Volume 1, Issue 3



Speaking Equine is brought to you by:

Dr. John Canning, DVM
(970) 963-4573


In this Issue:

Equine Parasites

Horse Nutrition

Horse Transportation


Equine Emergencies

Recognizing Signs of Distress


Equine Parasites

Most horse owners are aware of the need for a de-worming program. Worms lead to colic, respiratory, and digestive problems as well as lung damage. The problem is knowing which product to use, when to administer the product, and the dosage to give to each horse. The inappropriate use of worming products can be ineffective and costly. In addition, it hastens the development of resistance to the worming product. The key is to establish an on going, effective program.

While over 150 species of internal parasites are found in horses, the most common are: (links provide pictures and additional information)
Strongyles (bloodworms)
Ascarids (roundworms)
Strongyloides (threadworms)

The impact of parasites on horses varies with the seasons. Generally, it increases during warm months and declines during cooler months. In warmer months, the worm’s life cycle is shorter and a higher proportion of larvae survive, thus an increase in the problems caused by parasites when they are ingested into the horse. What You Should Know About Internal Parasites in Horses, American Veterinary Medical Association. What You Should Know

Fortunately, newer de-wormers have proven effective in helping to control the problem. A well-designed program, including both good management practices and medical de-worming, can be effective in controlling parasites. Successful Control

Have your veterinarian help you design your de-worming program. Make sure your program includes having your vet analyze fecal samples, at least yearly. The analysis helps check the efficiency of your program and makes sure your horses have not developed a resistance to the worming medication. Common Worming Medications

Each species of parasites has a specific life cycle, affect particular organs and attacks at different ages of the horse. Impact

Because the parasites pass out in the droppings, manure removal and composting are important steps toward ridding your horse of parasites. Keep your pastures, stalls, and paddocks clean. To help prevent the spread of parasites from horse to horse, de-worm all horses that live together at the same time.

Horse Nutrition

University of Wyoming, Department of Animal Science has a “Practical Horse Nutrition and Feeding Management” available for downloading (Nutrition). The publication contains text, graphics, and charts to help horse owners properly care for their animals’ nutrition needs.

Horse Transportation

Each state has its own requirements for inter and intrastate transport of horses. For individual State Regulations. State Regulations

Founder / Laminitis

Laminitis, an inflammation of the lamellar tissues connecting the hoof wall and Coffin Bone is an expensive, frustrating problem for horse owners. As one owner clearly states, "Even today (2005), no one really knows what causes laminitis, therefore there is not one good treatment - tons of controversy - tons of studies. ...the public has to know that because there is still not a clear answer as to the cause, there is not a clear answer to the treatment… the treatment will vary hugely with the horse, the veterinarian, the degree of hoof involvement." KKH, Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Laminitis may be acute or chronic and while it may involve 1, 2, 3 or all 4 feet, typically it impacts both forefeet. The result is lameness and in worst-case scenarios it can permanently cripple the horse. Sudden onset, severe tenderness, a characteristic stance, rise in temperature (up to 106F), with the affected feet warm to the touch are all characteristics of laminitis.

An understanding of the complex mechanism, that is the horse’s foot, helps in understanding founder. (Laminitis: New Ideas on a Devastating Disease Part One, by Doug Thal, DVM Today's Horse Trader, Vol. VIII, No. 8, August 2005,) Laminitis

Laminitis/Founder can develop from a wide variety of triggers, some understood and some not so well identified. Identified triggers include: toxins resulting from the die-off of the benign intestinal bacteria, direct exposure to noxious substances, and the build up of lactic acid from over exertion. Laminitis Triggers

Laminitis may go undetected, however, once it progresses into founder, your horse’s feet may split, leaving permanent scars and possibly crippling the horse. In worst-case scenarios Laminitis may result in the death of the horse.

The key word is prevention. Lean animals rarely founder, so it is important to carefully control your horse's diet. You should also frequently examine the horse's feet, and watch out for limping or signs of lameness.

At the first sign of trouble call your veterinarian!

Equine Emergencies

With horses, if it can happen it will! Sooner or later you are likely to have a medical emergency. While lacerations are probably the most common emergency, problems you may face include colic, foaling difficulties, lameness, and illness.

Know what is normal for your horse. By checking your horses regularly, you will begin to learn what is normal for them and any abnormality will be immediately apparent. Simple Evaluation Techniques

As you groom, always check for cuts, lumps, heat, and swelling.

Recognizing Signs of Distress

Knowing your horse's normal vital signs, including temperature, pulse and respiration (TPR), as well as its normal behavior patterns will help you evaluate when and if you have a problem.

There are variations in the temperature, pulse and respiration of individual horses. To develop normative data for your horse, take several measurements when the horse is healthy, rested, and relaxed. Write down the results so that you know the range for your horse, and calculate its average measurements. Keep the results along with your veterinarian's phone number, where they are handy and can be easily found.

You will find more information on Equine Emergencies in the next issue of Speaking Equine. Sign up today for your free email copy.

The Team at www.SpeakingEquine.com 

Subscribe to a free email version of Speaking Equine® at www.DrCanning.com.


You will find more information on Equine Emergencies in the next issue of Speaking Equine. Sign up for your free email copy today. The Team at www.SpeakingEquine.com.