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On this page, we will announce breaking news, information releases and special events. Recent advances in medicine, summaries of seminars and changes in medical or management practices will also be posted here
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Ulcers in the mouth are most commonly caused by sharp, overgrown points on the teeth. Horses usually don't stop eating because of cheek ulcers (it takes a lot to get a horse to stop eating), but can make the bit and work unpleasant. Sometimes, horses even get touchy about putting on a halter because of the pressure that the halter puts on the outside of the face. The biggest problem, of course, is the persistent open wound in the horse's mouth and the development of more ulcers as the points on the teeth continue to develop and dig into the cheek. The horse pictured has not been eating well, has a large ulcer and several smaller ones, and is packing food at the gum line because he is trying to protect that side of his mouth and chewing less vigorously. The enamel points on the teeth have been removed and the food cleaned out from between the teeth, so things should rapidly improve for this horse. The ulcers will heal quickly without treatment now that the cause (the enamel points) have been removed.
Happy Birthday, Shayne!!!
Shayne, a chestnut Irish Draught cross gelding living in Essex, England, celebrated his 51st birthday on January 1st. Shayne is believed to be the oldest living horse. He has lived in a private barn for his whole life, but now has moved to a retirement facility to enjoy his remaining years. He has some typical age-related problems (worn teeth, arthritis), but is doing very well as he trots around the fields with the other retirees. He receives four specially prepared high calorie meals daily consisting largely of chopped sugar beets and alfalfa, and he loves cabbage as a treat. The oldest horse on record was "Old Billy" also from England, who died in 1822 at the wonderful old age of 62.
Do Not Eat the Rusty Snow
Each year, when the snow falls, we get calls from concerned horse owners who are worried because they notice orange-pink spots where their horse urinates, and they are concerned that the red coloring is from blood in the urine. We are happy to tell you that this is almost never the case. Horses have certain proteins in their urine (called pyrocatechines, and yes, that will be on the test) that oxidize on exposure to air and turn a dark rusty color. It is perfectly normal. It is just more noticeable in the snow because of the contrasting background and, sometimes, because the urine is more concentrated by lowered water consumption in the winter. Horses with urinary tract infections almost always show other signs, such as painful or frequent urination, frequent stretching without urinating, fever and backing off feed. If everything else is fine with your horse, it is OK to ignore the rust spots in the snow.
What Is Your Diagnosis?
This mare was turned out into her paddock in the morning and seemed fine, but was seen later in the day hobbling on three legs. She would barely touch the left front foot to the ground and would put no pressure on it. There was no reaction to hoof testers nor to manipulation or palpation of the leg. Diagnostic nerve blocks identified the problem as being in the foot, but exactly what it was wasn't apparent until the radiographs were taken. What is your diagnosis?
The right front foot was included for comparison because the problem in the left front foot is so unusual. This horse has two banana shaped abscesses in the heels of her left foot. Although you can't tell from the radiographs, she also has overgrown hooves, badly sheared heels and deep sulci (grooves) in the frog. The right foot is normal. Exactly why the sheared heels and the developing abscesses didn't make her lame days ago is unknown. The abscesses have been drained and treated, and the hoof problems are being addressed. She is sound now, although it will take months before all of her problems are resolved.
Horse Health Day 2012
In case you missed it, or if you were there and just want to see the pictures, visit the Slide Show of our 2012 KME Horse Health Day. Special thanks to Rhythm & Blues Farm, Dana Bowling, Esq., Dr. Jeanettes and the Rutgers student volunteers that all pitched in to make the day the success that it was. Be sure and Comment on what you liked, didn't like or would like to see at the next Horse Health Day. See you next year!
