trough, and they both have a natural laxative effect to help prevent impactions.
  2. Add water to your horse’s grain. This is the easiest way to get horses to “drink” more water. The soupier the better! It’s all added hydration.
  3. Be aware of how much sand they can consume. If you live on a sandy property, your horse is eating tons of it right now. If you don’t live on a sandy property, your horse is eating some right now. Feeding lots and lots of hay is the best way to move sand through the system! If in doubt, add in one of the sand clearing products for one week out of every month to really clean the pipes. My Docs can also x-ray or ultrasound for sand to help you have an idea how much sand is in there. 

We are all holding out hope for a lovely rainy week or two, but until that comes, I hope the cat wisdom helps you keep the colic away!

Now be a good human: 1. Scroll down a tiny bit farther 2. Subscribe to my blog 3. Never miss a bit of Tony wisdom.  It’s good stuff!

Until next week,

~Tony

Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! 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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Sand Colic

Sand Colic

Tuesdays with Tony

Ahh, Florida. The rest of the world is sure it’s all sun, surf, and sand. They’ve got 2 out 3 right, and according to Meatloaf that ain’t bad. Where am I going with this? To the sand. For reasons I don’t understand, horses feel it’s appropriate to eat sand. This can, obviously, lead to problems. This week, we’re going to talk about those problems. More importantly, we’re going to talk about how to be smarter than your horse so that you can avoid these problems. I have faith you humans can do it. I’m not asking you to be smarter than a cat. That would be impossible.

 

How do I know they have sand?

 

Many of you have likely heard of the Ziploc bag test. I’m sure this is a use Ziploc did not envision for their handy plastic bags. This test involves grabbing a few fecal balls from a fresh, clean pile, adding water, sealing the bag (very, very important step), and shaking. Let the bag sit for a few minutes, and see if there’s sand in the bottom. There will be sand. After all, we do live in Florida. The question is how much sand is there? If there’s ¼ sand or less to ¾ poop in your sand-to-poop ratio, congratulations your horse is moving sand out of the gut. That word ‘moving’ is important. That’s the limitation of this test. It is moderately useful, but it only tells us that sand is moving out of the gut. You see, horses are sneaky. They also like to have a gut full of sand that’s just sitting there doing nothing! That sand won’t show up on the Ziploc test.

 

Behold! The awesomeness of x-rays and ultrasound! If my Docs have a sand suspicion, but no sand on the baggie test, they pull out the big guns. They will start with the ultrasound. My Docs will put an ultrasound probe right on the middle of the bottom of the abdomen. If there’s sand, they will see a colon with no ridges. Those ridges are what they call sacculations of the large colon. These sacculations are what allow the colon to expand with gas and food, then shrink down as it empties. Sand, however, fills all that up. Sometimes, it can be a little tough to decide on ultrasound thanks to gas. Ultrasound can’t see through gas, so if your horse has a lot of it, and horses often do have a lot of gas, the Docs will switch to x-ray. They shoot an x-ray through the bottom of the abdomen, and get an image that looks like this:

Getting Rid of Sand

 

Great, you’ve now identified that your horse has sand in the belly. How do you get rid of it? If there’s lots of it, my Docs will tube your horse with a combination of psyllium (basically Metamucil), Epsom salts, and mineral oil. The psyllium and Epsom salts work to grab the sand, pick it up, and move it out of the gi tract. The mineral oil works to protect the walls of the GI tract from all that abrasion as the sand moves. You can just imagine how abrasive that can be…..go ahead, imagine. Usually one treatment clears the sand, but sometimes it takes more than one. Rarely, my Docs have to bring one of these guys into the clinic for IV fluids along with the Epsom salts, and psyllium. I will say it is very impressive when they start passing sand. There’s nothing like sand, psyllium, Espom salt diarrhea to really make a mess out of stall!

Springhill Equine

Even better, keep sand out

 

“On ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” was never more true than sand and horses. The number one key is hay. Yep, hay, and lots of it. As far as horses are concerned, this is the key to preventing lots of things. For sand, hay acts like a vacuum. As all that roughage travels through the GI tract, it sucks up the sand, and sends it out the back end safely. If you’ve paid any attention to my blogs, or the awesome seminars my minions have, you know that the minimum amount of hay a horse should eat is 1-2% of their body weight daily. That’s 12-24 pounds for the average horse every day. Live on a sand hill? Stay closer to that 24 pound number!

