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Your Horse and Fireworks: Reducing Stress

Fear, Anxiety, and Stress (FAS) is experienced by all species, and horse owners know this instinctively. Loud, sudden noises that fireworks create can make your horse feel afraid. One study showed that up to 80% of horses are afraid of fireworks.

A horse’s primary response to fear is to run away – and during the 4th of July Holiday celebrations this running response can lead to problems. Horses are large and move quickly, which leads to a lot of force and impact injuries. Every year our veterinarians treat horses injured by fences or pasture mates as a result of horses responding fearfully to fireworks.

You will need to make a judgement call as to how to manage your horse during fireworks, taking into consideration your horse’s personality and your farm or stable set-up. Some ways to prevent injury include:

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Please contact our office in advance so we can help you prepare your herd for July 4. We want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Further Reading:

COVID-19 and Horses

If you’ve been to Hardaway Veterinary Hospital in the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed a few changes in how we interact with you and your pet. We are doing everything we can to help keep our team, our clients, and our pets healthy! Let’s talk about COVID-19 and horses; we have a few resources to share with you.

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Being with horses means being outside, and makes it straightforward to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to stay at least 6 feet from other people. The reason for this distance is that the COVID-19 virus is thought to mainly spread via direct contact and air droplets from person to person – distance decreases the chance of coming into contact with another person’s droplets. There is no evidence that dogs or horses can catch or spread the virus. However, the virus can survive for a variable period of time on objects – for example, tack, buckets, and manure forks. If shared, these items should be disinfected between uses.

The more we do our part to limit contact with others, the sooner this terrible pandemic will end. Horse events, such as race track meets, shows, and clinics are areas where people congregate in groups and therefore have been appropriately cancelled in many instances. Other changes in routine to help reduce contact and spread include remaining at home, cancelling lessons, and cancelling group trail rides. Of course, if you are sick, stay home!

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There is a whole group of viruses called Coronaviruses, of which COVID-19 is one. According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses derive their name from the fact that under electron microscopic examination, each virion is surrounded by a ‘corona,’ or halo.” You may run across information regarding Equine Coronavirus.

While COVID-19 infects humans, and is spread via air droplets, Equine Coronavirus is an enteric disease (one that affects the gut), and does not infect humans. Equine Coronavirus causes colic, diarrhea, fever, and decreased appetite. It is spread from horse to horse via fecal-oral transmission (meaning, a horse eats an infected poop particle from another horse).

We want you to know that the Hardaway Veterinary Hospital team will still be available for your horse if an emergency arises. If your horse colics, has a laceration, or any other problem, we will make sure we can address his or her medical needs. As the weather warms up, spring vaccines will be needed. When the time comes, we are there for you. We want people and animals to stay healthy! Finally, if you haven’t already done so, make a backup plan for your animals in case you or your family fall ill and cannot take care of them. Please reach out if you need assistance.

Here are some helpful resources:

COVID 19andBarn safety Home Staging in Bozeman, MT

COVID-19 Barn Safety Infographic

American Horse Council COVID-19 information page has lots, and lots, and lots of links to informative pages

State of Montana COVID-19 Guidance to Livestock Markets and Related Businesses

United Horse Coalition information page (lists resources regarding virus information, biosecurity, tax relief, safety net resources, and event cancellations and updates)

Thehorse.com Horse Owner Help during COVID-19

If you are bored at home, here are some learning resources for you

and another one for the kids

National Horse Protection Day

March 1st is National Horse Protection Day. This National Day was established in 2005, and serves to highlight the 150,000 estimated “unwanted” horses in the United States. Here is a link to the official day’s website. Despite horses’ rich history in the United States, and their contributions to the success of our culture, many go unwanted, abused or neglected. National Horse Protection Day is about addressing those issues.

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Photo taken by Jake Mosher Photography

What is an “Unwanted Horse”?

In 2005, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) formulated a definition for an “Unwanted Horse.” This definition includes any horse that an owner no longer wants. Horses may be old, injured, sick, or unmanageable, because of lameness, behavior problems, or poor performance as a race or show horse. But, it also includes horses that are unattractive, unhandled, are the wrong color, or cost too much to care for. An owner’s financial situation could change, and a horse that was wanted yesterday could be unwanted today.

What can you do?

