Illness & Injuries
White Line Disease is caused by spore-forming bacteria. To date, twenty-two different types of fungal spores have been identified. The condition occurs when pathogens invade a weak or compromised hoof wall where they deteriorate the non-pigment portions of the horn wall.
Radiographs confirm a diagnosis of white line disease by capturing the presence of gas trapped in the hoof wall. Treatment includes removal of the diseased hoof wall, allowing oxygen to reach and kill the bacteria.
The disease is often associated with laminitis.
Yes, fall pasture grass can cause laminitis. As the air gets cooler and the leaves begin to change, so does your pasture grass. The sugars in grasses rise as new growth explodes with cooler temperatures and fall rains, increasing the risk of laminitic episodes. If a horse looks foot sore contact your veterinarian and start soaking their feet in ice water as soon as symptoms appear.
Take extra care when fall grazing horses who suffer from metabolic disorders. Their bodies do not metabolize sugar properly and are at a higher risk of pasture-induced laminitis.
We have probably all heard we should not place ice directly on the skin. This is true when treating horses, too. While ice freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit it is often much colder. Ice from a typical kitchen freezer can be as cold as -20 F.
Burn occurs when ice is placed directly on the skin. The skin begins to freeze, and ice crystals form within the cell structure causing damage, or “ice burn”.
To avoid crystal formation and ice burn, soak foot and leg injuries in a bucket of ice water. For injuries that cannot be soaked, place a layer of cloth between the ice pack and the skin.
Corneal ulcers develop when bacteria and/or fungi gain access to the interior of the cornea, generally as the result of trauma. This “trauma” is generally a non-event and goes undetected. When we think of trauma we think of a catastrophic event. In many cases the traumatic event is simply a piece of hay that scratched the cornea.
Horses eating large round bales are at an increased risk because they prefer the better hay in the center and will bury their heads trying to reach the better hay. This creates an increased risk of scratching the cornea. Other possibilities include foreign bodies lodged in the eye, or blunt force trauma such as a stick, fence post, or even another horse. The cornea doesn’t have blood vessels, consequently these injuries don’t bleed and this often delays owners from noticing subtle signs of impending problems.
Stopping the spread of the highly infections disease strangles requires proper diagnose and quick treatment. If a horse is exhibiting the signs of strangles (fever, nasal discharge and enlarged lymph nodes) it is important to call your vet immediately. An undiagnosed or misdiagnosed case of strangles could result in the contamination of unexposed horse and cause a potential outbreak. The only way to confirm or rule out strangles is to have one of three tests performed.
Be assured, if strangles is confirmed Mid-Rivers will guide you through implementing bio-security measures. This can help reduce the spread of the disease to any unexposed horses and provide the best possible care to infected and exposed horses.
The EHV-1 virus is spread from horse-to-horse or from contact with contaminated objects such as water buckets, grooming supplies, or people’s hands and clothing.
If you would like to learn more about EHV-1 the other eight equine herpesviruses please read the AAEP’s brochure Equine Herpesvirus (EHM) Myeloencephalopathy.