Denise Steffanus

Kissing Spines: A Manageable Disease, With The Right Treatment Program

The horse’s spine is very different from a human’s. Each vertebra has a fin-like projection called a spinous process that extends upward from the spine. The spinous processes form the horse’s withers and back, and to them are attached thick ligaments and muscles. When two or more of these spinous processes are too close together, […]

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Epsom Salt: How It Works Its Magic

Epsom salt is a staple in every horseman’s tack room. Principally used in poultices and hoof packings, Epsom salt draws water out of the body, making it excellent for reducing swelling and removing toxins. If applied as a paste, it generates soothing heat. Because of its ability to pool water, Epsom salt is sometimes used […]

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Vinegar And Horses: What’s It Used For, And Does Science Back It Up?

Apple cider vinegar is the natural remedy of choice for many horsemen, even if science doesn’t support many of its purported benefits. Vinegar has been used medicinally for thousands of years, all the way back to the father of medicine, Hippocrates, who disinfected wounds with it, among other uses. Vinegar is a natural antifungal, antimicrobial, […]

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Shipping Fever: The Dos And Don’ts Of Prevention

The stress of travel is tough on a horse. Dozens of studies confirm that a horse’s immune system becomes depressed during transport, so it’s understandable many shipped horses develop respiratory disease. Horsemen generally lump everything from a case of the snots with a mild fever to life-threatening pleuropneumonia with a high fever under a term […]

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Corticosteroids Vs. Anabolic Steroids: What’s The Difference?

Corticosteroids and anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of natural hormones produced by the adrenal glands and gonads. Although they stem from the same precursor molecule, corticosteroids and anabolic steroids have very different purposes and uses. Corticosteroids most commonly are used to reduce the pain and swelling of musculoskeletal problems caused by inflammation — arthritis (joint), […]

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Bladder Stones: A Tricky, But Rare Issue In Horses

On December 26, Canadian champion grass horse Conquest Enforcer was euthanized due to complications from a bladder stone. After finishing last in the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes three months earlier, Conquest Enforcer was back in training in Florida when veterinarians took the 5-year-old horse into surgery to resolve a problem with his urinary flow. […]

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Lefties And Righties: Side Preference In Horses May Be Linked To Learning, Personality

Does your horse step out with the right foreleg to approach something new to investigate it? If so, consider yourself lucky. Your horse probably is an optimist. German researchers recently evaluated 17 horses, including one Thoroughbred, by offering them two boxes containing carrots, one box they could open for the carrot reward and one that […]

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Can Horses Really Smell Fear? Yes, And That’s Not All

Think back to your first encounter with a horse. Were you warned that if you were afraid, the horse could smell your fear? It turns out that was good advice. People emit a particular chemosignal while experiencing a specific emotion that induces the same emotion in another person who smells that odor. Chemosignals are chemical […]

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Can My Horse Make Me Sick? Maybe, Experts Say

Humans share a lot with their horses — even disease. A handful of infections can be passed between the two species — some are easily treatable, some can be fatal. In most of these cases, humans contract disease from horses; it is possible but less likely for an infected human to pass disease to a […]

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What Happened There? Cliffs of Moher’s Death Reveals Complex Nature Of Shoulder Fractures

On Nov. 6, Cliffs of Moher (IRE) shattered his shoulder during the running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse in Australia and was euthanized. The Williams family, co-owners of the 4-year-old Galileo colt, were stunned and distressed when he broke down. “That horse was sound as a bell, there’s no doubt about that,” owner […]

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