Ask the Vets!
Updated 4-04-12

There is a significant lapse in the time between when these questions are sent in and when the answers appear in the Gazette newspaper and online. If you feel your horse needs to be seen by a veterinarian do not wait for a response. Call a reputable equine veterinarian in your area and let him/her examine the horse!
Retama Equine Hospital

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5-Year-Old Horse Pigeon Toed and Never Trimmed

I have a question about 5 year old paint stallion. I am looking to buy him but he is pigeon toed and never been trimmed in this life. If I would get him my farrier said he can fix his feet, but with him being pigeon toed that long, will that affect his legs, like his joints? I want to make him barrel horse and cutting horse. Submitted by Red Bull via HorseGazette.com

Red Bull,
Conformation or the structural make-up of an adult horse can impact performance and long-term soundness. It is difficult to really change much in the way a horse is put together once it reaches skeletal maturity. There has been much written about conformation and its relation to function or performance. G. Marvin Beeman, MS, DVM has lectured on the subject and there are excerpts of his discussions published on the web through the American Association of Equine Practitioners and The Horse magazine. If you are interested I would encourage you to read what he has written. As Dr. Beeman has so eloquently described, and I only paraphrase, form certainly impacts function, but there is a lot that goes into making a horse run fast or jump high. – Dr. Symm, Retama Equine Hospital

This horse I am looking at buying has sweet itch. He has rubbed mostly his tail bone raw and I was wondering how the hair will grow back. If it will grow back and make a full main and tail or what? –
Courtney Wexler, submitted via HorseGazette.com

Dear Courtney,
Frequently hair will grow back after it has been rubbed out, as long as the underlying problem has resolved. However, the hair growth can be abnormal or grow back white. I would recommend having a veterinarian perform a pre-purchase examination and get their opinion after examining the horse. – Dr. Sym, Retama Equine Hospital

I have a 22 year old Thoroughbred gelding. He was diagnosed with Cushings at 16 and has been on Pergolide (1 scoop/day) since then. He has been getting 2 flakes of Orchard or Timothy grass twice a day and a small scoop of rice bran with his pergolide/other supplements. The only type of grass hay my new barn feeds is Ryegrass, I'm having difficulty finding a barn that will feed Orchard/Timothy in the area. My gelding is not overweight, he is in light work 4x a week, and has never foundered. Should he be okay on the ryegrass or should I look into moving barns? – Submitted by Allison Fortis via HorseGazette.com

Dear Allison,
You should consult with your local veterinarian about the diet for your horse. Generally speaking grass hay of some kind would be ideal for your horse, but the quality of the hay might need to be analyzed and there might be indication for soaking the hay. Soaking the hay will decrease the simple sugars that are consumed by your horse that can be a problem for some horses that have “Cushings” and possibly underlying metabolic syndrome. A thorough examination by your veterinarian would be best before taking any drastic measures, such as moving barns. – Dr. Symm, Retama Equine Hospital

Pealing Skin and Hair Loss
My horse Blue has a very strange skin problem. Her skin is pealing and she is losing her hair. At first I thought it was rain rot so I treated her for that. But that did not work, so I waited a few days to see what it was going to do. After a few days it was worse, it is now all over her body and looks horrible. She also does not like me messing in the areas that seem to be worse! What do you think this is? I have no clue what to do for it! – Thanks, Sierra, submitted via horsegazette.com.

Dear Sierra,
Your best chance of getting resolution and determining what is causing your horse’s problems is to have your local veterinarian examine her. Your veterinarian will likely recommend skin scraping, biopsy and possibly blood work. – Dr. Symm

Reoccurring Pustule
My horse has had a pustule under his jaw, off and on, for several months. It will almost go away, and then come back inflamed and itchy for him. It will squeeze like a huge zit. The horse has been with other horses and none of them have it. He is a 3-year-old gelding Thoroughbred. Sincerely, Bob Brady, submitted via horsegazette.com.

Dear Bob,
There are numerous possible causes for a pustule under a horse’s jaw. A veterinary exam would definitely be indicated in this case to try and determine what is actually causing the drainage. Lymph nodes underneath the jaw of, particularly young horses can abscess and burst when the horse has upper respiratory infections. These types of infections generally do not go on for several months though. Your veterinarian will likely want to rule out other secondary causes of drainage underneath the jaw, such as a foreign body or tooth root abscess for example. – Dr. Symm

Stall Latch Wound
My horse had a large neck wound from falling on his stall latch. The vet stitched the wound within 30 minutes of the occurrence. The stitches were removed 14 days later. The next morning the entire wound was reopened. The vet had to start the entire process over again and stitch up the entire wound. Is this a common occurrence? Is there something you can suggest to keep this from happening again? – Kelly, submitted via horsegazette.com.

Dear Kelly,
Unfortunately this scenario is far too common. A recent study that was published in a veterinary journal showed that a large percentage of wounds that were sutured did not heal by first intention healing, or without complication. We can only speculate as to the cause of why such a large number of wounds that are appropriately treated fall apart, but I would suspect that a good deal of it is caused by the inherent damage that is done by the initial trauma and contamination. All veterinarians are taught in veterinary school the basic principles of wound care that apply to all living tissue and most veterinarians that work on horses get vast experience dealing with wounds as horses get hurt not infrequently. The good thing about most wounds is that eventually they heal. However, there are circumstances that advanced wound care techniques are needed to stimulate and manage a wound for the best cosmetic and functional outcome. Your local veterinarian would be your best source of information, as each wound is different. – Dr. Symm

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Retama Equine Hospital
17555 Old Evans Road - Selma, Texas 78154

IMPORTANT: Before typing your question - read below.
There is a significant lapse in the time between when these questions are sent in and when the answers appear in the Gazette.
If you feel your horse needs to be seen by a veterinarian do not wait for a response.
Call a reputable equine veterinarian in your area and let him/her examine the horse!

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