Monday, April 23, 2012

COW: Pancake Batter (aka abscess)

This horse presented with a large swelling in his right inguinal area. The sheath was a little swollen too. He was a little sore as well. Here is a picture of what it looked like. What do you think?
The swelling was quite soft and felt like it was filled with fluid. The primary rule outs here are a hematoma (filled with blood), seroma (filled with serum) or an abscess (filled with pus). Here is an ultrasound image of the swelling. You can see that this huge swelling was filled with echogenic material. This image is characteristic of an abscess. An ultrasound allows us to get a good feel for how deep it goes and what structures are involved.
The best treatment for these is to establish drainage, so all the pus can get out. That is what we did. This is a picture of pus gushing out of this abscess.
Here it has slowed to a weak stream.
This was quite a large abscess that left a fairly good sized puddle.
Looks like a huge pancake on the griddle.
Abscess are not a rare occurence in veterinary medicine. It is just not very often that we encounter one of this size. This horse should go on and make a full recovery.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

COW: Too Pregnant

Breeding season is now well upon us. Here is an interesting ultrasound of a mare with 14 day twin pregnancies. Being the parent of twin boys, I have often heard the expression, ‘Congratulations, two for the price of one.’ While that is a false statement in people, it is exponentially more false in horses. The unfortunate reality is that horses do not do well with twin pregnancies. Often, both pregnancies are lost somewhere along the way so that neither one survives. Of those that survive to term, the foals are often either born pre-mature and/or extremely weak. Typically, of those that survive to term, one of the foals is either born dead or dies shortly after birth. Often the mare experiences complication with foaling as well. It is quite rare to have twin foals survive to weaning.

All that to say that twin pregnancies in horses are not good. As a result, when we encounter twin pregnancies early on, we attempt to reduce them to a single pregnancy. Early pregnancy diagnosis with ultrasound is key to successfully managing twin pregnancies. This is one of the primary reasons to pregnancy check mares 14 days after ovulation. When the vesicles are small (less than 1.5 cm), like they are in this image, one of the pregnancies can be ‘pinched’ off with pretty good success. With one of the vesicles pinched off, the other one can go on and develop into a normal healthy foal, just as if it had started as a single pregnancy.

One of the questions we are often faced with when pinching twins is, which one do you pinch? The rule of thumb is to pinch the smaller one. Inevitably, halter horse people want the one that is a colt pinched, performance horse people want the filly pinched and paint horse people want the one without color pinched. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the technology to easily distinguish those factors so we usually just try to do the smaller one.

Early diagnosis of twin pregnancies is key to success. If not identified and pinched early, there are other options for reducing them to a single pregnancy, but those options are much more complicated with much lower success rates.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Taking a "Barb" at Veterinary Medicine

Over 80% of new grads from veterinary school are female. Apparently Mattel has taken note. I don't know many vets that would dress like this to go to work. At least she is wearing boots!

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Web Page

We here at West Michigan Veterinary Service just launched a newly redesigned web page at . If you have not already done so, click here and take a minute to check it out.

While you are visiting our site, take a minute to fill out the client survey. There is a link posted on the home page.

One added feature on our new site is the option to go to a slimmed down version of the site to run on your mobile device. It would be worthwhile bookmarking it ( on your cell phone for one click dialing to the office. I would love to hear your comments on our new page, so after you have looked at it click 'comments' at the bottom of this posting.