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State-of-the-Art Equine Care for Ventura & Los Angeles County Horses

Please Welcome Our New Associate

Dr. Kate Barber

We are so excited to welcome Dr. Kate Barber to the Progressive Equine Family as our new associate! Many of you have met Dr. Barber as she has been volunteering and working at the practice since she was 18. She will be starting with us on July 27th and you will start seeing her with us at the barns. Please make her feel welcome. See her bio below to get to know her better.

Dr. Kate Barber obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in animal science with an emphasis in neurology, physiology, and behavior from the University of California at Davis. She then attended Ontario Veterinary College in Canada, graduating in 2019. Kate went on to complete a rigorous internship at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, a referral clinic in Bonsall, California. Here she gained a wide variety of skills, with an emphasis on sports medicine and surgery.

Kate returned to Ventura County, near her home town of Moorpark, where she grew up riding and competing in hunters and jumpers. She is excited to pursue her passion for ambulatory equine medicine.

Outside of work, Kate enjoys long runs with her dog, trail riding with her friends, spending time with family, and reading a good book by the beach. She also enjoys traveling and exploring new areas.


"Pigeon Fever" general info

By Jessie Evans, DVM

Diseases - Mar 10th, 10

Pigeon Fever is the common term for an infection caused by the bacterial organism Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (also referred to as Dryland Distemper). C. pseudotuberculosis bacteria tend to localize and form abscesses in the pectoral region and ventral abdomen of the horse. It is common misconception that the condition is related to pigeons. It was named because the abscesses cause swelling and give the horse’s chest a “pigeon-breast” appearance. Ruminants-such as sheep, goats, and cattle-can also become infected with these bacteria, although cross-species transmission is rare and usually only occurs between horses and cattle because they can carry the same strain.

Pigeon fever cases used to be found primarily in California, although within the last several years veterinarians have diagnosed cases in many areas of the western United States. The organisms tend to live and multiply in dry soil and manure. Hot, dry weather is the most common environment where the organism is found, and most pigeon fever cases appear in late summer/early fall (the author first diagnosed a case in August, and her number of cases has increased exponentially since that time). Horses contract this disease through open wounds or fly bites, and sometimes through their mucous membranes. Some horses have developed lung abscesses after inhaling a concentration of bacterial organisms. A horse’s immune system competence can dictate whether he contracts pigeon fever.

Clinical Signs

The first sign owners usually notice is swelling of the chest or abdomen. The horse might have a fever (temperature grater then 101.5 F), but he usually exhibits a normal attitude and appetite. An affected animal might be sore at the walk, usually after swelling and abscess of his chest and abdomen have occurred. Some develop more severe infections where they acquire multiple abscesses and become systemically ill (inappetent, febrile, and lethargic). A small percentage of horses can develop internal abscesses, which are more serious. The infection can spread to the horse’s legs, causing a syndrome called ulcerative lymphangitis, which can be difficult to treat.

A veterinarian can reach a definitive diagnosis through bacterial culture, although clinical signs can be quite diagnostic. If the horse is systemically ill, it is helpful to run blood work to be sure he doesn’t have overwhelming systemic infection and to monitor internal organ function. If the horses develop internal abscesses, their disease is more serious and carries a guarded prognosis.

Treatment

Treating pigeon fever consists mainly of surgically opening the abscesses to allow drainage. The abscesses can be lanced as soon as they are mature, Applying warm compresses to abscesses can help bring them to a head. Your veterinarian can also ultrasound the abscesses and find the best place to drain them. The abscesses should be cleaned and flushed daily with dilute Betadine soulution. The use of systemic antibiotics is controversial. Many clinicians believe that antibiotics will delay the maturation of developing abscesses and might facilitate internal abscessation. As long as the horse appears healthy and has a normal attitude and appetite, this author prefers to withhold antibiotic therapy. If the abscesses are deep and causing pain and discomfort to the horse, Banamine (flunixin meglumine) can be administered.

Prevention and Control

As in the case of all infectious disease outbreaks, our goal is to limit the number of horses affected. Affected horses should be isolated because drainage from their abscesses contains a high amount of bacteria that will contaminate the environment. Flies are a major vector and can spread the bacteria, so spray affected and unaffected horses (especially ones with open wounds) with fly repellent if it is still fly season. A good feed-through fly control product is a good option. People can carry the bacteria on their shoes, hands, etc., so be sure to maintain good hygiene after handling your sick horse. Bedding, water buckets, and any other materials that come in contact with pus should be disinfected/disposed of and not shared with other horses.

AAEP Forum article courtesy of The Horse magazine, an AAEP Media Partner.


Learn to Recognize your Horse’s Dental Problems

Learn to Recognize your Horse’s Dental Problems

It is important to catch dental problems early. If a horse starts behaving abnormally, dental problems should be considered as a potential cause. Waiting too long may increase the difficulty of remedying certain conditions or may even make remedy impossible. Look for the following indicators of dental problems from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) to know when to seek veterinary attention for your horse:

  1. Loss of feed from mouth while eating, difficulty with chewing, or excessive salivation.
  2. Loss of body condition.
  3. Large or undigested feed particles (long stems or whole grain) in manure.
  4. Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit, or resisting bridling.
  5. Poor performance, such as lugging on the bridle, failing to turn or stop, even bucking.
  6. Foul odor from mouth or nostrils, or traces of blood from the mouth.
  7. Nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw or mouth tissues.

For more information about proper dental care, ask your equine veterinarian for “Dental Care: The Importance of Maintaining the Health of Your Horse’s Mouth,” a brochure provided by the AAEP in conjunction with Educational Partner Bayer Animal Health. Additional information is available on the AAEP’s website www.aaep.org/horseowner.

Reprinted with permission from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.


Protect Your Horse with Veterinarian-Administered Vaccinations

With vaccines readily available at farm supplies stores, online pharmacies and other retailers, it's sometimes tempting to save a few dollars by purchasing and administering them to your animals yourself.

There are hidden risks and costs associated with vaccinating animals yourself, therefore "cheaper" vaccines aren't the value they first appear to be. 

Ask your veterinarian to develop a customized vaccine program for your horse. Having your veterinarian administer vaccines is always safer, easier and a better value in the long run than doing it yourself.

Here are several good reasons why your veterinarian is the best choice for administering vaccines:

Proper Handling of the Vaccine

Many vaccines require special handling and storage, for instance, protection from extremes of temperature or exposure to light to preserve its effectiveness. Rely on a licensed veterinarian to store and handle the vaccine properly—and to make sure the vaccine isn't past its expiration date!

Safe Administration

A licensed veterinarian knows about safe administration: clean environment, an appropriate injection site and good documentation. They also know the best time of year to vaccinate and whether vaccinations would react with any medications being administered to the horse. Your veterinarian will document the vaccine’s serial number and administration date—especially important in the event of a manufacturer’s recall. This is one instance when poor documentation could put your animal in peril.

Availability for Treatment of Adverse Reactions

Any injection can result in adverse effects—mild swelling at the injection site, lethargy and a slight fever for one to two days, the immediate outbreak of hives and life-threatening anaphylaxis. If your veterinarian is administering the vaccine, he'll know what to do to counteract a reaction—and he'll have the medicine to do it.

When you think about the risks of doing it yourself, it only makes good sense to have a licensed professional administer vaccines.

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