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Consumer News: Adequan Returns To Market This Fall

Adequan is an effective, widely used medication for arthritis management in horse and dogs (see September 2011 “Is Adequan or Legend Best?”). The drug has been in limited supply for quite some time, with the supply totally depleted this past summer. This was due to FDA-initiated renovations at the manufacturing plant owned by Luitpold Animal Health. Regular production was set to resume in early 2014.  Fortunately for the many horses relying on the drug, Luitpold, in conjunction with the FDA, announced an update on that plan with an anticipated release date read more

Before Merlin…Tabor

I believe Tabor came in to my life to prepare me for Merlin.  The same friend who gave me Merlin gave me Tabor Dance, then seven, about two years earlier. Tabor had bowed a tendon twice and recovered.  He was a beautifully built gray gelding, possessing exceptional physical gifts and jumping scope, like Merlin. But he had a history of dodgy jumping, frequently refusing or running out and depositing his riders. He was clearly a worrier—he wasn’t even a fan of being turned out and would often walk back and forth along the fence like a caged tiger until read more

Riding In The Barn

Never ride a horse in the barn aisle, whether at home or away at a show, and never mount a horse beneath the underhang of a building.   One of the biggest perils is that if the horse goes up, the rider can hit their head and damage their spine.  Of course, there are other potential dangers as well, such as insecure footing or the likelihood that someone could come around a corner or pop out of a stall without warning.  An aisle, whether with a low ceiling or not, is just too confined a space to expect a horse to easily avoid hazards such as the fan just visible read more

Winning Nutrition: It’s Fall! Time To Add Omegas

Decades ago, we all fed corn oil to help give our horses a glossy, shiny coat.  It was cheap, readily available, and it worked. But then it got bad press, telling us it promotes inflammation and provides empty fat calories. That made us back away because, well, who wants to feed plain fat? As we became educated in good coat-promoting nutrients, we learned to scan supplement labels for words like “contains the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids,” especially omega-3, since they’re often lacking, especially when grass isn’t available. Horses read more

Vitiligo Is An Immune-System Disease

My 11-year-old gray Hungarian sport horse mare has pigment loss in several areas on her body, especially around her eyes, nose, belly and chest. I actually had someone ask me if she was an Appaloosa because of the pink skin around her eyes. She gets easily sunburned and looks just plain weird. Is there something I can do to help the pigment come back? Is there possibly something missing in her diet causing this? I’ve included photos, hoping you can send me in the right direction. Contributing Veterinary Editor Grant Miller, DVM, responds: Thanks for writing into read more

Riding Gear: Rubber Spur Strap

Spur straps are rare items of horse gear where we prefer synthetic over leather.  We’ve long been happy with braided nylon spur straps because we don’t have to pull hard to seat the buckle into a hole and because they don’t crack like leather does when it spends too much time in mud.  There’s a new wrinkle out there now in the boot accessory world with the heady name of “Easiest Spur Strap Yet.”  Despite the hyperbole, we have to agree.  The strap stretches like nylon so it’s easy to find a hole and also to pull read more

Media Critique: The Last Daughter of Prussia

The Last Daughter of Prussia isn’t a book about horses. But it is an excellent work of historical fiction, in which horses—Trakehner horses, to be specific—play an important supporting role, a role that author Marina Gottlieb Sarles uses effectively to enrich the story. The book follows the Great Trek, the barely discussed westward flight of Prussian civilians from their Russian invaders in the winter of 1944-45. East Prussia was the eastern-most province of Germany, lying directly north of Poland (of which it’s now a part), with a coastline along the read more

When To Jump On The Bandwagon

When a new product appears, veterinarians tend to clump into one of two groups. The first group immediately leaps on the bandwagon and embraces the new product or technique with open arms. These vets are dying to try out new things and may even actively search out cases to try the “new toy” on.  The second group of veterinarians is like a herd of Arabians. They approach the new product with eyes wide and nostrils flared. At the slightest hint of a possible problem they tend to spook away, sometimes dramatically. These vets may never switch over to a new medication read more

Coronary Band Injury

The easiest coronary band injuries to deal with are minor scrapes and scratches. These are superficial and unlikely to cause a problem. Simply clean them up and apply generic triple-antibiotic ointment, if you feel you need it. No need to call your veterinarian, unless you’re not sure.  Things get trickier as the wounds get larger or more challenging. Some horses tend to over reach and may clip the rear of the coronary band on the front feet. This can happen to a rear foot as well if young horses get rough housing and chasing and jumping on each other out in the read more

Merlin Was Afraid of Life—and Jumping

Nearly 20 years ago, a steeplechase trainer who is a good friend gave me a three-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, a horse with whom I would develop an unforgettably rewarding relationship, despite the many challenges that he presented.  We would enjoy Master Merlin’s company for 13 years, from foxhunting through eventing at the CCI2* level, winning numerous events at training, preliminary and intermediate levels. But it was far from an easy start. Self-Confidence Issues. Merlin, at 17.2 hands, was a big-moving horse, blessed with physical gifts that should have made read more

Performance Show Coats

A tailored show coat that is also washable: It almost seems too good to be true. Almost. However, advances in performance fabrics over the last few years mean it’s now harder to buy a natural-fiber coat that requires dry cleaning than a coat that trumpets “Machine Washable!” on its hang tag. We weren’t convinced, though, so we set out to see for ourselves with moderately priced coats. At the same time we talked to riders at shows and sales people at tack shops about higher-end coats. We found one serious disconnect—when riders pay a lot of money for a nice show read more

Turn Off Your Cell Phone

When I compare the longevity of horses from my youth to the ones in my barn today, I realize the wonder of the advancements we’ve made in veterinary medicine and, especially, veterinary nutrition. The lives our equine friends are so extended that riding a horse into his mid 20s is pretty commonplace.  When I was a kid, we were lucky to have a horse make it to his early 20s without a devastating illness, whether it was navicular, colic, or something that either couldn’t be diagnosed or had no known treatment. Today, there’s virtually no limit to vet care, read more

Cushing’s Disease: A Slow, Silent, Formidable Foe

Each year, the hands of time cause subtle differences in our magnificent equine companions. Some changes, like the ones that come from experience and wisdom, are good.  These bring serenity.   But, with these improvements, come physical signs that remind us our horses are aging. Their joints become stiff and strides short. Everything takes longer: warming up, cooling down, shedding out, getting fit, and coming sound. Where there was once muscle, there now is not.  But, because this happens slowly, we assume these are normal signs of aging.  Or are they? What if the vet read more

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