Archive for the ‘Related Holistic Care’ Category

Following up on the last post, since my horses were all sedated for their very thorough dental exams, I’m reminded of something I try to keep in mind any time they’re sedated. Along with the rest of the body, sedation can slow down the gut, or digestive process. My horse Kiona once had minor colic symptoms following a sedation, and the best guess seemed to be that it was likely due to this effect. (In her case, she came around very quickly with just some coaching from the vet over the phone.)

So now whenever my horse’s are sedated, or even in advance if I anticipate it, I like to do at least one or sometimes several things to help their digestive system as preventative care. Massage, of course, is one of these, since the genuine relaxation effect of massage stimulates the digestion (as opposed to the effect of artificial sedation, interesting!). But there are also other very quick strategies to add to massage, or as an alternative. For example, you can offer your horse some grazing time, if possible, since fresh grass is excellent for the digestion (if your horse’s health allows). You can also soak their hay, making it more easily digested and ensuring more water intake along with it. And of course, taking your horse for a walk is helpful, since the walking movement also promotes gut movements. (Please note that following sedation you need to be sure your horse is fully alert again before offering any food to avoid risk of choke or other chewing related problems. Likewise, for greater safety, wait until the sedation has worn off before taking your horse for a walk.)

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My three horses, Kiona, Rainbow and Prince, just had their spring appointment with Veterinary Equine Dentist Dr. Richard Vetter, DVM. (His website is very informative, check it out!) About 10 years ago I learned something about the difference between a dental specialist versus a general practitioner vet doing dentistry (floating teeth). Ever since having my eyes opened to this contrast, I make it a point to have my horses see a dental specialist at least every two years, and generally every year (or more often if necessary). (In fact, before this week’s appointment it had been two years, and now I regret waiting that long. That is, they’ve been checked by other vets every six months, and even floated some, yet were still overdue for the level of care that a specialist can provide. I know this not only because of what Dr. Vetter could show me in their mouths, but also by Rainbow’s difficulty chewing recently, Kiona’s sores inside her cheeks, and the limited side-to-side range for chewing/grinding for all three horses).

For the “inbetween” appointments, in my case usually for the fall shots for example, or perhaps at a chiropractic appointment, I certainly appreciate any vet taking a look in their mouth to check on them. General practitioners are very capable of basic care, of course, but how can they be expected to do any more than this minimum without the time and training devoted to teeth as a specialty? Would you rely on your doctor to take care of your own teeth? Waiting for sharp points and sores on the inside of the cheeks to do some floating is like waiting for your horse to go lame before doing preventative care for their muscles and joints, like massage or chiropractic care.

Using massage as an analogy here is especially appropriate because of the close connection between a horse’s teeth and their musculoskeletal system. Problems with the teeth, whether pain issues or problems with the symmetry and range of motion for how the top and bottom teeth meet and move, can have very direct consequences for your horse’s ability to move correctly, athletically, and comfortably. Again, I invite you to check out Dr. Vetter’s website, because you’ll find lots of information there about these topics!

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Here’s a link to a wonderful new blog from Horse Haven at Bear Creek, and specifically to Robyn’s post about gastric ulcers. As so often happens, we learn about health the hard way, through the lack of it, or dis-ease in some form. May Lily’s experience help others learn this lesson sooner and with greater ease….

You’ll also see that I’ve also added a comment at the bottom of Robyn’s blog post, relating the topic to bodywork and massage.

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Yay, another Horse Tip Daily Podcast from Kari DeLeeuw, and this again very directly related to the topic of massage….

We are very excited to have Dr. De Leeuw on the Horse Tip Daily Show with us. Dr. De Leeuw is a Veterinarian with a twist. She specializes and is well known for her chiropractic and acupuncture work. Listen in as she speaks about saddle fit and choosing saddle pads. Listen in…

Horse Tip Daily #151 – Dr. Kari De Leeuw on Saddle Fit and the Back:

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