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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:

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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

I’m sure that you all have noticed that our ‘normal’ Montana winter weather has been anything but that.

Where is January at?!

It’s been much warmer than usual, and we’ve had more rain than snow. Since there is more moisture during this time of year, it is creating the perfect environment for ‘kennel cough’ (Bordetella) to survive in the environment longer and become more prevalent than normal. This is one reason why it is more common to have outbreaks in the Spring and Fall months.

Bordetella is spread via airborne transmission (cough or sneeze), and by direct dog/dog contact and is highly contagious. The incubation period is 2 to 14 days, so that means once a dog is exposed it can take that long to show signs. A dog may cough for several days or up to two weeks. We advise people to keep their pet isolated from other dogs for a week after coughing has stopped.

We recommend vaccinating your dog based on his or her level of risk for contracting Bordetella

Does your dog go to doggy daycare or a boarding facility?

Does your dog go to the groomer?

Do you take your dog to the park?

Do you have dogs on the other side of your fenced yard?

Does your dog spend any time with other dogs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your dog should be vaccinated

We use the oral (in the mouth) Bordetella vaccine which provides the most rapid protection.

“This allows local immunity to develop on the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and windpipe where the infectious agents first attack” – Life & Learn ‘Kennel Cough or Tracheobronchitis in Dogs’

Dogs should be vaccinated at least a week or two prior to boarding. It takes several days for their body to respond to the vaccine and prime their immune system

You can visit the Life & Learn website to read more about ‘kennel cough’ (Bordetella) by clicking the link on our website.

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You can also click HERE for another helpful article

If you are bringing your dog in for an appointment and they are coughing, please leave them in the car. You can either come inside without your pet or call our receptionists to let them know you are here for an appointment. Since it is highly contagious, exams should be done outside or in an isolated area in the clinic.

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

Update About The Canine Upper Respiratory Infection

September 1, 2017

This past Wednesday evening, Merck Animal Health put on an informational update for the Gallatin Valley veterinary professionals about the ‘Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex’ and the role that it plays with the current canine upper respiratory concern.

Merck and other big vaccine companies have been working closely with the top animal diagnostic laboratories in the country (Idexx and Cornell) to figure out the root cause of the issue.  Thursday, it was confirmed by Cornell, that there has been a confirmed dog with H3N2 strain of canine influenza in our area.  Merck still does not believe that canine influenza is the main culprit in this upper respiratory ‘out break.’

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Click here for the link to Cornell’s ‘Canine Influenza H3N2 Updates’ webpage

Dr. Jim Kallman from Merck Animal Health stated, “This is only one positive out of hundreds of samples that have been sent in over the past month or so from this area.  People don’t need to panic as we don’t know how wide spread this is.  We don’t know if it’s only that clinic.  Merck currently does not consider the flu vaccine as a ‘core’ vaccine.  We recommend assessing the risk exposure for each individual dog before vaccinating.”

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“The percentage of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small.  Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no signs of illness), while some have severe infections.  Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia.”  – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Merck also mentioned that there is Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) Surveillance Task Force that is also working diligently to control and prevent the disease.  The CDC is one of the members of this group.  We were unable to find their webpage, but were able to find a FAQ sheet from Texas A&M who is also a member of the task force.

“We recommend assessing the risk exposure for each individual dog before vaccinating.”

~ Dr. Jim Kallman, Merck Animal Health

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What does this new information mean?

MDOL still investigating cause of canine respiratory outbreak, does not believe it is influenza

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We have received many phone calls with questions regarding the current canine upper respiratory outbreak in the Gallatin Valley.  To better serve our clientele, we would like to provide some educational information and the latest update from the Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL).

Should I be concerned about where I can take my dog?

We are taking every precautionary measure to ensure that our hospital stays clean and sanitary to minimize the risk of transferring infectious diseases as are many of the other veterinary clinics in the valley.  If a dog is coughing or showing upper respiratory symptoms, our policy is to do those examinations outside and as far away from the building as possible.  We ask that owners leave their dogs in the car and not enter the building.  The disinfectant that we use kills bacteria and viruses.  We have not appreciated any patient contamination thus far.

Our staff members are recommending to call grooming and boarding facilities before taking your pooch there if you have concerns.  Many have been affected around the valley and have disinfection protocols set in place.  We do not know their current status, which is why we recommend calling first.  Please don’t be discouraged to visit these places, just be sure to call first.  However, we are still advising to avoid dog parks or other heavily canine populated areas until things calm down.

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Should I vaccinate my dog for the canine flu?

We believe that it is prudent to protect against everything that we can.  We carry the two strain combined canine flu vaccine.  It still may not give your canine companion full immunity to this upper respiratory ‘bug’ moving through the valley.  Still, if you like to visit dog parks, take your pooch to a boarding facility or the groomer, it could be recommended.

