2Know Your EquineThe equine should be in good body condition and move freelyNormal vital signs may vary from one equine to anotherDetermine normal vital sign when the equine is at rest.
3Recognize changesLoss of appetite is one of the first warnings that something is wrong.Observe changes in the color, texture, amount, etc. of manure.Dullness of eyes and coat, a runny nose or a persistent cough can all be indications that something is wrong.
4RespirationThe normal rate an equine breathes while at rest is 8-16 breaths per minute.Any kind of distress or activity increases a equine’s respiration rate.When respiration rate exceeds the heart rate, the equine has a serious problem. Normally the heart beat about four times per breath the equine takes.
5Respiration rate can be determined without special equipment by: Counting the number of times the flanks move in and out per minute. (Flanks move in and out with each breath).
6Counting the number of times the nostrils flare and contract per minute. (the nostrils flare and contract with each breath.)Holding the hand in front of the nostrils to feel the breaths that the equine takes may also help.
7Temperature The normal temperature range is 99.5-101.5 degrees F. 102 degrees F is a mild fever, 104 degrees F is moderate and 106 degrees F is a high feverThe chance for recovery by an equine with a high temperature is low.
8Rest equine with a 102 degree F temperature and call a veterinarian when the temperature rises to 103 degrees.
9Use a veterinary thermometer to check a equine’s temperature. Always take the equine’s temperature rectally.Allow three minutes for accurate readingUse the string attached to the thermometer to secure and retrieve.Inserting the thermometer full length helps prevent breaking
10Procedure for taking equine’s temperature: Shake the mercury down to the degree range.
11Dip the bulb of the thermometer, bulb first, full length into the rectum Fasten the thermometer to the equine’s tail using the clip-on string.Remove after 3 minutes, read and then wash the thermometer with soap and cool waterFinally, dip the thermometer in a disinfectant solution and rinse it again
12Heart Rate Normal heart rate varies Adult: 28-40 beats per minute Newborn foal:Older foals: 60-80Yearlings: 40-60
13Establish the normal rate for the equine by checking the rate when the horse is calm, cool, and relaxed.The heart rate may have to be checked several times to identify a comfortable range for the normal rateAn ill equine may have a heart rate from beats per minute for long periods
14Determine a equine’s heart rate by counting the pulse for 30 seconds and multiplying by 2
15Locate an artery at one of the following points Lower jawThe cheek 4” below eyeUnder the tail close to the bodyInside forelegInside left elbowAgainst chest wallBehind the kneeInside or outside of the pastern
16Press the fingers against an artery and count each throb. Use a stethoscope just behind the equine’s left elbow
17Why First AidThe nature of equine makes them accident-prone and they are subject to:Kicks or bites from other horses, falls and injuries sustained by running through or over obstructions when frightened
18Equines are naturally curious and may be injured as a result of pawing objects or sticking their heads through holes in fences or stall walls.
19Equines may develop unsoundness from injuries because of stress and strain to tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, etc. and are caused by:Overworking or over exercise from trainers, riders, etc.Improper exercise (too little followed by too much)
20First aid measure are needed for open wounds so that: Excessive bleeding which can result in death is controlled. (Some controlled bleeding is good because it helps flush the wound of contaminated material)
21The contaminated wound becomes a clean wound. The wound heals rapidly
22Other reasons for first aid treatment include reducing pain, calming the animal until a veterinarian can arrive, and preventing further injury.
24WoundsAbrasions (skin scrapes) are superficial wounds caused by falls or tack and are treated by gently and thorough washing of the area with lukewarm water or a saline solution and when possible applying a light bandage.
25Equine who suffer wounds more serious than abrasions or superficial cuts must be treated by a veterinarian, but first aid used for all open wound should be used until a vet arrives.Move the equine to a quiet area and calm it down.
