Category Archives: Records

Practical Biosecurity Tips to Protect Your Horses – The Horse

Learn equine biosecurity basics for the farm, horse show, and breeding shed to protect your horses from infectious diseases.
— Read on thehorse.com/features/practical-biosecurity-tips-to-protect-your-horse/

Diagnose and Track Your Horse’s Health with Your Phone

Carrying a smartphone or tablet is like having a spare brain in your pocket, one that helps you keep track of all the details in your busy life. At the barn, that device can also help you keep your horse healthy. 

Health Data in Your Hand 
The latest tool for this task is Horse Health Tracker, a smartphone app released by Equine Guelph, the horse-focused education and research center at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. It’s designed to help you monitor vital health information for your horse. 

The heart of the app is the Horse Health Check feature. It guides you through a 16-point health checklist that covers the horse from ears to hooves. Videos show you how to monitor heart rate and other vital signs. You can record results as often as you like, even several times a day, which makes this feature important for monitoring a sick horse. 

Other features in the app help you determine and record the horse’s body condition score or estimate his body weight. A video library gives you quick access to all the instructional videos presented in the app. The app retains data from each health tool for 13 months and it will generate graphs so you can compare the results over time. Built-in email capability allows you to send the data directly to your veterinarian or others. You can also enter reminders for vet and farrier visits and other appointments. If you want, the app will sync the reminders with your smartphone’s calendar.

Horse Health Tracker is available for download at the App Store and Google Play. The basic version, which is free, allows you to track information for one or two horses. Upgrades ($4.59 to $11.99) can handle as many as 50 horses. Each horse is tracked separately, and you can add pictures taken with your device to the records. A user guide is online at equineguelph.ca

Five-Minute Parasite Egg Counts 
Does your horse need deworming right now or can he wait until fall? Soon a smartphone may help answer that question, thanks to an innovative new fecal-testing system developed in collaboration with scientists at the University of Kentucky. 

Current veterinary guidelines call for individualized deworming programs, using fecal testing to determine the best intervals between treatments and to gauge whether the drugs you’re using are effective. The tests look for the eggs of strongyles, ascarids and some other parasites in manure samples. You collect a sample and send it to a lab (directly or through your veterinarian), where a technician prepares a slide, views it with a microscope and manually counts each visible egg with a clicker. This work requires skill and training, and the results take some time. Generally you’ll wait a week to 10 days for the them to come back.

The new Parasight imaging unit attaches to a smartphone. Veterinarians can use it in the field to get immediate information about a horse’s parasite load. | Courtesy, MEP Equine Solutions, LLC

The new Parasight imaging unit attaches to a smartphone. Veterinarians can use it in the field to get immediate information about a horse’s parasite load. | Courtesy, MEP Equine Solutions, LLC

The new system, called Parasight, shortens that time to less than five minutes. This means that vets can use it in the field to get real-time information about parasite loads. The system includes a smartphone app, an imaging unit (a simple device that attaches to a smartphone) and a kit for prepping manure samples. Samples are first treated with chemicals that cause parasite eggs to glow under blue light. Then they are placed in the imaging unit and photographed with a smartphone. 

The smartphone app counts the glowing eggs and emails the results to the veterinarian, along with recommendations for treatment. It can distinguish between different types of parasite eggs and is as accurate as traditional lab tests, the developers say. A companion follow-up kit, which gives less detailed information, is intended for horse owners to use in monitoring the effectiveness of treatment. 

MEP Equine Solutions, LLC, the Lexington, Kentucky, company that developed the Parasight System, expects to have a commercial version on the market within a year. Last spring, the company was awarded a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help move the process along. The people behind the company include Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder Paul Slusarewicz, PhD, an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center who focuses on the commercial development of new animal-health technologies. MEP’s other co-founders are company President Eric Hauk, a businessman, and Technical Adviser Martin Nielsen, DVM, PhD, an international expert in parasitology research who is an assistant professor at the Gluck Center.—Elaine Pascoe

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Practical Horseman.

