Thrush is a bacterial infection, and one of the most common diseases, affecting horses’ hooves. You will likely know it when you see — and smell — it. The pungent, tar-like black discharge c ...View Article
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Pulse/Hear Rate: 32-44 beats per minute
Respiratory Rate: 8-16 breathes per minute at rest
Capillary Refill Time: Less than 2 seconds
Mucous Membranes: Pale pink
Before assessing your horse’s vital signs, it is important to establish normal behavior for your horse. Spend time observing your horse so that even subtle changes will be easily spotted. Become familiar with the following:
Ask your veterinarian to show you how to properly measure your horse’s rectal temperature, pulse rate, and respiratory rate, capillary refill time, and mucous membranes. In the event of an illness or emergency situation, this information along with your daily observations will enable you to give your veterinarian a more complete medical history.
The most important part of any medicinal treatment is ensuring that your horse is given the total dose of prescribed medication at the right time and for the total number of days directed. Oral medications typically come in tablet, paste, powder and granule forms.
Larger Tablets (boluses), or several small tablets (wrapped together in a small piece of paper towel) can be given using a balling gun. Place the balling gun in the corner of your horse’s mouth, gently push the balling gun tip to the back of the tongue as you raise the horse’s head, and dispense. Watch to see if the horse swallows the medication or if the tablets come back out of the mouth.
Many tablets are small enough to be mixed with the feed without crushing. Larger tablets or boluses can be crushed with a mortar and pestle, or a hammer can be used to crush the tablets wrapped in a small plastic bag. Mix the powdered tablets into the horse’s feed, as described below for powders.
Powders and Granules
Powders and granules can be mixed directly with the feed. Molasses mixed with the feed keeps the powders and small tablets from separating out and makes the mixture more palatable. Check the bottom of the feed bucket 15-30 minutes after feeding to make sure the entire mixture as been eaten.
Pastes are generally dispensed in a dose syringe. Some tablets can be mixed with a small amount of water to form a paste. When giving a paste medication, place the tip of the syringe in the corner of your horse’s mouth, elevate its head slightly, move the syringe tip back and forth about 1 inch to stimulate movement of the tongue, and inject the medication. For horses that tend to spit out the medication, continue moving the syringe back and forth while the head is elevated. Swallowing is less important than getting the tongue to move. Tongue movement causes the paste to stick to the tongue and gums, ensuring that the medication will eventually be swallowed.
Proper bandaging will not only keep the wound clean and protected, but will keep medication in contact with the wound, stop bleeding, and keep insects off the wound. Here are a few general points to remember when applying a leg bandage.
In addition to bandaging over a wound, bandages may also be applied to offer support, sweat a medication or for protection during shipping. The doctors of EVS have organized a bandaging kit that can be dispensed to our clients. The kit provides a variety of bandaging materials for use in situations where proper bandaging may be required. For more information on proper bandaging or to have a bandaging kit dispensed for your use, please contact our office.
Choke (Esophageal Impaction) is an impaction or obstruction of the esophagus, usually caused by a bolus or lump of food. It is not a tracheal (windpipe) obstruction, which impairs breathing. Your horse cannot swallow but can breath normally. A common sign of choke is food-stained saliva exiting the mouth and both nostrils.
What to do if your horse has an esophageal impaction:
Call our office immediately if:
In the sandy soil of the Desert Southwest, horses may inadvertently consume quantities of sand that settle in the ventral large intestine. Eating of sand can cause weight loss, depression, decreased performance, diarrhea and colic. Sand can be a contributing factor in occasional episodes of colic and can be the cause of recurrent colic pain. Generally, horses that are enthusiastic eaters, vacuuming up every last bit of hay or grass on sandy soil, are more susceptible to the adverse effects of eating sand.
The Sand Test
Points to remember:
Exertional rhabdomyolysis, also known a tying up, azoturia and Monday morning disease, is a muscular disease characterized by muscular pain and stiffness. There are many conditions that may lead to rhabdomyolysis, but the exact cause is unknown. The signs of rhabdomyolysis can vary from horse to horse, as from condition to condition.
Exertional rhabdomyolysis often results from an imbalance of feed and exercise. Signs may appear before, during or after exercise. Episodes may also occur when a horse is forced to perform beyond its ability. Classic episodes of Monday morning disease occur when well-conditioned working horses are rested for a day but still receive their usual ration of grain.