Ask the Vet

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Our in-house vet Dr Annie Ashman answers your questions.

Question: My horse has mud fever, should I wash his legs off after coming in from the field or not?

Annie’s Answer: If he has got mud fever at the moment he must be kept in the dry until it clears up. Recent research shows that cold can increase the risk of mud fever so we don’t advise hosing, rather let the mud dry naturally. If he is soaking wet you can apply wraps to help dry the legs off.

Question: My horse headshakes but only occasionally in the summer and I can’t work out the trigger, other than bringing him in to his stable what would you suggest I can do? It would be nice to ride him whenever I want to in the summer.

Annie’s Answer: I suggest you try a nose net as these can be very successful in early cases. More serious headshakers may require veterinary attention, I used to treat these with acupuncture and interestingly there is good research using needle stimulation at the moment.

Question: Thoughts on worming? Dung analysis & treat when needed or regular worming – prevention better than cure?

Annie’s Answer: There is a massive resistance to wormers developing and as no new types of wormers are becoming available I would advise anyone to test the horse first and then only worm if necessary.

Question: My boy hangs on the right rein when I’m schooling him, I have had his teeth looked at and a physio out is there anything else I can do?

Annie’s Answer: I think you have done the right thing here with the EDT and physio. Has your instructor seen you ride him in case this is a schooling issue? You do not say how old your horse is. If it is not due to schooling I suspect he may be hurting somewhere so I would contact your vet.

Question: Not quite sure what to do! My horse came up in lumps one day after hunting, the lumps then went down and he lost his hair where they were. I am not sure if I washed him off in water that was too hot or it was something else, what would be the best cream to put on them?

Annie’s Answer: It is difficult to know what caused the lumps or what they were, but I suspect some sort of infection if the hair came off. It is unlikely to be directly due to hot water, but heat can cause inflammation to be worse as a rule. I would bathe any rash with diluted salt water before putting a proprietary antiseptic cream on. If it did not heal within a couple of days call your vet, just in case it’s ringworm.

Remember any horse with a rash should not share tack or a grooming kit with others.

Question: Is my horse more likely to get mud fever if barefoot? He’s usually shod. 

Annie’s Answer: No it won’t make any difference if he is shod or not.

Question: I have a mare who is very tricky when she comes in toseason, this is really frustrating over the summer when I am competing, is there anything I can do about this?

Annie’s Answer: Your mare can be prescribed Regumate from your veterinary surgeon. This prevents the season and she can compete under affiliated rules on this but you must have a form from your vet in case she is drug tested. If Regumate works you will know for definite that her behaviour is hormonal. There are several supplements claiming to help if this is the case, but you have to be careful with any supplements if competing under rules.

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