Rescue Groups can always use help financially or physically. Donate money, supplies, or feed. Volunteer to feed, move hay, groom horses, or just ask what they need. You may also foster a horse until the shelter or rescue group can find the horse a home. Of course, if you have the resources to adopt a horse, that is a good way to help a horse long-term

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Photo taken by Jake Mosher Photography

In Montana Rescue Groups include:

EquiSave Foundation in Livingston

United in Light Draft Horse Sanctuary in Livingston

Western Montana Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation in Corvallis

River Pines Horse Sanctuary in Missoula

Horse Haven of Montana in Frenchtown

Montana Horse Sanctuary in Stevensville

Any of these groups could use your help. Some of these groups provide grants for assistance with hay or medical care for horses.

In your neighborhood

Look around. Who needs your help? Is there an owner who has experienced recent illness or disability? Maybe your neighbor that has trouble right now at the end of winter could use some help applying for a grant from one of the rescues listed above. Maybe she just needs a helping hand with barn chores.

Observe National Horse Protection Day and help a horse!

By Stacie G. Boswell, DVM, DACVS

February is International Hoof Care Month!

I think it’s a good time to remind everyone that we should be seeing our farrier all year.

If your horse is still doing his job through the colder months – in the fall for hunters, or through the winter skijoring season, ( Figure 1 ) the activity and the fact that he is wearing shoes will mean that you will need to keep up with a regular shoeing cycle. The typical recommendation is about six weeks, though some special-needs horses may need attention every four weeks.

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Figure 1: Skijoring

Horses tend to grow less foot in the winter, and will therefore tolerate a longer interval between trims. If they are barefoot, they may have some natural wear on their slower-growing feet, making them even more tolerant of a gap between trims. Some horses will do fine with an eight week schedule, but stretching the time in between farrier visits is asking for trouble.

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Figure 2: An overgrown, neglected foot

A good trim will help reduce flare, keep the bars of the foot maintained, and prevent the white line from stretching. The white line can stretch as the toe gets too long. Waiting longer than eight weeks can also result in an excessively long toe and an imbalanced foot. ( Figure 2 ) A long toe can make laminitis or founder more likely to occur, and worsen it if it does occur. Overgrowth also allows the heels to become underrun.  ( Figure 3 )

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Figure 3: Underrun heels. Arrows point to wear marks on the heel bulbs caused buy the horse bearing weight abnormally, and asphalt rubbing his heels raw.

A hoof abscess is a lot like an ingrown toenail: it’s super-painful! There is pus within the foot, between the hard capsule of the hoof wall or sole and the soft tissue that lines the outer coffin bone. Abscesses can be scary: a horse that was normal at dinner last night can be severely lame when you check him the next morning. Standing in soft, wet ground with an overgrown foot is a perfect recipe to create an abscess. The wet ground soaks the foot and softens the tissue.

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Figure 4: A severely overgrown foot with underrun heels, folded over bars (red arrows), and a compromised white line (black arrows).

Then, cracks develop as the foot bears weight abnormally. If the white line (the junction between the sole and the hoof wall) is stretched or the bars are folded over or hoof cracks develop, ( Figure 4 ) that predisposes a horse to a hoof abscess.

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Figure 5: A foot that had to have a large amount of sole removed (arrows) to relieve a subsolar abscess.

Hoof abscesses are treated with soaking until the pus can drain. Sometimes, we have to remove abnormal sole tissue that has the abscess underneath. ( Figure 5 ) The best way to cure an abscess, though is to prevent it with regular trimming!

By Stacie G. Boswell, DVM, DACVS

You can find more helpful hoof care info from EQUUS by clicking HERE

We are proud to now offer Class IV Laser Therapy as a treatment option!

Laser therapy provides a non-invasive, pain-free, nonsurgical and medication-free treatment that is used for a variety of conditions. Laser therapy can be performed in conjunction with existing treatment protocols and medications. Relief from discomfort and/or motor improvement is often noticed within minutes to hours depending on the condition and your pet’s response. Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, or simply aging, your companion can benefit from this innovative approach to treating pain and promoting healing.

Watch Companion Animal Health‘s client video below!


Applications for Laser Therapy Include:

• Treatment of arthritis, pain and inflammation
• Sprains, strains, and fractures
• Post-surgical healing & pain relief (includes spays and neuters)
• Wounds, cuts, and bites
• Skin problems (hot spots, lick granulomas, infections)
• Dental extraction pain relief
• Ear infections

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

The laser light is administered through a non-invasive handpiece to the body for about 3 to 8 minutes per affected area and absorbed by the injured cells. The cells are then stimulated and respond with a higher rate of metabolism. This causes an in increase in blood circulation, reduced inflammation relieving pain, and an acceleration of the healing process.

Watch this video to see how therapy laser helps stimulate recovery on a cellular level.

What Can My Pet Expect During a Laser Therapy Treatment Session?

