Showing posts from 2005

I don't know why I find this funny

I don't know why but there is just something really funny about this..."pack of angry Chihuahuas attack Officer"I would expect perhaps a Mailman but not a Cop.
Maybe the body armor should cover the ankles.....
" Little did Elliott Ness and his Untouchables know but the dreaded Chihuahua Gang was coming up the back steps"

Twas the night before Christmas...A Horse Vets Christmas Story

Twas the night before Christmas , and the coldest one yet One last farm call to make , for a tired old Horse Vet

The horses were snuggled, and tucked in their stalls Where the only thing moving, were the mice in the walls

Their feed buckets were hung, by the stall doors with care In the hopes that The Horse Doctor, soon would be there

Out in the paddock, there arose quite a fussin’ The hot wire was on, and someone was cussin’

I ran to the window, and stuck my nose through the curtain “I think that’s the Doc", looks like he’s limping for certain”

From out in the barn, came the faint scent of Brandy And he was passing out meds, as if it were candy

Some Bute for your lameness, Dexamethasone for you Antibiotics for that one, and some Banamine too

As he walked back to his truck, he screamed as if shot “I reckon he forgot, that the wire was still hot”

I could still hear him fussin’, as he drove down the hill “Merry Christmas to all, I’ll just send you the bill”

Winter WonderLand

The summer of surf continues as the winter of surf. The down side is " IT"S COLD". The water temp is now down to 65 degrees and falling towards the 50's (and I live in Florida). Air temp in the 40's this morning but we still went out, and it reminded me that I have been off the weights for over a month. Paddling out in a wetsuit keeps you warm ("er") but the last 20-30 yards through the waves was some work. I have the weekend off emergency duty so it was still good to get out. December is tough but Feb is the worst. Heres hoping the swells keep coming , you can follow whats going on at "the surf-station" web site. Tory does a great job of doing daily reports, even on the cold days.

Awesome Christmas Display

I've seen alot of "Grizwalds" over the years but this is without a doubt the absolute best. Whoever this is has way to much time and is clearly a techie. To keep the neighbors from going nuts the music is played on a low power radio transmitter and you tune to the frequency in your car. Turn the sound up on your computer and listen to the "Trans Siberian Orchestra".....this is cool.
Theres nothing quite like bright flashing lights that makes one harken back to a simpler time and place.....NOT.

Virology: A primer on Viruses and "Bird Flu"

I have recently recieved several questions concerning Viruses in general and the Bird Flu in particular so I thought I would give a short tutorial on the subject. If it's to in depth....sorry, I have a habit of doing that.
More in depth info can be found HERE.
One way to think of viruses in very small microscopic machines that have the ability to invade your cells, reproduce within them and then exit in mass numbers to infect other cells. If you picture this happening you can see why you feel so bad as this is happening. Once a virus gains access to the body (usually through the respiratory system) it attaches to the surface of the respiratory epithelium ( via the "H" protein, Hemaglutinin) and then inserts itself or is absorbed by endocytosis (cellular engulfing). Once within the cell, the virus begins replication protected from attack by the immune system. Once a significant number (crital mass) of viral particles is obtained within the cell, they are expelled (via &quo…
Doc Weldon & Mac

Cushings Disease...."does this halter make me look fat ?"

As horses live longer we have to deal with the everymore likely possibility of "cancer".
One of these is a small tumor on the Pituitary gland at the base of the brain. The Pituitary gland is responsible for regulation of Hormone production in the body and as tumors develop they cause an abnormal production of these substances. In the Horse this frequently leads to "Cushings Disease" and a wide array of clinical signs such as Laminitis, a long curly hair coat and excessive drinking. The big problem is the laminitis and hoof abcesses which can spell disaster for your horse, the key is picking up the problem early. To do this we do an extensive physical exam to see if this could actually be Metabolic syndrome (another problem) and then do diagnostic testing for organ function and a dexamethasone suppression test. While the tumor itself is not treatable at this point there are medications we can use to control the clinical signs. Primarily we use Cyproheptidine and Per…

Equine Influenza, Greyhounds and Bird Flu.