26Hose the wounded area to remove dirt, clay and other contaminants Hose the wounded area to remove dirt, clay and other contaminants. (Excessive pressure may force foreign materials deeper into the wound.Clean the wounded area with either saline solution (1 tsp of salt in 1 pint boiled water is .84% salt solution) or diluted solution of mild skin antiseptic in warm water (1% iodine-based washes such as Povidone Iodine or Chorhexidine)
27Remove foreign objects from puncture wounds and apply a poultice to draw out contaminating materials and keep the wound openApplying firm, direct pressure with a sterile pad to the wound and holding it in place to control arterial bleeding (spurts our of the wound and is bright red). Reconstituted cellulose and absorbable gelatin sponges help blood clot and may be left in the wound since they are absorbed by the body.
28LamenessCheck each hoof for any foreign object lodged in the sole or frog, remove the object and observe the equine for signs of lameness and rest the equine.
29First aid treatment for closed wounds, injuries or swelling include: Application of cold is a common first aid treatment because it reduces pain, swelling, bleeding and inflammationCold treatment should not continue past the first hoursApply cold treatment for minutes and then wait one hour before starting another 30 minute treatment
30Bruises and Fractures Call a veterinarian If leg fracture is suspected, immobilize the leg with a pillow held in place as tightly as possible by wrapping bandages tightly around the pillow and leg.
31Strains and SprainsMuscle strains/sprains to tendons and ligaments may be treated with an alcohol rub or linimentAfter the application of liniment, the owner or caretaker should wrap the horse’s legs in rest bandages.
32Bandages used for wounds, sprains and support Bandages may protect a wound from dirt, decrease movement of the wounded or affected area, allow faster healing, cover medications, minimize swelling and provided support.Bandages consist of padding material and an adhesive, elastic or not-elastic wrap
33Vet rap is a self-adhering, elastic bandage with contouring qualities which can make it useful for bandaging difficult areas, pressure bandages and ice packs
34A stable bandage extends from below the knee or hock to the fetlock and is used to support the lower leg: support the leg opposite an injured leg: or for wounds. Apply a stable bandage by:Wrapping padding snugly around the leg from just below the joint to below the fetlock and cover with wrapping flannel or knit wrap starting near the middle of the cannon bone.
35Tuck the end of the wrap under the edge of the padding, and wrap once around the leg to just below the fetlock joint.The bandage should wrap below the back of the joint but rise higher in front, causing an upside down “V” on the front of the joint.
36Cold water bandages are used to apply cold pressure to cool a warm strained leg. Apply a cold-water bandage by applying cold water to the leg or soaking padding in ice water and applying padding directly to the leg without wringing it out.
37Wrap the padding snugly with a knit leg wrap. Run cold water over the bandage frequently and do not let the bandage dry out
38Bandages should be changed when they are no longer functional; the leg is swollen above or below the bandage; the equine shows signs of pain; the bandage slips out of position or the bandage becomes dirty.
39Hoof Anatomy Parts of a horse’s foot The hoof wall is a horny substance made of parallel fibers protected by a varnish-like coating called periople that also holds moisture in the hoof.The hoof wall functions to: provide a weight bearing surface, protect the internal structure of the foot and maintain moisture in the foot.
40The coronet, or coronary band is an area directly above the hoof wall that serves as the source of growth for the hoof wall.The pastern- The part of the horse’s leg between the fetlock and the coronet that affects the stride of the horse.
41The sole of the foot is a horny substance that protects the sensitive inner portions. The frog is a triangular shaped formation in the sole of an equine’s foot. The frog of a healthy hoof must remain elastic as it acts like a shock absorber.
42The hoof is designed to change shape when weight is applied The hoof is designed to change shape when weight is applied. As weight is applied the sole flattens and the hoof expands laterally at the heel.
43Growth of the HoofThe growth rate of the hoof is about 3/8” per month depending on exercise and general health of the equine.Hind hooves grow faster than front hooves because they have less weight to rise.
44Unshod hooves grow faster than shod because the nails and shoe of a shod hoof limits movement. The hooves of mares and geldings grow faster than stallions because they get more exercise than stallions.
45The hoof grows at a 45-55 degree angle with the ground.
46Important Points in Foot Care Foot care is often neglected as a horse management practice. Foot care includesRoutine cleaning with a pick. Pick from the heel to the toe of the foot to prevent injury.Trimming the hooves every 4-6 weeks so they retain proper shape and length.