Recommended Equine Professionals and Services

 True North Equine Vets  www.truenorthequinevets.com   540-364-9111

Genesis Farriers: Dave Giza www.genesisfarriers.com   571-921-5822

Ken Pankow  www.horsedentistvirginia.com  540-675-3815

Full Circle Equine www.fullcircleequine.com  540-937-1754

Farriers Depot:  (Farrier related supplies) www.farriersdepot.com 352-840-0106

StemVet (Stem cell acquisition and storage) www.vet-stem.com

SmartPak Equine Supplements  www.smartpakequine.com

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes Wide Shut

I had the opportunity to work with a “horse communicator” today.  She was recommended to me by an equine vet who, after reading my blog, felt that I would be open to the idea, and introduced me to her via email.  According to the vet, she often works with this particular equine communicator due to her ability to point out exactly where the horse’s issues are, allowing the vet to adjust/manipulate/treat the main issue.

I chatted with her at length a few days ago as she explained the process and we scheduled an appointment.

Today I gave her a call, as she explained, connecting remotely allows for the horse to be in his natural setting without the influence of an unknown person.  That way the horse could be relaxed and the owner can observe, ask questions, and engage.  So, that is what I did.  She went onto explain that sometimes the horse needs energy work in order to open up to the process and that the horse must trust the process, her, and obviously, the owner.

I was asked to have questions ready to ask my horse, along with something I would like to tell him at the end of the session.  (If you have been following this blog then you will know I had some difficulty narrowing down a couple of questions- I have a lot! 😉 ) She began connecting with Chance.

I will not be able to convey all the details of what was said, Chance’s reactions, or even mine…It is almost a blur… I wish I could.

I was asked to feel around Chance’s right forehead/eye area for a lump or bump.  I did as I was asked and didn’t feel anything abnormal…but remembered he had a gash that was healing right above his right eye.  She informed me that he had a “headache”.  She continued to move over him and explained that his “energy” was “blocked” on his right side.  This makes sense…Chance has a “swagger” at the walk- he pokes his butt to the side and has a twist on the back right leg (Chance’s swagger has gone up and down- it was worse when he had the tendon issues, resolved after stem cell injections, came back when he got EPM, went away ish, and came back with his Lyme).  While she was working on his energy, I massaged Chance’s back, neck, hip, and shoulders.  She went on to explain that Chance had some right shoulder pain. Thankfully, Chance allowed her to work on his jaw (he pretty much has TMJ), his head, his back, etc.  The energy was “pouring out” even on the hind end which, if I recall correctly, is commonly seen on horses with head injuries.

This is where my one question came in…I wanted to know what happened to Chance when he came to my college.  I didn’t give many details…I didn’t know many details but I always wondered what may have happened on Chance’s trip down to my college.

I had gone off to college in January and decided to have someone trailer Chance down (about 3 and a 1/2 hours) once I got settled and found a barn, etc.  Two months later Chance was arrived at her new barn.  Despite the cool March weather, he was covered in sweat and was visibly scared.  I didn’t inquire too much since he was in one piece and I chalked up the sweating and fear to exactly that- fear and anxiety.  However, as the months progressed, Chance began bucking and rearing while under saddle….this was really strange..When he had left home we were doing dressage and jumping and he was sound and calm.  Once again, I chalked it up to being in a new place- a barn that hosted Friday night Bullbucking no less.  I decided to switch to a different farm, one preferably without bulls, even though the show was awesome to go and see, and work with a trainer.  Still the behaviors persisted and the episodes of lameness increased.  The vet finally diagnosed Chance with arthritic changes in his back and suggested I no longer jump him.  I decided that summer instead of bringing Chance home and have him endure another long trailer ride, to board him at my new vet’s farm. Chance had the summer to recuperate while under the care of an equine vet.