Things seem to be heating up on the Bird Flu front ( Great Britain) and (China) and it makes you wonder about the development of persistent cross species transfer. There has recently been a similar event seen in Florida where Equine Influenza has been linked to an outbreak of respiratory disease in Greyhounds ( here ). As is the concern in people with Bird Flu, the Greyhounds had no immunity to this virus, and it was severe. When there is no antibody response to an infection it replicates unchecked through the body damaging any system it is geared to. Influenza is primarily a respiratory virus and replicates in bronchial and alveolar epithelium. When these cells are infected they become swollen and leak cellular fluid and eventually slough into the airway. This causes reduced oxygen exchange and excess fluid in the lungs making breathing difficult. Those that die essentially drown. Not a pretty picture. There have been cases where the current Bird flu
has been transfered to yet anothe…

Update: Horse stabbing......CSI -Equine

Curiouser and curiouser. The story about the stabbed horse has legs (sorry bout the pun).
I had a call from the sister in law last night "I think I just saw your stabbed horse on the news". Yup, there he living color , on the 11:00 news. Now, I don't want to down play the significance of the injury but we are rapidly approaching media saturation with an article on the front page of the Metro section in todays paper and another segment on the evening news tonight.
The local station even had a link to a site about the incident that stated that the bills could run as high as $15,000 and could make donations ( NOTE-this wasn't my site). I've looked at my bill and I'm still not sure how you get to that figure. I'm just waiting on the call from Geraldo....... or my attorney.

"Somebody Stabbed my horse!"

Let me start out by saying that this was a new one. I'm never surprized by what some people do to animals (such as HERE ) and I've seen plenty. Like the time someone shot their horse for getting into the garbage, honest I saw it. "I was just tryin' to scare him", sure you were, just tell that to the officer. But last night I got the "stabbed" call. The owner had riden the horse up to the local convienence store and while inside....the deed was done. The horse was tied to a tree and had blood pouring from a wound in the center of the chest while someone(we'll call him the Perp) was running away. It's never a good sign when you arrive to treat an animal and there is a significant police presence, but I did feel better with a "horse-stabber" on the loose. After an exam which revealed a DEEEEP hole in the left pectoral muscle and alot of subcutaneous emphysema (air under the skin along the left side of the body). The good thing was that …

Bird Flu ?

In case you didn't know I also have a degree in Microbiology which is why I'm interested in topics like the current "bird flu" scare. Here are some need to know facts 1. It's not in the USA 2. It has not shown an ability to transmit from human to human 3. It can't infect your horse or you....yet. You can find more on this here and here.
What you see in the news is a discription of the virus as H & N numbers. This is related to surface makers H= hemagglutinin ( 16 subtypes) and N= neuraminidase(9 subtypes), this one is classified as H5N1. This flu infects birds and has spread to humans working with them in about 160 cases in asia. Of these cases about 40% were fatal, making it a serious world health risk. The buzz word is "pandemic", which is a new disease that spreads from person to person. There have been 3 pandemics in the last 100 years , the first being the flu outbreak at the turn of the last century(1918)and most recently in 1968. The conce…

"Broken legs" update

Today started out fine, crystal clear blue sky, cool North Florida morning. However, The call from the answering service was unexpected. The day after I blog about broken legs i get a call about another one. As before this one happened in the field with no known object seen. She was just running and the owner heard a "pop". It was that fast. An 18 year old in-foal broodmare.
This is so devastating to all involved. After a sonogram of the upper limb a comminuted fracture was evident and I humanely put her down. I've been in practice for many years and this never gets easier. It still sucks. The day ended cloudy and colder.

"Broken legs"

Unfortunatly we seem to be seeing a very high number of broken limbs this summer. This is devastating to all involved. I can't say that any particular cause is involved but "debris"or "horse magnets" are usually associated with them. This can be anything that disrupts the level surface of the [asture/paddock ie. limbs/branches, boards, farm equipment or holes. Sometimes an actual cause is never found. A fracture almost always causes a non-weight bearing lameness and usually swelling. While an abscess can make them lame , a fracture is acute with you finding your horse suddenly unwilling to walk. If the break is not complex (exposed bone) and in the lower limb there are surgical options so you should call immediately and apply a support bandage. Regardless of the extent of the break it is costly both monitarily and emotionally. I best advice is to be diligent in inspecting and cleaning your pastures , particularly after a strong wind. Walk through these areas lo…