47Correcting minor imperfections by trimming such as splayfoot, toed in and toed out. Treatment of foot diseases and injuries. Thrush is a bacterial infection that penetrates the frog, making it soft and mushy. Thrush is related to lack of cleaning. Wet conditions cause rapid drying out of the horse’s foot.
48Reasons for Shoeing Protect the hooves from excessive wear. Provide better traction.Help correct defects of stance or gait such as forging.Help cure diseased or defected hooves such as inflamed tendons.
49Shoes can provide relief from the pain of injured parts such as bruised soles and hoof wall cracks.
50Shoes do not make walking easier; shoes do not improve agility; shoes do increase shock and road concussion and nail holes made in attaching shoes weaken the hoof wall, may cause separation and may provide entry for infection
51A proper fitting shoe should follow closely the outline of the trimmed hoof at the toe and around the wall to the bend of the quarter. Then it should widen gradually until it extends laterally 1/8” beyond the hoof wall at the heel. This provides support for the expanded hoof when the horse places weight on the shod foot.
52The branch of a properly fitted shoe should not project beyond the upper part of the hoof at the heel.The last nail should be placed on the widest part of the hoof. Placing the nail too far to the rear hinders the lateral expansion of the foot at the heel.
53Common Dental Problems A common problem is painful sores in the equine’s mouth as a result of sharp edges of hooks on the molars caused when the equine’s molars do not meet evenly.Wolf teeth (one to four small teeth that may develop in front of the molars) can cause “bit” problems.
54Canine teeth on older equine can get too long, hit the opposite gum and cause sores.
55Temporary teeth (caps) that fail to fall out may stick to the equine’s gums while the permanent teeth are coming in and can make chewing difficult.
56Parrot mouth is a common problem that results when the lower jaw is too short and affects the equine’s ability to graze.
57Chipped or broken incisors may result from the bad habit of cribbing. Cribbing a bad habit of equines living in stalls that results from boredom.Cribbing occurs when an equine grabs objects with their teeth, arch their necks and swallow air.
58Recognizing Dental Problems Observe the equine while it is eating to learn if it has problems chewing. Signs are:The equine moves food around it its mouth a lot prior to swallowing and food falls from the horse’s mouth as it eats.
60Make an examination of the equine's mouth by: Grasping the equine’s lower jaw with one hand to open the mouth.At the same time use the other hand to pull and hold the equine’s tongue to the side of the mouth so that visual inspection can be made.
61Correcting Dental Problems A veterinarian uses a special rasp called a float to file and remove sharp edges from an equine’s teeth.A veterinarian can pull wolf teeth.
62Equine with parrot mouth should not be bred since parrot mouth is an inherited defect. Equine may be prevented from cribbing by placing:Cribbing strap around the equine’s throatlatch.The strap presses on the equine’s trachea when it arches its neck.
63Internal ParasitesAn internal parasite lives at least part of its life cycle inside the host.There are more than 150 types of internal parasites that can infect equine.
64No individual equine is ever completely free of internal parasites but relatively few internal parasites cause serious damage to the equine.Most internal parasites live in the digestive tract, lungs, bloodstream or body cavity of the equine.
65The extent of injury from internal parasites depends on: The kind of parasite.The number of parasites involved, andThe length of time the parasite lives in the host.
66The general life cycle of internal parasites includes five stages:
67Stage 1- Eggs from the internal parasite pass out of the equine in the feces and is deposited on the pasture.Stage 2- Eggs hatch on the pasture and become infective larvae.Stage 3- The equine ingest the larvae on the grass stem.
68Stage 4- The immature parasites migrate through the equine’s tissues. Stage 5- The mature parasites live in the digestive tract and lay eggs.
69The MOST abundant and harmful internal parasites affecting equine are:
70Large strongyles (bloodworms) pose the most serious threat to the equine’s health out of all internal parasites.Migrate within artery walls from the digestive tract toward the heart.May cause damage to arteries so the equine bleeds internally and dies.
71Small strongyles spend their entire life cycle in the intestinal walls. Cause ulcerations in the intestinal walls that may interfere with digestion.They do not attach to the lining of the intestine and they do not suck blood.
