Equine castration is the most common surgical procedure performed on horses. Not only does it prevent unwanted breeding, but it can also dramatically improve the behavior and management of your horse.
Equine castration usually takes place in either the spring or autumn months in order to avoid bacteria-carrying flies in the summer and the mud of winter. Traditionally, castration is carried out in a horse’s yearling year, but there is no reason why the procedure cannot be undertaken at other times. However, both testicles must have descended into the scrotum before the castration takes place. If one testicle is undescended, then waiting to castrate is usually the most viable option. However, it is possible to carry out a full castration via laparoscopy to find the retained testicle, although this requires much more surgical intervention and therefore a longer recovery period.
During the recovery period, most equine specialist veterinarians will recommend that your horse gets some light exercise every day. This will encourage the wound to drain and minimize any swelling. If you have a paddock, then your horse should be left to move around as normal. However, if your horse is stabled then he should be walked out 3 or 4 times a day for at least ten minutes each time.
All horses should have a veterinary oral and dental examination at least annually. For horses 2-5 years, over 20 years and those with known dental pathology, more frequent visits may be necessary. Decisions regarding specific frequency of visits should be based on the individual needs of the horse.
Routine examination by an experienced, licensed veterinarian will help detect dental disease and other health problems early - before they threaten the well-being of your horse. Why is an equine veterinarian the most qualified to provide this care? It helps to understand the extensive education, in-the-field and on-the-job training and continuing education veterinarians complete in order to provide a high level of professional care.
The AVMA defines core vaccinations as those “that protect from diseases that are endemic to a region, those with potential public health significance, required by law, virulent/highly infectious, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease. Core vaccines have clearly demonstrated efficacy and safety, and thus exhibit a high enough level of patient benefit and low enough level of risk to justify their use in the majority of patients.”
The following equine vaccines meet these criteria
and are identified as ‘core’ in these guidelines.
Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis
West Nile Virus
Other vaccinations, such as Equine Herpesvirus, Strangles, etc are included in a vaccination program after the performance of a risk-benefit analysis. The use of risk-based vaccinations may vary regionally, from population to population within an area, or between individual horses within a given population. Disease risk may not be readily identified by laypersons; it is important to consult a veterinarian when developing a vaccination program.
A lot of you have had microchips implanted in your domestic pets, but have you had your horses chipped yet? Microchipping, as a form of permanent identification, was discussed by the horse industry 10 or 15 years ago, but did not gain traction due to a lot of unfounded myths and the lack of a universal reader that could read the various types of microchips.
A universal reader has resolved the problem of reading the various microchips. Microchips are a benefit to the industry and horse owners and they improve the health and welfare of our horses.
Microchips are electronic devices the size of a grain of rice that are easily implanted after local anesthesia in the horse's nuchal ligament (just below the base of the mane) halfway between the horse's poll and withers. A hand-held radio frequency scanner reads the number. It's like a VIN (vehicle identification number) for your horse.
Prepurchase examinations are often requested by a potential buyer of a horse. The objective is to reduce the buyer’s risks in relationship to the general health and athletic soundness of the horse for sale. The examination is not meant to guarantee soundness of the horse but is an attempt, on the part of the examining veterinarian, to ascertain any preexisting problem or any potential problem that may affect future soundness (eg, degenerative joint disease).
Our responsibility is neither to pass nor fail an animal. Rather, it is to provide you with information regarding any existing medical problems and to discuss those problems with you so that you can make an informed purchase decision. We can only advise you about the horse's current physical condition, which may include evaluating its conformation, eyes and vital organs and most especially, its limbs for signs of disease or injury. We can discuss how these things might affect performance from a health standpoint, but he or she cannot predict the future.
A pre-purchase exam commonly includes:
Complete physical examination
Radiographs (Baseline of front feet, navicular bones, hocks, and stifles recommended)
Upper airway endoscopy (Optional)
Drug Testing (Optional)
Ultrasound is a quick and painless procedure which uses sound waves to see your horse's soft tissue. Ultrasound is often used in conjunction with radiology to help diagnose lameness and injury. Trinity Veterinary Medical Center is equipped with abdominal, thoracic, and reproductive ultrasound equipment. If you would like to learn more about our ultrasound procedures, please call (817) 636-5590.
Radiographs (X-rays) provide an in-depth, noninvasive look at a horse’s bones or organs, in the field!! Radiographs are an invaluable diagnostic tool that helps veterinarians detect and prevent illness. The images produced by digital radiography are of much better quality than historical film radiographs, and can be handled and shared digitally. This allows us the most accurate and timely access to results that will help us diagnose and treat your horse. Our staff is highly trained in the safe use of radiology, and this is just one of the many ways we can offer the highest level of medical care for our equine patients in the field. If you have any questions about radiology in your horse, please call (817) 636-5590.
Dr. Lawson is certified in Equine Chiropractic by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Veterinary chiropractic should be considered a medical act and should be performed by a licensed veterinarian or a chiropractor under the direct referral of a veterinarian in accordance with that state’s practice act. (From the AAEP Guidelines on Therapeutic Options). The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the vertebral column) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects health. Chiropractic is a form of manual therapy that uses controlled forces applied to specific joints or anatomic areas to cause a healing response. This response is due to changes in joint structures, muscle function and neurologic reflexes. The principle common to all chiropractic theories is that joint malfunction affects the normal neurological balance found in healthy individuals. The theory of a “bone out of place” is outdated and not supported by current spinal research.
The goals of chiropractic treatment are to restore normal joint motion, stimulate nerve reflexes and reduce pain and abnormally increased muscle tone. Successful manipulation requires proper technique (i.e., correct direction, force, amplitude and speed) and increased psychomotor skills. A thorough knowledge of vertebral anatomy and joint biomechanics is also required for proper chiropractic evaluation and treatment.