XL Equine vet Nancy Homewood, from Hook Norton Veterinary Group deals with an array of equine ailments proving Autumn tends to be quite a busy season for horse vets as the weather begins to take a turn.
I started the day with a check up of a horse who had slipped the superficial tendon off the point of his hock back in the summer. This is an unusual thing to happen to a horse and the prognosis can vary between cases. The idea is to stabalise the tendon either in its normal position over the back of the hock, or to allow it to tighten with scarring over the outside of the hock. Some horses can often be left with a mechanical lameness in the hindlimb, where as others may return to their previous level of activity. This particular horse is doing well so far with long term paddock rest. I will re-examine him in six weeks time to see if he's ready to start ridden work again.
Next up all on the same yard was a dental examination for a young horse who is going through the backing process, a vaccination and a blood test to check Holly, a pony with Cushing's Disease. We're doing quite a lot of blood testing for Cushing's at the moment. The lab fee is sponsored by the drug company who make the licensed treatment, Prascend, so lots of people are taking advantage of this to check their horses and ponies. Holly has had episodes of laminitis in the past that her owner and farrier have been managing well. She also has supra-orbital fat pads and fat deposits on her hind-end that are other common symptoms of Cushing's Disease. Other symptoms including increased urination and drinking, curly/retained coat and recurrent infections all ring alarm bells about Cushing's. There is a straightforward and reliable blood test we can use to check for Cushing's in horses and ponies. Although not curable, Cushing's can be managed to help improve the quality of life of horses and ponies suffering with it.
Four more sets of teeth followed at the next yard, and an ultrasound scan of a Suspensory Branch Ligament strain. The pony had had Rest and Shockwave Therapy and the ultrasounds showed and improved fibre pattern of the ligament so she will begin an ascending exercising programme.
Next on the list was a lovely pony who had unfortunately had to have his two upper first pre-molars removed two weeks ago due to fractures. He's having the alveolar sockets flushed out once a week to remove food and debris and to check the sockets are granulating well.
From here I was called to a colicing horse. The horse had come off grass recently to come back into training. He was quiet on examination and had been seen to pass small, hard faeces during the day. After examining him I performed a internal examination on which I could feel a pelvic flexure impaction. The pelvic flexure is the narrowest part of the large colon and is the most common part of the gut to become impacted with food material when the horse becomes dehydrated or eats the bedding. We most commonly see impactions following recent management changes. I passed a stomach tube and administered water and electrolytes to help soften the mass. He was also given some pain relief and admitted to the clinic. Tubing needs to be repeated regularly to rehydrate the impaction contents, so we will often have these horses in the clinic to administer fluids.
Back home quickly to grab some dinner before waiting for the phone to ring again as I am on call tonight! Wish me luck!