Ignoring behavioural indicators, indiscriminate worming, over-feeding and wound powder. It’s an uncommon and never exhaustive checklist, however one among which a number one equine vet has a substantial amount of expertise.
Former British Equine Veterinary Association president Lucy Grieve has named her “pet hates”, having spent loads of time just lately busting myths and serving to horse house owners replace “some rather out-of-date knowledge”.
“Horse owners are a frequently joked-about subset of the population,” she stated. “If it’s not Thelwell images, or jokes about ‘Felicity Fetlocks’, it’s the all-too-knowledgeable Pony Club instructor and well-meaning but way-off-the-mark livery yard owner. While the magic of turmeric has largely been put to bed by the Facebook militia (for once coming to our rescue), there are some rather odd habits out there among the horse-owning population that refuse to die even among my own clients, despite my best efforts.”
Ms Grieve cited a listing of “ineffective and sometimes harmful” treatments, nonetheless beloved of many individuals, the primary of which is wound powder.
“I’d like to know the basis for sticking chalk dust in an open wound would help it heal?” she requested. “I’m amazed the stuff remains to be being made! It’s fairly illogical to place a non-dissolvable mud into open wounds however regardless, it stays a staple of the horse proprietor’s first-aid package.
“Apart from providing a visual marker of where the wound is, I can’t fathom why purple spray is still used either. Gentian violet is a dye used for histological staining, and was used long ago for its weak anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. This has thankfully been superseded by more effective and less harmful alternatives, but the memo has been missed by some.”
Ms Grieve stated poulticing wounds stays in style in racing, including: “Many a racehorse wound has been presented to me several days old and having not improved despite multiple poultice dressings, but there’s a reason for this.”
Poultices are seemingly utilized to wounds to “draw the badness out”, however a glance in the back of a poultice packet “reveals the reason why this is such a bad idea”.
“Poultice dressing contains some pretty harsh chemicals, such as boric acid and tragacanth, to provide osmotic draw when dressing suppurative subsolar abscesses of the hoof,” she stated.
“In this instance there shouldn’t be a lot of contact, if any, between the dressing and any live soft tissues. But when placed in contact with an open wound of the skin, this is the best way to cause cauliflower-like exuberant granulation tissue which won’t heal and for which the bacteria will love you.”
Not trusting vets on the subject of horses’ dental points is one other state of affairs Ms Grieve has steadily seen, particularly from those that “never bothered rasping teeth years ago and didn’t have problems”.
“Thankfully most of the horse-owning population are on board with routine rasping and oral examination, but there are a surprising number who still seem suspicious we are making it all up,” she stated.
People who suppose newly outlined circumstances are “made up”, owing to the same “they weren’t around in my day” view, are one other bugbear.
“The idea that things only come into existence once they are discovered is a concept, I still come across with horse owners,” Ms Grieve stated.
“Some owners think suspensory desmitis and Cushing’s disease must be either new or ‘made up by vets to make money’, as I’ve been told by a few owners, because they weren’t around back in ‘their day’ either.”
Nutrition is an important space of husbandry that’s typically not stored updated, however “some people just can’t see why they should change their grazing and feeding practices from yeara ago”, Ms Grieve stated.
“Clearly equine nutrition has moved on significantly from the days where we fed ‘straights’, and grazing and roughage was considerably lower in quality and quantity. The horses were probably also less able to chew their food properly back then, for all the sharp enamel points and untreated diastemata. Never mind the worms they were sharing their calories with back in the day, and the difference in insulation provided by a jute rug back then and a 400g turnout rug with integrated neck and thermofoil-insulating lining.”
And speaking of worming, Ms Grieve stated there’s nonetheless a “frustratingly large swathe of horse owners who have missed every memo going about worm control”.
“I have come across too many intelligent people who are still either worming every month or two with whatever pops up online first or is nearest the feed store checkout, or doing nothing at all… which is arguably better than the former,” she stated. “I genuinely thought [the importance of testing for worms before treating] was common knowledge among my client base, so I had to get my nose back to the worm education grindstone.”
But Ms Grieve stated her “biggest face-palming moment” is the “badly behaved” horse, who has “always done that”.
“If I was faced with that discussion by a friend at a dinner table, I would be calling a cab, but when you are attending to a horse with a client it is your duty as a vet to take up arms on this one no matter how much you fear you might lose,” she stated.
“The house owners who nonetheless imagine their horses are naughty, bad-tempered or cussed are a few of my most rewarding interactions – if you persuade them to allow you to examine that horse who gained’t load, or wants cross-tying to tack up, or who gained’t canter on the left rein or has began refusing throughout nation — the second they realise it was all all the way down to a painful situation is essentially the most unimaginable expertise for a vet, in my books.
“When you actually see an individual’s interpretation of their animal’s behaviour fully change for the higher, you already know that they will (hopefully) meet future behavioural obstacles with a higher understanding and information that can serve animal welfare no finish – if not only for the animals they encounter. Your coronary heart melts when you find yourself known as again to the identical livery yard to then assist a buddy who’s now questioning if her napping horse has ache someplace additionally.
“I used to be dropped at tears as soon as, stemmed till I used to be again within the van in fact!, when a 12-year-old woman adopted me out to the automobile park to inform me how grateful she was that we discovered the explanation for her pony’s ‘bad behaviour’, as she knew all alongside that hitting him and sporting spurs as her teacher had been telling her to was not the reply, however she didn’t know what was.
“I’m inclined to suppose that because of the long-standing historical past between man and horse, along with the truth that many horse house owners stay and breathe horses from beginning, or no less than early childhood, many assume they need to know all of it by now. There is usually a scarcity of want to ‘learn’ in a, fortunately small, portion of the horse-owning public. Most are very eager to enhance their information and, in actual fact, spend hours on social media making an attempt.
“However, sadly for the horses of those who are sure they have it all nailed and treat new ideas or methods with suspicion, there is nothing we can do except keep trying at every opportunity we have.”
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