This subject is important as it could be called financial loss prevention or pain and suffering prevention.
Prevention of disease boils down into two categories. Primary prevention includes vaccination, good nutrition and avoiding other horses with disease (quarantine). Secondary prevention involves removing causes such as stress from over crowding, removing sources of fly breeding and cleaning up filthy environments.
Disease prevention requires planning and playing by rules. When laziness and short cuts occur then disease is more likely. All diseased horses are associated with pain and suffering both for the horse and the owner. It also cost money to fix or in the worst case, it causes the loss of the investment (purchase, maintenance and training). Don’t be lazy = save money plus enjoy the horse and sport.
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Molds, Mycotoxins And Soaking Horse Hay – The Horse’s Advocate Podcast #031
Meetings – Parasites Revisited and Liver Disease – The Horse’s Advocate Podcast #022
Vaccinations For Horses– The Horse’s Advocate Podcast #016
Should Your Horse Be Turned Out On The Spring Green Grass?– The Horse’s Advocate Podcast #005
Every horse has the potential to carry with it diseases that no other horse wants to get. To prevent the spread of diseases that could have devastating effects on the visiting community of horses, the federal government set up a process of inspecting every horse that ships across state lines.
The Coggins Test diagnoses the presence of a past infection of the non-infectious disease called Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) caused by a retrovirus of the same name in horses. It is commonly called “Swamp Fever” which debilitates the horse with a high fever, anemia, limb swelling and often death. Some horses get a less severe form that causes recurring fever, weight loss, anemia and swelling of the limbs and sheath. Surviving horses will be exercise intolerant due to the chronic anemia and fever will come and go without cause. They will also become a reservoir that can become the source of infection to other horses.
Every now and then I see a “bad idea” with good intentions on a horse farm. Usually the idea springs from the mind wanting an easier way of doing something. However not much thought is put into the idea from the perspective of the horse.
This subject is important as it could be called financial loss prevention or pain and suffering prevention (same with disease prevention).
Injury prevention is sometimes impossible because no matter how hard you try, the horse seems to find a way to hurt themselves or each other. But there are a lot of things you can do to mitigate the obvious. The topics here cover some of these things but in essence you need to be always on the lookout for danger.
I love the word “entropy” because it applies to everyone and everything in the horse world as well as the whole world. It means a gradual decline from order to disorder. It applies to horse farms and horse health alike. It requires the continuous application of energy to maintain order.
Medicating horses has become easy in an age where pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals are abundant. Unfortunately their use circumvents two things. The first is the removal of the cause of the problem they are being medicated for. The second is not realizing the side effects of the medication.
Pastures are shrinking and the number of horses per pasture are increasing. This leads to a sanitation problem where horses are eating where they defecate. Rather than resolve the sanitation, medicines were created that killed a lot of parasites but allowed for the development of strains that were resistant to the medications.
Several influenza viruses have severely affected horses in the United Kingdom and Australia since 2003 but the worst reported influenza event in horses was in 1872 in the United States. Some similarities to today’s COVID-19.
Parasite control is being debated within the profession. The worry of resistance is real. But the truth of controlling parasites lies in how your mother prevented them in you. This is a tough-love advice blog on true parasite control in horses.
Our beliefs are based on what we’ve been taught by trusted sources. But is the knowledge we gain from mentors with no experience or with agendas really helping our horses?
Water buckets seem harmless yet they are famous for catching eyelids and removing them. Ouch! And preventable.
There are so many dangerous things I have found on horse farms. These include sharp objects, exposed electric wires and bee hives in the wall. Most of the issues come from either laziness of the barn owner or lack of money to make the repairs.
The cost of having dangerous things on the farm ranges from additional time lost in treating wounds, the added expense for a veterinary visit, the lost training time or the loss of use or death of the horse.
Having filth is a sign that the owner doesn’t care about the horses in his or her custody. The environment is usually also in disrepair. This is either laziness or lack of money. Either way the horse is forced to live in it.
The bottom line here for horse vaccinations is to do them for diseases that will kill your horse, do them judiciously if you need protection (open versus closed herds), avoid diseases by quarantining new arrivals and shake the vaccine like crazy before injecting them.
Finding the source of infection and stopping it there often is more efficient than treating the horse after he becomes sick. This includes quarantine of new horses added to the herd.
How did your parents deworms you? Fecal egg counts, dewormers and natural control are discussed here. The cause of infection and controlling worms is really easy and free.