72Ascarids (large roundworms) are the largest parasite that infect equine. May grow to 15” long and be the size of a pencil.Affect young equine less than two years of age.
73May damage the heart, liver, lungs, and cause lockage of the small intestine resulting in colic or death should the intestine rupture.
74Pinworms are more of a nuisance causing digestive problems but resulting in little damage.
75Bots are flies that lay eggs on various parts of the equine. Eggs hatch into larvae and are ingested by the equine when the equine licks the area where eggs are laid.Other eggs hatch and larvae crawl into the mouth, from the nostrils and lips where they mature in the gums and membranes of the inner lips.
76When horsemen refer to bots, they usually mean the mature larvae that attach to the lining of the stomach.Bots cause stomach problems and can block the entrance to the small intestine causing the stomach to rupture.
77Management practices and treatment include: Proper manure disposal which includes:Timely removal on a weekly basisComposting prior to spreading on pasture grazed by animals other than equine or spread on cropland or ungrazed areas.
78Proper pasture management that includes The use of temporary pastures where possible.Frequent mowing and grain harrowing.Rotational grazing when possible.Separate pasture for young and old equine.Avoiding overstocking.
79Never feed equine from the ground. Always use troughs and mangers.
80Regular use of dewormer under the supervision of a veterinarian. Ivermectin, a form of avermectin, controls al common internal parasites.Dewormers may be administered easily with little chance of injury by a paste.
81The most effective way to administer a dewormer is by a stomach tube but usually a veterinarian is required for that procedure.Feed additives are effective as long as the equine will eat the materials.
82External ParasitesExternal parasites annoy equine and may infect equine with deadly diseases.External parasites may leave a equine weak, lower feed efficiency and produce raw sores.
83Some common external parasites that attach equine include: Ticks can cause damage and transmit disease such as African equine fever.
84Lice are most often found on neglected equine. Two types of lice live on equine: The biting louse and the sucking louse.Lice spread quickly from equine to equine.
85Mites cause the condition mange or scabies in equine. Mange is very contagiousSeparate equine with mange from healthy equine and use different grooming equipment
86Gnats are bloodsuckers and cause extreme itching after they bite. Mosquitoes carry viruses and bacteria which cause diseases such as equine infectious anemia (sleeping sickness).
87Flies are annoying to equine and carry stomach worms from equine to equine. Female screworm flies lay eggs in fresh wounds on animals that hatch into larva that feed on the tissue resulting in large sores.
88Management practices and treatment for external parasites include; Regular removal of manure, dirty stall bedding and materials which encourage the breeding of parasites.Maintaining fresh water supplies to discourage breeding by external parasites.
89Use chemicals according to label instructions as repellants and control methods. Use regular insecticide application on infected animals according to label instructions.
90Use biological controls such as predator wasp to reduce the need for chemical controls. Use mechanical controls such as a face mask made from scrap leather or commercial vinyl masks to keep face flies away.
91Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) A viral diseases that affects the equine’s immune system resulting in recurrent fever, weight loss and anemia.Once an equine is infects, it remains infected for the rest of its life.
92Chronically infected equine may go for years without showing signs of anemia only to have the sign recur when stress, environmental conditions or other disease affects the equine.
93Horseflies and deerflies are the major natural transmitters of the virus from one equine to another. Detection- A blood test called the “Coggins test” is used to detect the presence of EIA.
94Equine must have a negative Coggins test before they can compete or be placed in events in North CarolinaPrevention involves isolation from equine that are not infected and protection from biting, flying insects.
95TreatmentThere is no effective treatment or vaccination for the diseaseIn some cases, equine with EIA are required to be euthanized.
96Equine Influenza There are two common features of this viral infection Extremely rapid spread of infectionFrequent, dry cough
97Equine with influenza have an elevated temperature of 102 Equine with influenza have an elevated temperature of degrees F which persist up to 5 daysThe death rate from influenza is very low
98The virus is spread to other equine when the equine exhales or coughs and may be carried by handlers on equipment that have been in contact with an infected equine.