 

Minimizing the amount of sand that goes in will also help. Feeding hay from slow feed hay nets, or off clean rubber mats can help reduce sand consumption. Keeping your fields from being overgrazed can also help. When horses are seeking out the small amounts of grass in an otherwise sandy field, they will eat way, way more sand. Bringing horses into a stall for grain meals can also reduce the amount of time they spend snuffling through sand to get that very last pellet they dropped. (Total shameless plug for our ‘How To Handle Your S#!t Seminar’ this Thursday at the Clinic, to help you keep those fields in good shape.)

 

With a little strategy, you can avoid those pesky unscheduled calls with my Docs for a sand colic. And I know how much you humans enjoy a good unscheduled visit. Think your horse might have sand? Call the Clinic to schedule an x-ray or ultrasound to see what’s inside!

 

Now be a good human and subscribe to my blog. That way you can get all my awesomeness a day before everyone else.

Until next week,

~ Tony

Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! 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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Colic Mythbusters

Colic Mythbusters

Tuesdays with Tony

I hope everybody was able to make it out to my recent Colic Seminar. Boy, did I learn a lot! Apparently there are several common misconceptions out there about colic that are not based on reality at all. In case you missed it, I am here to share my wealth of cat knowledge with you, and to bust those colic myths right out of the park!

Myth #1: Colic is a twisted gut.

Truth: The term ‘colic’ actually refers to a series of signs of pain, and doesn’t necessarily indicate a GI problem at all. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my years as supervisor of an equine veterinary clinic, it’s that every horse colics differently. Some horses lay down and roll, but others paw and bite at their sides, still others simply don’t finish their grain and lift their upper lip (called the Flehmen response). I’ve heard of horses acting neurologic in their efforts to get comfortable, or even running erratically around their pasture.

This pain syndrome we call ‘colic’ can be caused by cramping, gas, a fever, a GI impaction, a urinary tract obstruction, severe pneumonia, stomach ulcers…. the list goes on. Basically, the vet’s job is to determine why your horse is colicking, and to make sure it’s not one of those rare but life-threatening ‘bad’ causes of colic, such as a twist (volvulus), strangulation, or displacement (a section of bowel is not where it’s supposed to be).

Myth #2: Horses twist their gut when they roll.

Truth: Not so fast. Have you ever seen a horse roll in the dirt, get up, shake off, and go about their day? I see the horses out in the paddocks do that all the time! I can also tell you that many horses go to surgery for a large intestine displacement or small intestine volvulus (180 degree twist) having never rolled.

Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic

Now, if you came to my wonderful Colic Seminar, you learned from Dr. Abbott that the horse’s GI tract, from mouth to rectum, measures over 100 feet. So there is definitely the potential for things to get tangled up in there. Here is the current understanding of what vets believe happens when horses actually ‘twist their gut’: Your horse gets dehydrated. This may be because there was a sudden temperature drop and he didn’t feel as thirsty as usual. Or, it may be because you were hauling to a competition and he didn’t have a water bucket in front of him the whole time. Or, it may be that he had a hoof abscess and he didn’t feel it was worth the pain to hobble on over to the water trough. For whatever reason, your horse became dehydrated, and now there is not enough moisture within his GI tract for his food (usually hay) to move along. So, it gets stuck. Now we have an impaction. Bummer.

Once your horse has an impaction, gas builds up behind (or on the mouth side of) the impaction. This gas-filled section of colon then tends to float up, and given the right circumstances, flip over top of the heavy, ingesta-filled section of colon. Now you’ve got yourself a ‘twisted gut,’ no rolling required.

Myth #3: Mineral oil is better than electrolyte solution.

Truth: This myth was busted LIVE by Dr. Vurgason at my awesome Colic Seminar, but in case you missed it, here’s how it went down. She put a fecal ball in a cup of mineral oil… it just sat there, unchanged, floating around, the whole time. She put another fecal ball in a cup of our top-secret electrolyte solution… and even before the seminar was over, it had almost completely dissolved and dispersed. This is the same solution our docs would administer to your horse via stomach tube if he were colicking. Shhhh, don’t tell anybody my secret recipe: it’s Epsom salt, lite salt, regular salt, and baking soda!

This amazing combination acts as a laxative, while also maintaining specific levels of certain minerals such as Magnesium, Sodium, Chloride, and Calcium to draw more water into the GI tract from the rest of the body. Mineral oil is a little old-school, but it does have it’s place. It will serve as a marker that your horse has passed the impaction when you see oil coming out his rear end. Other than that, we don’t think mineral oil is worth it’s salt.

Myth #4: There’s nothing I can do to prevent a colic.

