Munchausen By Proxy

Fair warning, this is all text.  Enjoy?

A couple of months ago, my magical vet hit up social media to ask about whether people would be interested in some client education and, if so, what topics.  I immediately responded with about forty-seven of my greatest equine fears.  Because Murphy's Law.

He scheduled a few sessions over the past couple of weeks and the one I attended Monday night was at TE's barn, about an hour away.  There were a dozen of us sitting on chairs in her aisle - western riders, one or two hunter/jumpers, a majority of eventers, and your very own senior babysitter.  And pizza, provided by the magical vet.

It was set up as sort of a Q&A opportunity, rather than a presentation.  The questions started with one of the younger eventers asking very specific questions about wind sucking, which turned into more questions about ulcers.  We discussed UlcerGard and GastroGard and generic medications.  He went in depth about Omeprazole and Sucralfate, and how the generic of either isn't bad so long as the dosage is sufficient, which seems to be the general problem.  He said that UlcerGard and GastroGard were essentially the same medication, because marketing a new medication is easier than relabeling a medication for a separate use (prevention versus treatment).  Also, money.  He also said that Merial's lost their patent on the medication, so we ought to expect generics to start hitting the market.

Someone asked wtf "Coggins" is.  So he explained a little more about EIA.  I guess I never realized that the main problem with the disease isn't just that it's going to kill your horse, but rather that it's going to slowly kill your horse, thus enabling your horse to infect even more horses before succumbing.

After coggins (or before, who remembers?), someone asked about Cushings dz.  Somewhere around here I realized that this whole blogging community is brilliant, because of y'all, I at least know that it's now officially PPID.  Vet talked about the tumor in the pituitary gland and the symptoms he looks for.  Loss of top line in an older horse is actually the first thing.  Statistically 1/7 horses over seventeen will have it.  Then the presence of guard hairs on the hind cannons.  Polyuria and polydipsia (increased urination and thirst).  He said that by the time you've gotten the shaggy coat, you're at an advanced stage.  He brought up the five various blood tests on the market and how the greatest issue is the false negative.  I asked about the effect of grass cycles on the bloodwork, which he said has recently been debunked.  Gold stars to me for even knowing about it.  (Educational link here.)

This opened the floor for me to ask even more questions about various diseases that will kill your horse, like Lyme (not a concern down here) and Strangles (we'll talk about this more another day) and the recent prevalence of EHV-1.  (You wanna talk about the herp?)  I wanted to also ask about biosecurity in relation to infectious equine diseases, because I feel like people without medical backgrounds don't know shit about slowing the spread of contagions.  (Sorry, not sorry.)  I didn't get a chance because EPM was also on my list (macabre, much?) before someone kindly interjected and asked if we could talk more about general maintenance.

So we talked about worming cycles and the importance of fecals and the issues more concerning to our location, where worms rarely die.  As a boarder, I've thought very little about how often, when, and with what Archie is being dewormed.  I'm now educated just enough to be a nuisance to my BM and ask these questions.  Like when was the last time Archie had ivermectin?  Has our vet reviewed her deworming schedule?  I know the results of his last fecal, which was over six months ago.

TE and I monopolized the Q&A session, which I don't think was necessarily a bad thing.  She manages a barn, I used to work at a barn, and we both have backgrounds in veterinary medicine.  We asked generalities, rather than "My horse does XYZ, why?", so hopefully it was advantageous to the rest of the group.

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13 comments

  1. Sounds like a good informational session! Good on you for asking lots of questions.

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  2. inneresting, your vet just sounds like pretty much the best. i think i'd like to attend something like this (esp if there are folks like you there asking good questions haha!)

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  3. Oh, I would totally go to something like that and then be really happy for people like you because I tend to get there and then completely blank everything. So useful. :-)

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  4. Sounds like a nice night of learning! Well now I'm worrying that P has early signs of PPID. I've kept an eye out for an extra hair coat or not shedding normally which he doesn't have. He does have extra long hairs along his mane and backs of his legs. He also has a crappy topline right now which I've attributed to various things (didn't ever really come back after his time off for his hock injections gone wrong last year in March). Maybe I will have him tested just to be safe.

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  5. This is so cool! I wish my vet would do something like this. Really good to know about cushings sometimes testing negative. I just had Rico's blood sent out to see about him (he shows no signs but my mom was sending her horse's blood so I had Rico's go too) and he came back negative. Definitely keeping an eye on symptoms though.

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  6. I'm going to do Murray's fecal this year. It's not going to be stupid scientific, because I don't have the special eggs-per-gram slides any more (they were stupid expensive and I don't want to talk about them and I gave them away at what I thought was the end of my data collection for my thesis and I regret it deeply), but I'll have some idea of what's going on in there. I'm absurdly excited.

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  7. I would love to partake in something like that!!

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  8. What a fab set up, I'd love to go to something like that a couple of times a year - especially if there is pizza and other horse-minded people.
    I know you've said it before, but i want to say it again. Your vet is a legend!

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  9. Really interesting! Never realized PPID was quite so prevalent amongst the over 17 crowd. I love getting to ask vets all kinds of questions.

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  10. Some of the vet groups down here have been starting some of these as well, the most recent being one on "skin funk" which looked pretty interesting, if it had been closer. I know I sometimes feel disconnected from the horsemanship stuff, since I don't really do the care of Violet. But I do try to read up on things, and had a really good exchange of information regarding worming with my vet not too long ago.

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  11. I wish we had those type of sessions around here again. Our equine hospital use to and my hubs and I always tried to hit them. I love equine science!

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  12. Well done -- I've often thought of setting up something like that for this area. I mean, geez, between Dr. Bob & NCSU...of course, I might get kicked out of my own sessions after the 300th, "Oh, but what about...?" :P

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  13. Pizza and Q&A? That sounds fabulous! Thanks for the write up

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