Monday, August 30, 2010

EEE continues...

The recent EEE outbreak in SW Michigan (see previous post) continues to grow significantly. There are now over 18 confirmed cases with an additional 56 suspected cases. The virus appears to be spreading eastward, with several new cases being reported in the counties downwind of Barry County (the epicenter of the outbreak).

Given there is still plenty of mosquito season ahead of us yet, it is very likely this most recent outbreak will only continue to spread. The importance of vaccination cannot be overemphasized. Generally the vaccine is considered protective for at least 6-8 months. So if your horse was vaccinated very early in the year (early March or before), it may make sense to consider getting a booster vaccine now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

COW: Navicular Bursa Injection

Here is an interesting radiograph from the other day. This x-ray shows the proper placement of a spinal needle into the navicular bursa. Because the target area is so deep within the foot, it is best (though not always necessary) to confirm proper placement with a radiograph. The navicular bursa is a little sack of fluid around the deep digital flexor tendon at the level of the navicular bone. It serves to lubricate the tendon as it glides over the navicular bone. This is the area of discomfort in horses with navicular disease. Other structures associated with this bursa, aside from the navicular bone, could also be a source of lameness.

Navicular bursa injections are not our first choice for treatment of navicular disease, but in cases that are refractive to other treatments, this can be a highly effective method of delivering anti-inflammatory medication directly to the source of discomfort.

The most significant potential complication with navicular bursa injections is the risk of infection. We go to great measures to do this under sterile conditions, however, anytime we stick a needle in to something the risk for infection is present. The problem with the navicular bursa is that, if it gets infected, it is much more difficult to treat then a regular joint, because of where it is anatomically within the hoof capsule. The other risks are damage to the deep flexor tendon. Because of those risks, it is not something we jump right to, but in certain situations, it can be the best option.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fall Reminders

That’s right, I said FALL. I know Labor Day has not quite greeted us yet, but the days are getting noticeably shorter. It is not too early to think about the Fall visits. These are especially important reminders for equestrian teams and if you are getting out and about with your horses later this year.

The recent outbreak of EEE in Michigan (see post below) has been a poignant reminder of the importance of regular vaccinations. If your horse has not yet been vaccinated against West Nile and Sleeping Sickness, run to the phone now to schedule to get this taken care of. This is the time of year that the incidence of these diseases peaks out. With the many cases of EEE, now confirmed in West Michigan, the importance of vaccination cannot be overstated.

This is also a good time to get fall vaccines done. Influenza and Rhinopneumonitis vaccines are included with our Spring vaccines, but they do not afford protection much beyond 5-6 months. So if your horses were vaccinated in April or before, now is the time to schedule the fall visit. This is also the ideal time to make sure your horses are current on their Rabies immunizations as well.

This is also a good time of year for regular dental care. It is especially important for the older horses before we get into the thick of winter.

Do not forget about getting the fall fecal sample submitted. The ideal time to submit a fecal is around the middle of September. If you have not yet made the switch to the new program, now is the ideal time. The details of our parasite control recommendation can be found at Do not forget the Parasite Control Kits, available at the office. They are a great way to save significant expense on the dewormers and fecals, all while making the program easier to follow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Weekend in the Hamptons

One of the farms we have the pleasure of servicing is having an open house this Saturday. If you have not had the pleasure of touring their lovely facility in the past, this is the perfect opportunity. They will be showcasing some of the dressage talents of their people and horses. Included below is their press release. You can get more details at

Hampton Green Farm of Fruitport, Michigan – one of the nation’s foremost breeders of Pure Spanish Horses and home to champion dressage stallions - will open its doors to the public for a unique fundraiser to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore. In conjunction with a rare “Top Ten” auction of some of the Farms’ finest young horses, Hampton Green Farm will host a public Open House on Saturday, August 21 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

Guests are invited to tour the beautiful 185-acre grounds and paddocks, view the majestic horses in the fields, watch champion dressage demonstrations by Olympic level trainers, and enjoy a fabulous buffet dinner on the grounds by French chef Frederic Boyer. Guests will be asked to make a $10 donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore at the door, with proceeds to support mentoring programs for at-risk children in West Michigan.

Perhaps one of West Michigan’s best kept secrets, Hampton Green Farm is located at 5440 E. Farr Road, Fruitport. The farm is dedicated exclusively to breeding and training Pure Spanish Horses – for centuries considered the horses of kings and renowned for their strength, beauty and gentle grace. All the Farm’s stallions compete in the top dressage circles of Spain and the United States, trained by some of the country’s top Olympic dressage competitors. For more information on the Farm and photos of the horses and grounds, visit

The Open House and buffet are open to the public, with no reservations necessary. The buffet will be available throughout the afternoon, with guests invited to stroll the grounds, enjoy the ambience and take in the sights at their leisure. “This is an amazing opportunity to see some of the top show horses in the world right here in our backyard,” says Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore CEO Brian Obits. “This is one of the true hidden treasures of West Michigan. We’re grateful to Hampton Green Farm for allowing us to be part of this wonderful event!”