ACUTE TREATMENT: Walk; remove all hay and grain; medications as ordered; close watch on feet for signs of laminitis.
ONGOING TREATMENT: Vet may leave recommended medication. Follow specific care instructions, usually restricted grain and turn out or hand walk. Check manure character.
STALL TIME: Until pain resolves.
PADDOCK TIME: When pain is over.
WALKING: Immediately and as often as possible. Mild exercise stimulates good circulation and helps relieve pain.
SLOW WORK: Usually in 1 to 2 days.
FULL WORK: Usually in 2 days.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Could be indicator of more serious problem. Make every attempt to track down cause.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Pain relief; return of appetite.
PROGNOSIS: Guarded to good, depending on cause.
ACUTE TREATMENT: Surgery and hospitalization for up to two weeks.
ONGOING TREATMENT: Keep a close eye on the wound for the next few weeks, looking for signs of redness, swelling or drainage. Diet as ordered. Ample water at all times. No medications unless specifically ordered by surgeon. Avoid stress.
STALL TIME: Until sutures are removed.
PADDOCK TIME: In a few weeks.
WALKING: Hand walking starting second or third day after surgery.
SLOW WORK: Variable. Depends on the extent of the surgery. Could be as early as two weeks after surgery.
FULL WORK: Only after very slow and careful reconditioning with slow work. Usually 6 to 8 weeks of reconditioning.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Infection. Wound breakdown. Adhesions (scar tissue) may form around the intestines, which causes abdominal pain.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Wound clean, dry and no signs of separation. Normal manure in amount and character. Normal appetite. No pain with exercise.
PROGNOSIS: Guarded for return to strenuous activity in the long term as adhesions often form and can cause abdominal pain on extreme movement.
ACUTE TREATMENT: Clean vaginal area and tail of all blood and tissue. Treat navel of foal with iodine. Inspect the placenta, checking to be sure it is intact and complete. Observe foal until it has defecated and nursed.
ONGOING TREATMENT: Get vet check of mare within first 24 hours. Observe mare and foal carefully for normal urination, defecation, appetite and water/milk consumption. Check mare’s udder and vaginal area daily for heat, swelling, abnormal discharge.
STALL TIME: Stall rest for up to a day.
PADDOCK TIME: Turnout after a day.
WALKING: As necessary.
SLOW WORK: No.
FULL WORK: No.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Reproductive tract tears/injury are the main concern. Get a vet check within 24 hours. Observe attitude of mare and check for foul smelling vaginal discharge twice daily first 72 hours.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Vaginal swelling will resolve within first week. Both mare and baby will be recovered from birth trauma within 48 to 72 hours.
ACUTE TREATMENT: Antibiotics, usually by injection, for 10 to 14 days minimum; severe cases longer. Nebulizer treatments if suggested. Daily temperature taking.
ONGOING TREATMENT: High-quality, highly palatable diet. Avoid respiratory irritants. Good ventilation necessary. Avoid stress. Consider supplemental anti-oxidants (especially vitamin C and bioflavinoids) and grape seed.
STALL TIME: Minimum two weeks.
PADDOCK TIME: After cleared by veterinarian.
WALKING: After one to two weeks if treatment is progressing well.
SLOW WORK: No sooner than two weeks after treatment has stopped.
FULL WORK: No sooner than three weeks after treatment has stopped.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Recurrence. Chronic cough (stable cough). More prone to respiratory allergies. Lung abscess.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Auscultation of lungs by veterinarian. Chest X-rays in severe cases.
PROGNOSIS: Good if diagnosed early and treated with correct antibiotics. Guarded for severe cases that respond slowly (permanent scarring more likely).
ACUTE TREATMENT: If open wound, clean three times daily. Vaseline to wound edges to avoid “burning” from drainage. Antibiotics/anti-inflammatories if prescribed. Good ventilation. Avoid respiratory irritants (dust, ammonia, dusty hay or straw).
ONGOING TREATMENT: Daily wound care until healed. Avoid all respiratory irritants. Good ventilation.
STALL TIME: About 2 weeks if no incision; with incision, wait until wound is closed.
PADDOCK TIME: As ordered; will depend on type of surgery. Usually after about two weeks of handwalking.
