Tagged: “horse”

Electrolytes for Horses

Electrolytes for Horses

In the past recommendations for electrolytes differed depending on the type of work the horse was doing. For example endurance horses were given acidic electrolyte solution with increased potassium levels to offset the alkalosis that occurred due to losing sweat over a long period.

Now the recommendation is to supplement electrolyte with the same formulation as horse sweat for all horses regardless of the work they are doing, but vary the amount given depending on the amount of sweating that is done.

Horse sweat is 10x the concentrations of human sweat! The main components are sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium and calcium. Horses can sweat 10-15 litres an hour, meaning they can lose a large volume of fluid rich in electrolytes that needs to be replaced in feed.

Horses don’t store sodium, potassium or chloride and so if they are sweating each day need to have these electrolytes replaced daily. Horses that are not involved in regular strenuous exercise and have access to good hay or pasture and a salt block are probably receiving adequate amounts of major elements.

Horses that sweat losing large amounts of sodium have a reduced thirst response e.g. when they should be drinking more, they don’t feel like they need a drink! Most importantly when horses have been working and you want to keep fluid intake up encourage drinking by supplying cool, clean fresh water.

Microchipping Your Pet

Microchipping Your Dog, Cat, Horse…..even your Bird!


We all hope our own pets will never stray from home and get lost, or even worse be involved in a road accident. We should never assume this won’t happen to our own pets. Many stray pets never see their owners again and the uncertainty of knowing whether a lost pet is still alive can be difficult to cope with.

Technology in the form of a microchip implant now provides a quick and easy method of identifying your pet. The microchip contains electronic information allowing pet and owner to be quickly reunited in the event of straying.

Any pet animal can be fitted with a chip. The law now requires that puppies first registered after 1st July 2006 must be microchipped with the exception of working dogs.

The chip is smaller than a grain of rice and is easily inserted under your pets skin by an injection. The chip remains in place for life and the pet remains unaware of its presence.

A microchip can be implanted at any time, and we can combine this with their vaccinations. However, we recommend the most convenient time is when the dog is anaesthetised for desexing. While the law states that a microchip must be implanted within two months of registration, your local council may give a time extension to allow the microchipping to take place at the time of desexing, which is often done at 5 – 6 months of age. If you are going to take your puppy out and about and feel your recall is not quite polished enough, do not hesitate to microchip during the last puppy vax!

Once microchipped your pets unique identification number becomes registered on a national database. There are two national databases in operation. One is the National Dog Database, which all microchipped dogs must be registered with. This is the government run database that Tasman District Dog Control Officers have access to. However, vets and the SPCA do not have direct access to this database and in the event of a lost dog being taken to a vet or the SPCA there may be a slight delay in reuniting the pet and owners until Dog Control releases the details. To overcome this delay an optional database run by the New Zealand Companion Animal Society is in operation. This database is for ALL animals, not just dogs. The advantage of this database is that vets and the SPCA have direct access to owner’s details ensuring there is no delay. For your dog or other pet to be registered on this database, there is a small one off fee.

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us

Hoof Distortions

Hoof Distortions

Negative Plane or Counter Rotation of the Distal Phalanx (Pedal Bone) in Hind Feet.


There are many types of subtle equine lameness, often it is more of a ‘discomfort’, but it is uncommon to recognise the symptoms as being linked to the feet. Typically foot problems affect more than one area of the upper body. It is quite common with observant equine owners, trainers, farriers and vets, to see and recognize stiffness in the rear quarters. Frequently horses that are reluctant to move freely are resistant to work and require longer warm up times than one would consider normal.


How do we determine if the horse has a negative plane distal phalanx? A negative plane distal phalanx is not always easily observed unless x rays are taken first. However, other injuries or symptoms may become apparent prior to further investigation. All these injuries and conditions are directly related to the condition of a negative plane distal phalanx.

  • Hock pain
  • Stifle pain
  • High suspensory strains
  • Filled legs which go down following work
  • Tight hamstrings or injuries
  • Strains of the suspensory apparatus -­‐ predominately proximal (high)

suspensory desmitis (strains)

  • In front feet, check ligament injuries and mild fore limb lameness
  • Kissing spines
  • Constant back pain and the need for continuous therapeutic treatments,

i.e. chiropractic physiotherapy and acupuncture. In particular sacroiliac injuries or general pain around the area.

The above ailments are some of the most common found in horses with a

Negative Plane Distal Phalanx.

  • The external indicators are that the horse does not land slightly heel first, thus engaging the back parts of the foot on the ground first.
  • The frog is diseased of dysfunctional.
  • The dorsal wall has a domed appearance to it.
    Although this condition is found in the front limbs of horses, I have found a greater incidence in the hind limbs.
  • A line drawn along the line of the coronary band on the hind foot should bisect the front limb just behind the knee. On horses with NPDP syndrome, this line will often bisect the front limb at the elbow or above. (NOTE: Make sure the canon bone of the hind limb is vertical to the ground before assessing)


When examining the foot closely from the side (lateral view), there is commonly a crown or arch to the dorsal hoof wall this often corresponds with heels that are very unstable and appear to crumble easily under the weight and movement. Along with what seems to be poor heels, the frog is very large and has descended through the shoe to meet the ground. (Fig 1) With hoof tester examination, a positive response is common in the sole behind the widest part of the foot, through the heels and occasionally over the frog. Regardless of the pain response from the hoof testers (painful or pain free), the discomfort that exists when manipulating the limb, the dorsal wall arch and the prolapsed (enlarged) frog are the main indicators that lead to suspicion of a Negative Plane Distal Phalanx. This, means that the bottom surface of the distal phalanx that is normally elevated slightly more in the rear than in the front (2° -­‐ 5°) or in some cases parallel, is actually closer to the ground in the rear of the bone than in the front.(Fig 1 Normal angle – Fig 2 NPDP syndrome)


If your horse has some of the above symptoms, give us a call at The Vet Centre. We may be able to help you.