Action Point: Be aware of heart disease in horses.
Rational: I have never heard of heart disease in horses before. While it makes sense that it can happen, it was just something that I have never thought of before. Heart disease is a very serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. Since I know very little about this condition and there is a lot to it, it would be in my best interest to learn about the variety of causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will make a 1/2-1 page note on this condition to put in my binder. I will include the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and average expected cost. I will use resources such as https://wagwalking.com/horse/condition/heart-disease, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/horse-owners/heart-and-blood-vessel-disorders-of-horses/diagnosis-of-cardiovascular-disease-in-horses, and https://ker.com/equinews/heart-problems-in-horses/ to complete this goal.
Action Point: Be aware of causes, symptoms, and treatment of common respiratory conditions.
Rational: By being aware of common respiratory conditions, such as equine influenza virus, equine herpes virus, equine rhinovirus, strangles, and sinusitis, I will be able to take appropriate steps to help care for my horse and the others nearby to insure that it does not spread further and treatment takes place immediately. Respiratory conditions are very serious, some can even be considered a global concern.
Steps to Achievement: To achieve this goal I will make a 1 page note to put in my binder that includes information on equine influenza virus, equine herpes virus, equine rhinovirus, strangles, and sinusitis. Under each of these titles I will include the causes, symptoms, treatment, and quarantine precautions. I will use resources such as https://www.merckvetmanual.com/respiratory-system/respiratory-diseases-of-horses/overview-of-respiratory-diseases-of-horses, https://www.myhorseuniversity.com/single-post/2017/09/25/Common-Equine-Respiratory-Diseases, and https://www.msd-animal-health.ie/diseases/horses/equine_respiratory_disease/Introduction.aspx.
Action Plan: Learn what medical conditions and diseases that my horses may be susceptible to or have a greater chance of developing.
Rational: By knowing what conditions my horses have a greater chance of getting I can become a better owner. I say this because I will be able to do research ahead of time and learn about the condition, how to prevent it (if possible), signs/symptoms, diagnosis, when to call the vet, how I can help the vet, steps my vet will take, and expenses I need to be prepared for.
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will talk with my vet and ask them about equine medical conditions that they frequently see in our area (ex. Moon Blindness). From there we can develop some preventative strategies together (ex. Can we test the soil and water ahead of time? Is there a vaccine available?)
Action Plan: Create a cheat sheet of common medical conditions.
Rational: By being aware of the common medical conditions (alimentary and renal, neurological, skin, eye, muscular and metabolic, and ectoparasites) and knowing the symptoms of the conditions, I will be more likely to notice problems in my horses and get them medical attention quickly when needed.
Steps to Achievement: “Equine Veterinary Nursing” page 266-285 has a great overview of common medical conditions, causes, signs/symptoms, and treatment. I have already read this section. Therefore, the next step of my goal is to reread and take notes on this information. This way I will have a physical reference that I can put in my binder and take with me to the barn.
Action Point: Go over the safety ‘rules’ with the people that work on the farm regarding entering a stall of an anxious colickly horse (this will also be a good reminder for myself).
Rational: Horses can be dangerous animals to begin with, with the addition of colic or distress this can result in injury to the owner. In this unit I have learned that horses can become agitated when they cannot stop pain that is in their body. I do not want anyone to get hurt by my horses, therefore I want to go over these rules with our farm members. Safety of the handler comes first.
Steps to Achievement: To complete this goal I will go over the rules with all of the farm members at once. This insures that we can discuss, ask questions, and develop answers together.
Colickly Safety ‘Rules’: If it is not safe or you feel uncomfortable do not enter (horse throwing itself against walls, horse making strong efforts to roll, etc); have a person there on standby (to run the door or in case an injury does happen); have a clear path between you and the door; beware of the horse’s legs (kicking, pawing) and do not stand in the kick zone, even if your horse does not normally kick; and if the horse wants to roll encourage it to stand until you can get out of the stall.
Action Point: Insure that the horses are always unable able to break into the grain room and in insure that the buckets of water are never frozen.
Rational: In relation to my management style, the two most likely factors to occur that could cause colic include; the horses breaking into the grain room or the water freezes. The grain room has a simple latch, one that a clever horse could probably figure out. A sudden intake of large quantities of grain can cause colic and laminitis in equines.I carry water to my horses and pour it into buckets, if the horses do not drink from the buckets frequently enough in the winter the water will freeze. Equines that don’t get enough water are at a greater risk for indigestion, impaction, and other conditions.
Steps to Achievement: To achieve these goals I will purchase a ‘horse proof’ latch and install it on the door of the grain room and I will also purchase each horse a heated bucket. This way, it insures that the horses will not be gorging in grain and they will always have water.
Example of Purchases I will Make:
Action Point: I want to become more aware of the options available for my horse if joint disease should happen.
Rational: In order to heal joint disease tools and programs need to be put in place. If I am aware of the techniques that my vet may take to diagnose the problem, I will be a more informed and knowledgeable owner. By having background knowledge I will also be able to ask more educated questions and have effective communication.
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I need to make notes on a couple articles. I need to do more than just read the article because I personally find some of it too difficult to remember.
Articles for Me to Make Notes On:
Action Plan: I will use prevention strategies and signs when it comes to lameness and joint disease.
Rational: By seeing early signs of lameness and joint disease I will be able to contact my vet early to prevent further damage. Once cartilage degradation has begun, then the progressive inflammatory cycle has started and the joint will never successfully heal or return to 100%.
Steps to Achievement: To prevent this terrible thing from happening I need to always be on the look out and feel for pain, swelling, heat, and loss of function.
Articular Cartilage: Specialized tissue lining the ends of bones in a joint. It is composed of a matrix of collagen, proteoglycans (hyaluronic acid & chondroitin sulfate) and water. It allows for a smooth, gliding surface during joint movement and also acts as a shock absorber. Articular Cartilage is continuously being remodeled by breaking down the matrix and replacing it with a new layer.
Bone: Serves as the framework for the horse’s body, where muscles, ligaments and tendon attach. The bone in a joint supports all of the joint’s tissues. A joint needs a healthy bone to function properly.
Ligaments, Tendons and Muscles: All three are involved in providing stability to a joint. If any of these tissues become damaged, the joint will lose stability and may be more susceptible to injury.
Synovial Fluid:Serves to lubricate the joint, provide nutrition to neighbouring cells maintaining joint cartilage as well as remove waste products. Normal joint fluid is pale yellow in colour and oily – similar in consistency to car engine oil.
Action Point: As an owner I should have an impact on the lameness examination of my horse.
Rational: Being apart of the decision-making process means I will have a say, as well as be able to work with the vet to provide a program that works best for myself, the horse, the vet, and any other parties that many be involved (ex. farrier). If I step back and let the vet do it all, it not only makes it more difficult for them, but I may be unhappy and there will be negative surprises about the final outcome (ex. program chosen, cost, time, etc).
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I need to ensure that as the owner I provide effective communication and continuity in case management, provide a through and accurate history, and understand the lameness procedure.