Anhidrosis-sweating it out with a non-sweater

I've seen a very large number of non-sweaters this summer and in Florida where its un-godly hot that can be a bad thing. I'm not sure why we are seeing more this year as apposed to the past.
After we confirm the diagnosis with a sweat test we are left with a disease that has few effective treatments so we frequently try them all. These include electrolyte supplementation, One AC,daily beer and recently the use of prostaglandins. Some improve and many don't so we are left with trying to just get through the summer with environmental control. One promising inovation is the use of a fan/misting system similar to the "kool-zone" fans used by sports teams. One of our clients found a company that makes the mist/fog tubing and employed a large fan to build her own.
This tubing can be found at and is about $50.00. This was set up in a walk-in,walk-out stall and uses only about one gallon/hour of water so there isn't a muddy mess
in the area. The horse th…

Stifle issues-upward fixation or locking patella.

I want everyone to know that I read what you read...and a wee bit more. Much of what is available is fairly factual, but some is not. I was reading the current issue of Western Horseman
which has an article on "Unlocking Stifle Problems" by Michelle Anderson. This article deals with
UFP / upward fixation of the patella and for the most part is sound advice. The problem we frequently see in our practice is the unfit (I thought it was fit) horse. This problem (UFP)
arises from a laxity of the Medial patellar ligament which is part of the horses reciprocal apporatus
or locking mechanism which allows the horse to rest standing up. With UFP the ligament is lax or longer and hangs up on the medial side of the femur which causes pain and a stiff leg which drags
the toe behind. Frequently this leg "pops" as the limb comes forward. The old treatment was to
"clip" or "cut" the stifle. This is a surgical procedure where the medial patellar ligament is severed to…

10 Tips for Reducing Your Horse's West Nile Risk

10 Tips for Reducing Your Horse’s West Nile Risk

While the incidence of WNV is lower in our practice it is still a threat. The number of Encephalitis cases state wide is on track to surpass the previous record and we should all be aware of things we can do to decrease the risk. Certainly vaccination is key, however any immunity can be overwhelmed if enough virus is introduced and the horse is somehow debilitated.
Since first being recognized in the United States in 1999, West Nile virus (WNV) has posed
a serious threat to horses and humans alike. In the equine population, the virus is transmitted when a mosquito takes a blood meal from a bird infected with WNV, then feeds on a horse. While many horses exposed to WNV experience no signs of illness, the virus can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. In some cases, especially in older horses, WNV can be fatal.
As a horse owner, prevention is the key to reducing your horse’s risk of contracting WNV. Follow these guidelines from th…

10 Tips for Caring for the Older Horse

10 Tips for Caring for the Older Horse

Because of advances in nutrition, management and health care, horses are living longer, more useful lives. It’s not uncommon to find horses and ponies living well into their 20s and 30s. While genetics play a role in determining life span, you too, can have an impact.
You may think that turning your old-timer out to pasture is the kindest form of retirement. But horses are individuals. Some enjoy being idle; others prefer to be a part of the action. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the horse. Proper nutrition, care and exercise will help the animal thrive. Follow these guidelines to develop a total management plan for your older horse:
1. Observe your horse on a regular basis. Watch for changes in body condition, behavior and attitude. Address problems, even seemingly minor ones, right away.
2. Feed a high quality diet. Avoid dusty and moldy feeds.
3. Feed your older horse away from younger, more aggressive ones so it won’t have to com…

Disaster Preparedness Guidelines

Disaster Action Guidelines For Horse Owners
You should be aware that actions you take before, during and after a natural or man made disaster could save your horses' life. In Florida and many States you can obtain a six month Event Permit from your Veterinarian. This is essentially a six month health certificate. You should get one of these at the start of Hurricaine season and keep it with your travel papers. You should have duplicate copies of all important papers and keep one in your truck/trailer at all times.
Plan Ahead Before a Disaster Occurs:

Familiarize yourself with the types of disasters that can occur in your area and develop a plan of action to deal with each type. Some disasters to consider are hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, severe winter weather, fire, nuclear power plant accidents with release of radioactivity to the environment and hazardous material spills.Survey your property to find the best location to confine your animals in each type of disaster. …