Anyways, after that summer, I decided to retire Chance for good.  I would occasionally get home him to walk around, I still can and do today.  But, that was the beginning of a chronic condition that was never given a diagnosis.  Instead, Chance’s symptoms were treated as they came.  

Back to my session with my very own horse whisperer..

Chance “showed” her what happened on his trip to college- a trailer wheel falling off the side of the road.  His head hitting one side of the trailer and slamming the other side.  The pain.  The concussion.  His neck and back becoming misaligned.  His jaw coming out of position. His body compensating. He showed the decline of his once functioning body- starting with the hit on his head, to his jaw, and his neck.  Down his neck and through his back towards his hips and down his legs.  The wear and tear of his body.  Chance stated that he is still angry with the person driving the trailer; he wasn’t ready to forgive.  I have forgiven them.  I have no doubt it was a mistake and that there was no ill intent.  But, I am not the one feeling the pain that he is.  I am not the one who went from a racehorse to a jumper to practicing dressage to retirement long before I should have. And like the “horse whisperer” said, she will “hold the forgiveness for him until he is ready.”  I will do the same.  

She spoke of his time on the racetrack.  Chance was happy to hear that he was being remembered for who he once was, and will always be to me- a strong, beautiful and crazy talented 17.1 hand red-headed thoroughbred and not a “weak old man” as he put it.  When asked what his name was during his time on the track, he said, “Hot Stuff”, which could be a nickname and not his actual race name.

At one point during Chance’s session he fell asleep; standing in an odd way- hind legs spread out.  Suddenly, his body gave out and he caught himself from falling.  This entire time his eyes were still closed!  They remained closed for another minute after this.  His body reacting to something, perhaps a shift in his energies, and all the while he was a a state of peace; trusting that nothing bad would happen to him. 

The session lasted an hour and a half.  Honestly, we could have continued because of all the “blockages” but decided to stop for the day and pick up again another day.  I was told that the effects of the energy work or Reiki, would continued throughout the week and that he would be emotionally vulnerable.  As the session wrapped up Chance apparently said that he was the lucky one because I found him all those years ago.  


Energy Work and Reiki Resources


 The Benefits of Equine Reiki

Reiki for Horses: Workshops, Training, Courses, and Resources

Reiki Related Research and Resources for Two and Four Legged Friends

Equine Reiki Academy

Amorosa Equestrian Center in Ohio

The History of Reiki

Reiki Forum on Horse and Hound

Reiki Handout: Full history, explanation, and how to pictures


Equine Communication


How Horses Communicate

How to Speak Horse

Horse Forum: Horse Communicators


Head Trauma and Headaches in Horses


Symptoms of Equine Concussions

Trauma, Concussions or Other Brain injuries in Horses

How to Handle Horse Head Injuries

Helping Horses with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Merck Vet Manual: Equine Trauma and First Aid

Do Horses Get Headaches?

Chronic Lyme in Horses: Headaches

EPM Tilter. What Do The Numbers Mean?

During my horse’s recent Lymphingitis flare-up, the vet advised that we run labs to test for Lyme and EPM due to his presenting symptoms (hind weakness, twisting his back leg at the walk/walking sideways I refer to it as Chance’s swagger).  As previously notes, Chance’s Lyme test revealed that he was at the  beginning stages of an acute infection…yay Cornell University for their amazing ability to give you more than a positive or negative!

A little history before getting to the EPM Tilter results.  About 2ish years ago, Chance was diagnosed with EPM (and one of the reasons opossums and I are not friends since they host the disease as do a few other culprits).  Chance immediately began EPM treatment- he received Protazil in his feed for one month.  I chose Protazil, although extremely expensive (if you order from http://www.drfosterandsmith.com they sometimes have promotions where you receive store credit for every $100.00 you spend…they did when I ordered and I got a “free” dog bed that my dogs adore) after hours of research due to the less likelihood of Chance experiencing a “Treatment Crisis” (worsening of symptoms) and the ease of administration (other brands require the drug being administered 1 hour before eating or an hour after and so on).  Typically EPM treatment is done for 30 days and, depending on residual symptoms, some may require subsequent treatments.  While Chance’s symptoms improved, I wanted to ensure that we annihilated the disease and did another round of treatment but this time with Marquis.  At the end of two months, Chance’s ataxia was gone!

