Ask the Vet – Blanketing, Coughing, Arthritis, & More! – February 2016

Ask the Vet – Blanketing, Coughing, Arthritis, & More! – February 2016

January 13, 2020 18 By Jose Scott


SARAH: Hi, SmartPak fans. SmartPaker Sarah here from the Marketing team,
and I’m here with our Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director, Dr. Lydia Gray, who just
celebrated her ten-year anniversary with SmartPak. DR LYDIA GRAY: I did. SARAH: But maybe even more exciting than that,
we’re doing our first Ask the Vet video series. DR LYDIA GRAY: So exciting. SARAH: We’re really excited for the first
video in this series to be going out today, and we’re tackling Winter Horse Health questions.
All the questions that we’re going to go over today and many, many others were submitted
by you guys, our fabulous fanbase. And then they were voted on by you guys, as well, so
we’re answering the most popular questions… DR LYDIA GRAY: Yep. SARAH: the ones that fans are the most curious
about, and we’re really excited to get started, so I’m going to jump in with Question 1, which
is from Tammy from Missouri. DR LYDIA GRAY: Oh, here we go. SARAH: and she is wondering generally, how
do you blanket correctly in the winter months and thinking about switching between light,
medium, heavy weight. How do you make those choices? DR LYDIA GRAY: So, I’m going to rephrase the
question. SARAH: Ok. DR LYDIA GRAY: Because when I think about
blanketing, the first question that comes to my mind is “Do I even need to blanket?”
And so the things I think about then are where do you live, so geography matters. Is your horse clipped or does he have a full
coat? Is your horse healthy? Because if it’s like
an older horse or a horse whose body condition score is low or is thin or unhealthy for any
reason, then maybe a blanket’s a really good idea. Precipitation matters. If it’s raining
or it’s windy. Does the horse have access to shelter. Once I have those questions resolved,
then I think about which blanket is right. And again, that depends on where you live.
I know people that live in, I don’t know, Texas, Florida, California, where I wouldn’t
even dream of putting a blanket on my horse, and once it’s below 70, they’ve got to, you
know, put something on. And then people who live in Minnesota say, “Well, if it doesn’t
get below 0, I don’t even bother.” So, it kinda depends on what you and your horse are
acclimated to, and my rule of thumb is, and I think you know this, you blanket versus
the high temperature of the day, not the low, because horses are pretty good at fending
off cold weather as long as they’re not wet, but they have to sweat and they have to dissipate
heat and they can’t do that as well with clothes on. So I think of that. And I think that once
you put a blanket on for the season, you kinda gotta leave it on, because you’re laying that,
you’re pressing that hair down and that fluff that they naturally have can’t work for them.
That said, you can’t just put a blanket on and leave it on the whole winter. You gotta
take it off and make sure the horse’s body condition score is fine and his skin is not
having rain rot or something. There’s lots of things to think about. It sounded like
an easy question when we, you know, it got voted on. Maybe that’s why it was the #1 question,
but there’s lots of factors and so I’m sorry I can’t give a simple this temperature and
this temperature and this temperature. It’s just not that simple, but hopefully that was
a little bit to think about and not overwhelming. SARAH: I think it’s great. I think it’s important
for people to know that there are a lot of factors that go into it. And if you guys at
home want a little bit of help with combining and evaluating those factors, you can always
check out the SmartPak Blanketing App. It’s a great one to kind of help you think through
those things. It asks you about body condition, it asks you about the age of the horse, and
that’s because you helped us make it. DR LYDIA GRAY: And you did, too! SARAH: I know. And that’s why we love it so
much. But it works in all those factors and really
helps you understand what kind of decisions you could be making for your horse, and so
it helps you think through all those questions. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right. SARAH: Okay, you ready for number 2. DR LYDIA GRAY: Ah, yeah. Let’s go. SARAH: Okay, this is Christie from California.
And she mentioned that she rode in a quarter sheet for the first time this winter today,
and where she lives is usually 40 to 50 degrees. She usually warms up with it on and then takes
it off, but she’s wondering if she should keep it on for the entire ride sometimes?
