Tuesdays with Tony – Recap of this hectic week

Tuesdays with Tony – Recap of this hectic week

First of all, don’t forget to get out there and VOTE today! I would, but they have this weird policy against cats voting…

Boy did I have a busy week here at the clinic! First, I had to share my favorite cat bed with a pig named Tank, who was boarding here for the week. Then, early Sunday morning I had to supervise the foaling of a mare with Dr. Lacher, and later help teach her colt to nurse for the first time. He’s lucky he’s cute, because usually I sleep until at least 11 hours on Sundays. Thank goodness we got an “extra hour” with the time change this past weekend, or my delicate sleep schedule would be all out of whack!

The doctors were running all over the area this past week, from Lake City to Ocala. Dr. Lacher stopped by Lynn Palm’s Open House on Saturday to demonstrate our awesome FES machine. If you haven’t tried it on your horse yet, you really have to! At $65 per treatment, it’s way less expensive than a chiropractor, masseuse, joint injections, or other treatments for performance horses. FES has helped dozens of our patients to run faster, jump higher, and move more comfortably than ever before. I have even used it on myself, and let me tell you, it feels awesome.

In addition to lameness exams, foal watch, and routine appointments, Dr. Vurgason and Dr. Lacher treated a nasty, infected corneal ulcer in a horse’s eye. It’s amazing what a difference the right medications, administered effectively, can do for a horse!

I invited almost-Dr. Chloe here for an externship last week, and she was great. She let me in the front door whenever I asked, even if I had just asked to go out 30 seconds prior. She hasn’t decided if she wants to be a horse-vet or a cat-vet yet. Personally, I don’t understand why everybody doesn’t want to be a cat vet…we are all so cute and soft and cuddly! Amongst other things, Chloe helped Dr. Vurgason extract 2 teeth from an aged gelding with a painful condition called Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis (EOTRH). Say that 5 times fast! We don’t know why this happens to certain horses, but we know it causes the body to attack its own teeth, dissolving bone in some spots, and thickening the tooth in others. Unlike infections of the molars in the back of the mouth, EOTRH affects the incisors, and often causes horses to go off their feed due to pain. The gelding, Fortune, is able to eat much more comfortably now.

In addition to Tank who was as healthy as, well…a pig, Dr. Vurgason treated 3 sick piglets this week. I like the pig patients, because they usually come to the clinic to see me. Although I must say, they can be pretty loud! There is nothing pigs hate more than being restrained. This makes things like taking a temperature, listening to heart and lung sounds, and giving any medication quite a challenge. With pigs, veterinarians rely heavily on observation and asking their owners questions to determine the correct diagnosis.

Between horses, pigs, and the docs, my managerial duties have been in full force! I think I need a nap. And anyway, with the time  change and the days getting shorter, 5:00 feels more like 8:00, which is my bedtime. I’ll catch you cats next week!




Tuesdays with Tony – See Tony Event

Tuesdays with Tony – See Tony Event

Tuesdays with Tony – #Hermine

Tuesdays with Tony – #Hermine

hurricane cat agories
I’m going to start with a reminder to come visit with me on Thursday evening at 6:30pm. We have a limited number of Meet Tony opportunities, so don’t miss your chance. There will also be some talk on why horses need vaccines so often. I say it’s because they are a lesser evolved critter, but the humans say that’s not true. Oh and there will be good food. All in all a good time.

Moving on to Hurricane Hermine. I realize I have discussed hurricanes before but I felt you humans would be well primed for a refresher course given recent events. Let’s start with the basics: food, water, shelter. Did you have all of these after Hermine? Where there close calls? Walk in the feed room today and take stock of what you have. Don’t forget to check on medications. We were lucky this time; the phones never went down so our Docs were reachable, but it doesn’t always work that way. If your supplies levels are good, then you probably would have done OK if you are in the greater Gainesville area. Cedar Key and similar areas weren’t as fortunate. Determine if you are prepared for that level of destruction.

Did you have enough water for the horses? Being a cat, I was fine on water but a 5 gallon bucket will pretty much last me forever. Horses do love their water. We recommend 15 gallons per day per horse multiplied by how long you think power will be out. Planning for a week without power is the minimum we recommend. Of course, our amazing power companies normally do much better than that, but the bigger a storm, the longer it takes. In 2004 many people were out for over two weeks! Have a way to get water if power stays out. A generator to run the pump or tanks to haul water make the world a much happier place.

How did you fences do? Which brings up are your horses microchipped? We were pretty lucky at the Clinic, and the human houses to have intact fences for the most part. It’s easy to see how a tree can hit a fence line and free a horse though. And being horses they will run the least safe direction. Picking a pasture that, at the very least, directs them away from power lines or other dangers is a good start. Microchipping them so they can be identified when found is an even better step.

Take this opportunity to evaluate your disaster plan. Were the cats (ok and the horses) happy? I was about to strike over the no air conditioning thing. Do you feel you were ready for worse? Look at Hermine as Mother Nature’s little pop quiz. She just wants us to know what she can do. Kind of like us cats. Shameless plug here at the end: The humans have continued the microchip special for two more weeks. It’s ridiculously easy. The $43 price includes LIFETIME registration. Can’t beat that deal. Also since the weather was not completely disgusting today, horse show season must be upon us. We are offering 10% off Back-To-School, Back-To-Horse show lameness evaluations.

Tuesdays with Tony – The Olympic Edition

Tuesdays with Tony – The Olympic Edition

So with all this athletic horse research I’ve been doing lately, it was inevitable that I would have to check out the Olympic team horses.  I have to say they have a pretty good gig.  If it weren’t for all the fitness stuff, I would try out.  I look good in red, white, and blue and I like to travel so I think I could get  a spot on a team.  I suppose I would need to pick a sport but since it’s too late for this Olympic cycle, I will look to something for 4 years from now.  Plenty of time for that later.