Fast forward to September 2016…Chance, just having a Lymphingitis flare-up, has been tested for Lyme and EPM. Lyme came back positive.  And….so did the EPM test..well, kind of.  Wonderful.  (See why I loathe opossums?)

Chance’s EPM test #2 on 8/30/16 (the 1st one was 2ish years ago) showed the following:

“Combined SAG 2,3,4 Tilter on serum= 1:2000”

What does this mean?  The test revealed that Chance had “positive, specific antibodies” detected in the blood work.  This means that he had EXPOSURE to S. Neurona, a causative agent of EPM.   Serum tilters range from <1:250 (negative) to >1:4000 (high positive).  S. Neurona (SarcoFluor) is one of two protozoa found in EPM infected horses, the other protazoa is N. Hughesil (NeoFluor). S. Neurona is most frequently seen, whereas N. Hughesil is not as common.

The vet ran another EPM test to confirm the findings in the 8/30/16 test.  The results showed that Chance had “Combined SAG 2,3,4 Tilter on serum= 1:1000.  Again, Chance showed EPM protozoa in the positive-ish range.

I initially had not seen the results but was told by the vet that he was EPM negative.  So when I asked for the test results to be emailed to me and saw the numbers I sort of freaked out…I emailed the vet to ask for clarification.  She explained,

“The EPM test shows that he was exposed to the organism in the first test we did which is why we did a follow-up test. Since his exposure level dropped from 1:2000 to 1:1000 this shows that he does not have the disease. There is no good one time test for EPM once they are exposed which is why we had to do the repeat to compare the two.”

While this explanation offered me comfort, I was confused…why does he have any protozoa in his blood if he doesn’t have EPM?

I spoke to another vet and she explained it in a bit more detail…I am hoping I am summarizing what she said correctly..

When a horse tests positive for EPM they either have an active disease or they may not.  However, when the test does from 1:2000 down to 1:1000 this typically means that the horse’s immune system is working correctly to fight the disease off- active or not.  EPM testing typically provides you with a % of the chance your horse has an active EPM infection, or at least if you send it to Cornell University.  For instance, lets say a horse gets the results back and it shows that they are “positive” or have been exposed to S. Neurona (one of the two EPM protozoa)…their results are  1:647.  This means that, after doing a bunch of adding and multiplying that this vet kindly did for me, the horse has a 60-70% chance of having ACTIVE EPM.  Meaning, he most likely would be symptomatic (ie: behavioral changes, ataxia, weight loss, difficulty eating, changes in soundness, and a bunch of other neurological symptoms).

My hunch is that Chance’s immune system was boosted because I started him on Transfer Factor (amazing stuff… more information can be found in some of my older posts) again as soon as his results came back positive for Lyme.

Here are the 3 EPM tilters that were run on Chance (Oldest to most recent) along with his Lyme test results:

epm-2014

epm-test-results-8-31-16

EPM results 9-8-16 copy.jpg

lyme-titer-8-30-16

 

Equine Podiatry

Medical History


  1. DDFT Lesion on right hind
  2. Cervical Spine Arthritis
  3. Hip discomfort due to past fall

Past Treatments Tried


  1. Stem Cell Injections: Healed the DDFT lesion in right hind until recently the lesion began to reappear
  2. Ozone Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissues
  3. Shock Wave Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissue
  4. Chriopractic adjustments
  5. Acupuncture
  6. Supplements

Initial Consultation


Chance showed decreased movement in his right hip and a audible cracking noise at the suspensory joint.  He has edema of both hind fetlocks, Pastern, and Pastern Dermatitis.  Chance was unshawed on both hinds due to his inability to stand for long periods of time and his decreased mobility.  However, his front adorned clips.

