The Horse

MAR 2019

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 March 2019 The Horse | This borrowed gelding, whom I had ridden a handful of times, was very fit—impressively so. He didn't seem to be in distress, though I could tell he was exerting a bit more effort than in our previous rides. He was eager to reach the top of that hill. But I listened to my gut, slowed him to a walk, and took it easy, figur- ing the afternoon heat had gotten to him. His breathing normalized when the path leveled. A while later a veterinarian ex- amined him and startled me with a query, "Did you know he has a heart murmur?" It wasn't going to be a problem in the short-term, she said, but his owner would need to keep this in mind for his athletic future. This was the first time I'd encoun- tered a horse diagnosed with a heart problem. I've been reading, writing, and editing stories about equine cardiac issues for years, and I've interviewed scientists in their labs about the equine heart and how it responds to exercise and anesthesia. But I'll be honest: The information always seemed a little esoteric and like something I'd never encounter in my day to day. Over the years, a couple of mid-level eventing horses died of sudden cardiac events at area horse trials, raising my antennae for cardiac issues. Still, my mount's heart murmur that afternoon came as a surprise. The American Association of Equine Practitioners' selection of equine cardiology as its 2018 Milne State-of-the-Art lecture focus under- scores the importance of the topic. Dr. Virginia Reef, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veteri- nary Medicine, presented for three hours on what she's learned about the heart during her career, and I'm sure she only skimmed the surface. The breadth of this topic is stunning, which is why equine veterinarians don't generally get to spend a lot of time on it in vet school. Among the tidbits our digital man- aging editor, Michelle Anderson, cov- ered is how children shouldn't ride horses with certain diagnosed heart abnormalities. Kids might not have the ability to decide if they want to ride a horse that might collapse or to assess such a horse while riding it. I learned this and much more reading the Milne summary (see page A6)—how important diagnos- ing heart issues is to the future of our industry (regarding public concern about sudden death) and just how relevant the current trend of monitoring heart rates during training rides is, as well. Thankfully, I heeded the signs when I heard the strange sounds that day on the trail, and the horse neither suffered needlessly (as con- firmed by the vet) nor collapsed. His owner knows about the murmur and can go forward with that knowledge, making the best decisions for his health and welfare (and her own). h For Their Safety & Ours I t started as a shift in sound, much like a change in the rhythm or pitch of your car engine's familiar idle. Only much more was at stake: This was a living, breathing animal and, incidentally, his breathing was what I was concerned about. He suddenly sounded noisy—almost hollow—in his breathing as we trotted up a hill. 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 2365 Harrodsburg Rd #A200 Lexington KY 40504-3331 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; Sarah Barr, DVM; Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS; 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 Alayne Blickle; SallyAnne L. DeNotta, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM; Kristen Janicki, MS, PAS; Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA; Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc; Diane Rice; Clair Thunes, PhD 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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