Truth: While nobody can 100% prevent every type of colic, there are definitely things you can do to make it less likely that you will have a colic emergency. First off: water, and lots of it. Horses need to drink about 10 – 15 gallons of water per day just to maintain their hydration, and that’s not taking into account ongoing water loss such as sweating on a hot day. But as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. What you can do, however, is add soaked beet pulp or soaked alfalfa cubes/pellets to his diet in order to get more moisture into him. You can also add about 1 tablespoon of salt to his feed twice daily to encourage him to drink.

In addition to water, your choice of hay and how you feed it can greatly alter your horse’s colic risk. Coastal hay has a known association with impaction colics. In my docs’ experience, the more fine, short, ‘cow-quality’ coastal hay is even more likely to cause an impaction. If you choose not to eliminate coastal hay from your horse’s diet, my docs strongly recommend adding about 1/4 flake of alfalfa or peanut hay for every flake of coastal hay you feed. These legume hays have laxative effects which help to keep the coastal hay moving through your horse’s GI tract.

Another common and semi-preventable type of colic we see is sand colic. By feeding your horse’s hay and grain in elevated feeders or hay nets, you can limit their accidental ingestion of sand. In addition, feeding psyllium in the form of Sand Clear pellets for 1 week a month can help to “clean out” the sand from the colon. Alfalfa hay can also help to achieve this goal by essentially raking the sand from the bottom of the large intestine where it likes to settle, and carrying it out in the manure.

If you enjoyed my Colic Seminar, you won’t want to miss my next See Tony Event: my First Aid Seminar, coming up on April 11th at 6:30pm, right here at the clinic. Hope to see all you cool cats there!

-Tony

P.S. If you’d like to watch the video of the colic seminar, or any of our other amazing videos, you can find them on our YouTube channel

Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! 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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Colic vs COLIC, and the Cost

Colic vs COLIC, and the Cost

Tuesdays with Tony

Colic vs COLIC, and the Cost

If I’ve learned anything from my years here at the Clinic, it’s that there’s colic, and then there’s COLIC. The colic kind of colic means some Banamine, some water and electrolytes, and, gasp, a whole lot less food over the next couple days. The COLIC kind of colic means one of two things: a whole bunch of fluids through an IV catheter, or surgery, or, even worse, both. The other difference: how much they cost. Being the wise and wonderful cat I am, I’m going to share with you all I learned about horse insurance the other night so that you can be prepared for the serious amounts of money COLIC can cost.

There are three different price brackets when talking about colic treatment. For the simple colic that just needs some drugs and some fluids, you can expect it to run somewhere in the $400 – $600 range. These things usually happen after hours, so there’s an emergency fee in there (unless you are on a Springhill Equine Wellness Plan!). If it’s a medical colic that doesn’t require surgery, but needs to come stay at the clinic for a few days, you’re looking at $800 – $2,000, depending on all kinds of things. This will include oversight by Yours Truly, so there’s that. For surgical colic, there is a very wide range of cost, because there’s a very wide range of surgeries, depending on what’s wrong. You can expect it to be somewhere between $7,500 – $15,000. I know, I know. I’ve napped on cars that were cheaper than that, too. So, let’s talk about insurance.

Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic

I can’t afford horse insurance

 

I’ll admit, I thought horse insurance was a whole lot of money. However, I learned from Rhonda Mack from Jerry Parks Insurance in Ocala, that for around $350 per year, a horse could have $11,000 of colic surgery coverage! That is a very reasonable number. But. Yep, I’m going to have a but here. This covers colic, but not much else. Keep reading for more insurance stuff, but know that there are very, very reasonable options to make sure you can help your horse.

 

How does insurance for horses work?

 

First, everyone decides on a value for your horse. No, you don’t just get to pick a number, any number. The value is based on purchase price (or stud fee if it’s a baby), training, show record, yada, yada, yada. Okay, we have a number. Now we start with a basic mortality policy. Everybody starts here. The premium on this policy is a percentage of that value number we came up with.

 

Now that you have mortality, you can add things like major medical or a medical assistance plan. Major medical will pay for just about anything your horse can do to themselves from colic to pneumonia to major lacerations to eye issues (and holy cow, can those get expensive fast!). Major medical will even help with diagnostics and treatments for lameness. More on the lameness stuff later. Or, for a more economical package, you can go with the assistance plan. It helps with colics, lacerations, etc., but not lameness. What does all this mean? You’ve got options when it comes to insurance!

 

One kicker to horse insurance is the pre-existing condition. If your horse has a problem with something, that thing gets excluded on future insurance policies. For example, your horse develops a left front lameness. My amazing Docs do their thing, and determine your horse has a lesion in the Suspensory ligament on that leg. Insurance will cover things this time around, but not after that.

