Prevention Strategies and Signs

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.

Journey Through the Joints Glossary:

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.

Owner Impact on Lameness Examination

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.

Identifying Lameness

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.

Articles for me to Read:

https://equusmagazine.com/lameness/improve-eye-lameness-30825

https://www.equisearch.com/discoverhorses/how-detect-lameness-horses-html

Gain Knowledge on Common Foot Conditions

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.

Articles for Me to Read:

https://www.smartpakequine.com/content/common-horse-hoof-problems

https://equimed.com/health-centers/hoof-care/articles/horse-hoof-diseases-and-conditons

https://horseandrider.com/horse-health-care/seven-worst-mistakes-in-equine-hoof-care

Horse Hoof Anatomy

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).

Charts and Diagrams:

SWIPER

Action Point: Make a SWIPER poster and put it in my barn.

Rational: Having a SWIPER poster in my barn means that I will have a daily reminder of what it means, therefore I will be more prepared in the case of an emergency, as it will be memorized. Even if I don’t read the sign every time I go into the barn, my sub-conscious mind will make note of it.

Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will need to make a neat and clear to read sign, print it off, and hang it in my barn where it can be easily seen by myself as well as others.

Poster Example–

S scan the horse (and environment)
W what’s wrong?
I immediate needs (prioritize)
P plan
E execute
R reassess and repeat

Trailer

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.

First Aid Kit

Action Point: Have a first aid kit that is easily accessible in my barn.

Rational: By having a first aid kit in my barn emergencies or injuries will be able to be treated faster to avoid further damage. Currently most first aid supplies are stored in my house (less convenient)

Steps to Achievement: To accomplish this goal I will purchase the necessary supplies that I don’t already have (cotton roll, hemostats, container, surgical scrub, 6” diameter PVC tubing) and store it all in one big container labeled “FIRST AID.” I will ensure that everyone knows where to locate the kit. As something get removed, I will replace it immediately.

Rodent Control

Action Point: Keep grain in a sealed container.

Rational: Grain for the horses is kept in bags, not in a sealed container. This means that rodents could get in the grain. Not only does this create a mess and damage, it can also cause several diseases in the horses through feces or botulism. Rodents in my area include mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons.

Steps to Achievement: To achieve this I will buy plastic storage totes with a sealed lid, and transfer the grain from the bags into the totes.