As the laser is administered, your pet may feel relaxed and enjoy the treatment. The warmth of the laser will allow your pet to start to become more comfortable. Some treatments are performed with a roller ball or a non-contact attachment.

In conjunction with our pheromone diffusers in the exam room, any anxiety that your pet initially experiences will quickly dissipate. We also encourage you to be present with your pet during the treatment session to help them to relax. But there are options to drop your pet off while you run errands if needed.

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Quigley falling asleep while assistant Morgan is performing a laser therapy treatment

Occasionally, unhappy cats will start to purr, and canine companions will actually fall asleep during their therapy sessions.

*   *   *

Frequently after therapy we hear, “He’s acting like a puppy again” or, “She can actually jump onto the chair again.” Pain relief is provided in just a few minutes of therapy and that alone improves the quality of life for your companion. Our clients tend to notice that the treatments tend to last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

What are the Costs?

Treatment protocols are unique to each patient and condition. Therefore, treatments will vary in time and complexity. We offer single sessions and package pricing.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for your pet or obtain additional information about pricing!

To all of our friends and clients of Hardaway Veterinary Hospital,

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We have always taken pride in excellent patient care provided by our doctors and other wonderful team members.  We are announcing that Dr. Tami Parrott will be leaving our regular rotation as of October 6th 2017 in order to focus on teaching at Montana State University and chiropractic work.  Although not part of our ongoing staff, Dr. Parrott has graciously offered to assist us when she has availability.  Although we will miss Dr. Parrott, we know she is close by and still involved in the education and training field that is so important to her.

In the interim, we have retained the services of Dr. Racquel Lindroth.  A 1995 graduate from Colorado State University (CSU), Dr. Lindroth brings forward equine practice experience of more than twenty years.  She interned at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, KY as well as the Equine Reproduction Lab at CSU.  She then operated her own practice for many years in northern Colorado.  Dr. Lindroth has also enjoyed clinical teaching positions at CSU, the University of Queensland and currently teaches at Montana State University.  Her areas of interest include care of performance horses and equine reproduction.  Horses have always been an important part of her life and she is delighted to be a contributing member of the Hardaway Veterinary team.

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With the addition of Dr. Lindroth, we now have five practitioners that are available to you 24/7 for all of your equine needs.

We look forward to answering any questions you have about this transition, and also to answer any questions you may have about the health and nutrition status of your horse going into this Fall and Winter season.  Please call us at 406-388-8387 or click here for all of your equine needs.

Our best regards,

Dr. Gordon Hardaway, Dr. Tami Parrott, and Dr. Racquel Lindroth

We are pleased to announce the addition of veterinary chiropractic services to our practice!

Dr. Tami Parrott has completed 210 hours of postgraduate training in animal chiropractic at the Options for Animals program in Wellsville, Kansas.

This training has included extensive lecture and practical hands-on training in the chiropractic care of horses and dogs. In addition, Dr. Parrott has successfully completed rigorous practical and clinical competency exams, thus earning certification in Veterinary Chiropractic by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA).

Please call the clinic to talk with Dr. Parrott regarding the benefits of chiropractic care for your dog or horse!

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A photograph of a horse’s skull.

As the outdoor riding season is coming to an end, let’s talk about horses teeth!

We all know how important it is to have our teeth cleaned and checked by a Dentist every 6 months.  What you may not know is how important it is for your animals too.

Think of horses teeth being similar to that of a rodent or rabbit.  They continue to erupt throughout their life and are worn down by grazing.  “Horses with more concentrate feeds in their diet will develop sharp points faster than horses eating grass only.”  Grain supplements is an example of the most common concentrate feed given to horses.

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A closer photograph of the line of horse’s teeth.

Did you know that dental issues can greatly affect a horse’s performance and demeanor?  I was not even aware of how much it could until we purchased our first horse this year.  She was a young horse that we were told had some dental issues.  Her original personality was sweet, but she seemed nervous and overreacted to things.  Upon having her mouth examined by the Veterinarian, it was discovered that the poor little lady had ulcers on the inside of her cheeks and on her tongue.  She had a complete 180 degree personality change after her teeth were floated and we could hear her chew for the first time!

Here is a list of “Traditionally recognized signs that your horse might have dental problems”:

It is important to note that not all horses will display any signs at all or only a few while other horses may show that they are in severe pain, but may only have mild dental issues.   Each horse is so different which is why a dental exam performed by a Veterinarian is imperative for their overall health.

If you have any concerns about your horses oral health, please call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Parrott, or use the website to set up an appointment right now.

Speak soon!

Crystal Sharp, CVT.

Call the Vets your Pets would choose!

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