And she did mention her horse has a full body clip. DR LYDIA GRAY: Oh that’s helpful. So, as you’re
reading that, the first thing I’m thinking is “I wish it was 40 to 50 degrees when I
ride.” That would be a heat wave. The short answer is no, or…no, I think. Maybe yes? SARAH: Should she keep it on for the full
ride? DR LYDIA GRAY: No. The answer is no. Ok. Because,
if you think about a quarter sheet as your, helpful in your warm up, and your warm up
is 10,15, maybe 20 minutes, and then when the horse is warmed up, take the quarter sheet
off, work, do whatever, and then when your horse is cooled down again and the temperature
has gone back to normal and the heart rate and the breathing and all that, put the quarter
sheet back on. So, the horse is clipped… SARAH: Yep. Full body clip. DR LYDIA GRAY: Probably wearing a blanket. SARAH: You would hope. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. And the other things
that I would want to know are where does this horse live? Is he in a stall or is he turned
out, and what kind of work she’s doing? So it matters if you’re just walking or you’re
doing a really hard workout. But basically, I would use my quarter sheet, I would stick
with the warm up philosophy. The quarter sheet helps your horse get warm while you’re warming
up. SARAH: And you can kind of think of it the
same way as people feel. Like if you get to the barn in the morning, it’s really cold,
you have a big jacket on, you start mucking stalls… DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s right, yep. SARAH: By that third stall, you want that
jacket gone. DR LYDIA GRAY: And so does your horse. SARAH: And then as soon as you’re done, pretty
cold, you want it back. DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s right. SARAH: And so, while you’re working, don’t
need the extra layer. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. SARAH: Cool. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. We’re making a lot of sense here. SARAH: I know! You know, we’re working through. Question 3. Chris from New Hampshire wonders
she started… she or he, I don’t know… started fully leasing an 11-year-old Paint
this spring. For the first ten minutes or so of warming up, he coughs and sneezes constantly.
I had a pony like this. And then he’s fine. Then if they stop and walk around for a bit
and then start working again, coughing and sneezing right back again. So, the owner says
he’s been tested for lots of things, including allergies, and they’ve all come back with
nothing. What do you think? DR LYDIA GRAY: You had a pony like this. I,
right now, have a horse like this. So… SARAH: Oh, Newman. DR LYDIA GRAY: I know. First it was one or
two coughs for like a month. And then it was three or four coughs for a couple months.
And then it was half the year and a lot of coughing and it was getting to the point where
it was, I was not able to do the work. SARAH: That’s just distracting if nothing
else. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, and it didn’t feel good
to him either, I’m sure. What I did was I found a board-certified veterinary specialist.
Internal medicine. And she came to the farm, you can take your horse to a university, and… SARAH: So, you’re a vet, and you don’t treat
your horse exclusively? DR LYDIA GRAY: Oh, because, she did some tests
that I have not been trained to do – because she’s a specialist. Yeah in respiratory medicine,
and she was able to do this thing called a bronchoalveolar lavage. That’s a mouthful,
so we say BAL. SARAH: Okay. Lavage means wash. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, so you flush liquid into
the horse’s respiratory system – so you see the problem there. And then you get it back
out and you send it to a lab, and they look at it under the microscope, and they count
and type the cells and diagnose the problem. Now, what my horse has, and I suspect this
horse has, is Inflammatory Airway Disease. And that is a precursor probably to Heaves
or Recurrent Airway Obstruction. SARAH: So how are you supporting Newman? DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, so, he gets snugglepuffed.
Every day. Well, now it’s every… SARAH: That sounds like a treat! DR LYDIA GRAY: It is! It is. Now it’s every
third day. But it did start – it actually started twice a day. SARAH: So it seems like it’s working? DR LYDIA GRAY: It’s working great. But – that’s,
so the snugglepuff is his inhaler. With corticosteroids and bronchodilators. SARAH: And a horse inhaler. Not like a people
inhaler? DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, you buy the little people
inhaler. SARAH: Okay. DR LYDIA GRAY: But then you have to buy… SARAH: Same one? DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, same medication. But
then you have to buy a spacer. And the spacer I use fits over one nostril. And then you
put the inhaler in this device and you puff. And he gets eight puffs every three days.
