Our special speaker at the club’s June meeting was Dr. Katie Hennessey, DVM, of Polk Equine. We didn’t even give Katie a chance to give her prepared speech before hitting her up with questions. Some highlights:
Worming: Parasites are increasingly resistant to wormers, including ivermectin and Quest. We will only add to the resistance and waste our money by the old system of worming every 2 to 3 months. A far better way is to do a fecal check 1 to 2 times a year; depending on the parasite count, use a wormer as recommended by your vet and check again in a month. That way you KNOW whether the wormer is effective, or even whether you need to worm at all. Interestingly enough, parasites are fewer during the Florida summers, as they can’t survive when the temperatures are higher than 85 degrees. Diatomaceous earth MAY work, but there have been no clinical studies to validate its effectiveness.
Hay: Coastal hay really does seem to cause more colic than other hays, BUT….horses who are used to the hay (rather than being changed to it), are out on pasture, and have good teeth are less likely to have ill effects from it.
Feed: Some breeds, like Pasos, are very prone to fat—and therefore metabolic disorders. A low-starch feed will help to keep these horses at a healthy weight.
Wound care: If you find your horse injured in the pasture and call the vet, Do NOT put any kind of cream, blu-kote / red-kite or scarlex on the wound. Just keep it as clean as possible. Anything you put on the wound limits the vet’s evaluation and ability to suture, if necessary.
A first aid kit is important. When you need it, there’s rarely time to go shopping. Have a variety of cotton bandages, gauze, and vet-wrap on hand. Also include:
- Bute as a paste or powder
- Biozide gel as a minor wound dressing (DON’T use if you’re waiting for the vet!!!!)
- AluShield, which acts as a protective bandage while keeping bugs away
- Dormoseden gel (prescription only) which works as a mild sedative for horses needing a bit of help for shoeing or other procedures