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 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: 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.
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: Become skilled at identifying lameness.
Rational: Being able to identify a lame horse will allow me to get the horse medical attention in a timely fashion. The sooner the vet is called the better chances of a successful recovery.
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I need to gain further understanding and knowledge of how to identify, outside of readings that the course offers, as I personally need a bit more help. Therefore I will read at least 2 reliable articles.
Action Point: I will read at least 3 articles (aside from the mandatory course ones), from reliable resources, this week on common foot conditions.
Rational: “Hoof Health and Conditions” is such a broad topic, which I have very little knowledge about, therefore for me to get the most out of this unit, be an informed equine owner, and to meet the learning outcomes, I will need to do some additional reading.
Steps to Achievement: In order for me to achieve this goal I will need to select 3 articles (or more if I still feel that I am not understanding) from reliable resources, read them, and make notes on them.
Action Point: Put up horse hoof anatomy charts and diagrams in my barn.
Rational: I personally find horse hoof anatomy to be difficult, as it is so detailed. By having a visual (and physical) chart I will retain more knowledge and understanding, as it will be something I will look at daily.
Steps to Achievement: To achieve this goal I will print off the charts/ diagrams, laminate them, and hang them in the barn in a high traffic area (I will also place a copy in my binder to help me with further assignments).
Action Point: Have a backup trailer available in the event of an emergency.
Rational: While I have my own truck and trailer, it could break down, meaning that I would not have transportation for my horse, which could result in death if it were an emergency (ex. immediate surgery needed).
Steps to Achievement: To achieve this goal I will speak to my friend (20 minutes away) about using their trailer if mine should break down at the time of an emergency. I will also look up commercial transportation in my area, just as another backup.
Action Point: Get more practice at evaluating evidenced-based veterinary medicine.
Rational: I would like to get more experience and practice learning how to critically evaluate information so I will be able to get a better understanding as well as ask more educated questions and have more meaningful conversations with my veterinarian.
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will read one extra type of evidence (articles outside of the course), per week, for the length of this course to develop reading strategies and skills.