99PreventionUse two intramuscular injections of influenza vaccine scheduled 2-4 weeks apart followed by a booster shot at 3-4 month intervals for horses at risk.Isolation of infected equine and screening animals prior to transportation will reduce the spread of the disease.
100TreatmentOne week of stall rest is recommended for each day the equine has an elevated temperature due to influenzaMaintain a dust free environment during the illness and recovery by wetting hay and providing clean bedding.
101Equine Rhinopneumonitis This is a respiratory disease caused by EHV virus.The infection is accompanied by a gold colored nasal discharge among foals.
102The virus associated with this disease also may cause abortions in pregnant mares and occasional paralysis.Equine may develop a temperature of degrees F which lasts for hours.
103Equine become infected when they inhale the virus exhaled by sick or even apparently healthy equine that are infected.
104Prevention requires a combination of: Sensible management practicesMares should be isolated and separated from other equineThorough cleaning and sanitation in the event of dead or aborted fetus
105VaccinationVaccinate pregnant mares in the 5th 7th and 9th month of pregnancy.Young equine should receive two injections followed by a booster according to manufacturer’s recommendations
106Treatment is limited as there is not specific anti-viral therapy available.
107StranglesA highly contagious bacterial infection most commonly found in young equine from one to five years of age.Early signs of strangles include fever, depression and loss of appetite due to difficulty with swallowing.
108As strangles progresses, the lower jaw and throatlatch region may become hot, swollen and painful with abscesses forming and rupturing onto the skin.Pus from ruptured abscesses may contaminate water buckets and communal feeders for months.
109When strangles develop and abscesses from on internal organs, mortality may be as high as 10%.
110Prevention and treatment are used in conjunction. Treat ruptured abscesses with a mild antiseptic solution to hasten healing
111Administer Procaine penicillin G as an antibiotic treatment until clinical signs no longer exist for five days.Isolate affected animals from all other equineVaccinate with 2 or 3 injections one month apart and apply a booster annually.
112Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) EVA is a viral infection that causes respiratory illness with nasal and ocular discharges, swelling (stocking up) of the hind limbs and other areas of the body and sometimes abortion.EVA may be passed by respiratory transmission when equine come in close contact.
113Equine invariable make uneventful clinical recoveries even without treatment Perhaps EVA is most pronounced as a breeding disease through the venereal spread of the disease by acutely affected stallions.Viral persistence in the stallion can range from several weeks to the entire lifetime of the equineMares can be infected either at time of natural breeding or artificial breeding.
114PreventionImmunize the breeding stallion population with MLV vaccine.Immunize all mares if they are inseminated with EVA positive semen.
115TreatmentThere is no specific anti-viral treatment for equine with EVAInfected stallions should receive forced rest if they show symptoms of the disease.
116Eastern, Western and Venzuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE, WEE, and VEE) EEE, WEE, and VEE are viral infections that result in the inflammation of the brain.
117The viral infections are spread by insect contact. The virus may live in reservoir hosts such as birds and rodents for long periods of time without harming the host.
118The virus is transmitted and spread by mosquitoes (vectors) to equine and humans. The viral infection is not transmitted between equine and humans.
119The disease has high mortality rates: EEE is %WEE is 20-50%VEE is 40-80%
120Complete recovery is rare with equine frequently continuing to exhibit clumsiness, depression and abnormal behavior.Signs of EEE, WEE, and VEE include aggression, propulsive walking, excitability, and a number of things that indicate the equine is confused.
121Prevention focuses on mosquito control. Use insecticides and repellants when possible and practicalEliminate standing waterScreen stalls, use fans to move air, and limit the use of incandescent lights in stall areas
122Brings equine inside prior to dusk Vaccinate with 3 injections at 3, 4, and 6 months of age and give a booster at the beginning of insect season
123TreatmentThere is not specific treatment available
124Equine ColicColic is the behavioral signs of abdominal pain in equine characterized by various activities including, but not limited to: tail twitching; head tossing; kicking toward the belly with one of the hind limbs; pawing the ground; grinding the cheek teeth and frequent attempts to lie down and roll on the back, etc.