Just a warning, I went hard core social network stalker for this week’s blog.  I started at the USEF and USEF Eventing High Performance Facebook pages, then checked out the Chronicle of the Horse, and finally went to the social media pages for the humans involved in this endeavor.   Apparently getting to the Olympics is a very long process.  It may take more patience than this cat can muster.  It starts with a list of potential horse/rider combinations.  These combinations are watched by a coach so special they need a French name: Chef d’equipe.  Around the beginning of the year this coach narrows the list down to 7-10 possibles (the long list).  And then the real fun begins.

Being a Team horse is kind of like being an NFL player.  There are lots of perks, but there are lots of people who want to know all about how fit and healthy you are.  It starts with a VERY complete examination by the Team veterinarian.  They look at everything from tendons, to bone, to muscles, to eyeballs, to fitness.  Next that special coach looks at competition results, how the horse works at home, and the rider’s history in high stress situations.  Finally, there are some “test events.” These are set horse shows or three-day events that Team horses have to go to.  Based on all of these factors the Chef d’equipe gets to pick a team.  The check-ups continue after that.  The coach is constantly checking in to see how training is going, the vet is checking to see how healthy the horses are, and the behind the scenes people are checking to be sure all the organizational stuff is ready.

Now the horses have to get to Brazil.  No matter what discipline (Dressage, Eventing, or Show Jumping) if you made that long list you had to have a complete list of everything you wanted to bring for feed, supplements, and hay ready to go in January.  This Olympics thing is looking a bit too complicated for this cat.  All of the things on that list had to pass through the government of Brazil for approval and were shipped down well ahead of the Olympics.  Next the grooms have to pack everything they could ever want to have in two tack trunks (OK they are big ones, but still).  I mean this is the Olympics and you get a maximum amount of stuff you can pack.  I don’t have a lot of experience at this sort of thing but I think I would want to take everything just in case.  Meanwhile, the horses have to get special blood tests, vaccines at designated times, and make sure their passports are ready because they are getting on a plane.  I think it would be really fun to get on a plane!  Luckily by this point in their careers most of these horses are pros at the international travel thing.

Once the horses arrive at the Olympics they have an entire staff of people making sure their every whim is catered to.  The vets are checking for soreness, stiffness, or any sign of even a slight sniffle.  The physiotherapists are stretching, massaging, and FESing away to keep everyone in tip-top shape.  The grooms are taking care of all the details like fluffing the bedding just the way these superstars like it, providing their favorite snack, and scratching that particularly itchy spot.  Like I said earlier, there are perks to this Olympic horse thing.

And at the end of it, no matter the outcome, every one of those people will be honored to have taken care of these amazing horses.  And with that I’m off to watch Eventing Show Jumping.  I’m rooting for Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery.  Mostly because I have black feet so I’m sure it’s a sign but also because who doesn’t love an off the track Thoroughbred.

  • Tony

Tony Olympic pic


Tuesdays with Tony – When Pigs Fly

Tuesdays with Tony – When Pigs Fly

When Pigs Fly

I thought I had seen just about everything in my 9 lives. While I didn’t actually spot any pigs flying on Saturday, I did see several swimming in Kiddie Pools, walking on leashes, and eating watermelon during our first annual Piggy Ice Cream Social! It was quite the spectacle. I chose to park myself at a safe distance in front of the fans and speakers that the humans set up for me, and I waited for everyone to come give me attention. It worked.

 In case you humans needed yet another reason to come and adore me at the clinic, this month we are offering $35 off in-house dentals! I didn’t quite understand why horses require so much dental care, so I asked the docs about it after Saturday’s social, and this is what I learned:
Unlike the superior feline species, horse teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. The fancy doctor word for this is hypsodont dentition. As the teeth erupt from the gum line, they are gradually ground down by forage in the horse’s diet. Humans have done a few things to fowl up this natural process of wear and tear, including feeding horses large grain meals to replace grazing on the prairie, and breeding horses to have extra long or short heads, which often means their teeth no longer line up.

In an ideal situation, the top rows of cheek teeth line up with the bottom rows of cheek teeth, and when the horse grinds it’s food in a circular motion, all of the teeth wear down evenly. (We are talking about molars and premolars now, not the incisors, which you see when you lift up the lips.) In reality, it is common for the top rows of teeth to stick out farther in the front, and the bottom rows of teeth to stick out farther in the back. This causes sharp hooks and ramps, respectively,  to form. 

  In addition, the horse’s upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw. Over time this causes sharp enamel points to form on the cheek side of the upper teeth, and the tongue side of the lower teeth. Sharp points lead to ulcerations, which lead to pain, which lead to difficulty eating, which leads to weight loss…
   Moral of the story: bring your horse in for a dental float, and the docs will be able to identify and quickly correct any and all of these issues. A healthy horse with an average mouth should have his teeth filed down, or “floated” at least once a year. If your horse has dental problems, such as missing or broken teeth, a wave mouth, a step mouth, or a long history of inadequate dental care, he may need more frequent dental exams.
   The only way to thoroughly and safely examine all of a horse’s teeth is with sed
ation, a good light source, and a speculum (that’s the contraption that holds the horse’s mouth open and prevents the doc’s arm from being crushed). Honestly I still wouldn’t be caught dead sticking my paw inside the mouth of a 1000 lb animal with 42 teeth, but then again I’m not a vet!
   Now, thanks to my cat wisdom, you are an expert on horse teeth. Feel free to go out and impress your friends with your new knowledge. I won’t even ask for credit, just give me a scratch behind the ears when you bring your horse in for his discounted dental this month!
Tony in front of fan
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