Pearls Of Wisdom

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In Dr. Juliet Getty?s look at low carb/low sugar feeds, she states, ?Psyllium has been shown to lower blood glucose and insulin levels in horses,? and then she tells us how much to feed.? For anyone with an insulin-resistant horse, a gem like that makes the whole article a keeper.

I also found a pearl in the article on pain, by Dr. Grant Miller. He discusses a phenomenon called ?spinal cord wind-up.?? I never heard that term before, but when I read the explanation of it and how horses can adapt their bodies to deal with pain, I was fascinated.

Have you ever wondered how long a horse had been in pain, never really complaining until it was simply unbearable'? This makes me determined to pay even closer attention to subtle changes in my horses.? I didn't know they ?hide? pain and compensate for it.

That made me think about Dr. Deb Eldredge?s note about navicular therapy injections. Consider the initial symptoms of navicular syndrome. they're so subtle in the beginning?soreness trotting on hard surfaces, lameness moving on a tight circle, maybe slightly pointing one foot forward?that it could easily be missed, especially in, for example, a trail horse who is ridden on trails softly padded with pine needles and no tight turns.

Usually with navicular, ?the vet gets called in when the horse is actually limping and the diagnosis is made when the vet wisely insists on a radiograph. But, if this new injection therapy is reacting most favorably in horses with early lameness, it's even more important to be aware of any small changes in your horse that might indicate pain.

And, while we're on pain and injury, I'm excited about the University of Kentucky?s Thoroughbred Worker Health and Safety Study.? Over four years, the group will interview farm owners, managers and workers with the goal of developing safety resources to be distributed to Thoroughbred farms.

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As someone who worked for many years in the Thoroughbred industry, I know tHere's a great need for more safety awareness and protocols. Thoroughbred racehorses tend to be aggressive and high-strung, as these qualities can result in more speed and drive on the track. But that makes the horses tougher to handle, too. You might be thinking yearlings and stallions, but I'm including broodmares, because I've seen more than one so tough to handle that workers would play ?rock, paper, scissors? to decide who has to get her.

With any luck, this study will make working with horses less risky. If you're interested in helping, visit http://www.uky.edu/Centers/iwin/thoroughbred.html or call 859-323-0587.

Cynthia Foley, Editor-in-Chief