FEI To Require Microchipping For All New Registrants
Beginning on January 1, 2013, the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) will require microchipping for all newly registered horses. Microchipping is a permanent and unalterable method of identifying horses. A small microchip, embedded in sterile, medical grade glass is injected into the crest of your horse. The chip is inactive until scanned by a reading device that is passed over the skin. The chip then reports a unique number that is registered to your horse. Keenan McAlister Equine has been using microchips as a form of identification for over 10 years and we have found them to work perfectly. The FEI has certain requirements as to chip type, and those used at KME are the required type. If you have a horse that you will be registering with FEI, or if you just want a permanent method of identification for your horse, you can read more by clicking HERE.
Name That Disease
This is a photograph of the front teeth of a 30 year old horse that the owner says is not having any trouble eating. He was scheduled for routine dentistry, but the examination revealed what you see. There should be another tooth on each side of the top four you see, but they had weakened and fallen sideways, snapping off at the decaying root. Somehow, they stayed in the mouth, although they no longer had a role in chewing. Can you Name That Disease?
This is an advanced example of a relatively recently categorized disease called Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis, or EOTRH (don't blame me, I didn't give it that name). In this disease, the roots and surrounding bone of the jaw start to disappear, then, as the teeth loosen, excessive disorganized bone develops in an attempt to stabilize the teeth. It is believed to affect only the front teeth and canines. Right now, there is no known treatment or cure. The best that can be done is to remove all of the affected teeth. Believe it or not, the horses do better once their front teeth are gone. They feel and eat better almost immediately. If all of the front teeth are removed, there is a problem with the tongue sticking out, but other than looking ridiculous, this is not an issue.
We don't think much about our horses having tartar, but sometimes it can be a big deal. We occasionally run across a horse with advanced tartar accumulation and the gum disease that accompanies it. It is usually in a gelding, and mostly around the canine teeth. These are the horse's "Fangs" and are usually present only in males. They are used in fighting and not chewing, so they do not meet any opposing teeth and do not experience the massaging action like the chewing teeth do. After the tartar is removed, there is usually some bleeding and inflamed gum tissue, but this quickly resolves and leaves a much healthier mouth. Not all tartar build up is as severe as this, but we always remove any tartar found during the dentistry exam in order to avoid such advanced cases.
Name That Disease
A client recently purchased a horse at auction. She bought the horse on the spot because the mare was registered, beautiful and moved well in the dirt ring. The hooves were very neglected and the mare was not ridden until after the farrier came. The horse then started to exhibit lameness, first in one front leg and then in both. The owner noticed enlargements at the top of both front coronary bands, but chalked it up to normal variations. Radiographs told a different story. Can you Name That Disease?
This is a case of Pyramidal Disease or Buttress Foot, so named because of the shape of the enlargement that develops at the top of the coronet. Pyramidal Disease is a form of Low Ringbone, or arthritis of the coffin joint. The extensor tendon runs down the front of the leg and attaches to the coffin bone at a special tip called the extensor process. If that tip breaks off, the body sees it as a fracture (which it is) and tries to heal it by laying a bony callous across the joint. Of course, a joint can't be "healed" in this way and the bony callous just gets larger and larger. The original fractured piece can be seen in each radiograph, along with the spur of bone that is trying to stabilize the fracture. It is unusual to have this condition in more than one foot, and we can only speculate about the accident or conditions that created the original fractures. Unfortunately, nothing can be done for a horse with such extensive changes. Long term anti-inflammatory drugs will make this mare more comfortable, but she will never be sound enough for the owner to ride as planned.
Embryo Transfer Mobile Lab
As part of our reproductive services, KME offers on-the-farm embryo transfer. We can collect from the donor mare and either transfer the embryo into a recipient mare or prepare it for transfer to an off-site recipient. There is a lot of planning and preparation required, so if you are interested, go to our Embryo Transfer page, or call our office (609/291-0535).
Lameness Locator-High Tech Gait Analysis
Foundation Equine was chosen as a beta tester for the Lameness Locator, a computerized gait analysis system that helps with detecting and identifying subtle lameness. After a year in trial, the system is perfected and now in commercial use. As one of only two clinics in New Jersey using the Lameness Locator, we are glad that we can offer this innovative service to our clients. To read more about it, click here.