Sarcoids are the most common cutaneous tumour in the horse. They are locally invasive to the skin and will likely continue to grow if not treated appropriately.
Treatment should be started as early as possible as they are very unlikely to regress or improve without intervention. This may involve surgical removal or topical treatments – such as creams or ointments. Recurrence is always a concern and sites should be monitored closely following treatment. Sarcoids should not be ignored some grow rapidly and even the slow growing ones are easier to treat when they are small.
How to say “BUZZ OFF” to flies this summer!
During the summer months the flies are out in force!! Here are some practical steps you can take to reduce their impact on your horse:
Manure: Flies are attracted to manure to breed so poo pick you field regularly.
Fly rugs: Fly rugs are extremely effective at keeping flies away from your horse.
Fly masks: They are a great way of keeping flies off your horse’s eyes and might also shield pink skin from sunlight.
Fly trap: Fly traps are one of the best methods to get rid of flies and are designed to attract flies by using bait.
Insect repellent: Fly repellent will only be effective for a certain amount of time so make sure you top up regularly.
Riding at certain times: Ride early morning/late evening when it is cooler. Flies are attracted to sweat so make sure you wash your horse well after exercise.
Over-rugging in the Summer
Whilst we tend to rug our horses in the winter, for most horses rugging in the summer is unnecessary. Rugs may be required during the summer months for insect protection or to protect your horse from the rain. However, even the lightest of rugs can prevent a horse from cooling down. You should only rug your horse if they genuinely need it and keep a close eye on them for sweating and signs of overheating.
Horses are extremely good at regulating their own temperature. As a general rule horses do much better slightly cooler than too warm and it is much easier for a horse to warm up than to try and cool down.
*Warning Laminitis Alert*
All horses, ponies and donkeys are at risk from laminitis throughout the year. As with humans, the key to health and happiness is more exercise and less food. Do be aware of the threat of laminitis and, if appropriate, restrict your horse’s grazing and food with high sugar content accordingly. An increase in body condition, a larger than usual crest or the development of ‘digital pulses’ in the fetlock region are all early warning signs that, if noticed, may help prevent the onset of the disease. If your horse or pony is sore on hard ground (“footsore”) after a foot trim this could be a sign of low grade laminitis. Prompt attention from your vet is essential – laminitis should be treated as an emergency.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
Headshaking is a severe disease with multiple symptoms including:
- Vertical, horizontal or rotary flicking of the head
- Nostril twitching or grimacing
- Nose twitching and lip smacking
- Rubbing the nose on the floor, against their legs, on the rider’s feet or stable walls
- Excessive snorting
- Clinical signs can range from mild infrequent to severe and can lead the horse to self mutilate
Rarely headshaking signs are caused by infections, cysts, growths, and inflammation in the head. More often though, the signs are related to a functional problem of the trigeminal nerve itself (provides sensation to the majority of the face) and these are called “trigeminal mediated headshakers”.
If you suspect your horse is showing headshaking signs, your vets are likely to recommend further investigation which can include endoscopy, ophthalmology and CT.
With the elusive promise of warm weather and the ever present long summer grass ticks are becoming prevalent again. Not only are these an annoyance but they can cause localised inflammation and can transmit diseases. Removal of the ticks should be done with tick removers to reduce the risk of leaving remnants in the skin. If the head is left in the skin it can cause an infection or very inflamed tissue leading to pain and discomfort.
There are two main diseases transmitted by ticks to horses: Lyme disease and anaplasma. Clinical signs are very variable but can include lethargy, fever, anaemia, lameness or changes in behaviour. If concerned you should contact your veterinary surgeon and they can have blood work run to see if your horse has been exposed to either disease.
Gastric ulcers are highly prevalent with 60% of performance horses and 40% of leisure horses having evidence of ulceration on gastroscopy. Therefore, it is important that those with the condition are diagnosed and treated appropriately.
Horses will feed for approximately 16hrs when at grass and produce gastric secretions throughout the day. Ad lib forage and the associated saliva production play a role in neutralising the acidic environment in the stomach. Conversely stabling, intermittent feeding regimes and exercise can lead to altered control of the pH in the stomach increasing the risk of ulceration.
Clinical signs frequently attributed to gastric ulcers include: poor performance, decreased appetite or pain following eating, discomfort when girthed, tooth grinding and even weight loss or colic. If you are worried about gastric ulcers you horse will require gastroscopy to diagnose the problem.
How to avoid your horse getting sunburn this summer!
Like humans, the sun can also be harmful to horses and can be extremely painful. Symptoms of sunburn can range from red/peeling skin to severe cases of blistering and weeping skin. Sunburn is most frequently seen on pink skin and white areas of the horse, often around the muzzle and eyes.
To protect your horse from the sun, make sure your paddocks have adequate shade, or stable your horse during the day. There are also some equine sunscreens on the market that can help protect your horse, plus some full fly masks and fly sheets which come with UV protection.
If your horse has sunburn, it is essential that you keep them out of the sun until they have healed. If you are worried at all or your horse has severe sunburn then we advise you to call your vet.
Hard ground can lead to concussion through the limbs of the horse. Possible consequences are bruising of the feet or joints, or the formation of splints, especially in the forelimbs. With hard ground comes a dry season which can lead to sand cracks in the hoof wall, especially in unshod horses.
If you are concerned about the effect of the hard ground on your horse, please contact your vet for advice on exercising, management and shoeing.
Conjunctivitis is a common ailment in the horse that is easily treatable in the majority of cases but can progress to more serious disease. The prevalence of flies during spring and summer months appears to correlate with an increased incidence of conjunctivitis.
Fly masks and fringes can reduce the number of flies around the eye and therefore reduce the occurrence of the syndrome. Ocular discharge can also encourage flies to the area and therefore should be cleaned regularly. Treatment is often required and veterinary attention should be sought due to the risk of worsening disease.