This is the third in a series of articles on toxic plants that are likely to poison horses in North America. This installment covers myotoxic plants, those that damage muscle and the cardiovascular system.
On June 9, 2007, Rags to Riches nosed out Preakness winner Curlin in a courageous duel down the stretch to become the first filly in 102 years to win the Belmont Stakes, and only the third filly to do so in its 139-year history.
It is early morning on the average American horse show grounds. The mist is just beginning to clear and the horses, trainers, riders and associated show personnel are only now beginning to rise. But some grooms and horses have been at it for a while already. They are in the warm-up ring or on a nearby field, and they have been lunging around since first light.
There are no signs this Spring of widespread high populations of eastern tent caterpillar (ETC) – the insect linked to Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) – but horse farms still should take precautionary measures, says Lee Townsend, PhD, entomologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
Equine colic is "responsible for more deaths in horses than any disease group except old age." That's how Nathaniel A. White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, described the insidious nature of the condition in a 2005 presentation to the American Association of Equine Practitioners in Quebec.
Though the highly portable extracorporeal shock wave therapy units have a lot of utility outside the clinic, the technology should remain in the hands of those who know what they are doing: a trained veterinarian.
Acupuncture treatment in mares and stallions seems to provide benefit as a therapy to treat reproductive disorders dependent on the condition and the duration of treatment. In addition to study and use in horses, there is considerable use and study in several species, including its use in women, especially as an analgesic for obstetric and gynecological procedures (see story). For those animals that do not respond well to conventional medicine, traditional Chinese medicine affords a viable alternative that has shown results for horses during the past several millennia.
Colic, or abdominal pain, is a relatively common problem that develops in horses of all ages. Practitioners in the field of equine medicine should be familiar with the various conditions that can contribute to abdominal pain. Once a clinical evaluation has been performed the practitioner will be able to narrow the differential list to establish a working diagnosis.