125True colic is due to intestinal obstruction or disease which causes pain 95% of all colic cases are from two causesSpasmodic causes where their is intestinal spasm caused by numerous things such as stress, anxiety, diet change, parasite damage, dewormers, etc.Large intestinal impaction (constipation) caused most often by improper diet and exercise (Human management is often culprit)
126PreventionUse a parasite management program to avoid problemsCareful rotation of pasture helps reduce levels of parasitesAvoid overstocking pasturesUse “Ivermectin” as a deworming compoundPay attention to the equine’s diet
127TreatmentPlace the equine in a safe environmentTreat with analgesia for pain reliefTreat with mineral oil as a laxative
128Remove feed until the equine has improved and then reintroduce feed gradually Do not allow the equine to eat too much hay or roughage (lightly grazing the pasture is recommended)
129FounderCharacterized by the hoof collapsing as a result of laminitis (inflammation of the supporting tissue between the hoof wall and pedal bone)Causes lameness in the horse and if left unchecked can cause permanent lameness or even require euthanization.
130The leading cause of founder is gastrointestinal disturbance from any number of factors such as colic, grain overload, lush grass, excessive cold water, etc.Other factors that cause founder are exhaustion, excessive concussion (road founder) contact with black walnut shavings, etc.
131PreventionControl dietAvoid overworking the equine
132TreatmentIdentify cause and direct treatment toward alleviating the problemIncrease blood flow to the laminae through the use of drugs and IV fluidsUse aspirin or heparin to thin blood
133Use anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs (Ketaproten) to reduce laminar swelling Pack the frog and sole to increase supportUse specialized shoes to relieve pressure to the hoof area.
134Tetanus (Lockjaw)Caused by a neurotoxin that allows uncontrolled muscle contraction and muscle spasmsAffected horses most often have sustained a wound from 2 days to a month prior to the onset of tetanus; however, tetanus bacteria also live in the equine’s digestive tract
135Tetanus has become less common due to vaccination, but is still highly fatal Equine usually die from suffocation, cardiac arrest or starvation since their muscular system does not function
136PreventionVaccination with two doses of toxoid vaccine given one month apart followed by a booster shot annuallyEquine that are injured should receive the toxoid booster if there is no record of prior shots
137TreatmentAdminister penicillnAggressively clean the woundAdminister tetanus anitoxinUse tranquilizers and muscle relaxes to relieve spasms and muscle painProvide IV fluids and nutritional support
138Potamac Horse Fever (PHF) PHF is a disease which in its extreme form results in profuse, watery diarrhea, fever, shock and laminitisThe occurrence of PHF disease is consistently within 5 miles of a river
139PHF is caused by an organism that can survive within living cells and must be transmitted through blood cells by insects such as ticksEquine with PHF are not considered contagious to other equine
140PreventionVaccinate with two injections one month apartGive a booster injection annually in May or June
141TreatmentA veterinarian should use tetracycline (anti-microbial drug) for 4-5 daysIV fluids, frog pads, sole support, and anti-inflammatory drugs also help
142Borreliosis (Lyme Disease) Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted primarily by certain ticksRare among equine and only a problem where Lyme disease is found among human populationsArthritis is the most commonly reported sign of Lyme disease in equine
143PreventionCareful grooming to remove ticksAvoiding tick-infested areas
144TreatmentUse antibiotics such as tetracycline and ampicillinProlonged treatment of days usual
145West Nile Virus (WNV)Viral infection that can cause inflammation of the brain and often mimics EEE in equineFirst introduced in western hemisphere in 1999Equine are more often affected by WNV than any other domesticated animal
146WNV is spread by mosquitoes when they bite an infected bird and then bite a human or an equine Equine are not contagious and do not pose a health risk to other animals or humansAbout 30% of horses who show clinical signs either die or have to be euthanized
148Clinical sign of WNV may include circling, aimless wandering, head pressing, impaired vision, hyper excitability, etc.
149PreventionSee mosquito and control techniques listed for EEE, WEE and VEEA veterinarian should vaccinate with “protocol” and follow with a booster injection three weeks laterTreatment is still developing