WALKING: Starts about 2 weeks post-op if no incision, but not until incision closed with open wound.
SLOW WORK: In 4 to 8 weeks, after cleared by vet.
FULL WORK: In 8 to 12 weeks, after cleared by vet.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Infection.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Should have follow-up endoscopic evaluation by the surgeon before resuming work.
PROGNOSIS: Guarded for roaring and palate surgery; good for cauterization of pharynx.
ACUTE TREATMENT: Stop work immediately. Get vet. Towels soaked in hot water, covered by shower curtain or plastic drop cloth, then cooler. Encourage drinking but not eating. Other medication only as ordered by vet. Check color of urine.
ONGOING TREATMENT: Rest. Gentle massage with mild traditional liniment (e.g. diluted Absorbine) or herbal (arnica-based) liniment. High-quality diet with high-quality protein, adequate lysine. Continue hot packing as above several times a day as long as there is muscle pain. Full work-up to determine cause.
STALL TIME: 1 to a few days depending on severity of muscle damage (let vet decide) and/or any complications.
PADDOCK TIME: As soon as cleared by vet. “Sun bathing” and rolling helpful. Protect from cold and wind.
WALKING: Slow walking to begin when muscles have relaxed again. Time allowed to be determined by vet.
SLOW WORK: When muscle enzymes have returned to normal, usually in 7 to 10 days.
FULL WORK: Resume gradually. Pay careful attention to warm up.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Pigment from muscles (myoglobin) may accumulate in kidneys. This requires intensive intravenous fluid therapy. Muscle atrophy may appear in a few days to a few weeks following a severe attack of tying up. Horses that have tied up once are at higher risk of another episode.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Blood muscle enzyme levels best indicator. Horse will be moving more freely. Normal muscle tone.
PROGNOSIS: Good to guarded, depending on cause.
ACUTE TREATMENT: Anti-inflammatory (phenylbutazone, aspirin, flunixine meglumine) if very high fever and/or horse refusing to eat or drink. Cold packs to site for first 24 hours.
ONGOING TREATMENT: Do not automatically repeat anti-inflammatory dosing. Wait a few hours to see if horse will be OK without it. If swelling and pain continue, alternate hot and cold packs for next 24 hours.
STALL TIME: 24 to 48 hours.
PADDOCK TIME: After 1 to 2 days.
WALKING: Hand walking OK; encourage grazing if appetite not good.
SLOW WORK: Usually in 2 to 3 days.
FULL WORK: Usually after 3 days.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Abscess (sterile or infectious) can form at injection site.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Normal attitude, temperature and appetite; resolution of swelling.
VIRAL RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS
ACUTE TREATMENT: Rest, wit h phenylbutazone, aspirin or Banamine if ordered by veterinarian for very high fever, camphor/mentol ointment to nasal area (e.g. Vicks), high-quality, very palatable diet to encourage eating. No direct drafts but good ventilation is a must. Avoid respiratory irritants.
ONGOING TREATMENT: Cough syrups if ordered, rest two weeks after all symptoms are gone. Good ventilation. Avoid respiratory irritants.
STALL TIME: Until fever has been gone for 48 hours.
PADDOCK TIME: May reintroduce slowly after all symptoms gone for one week.
WALKING: Hand walking after all symptoms gone for one week.
SLOW WORK: 2 weeks after all symptoms are gone.
FULL WORK: 3 to 4 weeks after all symptoms gone.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: Relapse, superimposed bacterial infection. Chronic cough commonly develops, especially in young horses, if work resumed too soon. Flu virus may involve the heart, so don’t start the horse back work too soon.
INDICATORS OF HEALING: Resolution of symptoms.
PROGNOSIS: Excellent with proper care and management.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE UPDATES
Vesicular Stomatitis: Just when you thought it was over, horses at the Equestrian Center at the Air Force Academy were quarantined in November. The timing is unusual, since the spread is usually by biting insects, but 140 horses were diagnosed with the infection.
Mysterious Canadian Equine Deaths: Also in November, 11 horses near Barrie, Ontario, died of an unknown malady. The horses had symptoms of loss of appetite, colic, diarrhea, fever, sweats and elevated pulse. Officials are unsure if it was toxin or infection related. An investigation is underway.