Well Tuesday was so crazy I didn’t manage to catch up until Wednesday! The day after a long weekend is always hard on management. I have spent the weekend ensuring sunbeams are properly tracked across the floor, making sure the chairs don’t move in the office, and knocking any stray papers off the desk. Meanwhile, Dr. Lacher was busy seeing emergencies all weekend. Actually you guys were pretty nice to her and she only had to see a few. Dr. Lacher and Dr. Vurgason don’t really mind emergencies when they are true emergencies. The only time I hear them upset is when the horse has been very sick for a while and the humans wait until 10:30pm on a Saturday night to call but I digress.
One of this weekend’s emergencies was a common Fall problem: laminitis. Why Fall you ask? Well let me answer. This time of year your crazy horses are getting ready for Winter. That’s right: Winter. The brain of the horse is tuned to seasons in a very particular way. It has to change the metabolism, hair growth, foot growth, and a million other little tweaks so that the system is ready for whatever the coming season will require. Horses, having evolved in cold climates, start getting ready for Winter around August 15th. To do this the pituitary gland increases its production of about 5,000 different hormones. All is fine and dandy unless your horse also has Cushing’s or is pre-Cushingoid. If that’s the case too many hormones are released and voila!! Laminitis happens.
The good news is these laminitis episodes are relatively minor, even if sometimes they don’t look that way, and are quickly controlled with some anti-inflammatories like bute or previcox, a little help from some thyroid hormones, and changes in trimming or shoeing. Knowing your horse’s ACTH levels if they are a suspected Cushing’s horse helps the Docs manage these guys if they experience a flare up.
In other goings on this week, Dr. Vurgason treated another one of those things called a pig at the office. They really are rather adorable until they open their mouths. I was grateful she anesthetized him so that she could perform a castration. Dr. Lacher saw several horses for lameness, along with a few dentals and other routine health stuff. I think she might get some kind of perverse pleasure from making her technicians run around in circles since she makes them do that a lot! She claims this is so she can watch the horses move after stressing different parts of their bodies but I have my doubts.