Due to the length of Chance’s front toes and the height of his heels he was unable to evenly distribute his weight (60/40) to his front and hind ends.  This would most likely cause increased tension on the DDFT tendons and corresponding ligaments resulting in an increased likelihood of tendon and ligament related injuries.  The uneven distribution of weight could also inhibit the horse’s range of motion through his hips resulting in his body compensating for this injury and causing ataxia (balance issues), pain, arthritic changes, and cervical spine misalignment.

By shortening the toe of both front feet, the heel will rise allowing a more even distribution of his weight.


Front


IMG_3193

IMG_3196


Final Product: Front


Trimmed feet to corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/F    47 Degrees at  3 7/8 inches   53 Degrees at 3 inches         6 Degrees

R/F    45 Degrees at 3 3/4 inches    54 Degrees at 3 inches         9 Degrees


Hind


20160604_160438


Final Product: Hind


20160609_153622

 Return visit to trim and shoe Chance’s hind feet with #2 OBRHB Wedge shoes.Trimmed hind feet and corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/H   48 Degrees at 3 7/8 inches    54 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches    6 Degrees

R/H  46 Degrees at 4 1/4 inches     55 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches     9 Degrees

Note: Chance needed to be sedated by veterinarian to complete the trim and shoe his hind feet due to preexisting hip and DDFT issues.

Horse Record Keeping? There’s An App For That!

I have been using the app “HorseNotes” on my iPhone for over a year.  It is by far the best software I have ever used and the best part is…you can access it on your computer as well as your iPhone (I believe it is also available for other smartphones).

Horsenotes.co allows me to make a profile for each of my horses and track their health, shoeing, tack, feed, vaccinations, worming, everything….There is a note section where I am able to log what I did that day with my horse.  I can log everything I purchase or every horse-related expense and with a press of a button the app/website even generates an expense report.  I can keep all of my contacts in one place- vets, stables, farriers, tack stores, etc. The app has a calendar that alerts you when you need to book the farrier or when the vet is coming. Plus, I can provide a log in for other people to add information as well.  You can upload records (sales, purchases, competition info, coggins) and pictures as well. Seriously, I don’t know how I was able to keep track of everything before I began using this incredible app!

How To Read Equine (Horse and donkey) Blood Work?

I had the vet run some blood work on Luck and Chance as a precaution, because of the “Panic Grass” in Virginia has been causing liver failure in horses, and because I like to do a full work up every 6-12 months.



Chance’s Blood Work



C 1

C 3


L 2


INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS



Elevated Potassium (6.6 mEq/L):

“Low levels indicate depletion and are often a predisposing factor, along with
dehydration, in fatigue, muscle cramps, colic, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (“th
umps”), diarrhea and other symptoms of exhausted horse syndrome. Even seemingly normal or high-normal levels may in reality be lower, but appear higher due to concentration secondary to dehydration as measured by total protein and albumin levels.
Therefore, levels at the lower end of the normal range should be evaluated relative to concurrent dehydration” (https://www.quia.com/files/quia/users/medicinehawk/2407-Vet/labs.pdf).

Low Sodium:

“Low levels commonly indicate loss through excessive sweating, or through kidney or intestinal disease. Low levels may also be found in young foals with bladder damage. Increased sodium levels are usually a sign of dehydration” (http://www.minstervets.co.uk).

Low Platelets: 

This was the most worrisome in regards to the potential immediate issues that could ensue because of the low platelet count. 

“The platelets are the third cellular component of blood (along with red and
white blood cells). These cells contain a number of biologically active molecules that are
critical to the blood clotting process. Low levels may indicate a number of disease
processes not necessarily directly related to a bleeding disorder. Chronic or acute blood
loss, immune disease, toxemia, liver, spleen or bone marrow disease, or even critically
reduced or increased body temperatures can also cause low platelets counts. Any
significantly low platelet counts should be further investigated by a veterinarian. High
levels are generally clinically insignificant unless the condition persists, in which case it may be indicative of bone marrow neoplastic disease” (Susan Garlinghouse).

