I was sorry chiropractic care and massage therapy weren’t in your article on back pain (August 2001). My 16-year-old Thoroughbred mare was starved when I found her. Consequently, her spine is bumpy with arthritis. Through both chiropractic care and massage therapy, as well as consistent exercise, her back pain has been minimized and she is able to enjoy being ridden — both in the ring and on the trail.
Actual dislocations in the thoracic and lumbar spine are rare, so chiropractic manipulations aren’t likely to be much help with back problems. Massage therapy is helpful for muscle spasms but not arthritis per se. We find it difficult to believe someone diagnosed arthritis of the back in a starved horse due to a bumpy top line. From your letter, it would seem that the prominence of the bone was more likely due to the mare’s loss of muscle tissue and fat. Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to arthritis or bone disease, but you usually see it in the joints. We feel the adequate diet and regular exercise for strengthening you gave this mare are likely the major factors responsible for improved back discomfort.
With regard to your article on Odd Oral Behaviors in the September issue, I commend your tact. The person writing you was asking a question about behavior and wondered if it was based on nutrition and did leave you a window to comment on the training program for two “weanling” fillies. It might have been helpful to have suggested that this odd behavior could be due to stress and pain. Trotting on a longe line for 20-30 minutes is for older horses, not babies of any breed, as I am sure you know. I feel certain my response will not be the only one you receive.
Bedding Foaling Stalls
Your August 2001 article on “New-Wave Beddings” was fantastic.?? However, I have a small breeding operation and everyone tells me I should keep my foals on straw for at least the first 30 days because sawdust particles are too small and will get in the nose, eyes, mouth, etc. I hate straw because of so much waste, and my stalls smell terrible even though I try hard to clean them three times a day and disinfect them. Would you recommend any of these new-wave beddings for foaling stalls'
Of the beddings we field tested, we suggest Hunt Club bedding for a foaling stall.?? It’s virtually dust-free, and the pieces are far too large to get into the eyes or up the nose. Plus, it provided the best cushion.
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