The Horse

DEC 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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Keep in touch! @TheHorse @TheHorseMag VIEWPOINT STEPHANIE L. CHURCH, Editor-in-Chief @TH_StephLChurch 8 December 2018 The Horse | I thought of the phrase this month because several of our story sources remind us that many conditions or diseases cause similar clinical signs. In most cases the common diagnosis is the more probable. But a few vets in Diane Rice's story, starting on page 20, sometimes find the unusual rather than the mundane. Which category the disease or condition falls under can depend on the region or even the year. Take Potomac horse fever (PHF). Some areas of the U.S. never deal with this bacterial disease linked to aquatic snails and mayflies and caddisflies whereas other areas see it every year. Here in Central Kentucky veterinarians do see it, with some years worse than others in case numbers or severity. This was one of those years where vets saw it early; last year strains were particularly brutal. In 2017 one of my friends lost her beloved stallion to PHF; even though she had vets involved from the start, the strain was swift and merciless. When vets suspect a case is PHF— or some other potentially severe disease—they dive into treating it, sometimes before test results are back because they have no time to lose. Whether it's considered com- monplace or exotic, they must act. But they need to have the chance. I point this out because it seems I'm seeing more and more horse- owner posts in Facebook discipline groups about severe injuries and horses in clear distress. "What should I do?" say the owners. Thank- fully, I often see just as many appeals to "Call your vet!!" as I see armchair experts offering opinions. When I find my horse, Happy, not acting quite right, it can be tempting to get a few in-person and virtual opinions to allay my concerns before I act. But experience has taught me to push back the paranoia, avoid social media, and simply check my horse's vitals. If he's not in distress or obvi- ously sick, I go to and search for articles about what I'm seeing, knowing I'll find vet-approved information there. I also consider recent manage- ment changes. For instance, last week Happy's stool was unusually soft and, although he was alert and his vitals normal, his behavior just seemed a tad "off." After giving it some thought, I realized I'd added a feed supplement the previous day, and his gut must not have liked it. I discontinued the supplement, and he returned to normal within 24 hours. Had it been clear it was an emer- gency, I'd have reached out to my vet with those vital signs and observa- tions for guidance on what to do. I'll admit my mind can go to the zebras quickly, and it usually ends up being a horse. But I always strive to communicate with my vet and give her the chance to weigh in. h Think of Horses, but Call Your Vet P hysician and Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Theodore Woodward coined an aphorism in the 1940s that's still said today: "When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras." He used it when teaching medical students, reminding them to consider the commonplace rather than the exotic when making a diagnosis. Publisher: Marla Bickel Editor-in-Chief: Stephanie L. Church Managing Editor: Alexandra Beckstett News Editor: Erica Larson Digital Managing Editor: Michelle Anderson Art Director: Brian Turner Web Producer: Jennifer Whittle Marketing Manager: Victoria Bennett EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT 3101 Beaumont Centre Circle, Suite 100, Lexington, KY 40513 E-MAIL All letters must include the writer's name, address, and daytime phone number for verification. ■ Letters:, or by mail. ■ Farm Call:, or by mail. ■ Across the Fence and Behavior Columns:, or by mail. ■ New Products:, or by mail. EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Scott Anderson, DVM; Jerry Black, DVM; Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS; Tom Brokken, DVM; Ann Dwyer, DVM; Benjamin Espy, DVM, Dipl. ACT; Jenifer R. Gold, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVECC; Kyla Ortved, DVM, Dipl. ACVS; Debra Taylor, DVM Educational Partnership Disclaimer: The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), one of The Horse's partners in equine health, has no involvement regarding editorial management or advertising content within this publication and thereby does not endorse any editorial or advertising content unless so acknowledged within the individual article or advertisement. EXPERT ADVISORS Sue McDonnell, PhD, Cert. AAB; Milt Toby, JD FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS Sarah Evers Conrad; Kristen Janicki, MS; Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA; Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc; Maggie Peitzmeier, DVM, Dipl. ACVS-LA; Diane Rice; Milt Toby, JD ADVERTISING SALES AND SERVICES West Coast Advertising Executive: Yvonne Long 859/276-6701 East Coast Advertising Executive: Mark White 859/276-6710 Sales Support: Nicol Hunt, 859/276-6740 PUBLISHED BY OWNED BY TOBA MEDIA PROPERTIES Board of Directors: Everett Dobson, Dan Metzger, Rosendo Parra, Dr. J. David Richardson, Peter Willmott

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