Low Glucose:

“Glucose is the source of the body’s energy. It is measured in suspected cases of equine metabolic syndrome and sometimes in cases of equine Cushing’s disease. Blood glucose may also be measured as part of a glucose tolerance test, assessing small intestinal function” (http://www.minstervets.co.uk).

Chance was tested for Cushing’s Disease within the last year and the test showed that he did NOT have Cushings. 
Elevated CPK (337 U/L):

Levels 2-3x the highest number in range are considered significant according to vetstream.com.  Levels are easily increased due to poor handling techniques as well as lab error.

According to Dr. Christine Woodford and Carla Baumgartner on vipsvet.com, “Elevations of CPK and SGOT are indictors of muscle inflammation–tying-up or rhabdomyolysis. The term “rhabdo” means muscle and “myolysis” means rupture of muscle cells. The CPK and SGOT are very sensitive indicators of skeletal muscle damage, and they rise in concentration proportionally with the amount of damage. A bit of timing is required in order to obtain the most sensitive results; CPK rises (due to its leakage from muscle cells into the blood system) approximately six to eight hours after the onset of muscle inflammation, and SGOT rises after approximately 12-14 hours. The absolute peak of CPK concentration and the time it takes to return to normal are important indicators of the severity of muscle damage and the response to therapy.”

Elevated MCV: Is the average volume of red blood cells.

  • Macrocytosis.
  • Indicates immature RBC in circulation (suggests regenerative anemia).
  • Very rare in the horse, but may observe increasing MCV within normal range as horses increase erythropoiesis.

According to Vetstream.com, “Macrocytosis (increased MCV) resulting from release of immature RBC from the bone marrow during regeneration is very rare in the horse therefore the MCV is less useful in the horse than in other species.”

Elevated MCH: Is the average amount of hemoglobin in an individual red blood cell.

  • Hemolysis, if intravascular in nature .
  • Errors can occur during processing

Low RBC:

“You may be inclined to think that red blood cell levels need to drop significantly before they cause a problem for your horse. But the truth is that even low-grade anemia – levels hovering around that 30% range on a PCV – can impact your horse physically and may indicate a health problem. This is especially true for high performance athletes. The greater your horse’s physical condition and demand, the higher on the range of normal her red blood cell counts will typically be. Therefore, a red blood cell level low on the normal range or just below may indicate a concern for a racehorse, for example, where it wouldn’t for that pasture pet.”  See more at: http://www.succeed-equine.com/succeed-blog/2014/02/05/anemia-horses-part-1-just-equine-anemia/#sthash.JJuWN5ob.dpuf


Luck’s blood work



L 1

C 2

Elevated Potassium: Potassium can become elevated for a number of reasons.

According to Vetstream.com,

  • 98% of potassium is intracellular.
  • Changes in serum or plasma potassium levels reflect fluid balance, rate of renal excretion and changes in balance between intra- and extracellular fluid.
  • Hypokalemia increases membrane potential, resulting in hyperpolarization with weakness or paralysis.
  • Hyperkalemia decreases membrane potential with resulting hyperexcitability.
Susan Garlinghouse states that, “High serum levels of potassium during an endurance ride are generally not a concern. These increases often reflect nothing more serious than a delay between blood collection (when potassium is actively sequestered inside cells) and sample measurement (after potassium has had time to “leak” from inside the cells out into the plasma or serum).”  This could also be a result of Luck and Chance running around in the heat when the vet arrived.
Increased [potassium] (hyperkalemia) can occur from;
  • Results can be false due to processing time (ie: if the lab waited too long to process blood sample)
  • Immediately after high intensity exercise.
  • In association with clinical signs in horses with hyperkalemic periodic paraysis (HYPP)    .
  • Bladder rupture (neonate)    .
  • Hypoadrenocorticism  [Pituitary: adenoma]  (rare).
  • Metabolic acidosis.
  • Acute renal failure    .
  • Extensive tissue damage (especially muscle).
  • IV potassium salts, eg potassium benzyl penicillin, potassium chloride    .
  • Phacochromocytoma (rare in the horse).
    Hypokalemia
  • Chronic diarrhea.
  • Diuretic therapy, especially potassium-losing diuretics.
  • Excess bicarbonate/lactate therapy.
  • Chronic liver disease    .
  • Acute renal failure (polyuric phase)    .
  • Recovery from severe trauma.
  • Metabolic/respiratory alkalosis.
  • Prolonged anorexia.
  • Recovery period after high intensity exercise (30-60 min after).
  • Parenteral feeding.