 

Lameness and Insurance

 

If horses only got lame just after their insurance was renewed, we wouldn’t need to have this discussion. Horses don’t work that way, though. They like to go with “I’m going to go lame right before this insurance policy expires” plan. Great, you think. That horse I used as an example above with the Suspensory injury will be out for 6 months minimum. You won’t get to use all your insurance benefits because it happened 2 months before renewal. Never fear. In that scenario, the Suspensory will be covered for 3-4 months (depending on the insurer) of the new policy. But (I hate that word), it will be excluded after that and for all eternity going forward. Moral of the story here: have a talk with my Docs about lameness and insurance. It will help you make decisions.

 

What about ColiCare?

 

ColiCare, and a couple other similar programs, can be great ways to cover colic surgery! There’s a big but with them: they only cover surgery; not a medical colic. My Docs have the most experience with ColiCare, and they love it. SmartPak is easy to work with, and the payouts have been really quick and easy. My Docs are pretty “Meh” on the value of the supplement, but worth talking to them about it!

 

I know I can be a little bit snarky, but in all fairness to you humans, colic is tough. Heck, horse emergencies are tough. Insurance may be a way to help you handle those crazy emergencies a little better. Now I have to harass them about insuring me. There’s no way to put a value on all this amazingness, though, so that’s going to be tough.

 

Now be a good human. Scroll down a little further and subscribe to my blog. And if my blog isn’t enough to satiate your thirst for horse knowledge, check out the podcast the humans do called Straight From the Horse Doctor’s Mouth. You can get it on all the usual places, and I’ll admit, it’s pretty good, especially considering I’m not even on it. Imagine how awesome it would be if I was?

Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic

Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! 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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Preventing Colic

Preventing Colic

Tuesdays with Tony

Preventing Colic during Colic Season

As a cat, there is nothing I love more than sunbathing. The mid 90 degree temperatures of Fall in Florida have been less than ideal for this pastime. However, I am assured cooler temps will arrive one day, and my sunbathing can return to its normal schedule. What has arrived on schedule is decreasing daylight. With shorter days comes slower-growing grass, and with less grass comes hay season. Oh goody. Around the clinic we also call this Colic Season. Being the generous cat I am, I’m going to teach you how NOT to be a part of Colic Season.

 

Step 1: Go Slow

 

This is not something you humans are very good at. You are all about the ‘go big or go home’. When you start feeding hay (or even just feeding more hay), patience is key. It’s rather like my sunbathing. You must be patient! If your horse has only been eating pasture, begin by adding 5-7 pounds of hay per feeding. Coastal hay especially should be started slowly. Throwing a bunch of hay at a GI tract that’s been used to green grass is a recipe for an unscheduled visit from my Docs. Add an additional 2-3 pounds of hay every 4-5 days until your horse is leaving some hay behind. Absolutely DO NOT put a roll of coastal hay out until your horse is walking away without finishing their hay.

 

Step 2: Add some legumes

 

That would be alfalfa and peanut hay around these parts. These hays are salty, which helps remind your horse to drink. They also have a laxative effect on the GI tract. Both hays bring water into the gut, which helps prevent impactions. Small amounts of these hays does wonders, which is good because both are pretty high in calories. Four to five pounds per day can dramatically reduce the colic risk. As a cat who struggles with his weight, I understand keeping calories down, but a little bit of legume goes a long way!

 

Step 3: Get water into horse

 

The. Hardest. Thing. Ever. That saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink,” is the truest thing ever spoken by a human. Luckily humans are (sometimes) smarter than horses. My humans have found that you can feed a horse soup, and get them to eat it, thus making them drink, and they don’t even know it!! Especially when weather changes, but also when it’s a new shipment of hay, or you put a new hay roll out, it’s so unbelievably important to get those dang horses to drink. Get your horse used to eating soaked feed now. That way when it goes from 85 to 35 and back again in 12 hours, you can feed soupy food and know your horse got lots to drink whether they wanted to or not.

 

Other stuff to avoid colic

 

We usually talk about electrolytes in the summer to help replenish all the things in sweat, but in winter, electrolytes work great to help stimulate thirst on a cold day. Florida horses are really bad at drinking on those 2 or 3 truly cold days.

Beet pulp is also great at getting water into horses. However, don’t go starting beet pulp on a cold day because it seemed like a good idea that day. Beet pulp gets fermented in the large colon and make a lot of gas. If you want to use beet pulp in the winter, refer back to Step 1: start slow. It’s also important to remember you can add water to any feed, and you can even soak hay. All sneaky ways to get horses to drink!

We all agree cooler weather is amazing. With a few simple steps, you can also keep those beautiful Fall days colic free! Here’s another simple step: scroll down a little more, and subscribe to this blog. That way it will show up in your email!

