Equine newsletter Autumn 2009

We hope you have had an enjoyable and successful summer on your horses, and avoided the rain as far as possible.

Watch out for laminitis in the next month as we always get a few cases in the October grass flush.

Also look out for colic. Changes to routine with horses standing in for longer at night and eating more dry fibre can result in the increase of cases that we see at this time of year. Try to change routines and feeding gradually if possible.

OLDER HORSES

Horses are living longer and in the UK the average age is now over 22.5 years with ponies commonly living even longer. A recent survey suggested colic, neurological disease and respiratory disorders as the three most common causes of death or euthanasia. Age itself is not a disease and by itself does not cause weight loss, therefore there may well be a reason why an older horse is failing to keep weight on e.g. dental disease.

With older retired horses some owners may tolerate a degree of lameness which would be unacceptable in younger animals. Pain reduces activity and inactivity results in muscle loss. Even small amounts of pain killers such as phenylbutazone (bute) can reverse this decline.

EQUINE FLU

No scares on a scale to rival swine flu but there is a constant threat of a new flu strain emerging.TVVC is an Intervet Flu surveillance practice and as such if we feel your horse has a viral cough that needs investigating then the Animal Health Trust will process swabs from us without charge. The vaccination course for flu is two vaccines 4 weeks apart then a third at 6 months and then annual after that. We run a vaccine reminder system for the 3rd and annual vaccines but inevitably as with any system errors can occur, not least the infallibility of the royal mail! Entry to some events require correctly timed vaccines so please make a note of when your vaccines are due as it is an expensive and frustrating business to restart the course. If you have any health issues with your horse we are more than happy to discuss them at the time of vaccination.. Similarly we are happy to perform a free dental check at vaccination time, let us know if you require this so we can be sure to bring a mouth gag to do a thorough examination.

“CARING FOR THE OLDER HORSE”
For the first of our autumn/winter talks at TVVC we are delighted to welcome John Keen from the RDVS Edinburgh. John is recognised as a specialist in equine internal medicine and will talk about some of the common conditions and diseases that especially affect older equines. The talk is free, sponsored by Vetplus, and will start at 7.30pm on Friday 27th November. All are welcome to attend although we would ask you to please ring to reserve a place (01738 621415).

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