In combination with clinical signs and results of other tests results could signify the following;

Elevated GGTP:

* Donkeys tend to have 3x higher levels then horses.  This means that in stead of the typical equine range being 1-35 U/L a typically donkey’s range would be up to ~105 U/L.  Lucky’s test showed he had 120 U/L which is still elevated but not much.  It took sometime to get Luck from the field when the vet arrived- he ran around non stop.  The excitement and anxiety could be the cause of the elevated levels.

RBC:

Katherine Wilson, DVM, DACVIM, of the Virginia–Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (See more at: http://equusmagazine.com/article/decode-horses-bloodwork-27122#sthash.sc4J1ISJ.dpuf) explains “RBC count is probably the least helpful information because horses usually don’t have big changes in red blood cell numbers. It is not uncommon for horses to have an RBC count a little lower than normal range, however. The term we use for low RBC is anemia, but unless the count gets very low, a horse doesn’t necessarily need to be treated for that condition. A lot of diseases or any chronic long-term disease can cause mild anemia. Usually if we see mild anemia on the bloodwork and the horse has other issues, the anemia is just an indication that we need to fix/treat another problem.”

Low or Elevated Values

  • Splenic contraction.
  • Polycythemia (rare) .
  • Dehydration.
  • Consider causes of anemia
  • Blood loss    .
  • Hemolysis (i in vivo or artifact).
  • Decreased bone marrow production.
  • Poor technique at sampling.
  • Poor handling and storage of samples.
  • Poor technique in laboratory.

Low Bilirubin:

Heather Smith Thomas of Equus states,  “Another indication of liver health is a pigment called bilirubin, which is formed from the breakdown of red blood cells. Elevated levels can mean unusual loss of red cells or liver dysfunction. However, in horses, unlike other animals, elevated levels of bilirubin often isn’t serious. “This value can increase fairly rapidly when horses go off feed, and this is something that is unique to the horse,” says Wilson. “Often we get phone calls from veterinarians who don’t work on horses much or owners who see the blood work and note that the bilirubin is above normal range and are concerned about liver disease. If the horse is off feed for 24 to 48 hours, that value will increase, but this is just a temporary elevation.”

Elevated Hemoglobin (19 g/dL):

According to vetstream.com, Thoroughbred and other “hot-blooded” horses Hemoglobin range differs from other equine- the thoroughbred range = 11.0-19.0g/l.

Elevated Hematocrit (54 %):

 Elevated levels could be due to;

  • Dehydration.
  • Splenic contraction.
  • Polycythemia .

“A measurement of the relative amount of red blood cells present in a blood
sample. After blood is drawn, a small tube is filled and centrifuged to separate the heavier
blood cells from the lighter white blood cells and the even lighter fluid (plasma or serum)
portion. A higher than normal reading generally indicates dehydration (same number of
cells in less plasma volume) or may be due to splenic contraction secondary to
excitement or the demands of exercise. A low reading may indicate anemia, though not
invariably. Highly fit athletic horses may normally have a slightly lower hematocrit at
rest due to an overall more efficient cardiovascular system. Evaluation of true anemia in
horses requires several blood samples over a 24-hour period” (Susan Garlinghouse, 2000/ http://www.equinedoc.com/PrideProjectInfo.html).

