Horse Health

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Diagram of Equine Lower Leg, showing Suspensory Ligaments

Suspensory ligament (above fetlock) shown in dark purple. Anterior branches of suspensory ligament (below fetlock) are light purple.

Read up on equine suspensory ligament injuries and anatomy in the free downloadable 20-page booklet ‘Suspensory Ligament Injuries in Horses’ from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine – written for horse owners and for horse professionals.

The booklet is generously illustrated with drawings, photos, and ultrasound images showing the anatomy and function of the equine suspensory apparatus in health and in injury. Read the rest of this entry »

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Screen shot from Free Colic Report video

Singing the coastal bermuda impaction blues...

Except maybe the in-faux-mercial colic rap video on, a website created by students at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Watch the (funny but educational) video about equine colic! Each segment covers a different type of colic. Can’t quite make out all the words? Read the lyrics.

And check out these articles:

Straight Talk about Colic – an article from July 2007 Equus magazine. Includes descriptions of different types of colic and their causes, a wonderful illustration of the equine digestive tract, and what to do if you suspect your horse is colicing.

Colic Precautions – an article from the Equus Wellness Guide by Equus magazine. Six steps to avoid colic and help keep your horse’s digestive system healthy.

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Sodium deficiency leads to dehydration in horses! The electrolyte most likely to be in short supply in horses is sodium. You are better off providing extra sodium rather than too little, as a healthy horse can easily excrete the excess if plenty of fresh water is available.

Table salt is 40% sodium by weight (plain old iodized salt from the grocery store) – 2 tablespoons mixed with wet feed or sprinkled over wet hay fulfills the baseline daily sodium requirement (before sweat losses) for a 1000 lb horse. Read the rest of this entry »

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grass with caution sign

Caution! Grass that’s high in simple sugars and starches can trigger a laminitis attack in sensitive horses!

Was your horse or pony “a little sore-footed” last spring when the grass started coming out?

Is your mule a little on the chunky side?

Does your donkey have a cresty neck or fatty deposits at the top of his tail?

Is your miniature horse an easy keeper?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, your equine buddy may be insulin resistant.  Grass, hay, and bagged feeds that are high in simple sugars and starch can trigger a laminitis attack in insulin resistant equines!  Plan to limit grazing time this spring, and make other adjustments to your feeding program, to ward off a potential laminitis attack.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Strongyle eggs (100x magnification)

Microscopic strongyle eggs shed in horse manure hatch into tiny larvae that can infect a grazing horse (magnified 100x).

An article published in the October 2008 issue of Equine Veterinary Education, “A Review of the use of Moxidectin in Horses”, has some exciting news about moxidectin, an antibiotic drug used to treat internal parasites in horses.

In the past, moxidectin was thought to be effective against only some of the life stages of small strongyles, an internal parasite that infects horses. However, newer research indicates that moxidectin is very effective against all stages of small strongyles, including encysted small strongyles. The article also discusses why older studies seemed to show that moxidectin was not effective against encysted small strongyles.

(Read the section titled ‘Control of Cyathostomins’ in the article linked above for details on moxidectin’s effectiveness against encysted small strongyles.)

What’s so important about treating encysted small strongyles?

Read the article ‘Target Small Strongyles with Fenbendazole Purge Deworming’ to learn how encysted small strongyles can pose a serious threat to the health of your horse.

Moxidectin or fenbendazole – which dewormer to use?

Immature small strongyles typically embed or encyst themselves in the lining of a horse’s large intestine, where they can lie dormant for many months, protected from the effects of most deworming drugs. In the past, a five-day double-dose of fenbendazole, another deworming drug, was thought to be the only treatment effective against encysted small strongyles in horses.

The study discussed in the article “A Review of the use of Moxidectin in Horses” found that a single dose of moxidectin horse dewormer is as effective against encysted small strongyles as the five-day double-dose fenbendazole deworming regimen known as the Panacur Powerpac or Safe-guard Power-dose.

That’s good news for penny-pinchers, since a single dose of moxidectin costs around $10 compared to $30-$60 to administer the five-day double-dose fenbendazole regimen. It’s also good news for horses on farms where strongyles have developed resistance to fenbendazole.

Which horse dewormers contain moxidectin?

Quest gel moxidectin horse dewormerMoxidectin is available in the U.S. as Quest gel, or as Quest Plus with moxidectin and praziquantel, both manufactured by Fort Dodge Animal Health.

Quest and Quest Plus gel horse dewormers are available from many online equine supply stores, such as

Doesn’t moxidectin have a reputation for causing adverse reactions in horses?

The article “A Review of the use of Moxidectin in Horses” also discusses a study which found that moxidectin caused less inflammation from dead and dying strongyle larvae in the large intestine than fenbendazole:

A recent study that compared the inflammatory consequences of larvicidal treatment of horses with either moxidectin or fenbendazole found that both drugs were efficacious against larval stages of cyathostomins(strongyles), but mucosal inflammatory responses to dead or dying larvae differed markedly between the 2 groups (Steinbach et al. 2006). Larvae killed by moxidectin elicited minimal inflammation, whereas larvae killed by fenbendazole elicited severe inflammation causing damage to the large intestine.

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