Case Study: Benefits of our new facility

We would like to share a case with you that highlights some benefits of our facility. This horse had a severe injury to its right front leg. We were able to repair the wound and with great care from the owner and regular bandage changes the horse did well. The injury included skin over the horse’s knee and this high motion joint usually means a prolonged time to heal the skin and often a larger scar. We used a cast to immobilize the leg and keep the wound from gapping. As the wound progressed in healing and after the stitches were removed there was an area over the knee devoid of skin. Dr.Grant’s youngest son, Jed, makes a product out of nanofibers called NanoCare that is used as a mesh and when placed over the wound bed can speed healing,helping the surrounding skin to cover the defect faster.

The day of the injury, outside temperature was about 10 degrees. We can sew wounds at low temperatures, but this wound needed extensive repair and it would have been challenging to do at the horse’s barn. The owner was able to find a friend who could haul the horse to the clinic and in the warmer environment we were able to complete a much more satisfactory closure of the wound. More importantly, the fiberglass cast material we used to stabilize the repair would not have set-up and cured at those cold temperatures. If the owner had been unable to bring the horse in to us and we had to place the sutures in the cold barn without a cast the leg would have been too mobile and the stitches would most likely have torn loose too soon. That whole winter was cold, and we all recognized that with each successive bandage change. This incident occurred before we were in the new facility and all those bandages were changed in their barn. Today, with stalls available here it would be easy to keep the horse for a few weeks to monitor the cast and change the first few bandages. This helps us do a better job of making changes to the treatment plan and catching problems as they arise. Keeping a horse like that here also makes scheduling the bandages changes easy for everybody and saves the owner time and travel costs.

We keep our trucks well stocked and pride ourselves on being able to offer the services you and your horse need where you need them, but there are distinct advantages to working here at the clinic. In-house we have access to all our equipment and supplies in one place and have more hands available to help. A clean and open work environment help us to get our job done quickly and correctly. The advantages of heat and light, especially this time of year cannot be overstated. Stalls give us a chance to better manage complications as they arise and follow the case more closely.

These are pictures from the case, following her progression in healing. The owner did a great job keeping her clean and comfortable. The horse tolerated bandages and stall rest very well and we feel the NanoCare product helped to speed the healing, reducing the necessary stall time, and bandaging.

Case Study: Donkey and Mini Teeth

Do Donkeys and Minis need their teeth worked on?donkey teeth

Need is a relative term. Teeth work, dentistry, is performed on horses for different reasons. Horse teeth are continuously erupting and are designed to wear each other off evenly. Problems arise when the teeth become uneven. Sharp edges and abrupt steps can develop – these make it hard for horses to move their heads well and this can impact chewing, but also athletic performance. Even horses with well balanced teeth usually need some help with sharp edges, or points.

Preventive dentistry, maintaining healthy and well balanced teeth is important to all equids. That should be stated at the outset. A high level dressage horse or talented reining horse needs more fine bit control than the 30 year kids’ walk – trotter, but the 30 year old needs his teeth well cared for so he can chew and digest efficiently. These differences are why we say the need is relative. Donkeys and minis are just as susceptible to dental abnormalities and disease as full size horses, and minis more so because of the reduced skull size.  Both minis and donkeys are easy keepers so good chewing for efficient digestion is not usually a problem – in fact they are usually too heavy. Some of these guys pull carts but bit control is not often an issue. Here again we see that need is relative – do they need perfect dentition for the demands placed on their lives? Maybe not, but as you have no doubt heard, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is an especially accurate statement with regard to equine teeth – maintaining balance and overall oral health with regular dental exams and equilibrations is much preferable to trying to sort out problems later in life.

The donkey in this case was an older jenny, named Daisy. She had never had a dental exam, because she had never had a problem with her mouth. Recently, however, her owner noticed that Daisy’s cheeks were enlarged, or swollen. Daisy didn’t seem to be having trouble eating, in fact quite the opposite – she was still pretty excited about it.

On first inspection it did seem that Daisy’s cheeks were swollen, but a quick palpation revealed very sharp, firm points under normal cheeks.  After some sedation a full mouth speculum was applied and a more thorough oral exam was completed. Daisy had some sharp points but for the most part, her overall dentition was good with normal alignment and wear. The one abnormality though, was a significant one. The first pre-molar on both sides of the upper arcade had been fractured, midline. The two fragments were separated widely with a considerable quantity of food packed in between. The fragments protruded into the center of her mouth and each cheek. The accumulating food was foul smelling and causing gingival disease. We addressed the points and minor imbalances first, then removed the loose fragments and food from the first premolars.

Daisy handled the entire procedure well (she did leave the stall once, despite being sedated – we’ll chalk that up to donkey contrariness) and ate better that night. Going forward though, the loss of the first upper premolars has created a significant imbalance and will likely mean she needs regular dental care to prevent overgrowth of the lower first premolars and more issues.

Overconditioned Horse

Download and print this article, click here.

Case of the Quarteroverconditioned horse

Louisa is a beautiful 9 year old gray Pasofino mare. While active and lively (sometimes too lively) she carries too much condition – she is fat. Body condition scoring in the horse is done on a scale of 1-9, and Louisa is a 7+. Louisa’s people know this and have been actively trying to help her lose weight. Louisa is on a calorie and carbohydrate restricted diet, as well as thyroid supplementation. Progress has been slow, but is being made. More turn-out, in a dry lot, has helped immensely.

Louisa has Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) – insulin dysregulation. Obesity may be the result of the insulin dysregulation, but it may also contribute to the insulin problems. Adipose tissue, fat, is more metabolically active than we used to recognize. The fat cells likely contribute to the poor carbohydrate metabolism and insulin issues. The late summer has brought new challenges to Louisa and her condition. Seasonal changes in the horse’s metabolism (think about hair coats and cycling in mares) make this a riskier time for both Cushing’s disease and EMS horses. Grasses that have been growing hard through all the early summer rains start to dry out and concentrate sugars as they are stressed. Remembering that adipose, or fat cells, are metabolically active – many horses have shrugged of their winter thinning in favor of Spring and Summer pasture plumpness – insulin dysregulation and especially insensitivity are worse now. All these factors combine to pose a very serious threat of laminitis in effected horses.

Mona is Louisa’s mother. She has Cushing’s disease, also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). Many PPID horses also deal with insulin dysregulation. Mona suffered from severe chronic laminitis issues that eventually resulted in tendon surgery and ongoing corrective shoeing. Her difficult lessons were invaluable in helping Louisa’s owners to recognize the signs of laminitis early on – before more serious damage was done.

When Louisa started standing more than walking her owners wondered if trouble was mounting. Louisa’s people recognized her poor attitude and ill temper as signs of the pain she was experiencing. Dietary restrictions were stepped up – no more reaching under the fence for grass. Protective shoes were applied  – mechanical aides from Nanric, Ultimates. Her exercise was restricted to a very small paddock.

Exercise is important to any horse, especially to the EMS horse as it becomes essential in managing weight and metabolism. In Louisa’s case however, the laminitis has to take precedence. We have to heal her feet and prevent further damage so that she can return to more exercise and continue her efforts at weight loss for healthier living.

Louisa’s mother is a good example of how laminitis can spiral downward in its effects and lasting complications. Thanks to her owners’ astute observations and quick action, Louisa is doing well and may not suffer any permanent damage to her feet.