It took sometime to get Luck from the field when the vet arrived- he ran around non stop.  The excitement and anxiety could be the cause of the elevated levels.

Low Sodium:

According to horseprerace.com, “Low levels indicate depletion and are often a predisposing factor, along with dehydration, in fatigue, muscle cramps, colic, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (“thumps”), diarrhea and other symptoms of exhausted horse syndrome. Even seemingly normal or high-normal levels may in reality be lower, but appear higher due to concentration secondary to dehydration as measured by total protein and albumin levels. Therefore, levels at the lower end of the normal range should be evaluated relative to concurrent dehydration.”



More information on your horse’s blood work

Decoding your horse’s blood work

CBC and Chemistry Profile

A Better Understanding of the Results



The vet suggested that I add water to Luck’s and C’s feed in case their values are due to dehydration. She also explained that some of the values may be a result of running around in the field right before drawing them along with anxiety.  

The anxiety and running around seemed fair but I am hesitant on the dehydration portion.  Yes, I know it is winter and that horses are less likely to drink as much water.  But if it were due to dehydration then the Albumin would be low as well.  But, the blood work revealed that the Albumin was 2.8 (Luck) and 3.2 (Chance).  These values are within the normal range…. that being said, the results could also be due to lab handling especially the Potassium levels.

While speaking with my uncle Jerry (the horse whisperer), he suggested adding a salt block to the horse’s feed.  This will increase the horse’s thirst which will get them  drinking more.  I also added heated water buckets so that the water won’t freeze and in case they are less inclined to drink when the water is cold.

In order to feel comfortable about my horse and donkey being healthy, I will have more blood work done this week to make sure everything is in fact okay.

 

 

Research, Research, Research

Tendon Injury Handbook

After I left the barn, I drove home and went straight to my computer.

What was happening?  What are the masses? Scar tissue?  Nothing was able to be extracted out of them…How can I get rid of them in order to see behind them?

Again, I stayed up until the sun came out the next morning.  I already had two binders full of research and now I had a third.

Research made me believe that C has an infection in the Synovial Tendon Sheath that was being masked by the masses on the outer lining of the SS. The masses could be scar tissue from his MANY past Lymphangitis flare-ups. Perhaps, his immune system was not able to fight last attack and the infection settled in the SS and was walled off.  Thus his CBC & WBC were normal and no fluid was extracted from SS masses due to the large size of the scar tissue.
C has a major hx with his RH and “flare-ups” and lameness. I never realized this until I took the time to study his past records from the first 5 years I owned him.

Symptoms are similar to an infection- what if we proceeded as if it were?
Lack of a positive culture does NOT mean that there is not an infection in the sheath!

Current Symptoms:
1. Swelling decreases after being active
2. Fails to extend fetlock
3. Lame- exasperated by flexion
4. Positioning for fetlock flexion

Septic Synovitis: Cartilage degradation ischemia, Fibrin deposition lead to lameness to pannus form and adhesive form

Entrobacteriacaea
Strep
Staph
Most common is Staph

Treatment: 

Systematic Procaine Penicillin 22000 iU/kg or Sodium Benzyl Penicillin & Gentamicin 6.6 mg/kg for 2-9 days

Then change to oral potentiated sulfonamides 5mg.kg Trimethoprim and 25 mg/kg of Sulphadiazine

Other potassium penicillin w/ Amikacin Cectiofur or Enrofloxacin

IV antibiotics for 7-10 days switch to oral for 2 weeks

Regional limb profusion or placement of impregnated Polymethyylmethacralate or PMMA

I immediately called Vet4 and told him my theory.  He said that it was possible and that we should begin treatment asap.  He was still out of town so I called Vet3 to order Baytril. Vet3 felt my theory was legit and immediately ordered the antibiotic!