March "Ask Horse Journal" Letters

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I heard that in horses carrying a heavy parasite load

, colic could happen after deworming from the massive die-off. Is this true'

Veterinary Editor Dr. Eleanor Kellon responds:

If a horse has a large burden of tapeworms, it's theoretically possible for them to cause colic by blocking the passage from the small bowel into the cecum.

More commonly, a horse colics due to an inflammatory reaction to large numbers of parasites dying at once. It most likely occurs when immature forms inside the tissues are killed.

To minimize this, a common approach is to first deworm the horse with pyrantel or benzimidazole to remove adults. Over the next three to four weeks, the immature tissue forms will likely emerge, and then those can be removed with ivermectin or moxidectin. Unfortunately, there is such widespread resistance to pyrantels and benzimidazoles that this may not work. Another option is to give the horse a two-thirds dose of ivermectin first.

But, since tHere's no proof this will work either, it's also commonly recommended to treat the horse with Banamine the day before, day of, and day after deworming.

Sneezing

My gelding sometimes sneezes 15 or 20 times in a row without stopping, especially when He's excited. It occurs several times a day, but it doesn't seem to occur when I'm riding him. The mare sometimes does this, too. My vet?s stumped. Do you have any ideas'

Veterinary Editor Dr. Eleanor Kellon responds:

Horses sneeze for the same reasons we do ? either a viral infection or an irritant. It may be an allergy or high levels of pollen or mold in his enviroment. Worsening with excitement could mean it's a variant of head-shaking, but that tends to occur under saddle, too. Talk with your vet about possible treatments, like antihistamines.

On behalf of my mini mules, Yazoo and Napoleon, we thank you. I'm sure you helped save my little guy?s life.

In December, Yazoo colicked because he wasn?t drinking enough water to keep things moving. We got through the colic, and the vet suggested that he might not like his water cold. We tried that, but in January, he colicked again. This time we talked about additives to entice him to drink water. The result' Yazoo tipped it over, as if to say, ?You expect me to drink THAT'? I was upset that we might lose this special little guy.

I found Horse Quencher in my Valley Vet catalog with a star beside it saying it was a Horse Journal Favorite (June 2008). I ordered it straight away. I followed the mixing instructions, although we have to tweak it a bit as he likes his stronger and steeped longer then indicated. But it's working! Yazoo looks forward to his ?juice? twice a day, and I know He's drinking it because I hold the bucket.

I'm sending a photo of Yazoo enjoying Horse Quencher. Even though you cater to all things horse, mules are also benefiting from your reviews. (The psyllium article helped Napoleon.) Keep reviewing.

Kate Steketee
Michigan

Leads And Ties

The January 2011 issue was a winner. I especially liked the articles about longeing, the new dressage tests, and Problem Solvers. There is a lead from Blocker, the company that makes the Blocker Tie Ring (a Horse Journal recommended product) that is quite similar to the Parelli lead you mention. My off-the-track Thoroughbred doesn't tie reliably, and the tie ring and Blocker lead work well to ?detain but not restrain? him (a phrase from the Blocker advertising).

Kathy Young
California

Emergency Stop

I have something to add to the January article on longeing. Once the horse is responsive to all basic longeing commands, I teach my horse the emergency halt. This means giving the halt command and letting the longe line loose so that it lies on the ground. The goal is to teach the halt from any gait when the longe line is on the ground and remain halted until I reach the horse's head. This command acts as a save in case the horse gets loose on a high-energy day. it's also twice averted disaster when riders have lost control of their horses and headed directly into my longe line. Both times, I gave the halt command and dropped my line, allowing the ridden horse to pass safely over, while my horse remained halted.

it's easy to teach as long as the trainer backs it up with praise that the horse recognizes as a big ?yes, you did this right.? I start teaching it as the last thing in a longe session so the horse is rewarded by the end of work. As the horse advances, I will occasionally do it in mid-session, giving the horse a walk break (without side reins) as a reward. This teaches the horse to respond at any time.

Shelley Scott
California

Prefers Long-Lining

In his book ?From My Hands to Yours: Lessons from a Lifetime of Training Championship Horses,? Monty Roberts (2002; Monty and Pat Roberts), says the opposite of what your January article on single-line longeing said. I suggest you follow the article you wrote with one that criticizes longeing, so that people will be able to make informed decision. A much better approach is long lining, which Monty discusses in his book. I come from a world where everybody longes and nobody understands the problems with it.

Carole Francis-Swayze, Ph.D.
California

Rain-Rot Scabs

I wanted to comment on the January Equine Winter-Skin Care article. Several horses I know have developed severe infections from removing rain rot. My horse still has scars on her hind legs from when I picked off rain rot down to raw skin, and it got infected. Instead of aggressive removal, my vet has suggested wrapping the leg with Furacin to both soften the scabs and prevent infection, and only taking off the top layer of scabs once they are loosened and can fall away easily. I hope this helps some of your readers stay out of the same trouble I got into.

Ampara Visser
California

Veterinary Editor?s Note:


Scabs should never be forcibly removed, and once you do get them off, the open skin must be treated to prevent further infection. Scabs are first softened with a mixture of a tea-tree oil-based sheath cleaner and water. The sheath cleaner softens and lifts the scabs so they are removed painlessly and without any further tissue damage.