If your dog has not had this vaccine before, it will be a two-part series, and then an annual after that.  Just like when they were a puppy, the vaccine needs to be given again in 3 to 4 weeks to stimulate the immune response.  In general, the normal immune response to vaccines takes approximately two weeks to work.  However, we cannot guarantee when full immunity will take effect since every animal is different.

Can I give the vaccine myself?

We recommend bringing your dog into the clinic to have either one of our Veterinarian’s or Technician’s administer the vaccine.  If we have seen your dog in the last two to three months, we will waive the exam fee and it can be made as a Technician appointment.  This policy is in place to protect the health of your canine companion.  We want to be sure your dog is healthy before giving them a new vaccine.

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Here is the latest update on the canine upper respiratory outbreak situation:

“Over the past month, MDOL (Montana Department of Livestock) has received numerous calls from veterinarians regarding a surge in severe respiratory cases in dogs in Bozeman, Livingston, and Billings.  Reports to our office indicate that it is most severe in young animals and that previous vaccination for kennel cough does not seem to be protective.  Testing done has included respiratory panels through commercial laboratories as well as post mortem examination and testing at the MVDL (Montana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory).  All PCR testing has been negative for canine influenza.  We have received a few reports with positive Mycoplasma results.

Tuesday, it was reported that canine influenza has been diagnosed in animals in Gallatin County.  At this time, MDOL has not seen confirmatory testing that definitively supports canine influenza as the case of this respiratory outbreak.  Results provided to our office show acute titers consistent with the acute phase of infection, but not confirmatory for canine influenza.”

Quoted; August 10, 2017 from Marty Zaluski DVM, State Veterinarian, Montana Department of Livestock

UPDATE: August 11, 2017 – Official statement made by the MDOL State Veterinarian

UPDATE: August 11, 2017 – Billings Gazette article

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Currently, we are working in conjunction with the Elanco vaccine company to offer free testing for any canine patient exhibiting upper respiratory symptoms and are up to date with their Bordetella vaccine.  At this time, we would also like to note that we have not seen any confirmed deaths at our practice as a results of this respiratory ‘bug.’  We are all concerned and working vigilantly to find out the root cause of this respiratory epidemic.

Other resources:

Did you hear what the Groundhog predicted this year?  He saw his shadow, and we all know what that means.  We are in for more of this winter weather!

While you are out there playing around in that white fluffy snow, here are some tips to keep your furry companion at optimal level to enjoy it with you!

1. Trim Hair Between Pads

Long hair between the toes of your dog’s feet can collect snow and salt on walks around the neighborhood or hikes up in the hills. Be sure to keep that long hair trimmed short by bringing your dog to the groomer or by clipping at home. We recommend ultra quiet baby clippers from Vijan to get in-between the toes and around the pads. You can also using grooming scissors to keep the hair between the toes short, but exercise caution to avoid cutting the sensitive skin on your dog’s feet. While keeping the hair on your dog’s feet is important in the winter, never clip your dog’s coat short if they will be outside for any extended period of time. This will drastically decrease their insulating abilities and could create dangerous drops in body temperature.

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2. Wiping Off At Home

After enjoying your outdoor adventures, be sure to wipe off your dog’s feet and belly with a towel. This will remove any salt or other de-icer your pooch picked up on the walk, as well as any chemicals, such as antifreeze, that might be on the road. For long walks, consider bringing a towel with you to help remove snow build-up or salt as you go. To best protect your dog’s feet from de-icing agents, keep off of dry sidewalks and roads if possible. Consider switching to a pet-friendly de-icer, such as Safe Paw Ice Melt to provide a non-toxic substitute ice remover for your home or business.

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3. Protecting Paws and Pads

Before going outside, a wax can be applied to your dog’s pads to create a layer of protection from ice, rocks and rough ground. We recommend Bag Balm and Musher’s Secret to protect your dog’s feet this winter. These products do wear off as your dog runs around, so they should be re-applied during long hikes and before each walk. For a less messy and surefire way to protect your dog’s feet from the elements, booties can be worn while outside. We recommend Ruffwear Boots to provide a heavy duty, breathable barrier to protect your dog’s feet.

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4. Treating Cracked or Dry Pads

Be sure to inspect your dog’s feet after each walk for any ice balls, irritated skin, or cracked pads. If you notice dryness or cracking of your dog’s pads, you can apply coconut oil or Bag Balm to help moisturize and heal the pads. Drastic changes in temperature and humidity that comes from going outside and inside in the winter can dry out your dog’s skin and pads.  Adding a humidifier to the house can help keep the pads and skin of your dog moisturized and healthy. Running on rough surfaces can also cause toe nails to split and bleed. Products such as Kwik Stop or corn starch can help to stop any small bleeds, making sure your pup is ready for the next big adventure.

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Phew, now give yourself a high-five!  Stay safe and warm out there!

Share pictures of your snow filled adventures with your pet on our Facebook page!

Call the Vets your Pets would choose!

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