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Home stretch of the show season Ask The Vet


A monthly column by Daniel H. Grove, DVM


Got a question for Dr. Grove? Send your inquiries to vet@horsetrader.com, and it could be answered by Dr. Grove in a future column. Dr. Grove is based at West Coast Equine Medicine, headquartered in Fallbrook, Calif., where he lives with his wife Kristen.


by daniel h. grove, dvm F


or most people, we are rounding the last corner and headed to the finish line for show season. Many equine


athletes have been going hard all spring and summer. Keeping our horses sound and performing at their peaks takes some extra efforts on our part. I will try to touch on some key points that can be beneficial to keeping our horses happy and performing. First off is nutrition. When traveling, I


would recommend keeping your horses diet as close to normal as possible. Take at least the supplements and concentrate feeds that you feed at home. If you can, take the same


Taking breaks for rest and fresh air is important. The longer a horse rides in a trailer, the greater the risk of shipping fever, which is a serious respiratory infection.


DE DEV D VENPO PO


hay also. Changing diets on the road can lead to colic and lost competition days. While we are on nutrition, I feel it is really import- ant to keep a performance horse on a good quality joint supplement and vitamin min- eral supplement. You want their joints as comfortable as possible. You also want their metabolism working at its peak to give them the energy they need. With all of the traveling that occurs, you


really need to pay special at ention to your method of transportation. If you are travel- ing by trailer, it is highly recommended to have frequent stops and breaks. This gives your horse a chance to relax. It also allows for some fresh air and water. Respiratory disease is a big issue when


traveling and showing. I would highly rec- ommend discussing with your veterinarian how frequently you should be doing your vaccines. Many of the larger shows have specifi c requirements. They are there to keep your horse and everyone else’s as safe as possible. Also, I would highly recommend monitoring your horse’s temperature and respiratory rate once or twice daily. Any changes out of the normal and I would rec- ommend having your horse evaluated ASAP in an at empt to ward off any impending ill- ness. As mentioned above, taking breaks for rest and fresh air is important. The longer a horse rides in a trailer, the greater the risk of shipping fever, which is a serious respira- tory infection. Do not ignore small changes in your horse.


If you detect any change in your horse’s gait, tail or head carriage, or leg appearance, have it evaluated immediately. A small issue may


be correctable or dealt with and keep you going. If you let it go or cover it up, it may lead to a much bigger problem that could end your show season, or even worse, your horse’s show career. Prevention of these types of issues is paramount. There are all kinds of special blankets, wraps, and pre- ventative therapies. You do not need to do everything, but given your discipline, choose some that focus on the more used areas of your horse. I saved what I think is the most important


for last, infl ammation. With a high perfor- mance horse, you are constantly going to be producing infl ammation. The stress on the joints, soſt tissue structures, and bone will be causing micro-damage and this leads to infl ammation. This can lead to the minor aches and pains that can make an athlete perform just a lit le bit less. There are many things we can do to help to alleviate this infl ammation. Some examples are cold therapy (ice, cold water compression devices, cold hosing), poultice, liniments and various magnetic covers or wraps. You can use the modalities on the various areas you know will be strained or over all of the limbs. Hopefully this overview gives you some


ideas on how to help your horses maintain their peak performance. If nothing else, it can give you some ideas to discuss with your veterinarian to best fi t your program. You do not necessarily have to do everything here we have mentioned. There are quite a few options out there and you need to fi nd the best fi t for you and your horse.


–Dan


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