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Rhino, ticks and lice, deworming, etc.
SEASONAL REMINDERS FOR DOBBIN
Last week we discussed the importance of vaccinating the broodmare for rhinopneumonitis (rhino). This vaccination must be administered on the 5th, 7th, and 9th months of pregnancy. The rhino virus is the most common cause of abortions in the last half of pregnancy.
Another item of upmost importance for the broodmare is the pregnancy exam. This should be done to confirm pregnancy. By now, except for the fall-bred mares, the pregnancy should be five or more months along. The rate of loss is very low from this point on, with the exception of the mare infected with rhino and the mare carrying twins.
Should the mare be found open, she can be examined for infection of the uterus. Once tests show she is not infected, she can be sutured to prevent contamination over the winter. The mare can also be put under lights. Starting December ,1 and for 16 hours each day, keep her in a lighted barn or area to shorten the time until her first heat in the spring. Once the she starts cycling, semen can be ordered for breeding or she can be opened and taken to the stallion.
If we continue through winter and into spring thinking the mare is pregnant, we will probably wait until two weeks after the due date before becoming concerned. If we only then realize the mare is open and start checking her for infection and signs of heat, we could be very late breeding.
We also discussed the need for deworming. This applies to all horses. Of all the times of the year, fall is the most important for deworming. After a hard freeze, deworming with an ivermectin product will kill the bots in the stomach and other parasites from the small and large intestines. The horses will go into winter without the burden of a parasite load trying to steal nutrients from the expensive hay and grain they have consumed.
Fall is an excellent time to give booster vaccinations for influenza, rhinopneumonitis, and strangles. While the show and competition season is a little slower from now on until spring, stress on the respiratory system is greater. Influenza and rhino are viral diseases and as such stimulate very poor immunity. As a result, boosters must be given often. We recommend a minimum of two vaccinations for each, at six month intervals.
If Dobbin is being raced or shown in competition, the boosters should be given at least quarterly and preferably every other month. The greater the number of horses Dobbin is in contact with, the greater the chance of exposure. Our preference for the horse in heavy competition is the nasal vaccine for both influenza and strangles. This route of vaccination will give a much higher level of immunity.
Fall is also the time to check for and treat external parasites. Just in the last few weeks we have seen many ticks. They are especially prevalent because they are staying attached and becoming fat (the female ticks that is). Under a heavy layer of hair, they are especially obvious, appearing as raised areas over the back and along the chest.
If the ticks are still present after deworming with the ivermectin product, a pour-on insecticide should be applied. Treatment this fall will eliminate one generation of ticks, and also take care of any lice that are probably present but are not as obvious.
A few minutes allocated to our horses in the fall will prepare them to withstand the stress of winter and go into spring ready to shed their long coats and perform their best.
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