And you were joking about treating, but it was right, because when we trained him to
allow snugglepuffing – and I call it snugglepuffing because I hold him and I puff – we puff then
treat, then puff then treat, then puff then treat. And now it’s puff-puff-treat,
and then puff-puff-puff-treat. So we’ve backed off the treats heavily cause he got big, so. SARAH: What are Newman’s favorite treats? DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, he can’t have sugar so
he likes the Hilton Herballs. SARAH: Nice. They’re a good one. DR LYDIA GRAY: But anything without sugar. SARAH: Cody likes those, too. And he’s allowed
to have sugar, and he still likes them. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, they have rosemary and
thyme and maybe oregano, and I just call them mommy’s roast chicken. They smell so good
when he’s done. SARAH: He does love it. That’s awesome. Alright, Question 4. Samantha from Maryland.
Can horses develop immunities to supplements if fed the same thing for many years? She’s
wondering if her horse’s joint supplement is going to become less effective over time,
requiring her to upgrade or maybe switch supplements? The horse is only 6, so it’s going to be a
long time before she needs to officially switch to a senior supplement. So, I guess, is that
something that can happen? DR LYDIA GRAY: You know, I get that question
more than you’d think. And you’d think I’d have a good answer by now. SARAH: I mean, that’s why it got up-voted.
You know we see that with the fans. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right, yeah. My response to
that is… horses don’t develop immunities. If you think
about, do you develop an immunity to food, to water. No, you still need your nutrients
– they still, they keep working. Well that is also true for supplement ingredients. That
said, there are occasions when you might want to, what’d she say, upgrade? To something
stronger. If your horse is diagnosed with a certain medical condition or you’re doing
harder work. There is a seasonal component to supplements, so if a lot of horses show
or train or whatever in the summer months, and then they’re backed off a little bit in
the winter, you can also back off their support. But as they begin to travel and show and do
all that, then maybe they need to go back to a higher level of support. I kind of think
of it more that way, like “What is my horse doing, and what am I trying to support. What
does he need?” versus developing immunity or upgrading to stronger. That’s not really
a concern. The concern is “Is my horse on the right program for what he needs right
now?” SARAH: And then if he is, if it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it. DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s right. Yep. SARAH: Okay. Last, but not least…Question 5. Ashley from
New Jersey – we’re getting good representation from all over the country, I like it. Ashley’s
wondering, she has a 5-year-old horse that has slight arthritis on the bottom of her
knee. The arthritis shows up in the winter time the most. What supplement do you recommend
for arthritis pain? DR LYDIA GRAY: The horse is how old? 5? That’s
kind of young to be experiencing discomfort from arthritis… SARAH: Do you think it’s fair to assume Thoroughbred?
Raced young. Something like that? DR LYDIA GRAY: Maybe. I’m also assuming that
she has a diagnosis. We’re making a lot of assumptions here. I’m assuming that she’s
working closely with a veterinarian. So the vet is going to come up with a plan, a treatment
plan, that says this prescription medication, this – and maybe this supplement. And so for
this horse, certainly a supplement with all the mother nature, big three ingredients – glucosamine,
chondroitin sulfate, HA – but maybe some additional components that do help manage discomfort.
Cause it sounds like this horse is not comfortable. SARAH: Particularly in the winter time. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, yeah. So things like,
I’m thinking devil’s claw, yucca, boswellia, maybe curcumin. Because she specifically mentions
winter, I would advise this person to make sure the warm ups – and perhaps a quarter
sheet – are quite long and slow and lengthy. Take your time. Don’t be in a rush to get
on and get to the work, whether it’s jumping or it’s flying changes or reining, sliding
stops or whatever. Take your time warming up. Especially in the winter, but for this
horse, year round. So, I think between whatever her vet says to do, and then the right supplement,
and a really thoughtful exercise program, and of course, you know good turnout and good
shoeing, good footing, I think this horse can be more comfortable. SARAH: That’s fantastic. That’s what we want.
Healthy horses, happy riders. DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s right. SARAH: That’s why we’re here. That’s why we
took your questions. Thank you guys so much for the great suggestions and for voting and
being a part of the process. We’re going to keep this going, so stick with us on Facebook
and our blog, and you’ll see more calls for questions, on YouTube, as well. Don’t forget
to subscribe, that way you’ll always get the latest Ask the Vet video and all the other
fun stuff we do. We welcome your feedback, we thank you for watching, and we hope you
have a great ride.