Want more knowledge about colic? Take the deep dive with Dr. Lacher on our podcast, Straight from the Horse Doctor’s Mouth. Episode 2 is loaded with everything you could want to know about colic. You can listen right from our website on your phone or computer, or you can subscribe anywhere you download podcasts.

Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic

 

Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! 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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The Curse Of Knowledge

The Curse Of Knowledge

Tuesdays with Tony

My humans have been worrying about the future a lot this week. The weather people say it’s going to get cold (no one seems to remember how often they’re wrong), and with cold weather comes colicky horses. That got me thinking, so this week I asked Kayla, Nancy, Beth, and MJ what they worry about more now that they’ve worked here and seen all the things horses really can do to themselves. After all, they see hundreds of horse problems every year, so they have plenty to worry about with their own horses. We call that the Curse of Knowledge. Here’s their Top 5 list.

#1 Eye ulcers

Maybe you’ve had the Docs come out and put some of that fluorescent green dye in the eye. Then they tell you to use a few ointments 4 times per day, give some Bute or Banamine, and they come back out to check it again in a few days. Lots of eyes heal perfectly well this way. The ones that don’t, however, are the ones my team worries about. My minions have all had the joy of treating ulcers in eyes. They say what makes this one Number 1 on their list is that everything can be done absolutely perfectly, and things can still go bad. These ulcers are also very expensive and extremely time consuming. Treatment very quickly goes into the thousands of dollars, and is a minimum of 4 weeks. My minions also agree eye problems are a great reason to have major medical insurance on your horse!

#2 Very specific lacerations

Last year we had a weanling come in with a very small cut over her hock. She was an extremely well-bred barrel horse. Turns out that small cut went into the hock joint. It looked like no big deal, but because of the location, it was life-threatening. That’s right: life-threatening. Wounds in joints can very easily lead to infections in joints, and infections in joints are extremely difficult to clear in horses. Luckily, with about $5,000 in treatments, my Docs were able to get this one cleared up. MJ was horrified at how small the wound was, how easy it was to overlook, and how bad it all could have ended up. She says she’ll never take a wound for granted again! We all know horses are incredibly fragile, but MJ was amazed to see it action. Also, yet another reason to have major medical insurance on these crazy horses.

#3 Colic

This one had to be on the list. However, my minions said they view colic very differently than they did before working here. All colics used to scare them. Now it’s the colics that don’t respond quickly to drugs. Then they go into full on panic. You see, most colics get some sedation and a little pain relief, a whole lot of water and electrolytes, and off they go. It’s the ones that get painful again very quickly that scare my minions. Too often those are surgical colics. Even if they aren’t surgical, they do require lots of fluids, pain meds, and care. These colics are always touch and go for a bit. And yet another reason to insure horses!

PS on this one: coastal hay is the number one cause of colics. You can feed coastal to your horse, but please, please, please also feed some alfalfa or peanut hay!!

#4 Tendon Injuries

You pick up the trot one day and something doesn’t feel quite right. You wait a day or two and try again: still not right. My Docs come out and do a lameness evaluation, put some novocaine in different parts of the leg until the lameness goes away, and then do an ultrasound. You know you should be worried when the Doc gets “that look” on her face. She tells you it’s a proximal suspensory tear. Why do my minions fear this diagnosis so much? They know it’s a minimum of 6 months of rehab work before we even know if things are going to be back to normal. They know with some of these small tendons and ligaments (like the oblique sesamoidean) that it is nearly impossible to get the horses back to normal. They also know that the best shot for healing comes with extremely diligent physical therapy work, and most people don’t do so well at that part.

#5 Lay Tooth Floaters

I saved this one for last, but it should probably be higher on the list. There are lots of people out there who will “do your horse’s teeth” for not a lot of money. You get what you pay for. Unfortunately you also often get much, much less than you pay for. My minions have seen broken teeth, missed tumors, infections caused or made worse, and, simply put, really bad floats done. Even worse, many lay floaters sedate horses which is AGAINST THE LAW. My Docs went to school for a really long time to know all the things that can go wrong when they sedate a horse. They drive around with a truck full of stuff to manage problems if things do go wrong. My Docs have the knowledge to understand how that little thing they see can be an indicator of BIG problems. I can’t be any clearer: Lay floaters are not a good answer for your horse’s health. Dentistry should be done with bright lights, sedation, a speculum, and a doctor.

Want to know how to keep your horse safe in a scary world? Communicate! My Docs and minions are here to help you. Send pictures, call, email in questions. From abscesses to zoonoses, they’ve got you covered. Now I’m headed for a long winter’s nap.

Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! 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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