Author: Kirstie Pickles

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Dr Kirstie Pickles BVMS MSc PgCert(CounsSkills) PhD CertEM(IntMed) DipECEIM MRCVS RCVS RCVS and European Specialist in Equine Internal Medicine Kirstie is a European Specialist in equine medicine and has spent over 20 years working in private equine practice and academia in the UK, USA and New Zealand. She is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in Equine Medicine at Nottingham Veterinary School and is passionate about education at all levels, whether that is horse owners, vet students or practising veterinary surgeons.

Tying Up ‘Tying up’ refers to a syndrome of muscle soreness and cramping, which is usually most prominent in large muscle groups like the gluteals (hindquarters). An episode of tying up can be very distressing for both horse and owner and result in a significant number of days lost from training as well as the need for veterinary care. There have been large advances in our understanding of tying up over the last twenty years, with several underlying causes identified which predispose certain horses to an episode. The long-term management needed to avoid further episodes is largely similar, regardless of…

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There have been a large number of horses with colic in the clinic recently. The term colic refers to any cause of abdominal pain from the gastrointestinal tract and so can have very many different causes. Signs of colic vary according to the seriousness of the cause and the disposition of the horse. Some stoical equines (most notably donkeys) can have severe colic and yet display very few clinical signs of pain. Signs of mild abdominal discomfort lifting the upper lip,flank watching,lethargy,lying down more than normal,pawing the ground,restlessness,poor appetite,not passing droppings or passing less droppings than normal,changes in the consistency…

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General Advice Colic (abdominal pain) has many different causes in the horse. The majority of cases are mild but some are very serious and require quick assessment and surgical intervention to ensure a positive outcome. For this reason, it is always best to call a vet to assess a horse with colic. Following assessment of your horse, unless immediate referral is required, your vet is likely to tell you to remove all feed from your horse’s stable/field until the colic episode is over. Some, simple, colics may resolve within a few hours but other causes of colic, such as impactions,…

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The main worms of importance to the adult horse worldwide are cyathostomins (small red worms, small strongyles) and tapeworms. There are several different models upon which to base a worming programme (fig. 1), of which targeted strategic worming in response to faecal egg counts (FEC) is optimal based on economics, minimal drug administrations, and reducing the risk of anthelmintic (worming drug) resistance. The growing resistance to anthelmintics is as worrying as resistance to antimicrobials and should be taken very seriously. Targeted Strategic Treatments:Intermittent monitoring faecal egg counts (FEC) of all horses and working only those with a significant burden. Strategic…

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A webinar about what you should and shouldn’t do to keep your horse’s teeth healthy. Dr Kirstis Pickles will discuss: • Routine dental care• What to look for when things go wrong• Who can provide dental care LOG IN TO WATCH THE FULL WEBINAR BELOW: https://vimeo.com/728757854

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‘Equine liver disease’ – a webinar covering signs of liver disease, causes of liver disease and how to manage and treat common causes. The liver plays a vital role in the body and is one of the most active organs. The majority of nutrients are absorbed from the intestines and then processed in the liver. The liver is responsible for the regulation of these nutrients to ensure the body has enough protein, carbohydrates and fats. For example, the liver is responsible for manufacturing many of the proteins essential for life. Other functions of the liver include removing toxins from the…

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Key Points Ragwort is poisonous to the liver and causes irreversible damage.The main threat of ragwort is when it is eaten in hay.Clinical signs of ragwort poisoning are usually not seen until severe damage has already been caused. Many horse owners will have invested hours pulling up this yellow daisy-like plant. Ragwort, also known as Senecio jacobea, contains pyrrolizidine alkaloid toxins which damage the liver irreversibly. Over time (usually many months) this causes a reduction in the amount of functional liver. Signs of liver disease are very vague and by the time clinical signs are recognised, unfortunately, in many cases disease is too…

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Dr Kirstie Pickles discusses and answers questions on the topic of Vaccinations.

Answering questions such as;
Q. Can vaccines cause issues for a horse that suffers with allergies if they are given at the time of year?
Q. Are we over-vaccinating? And are annual boosters really necessary?
Q. Are annual boosters buying in an older retired horse?

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This article is a follow on article to the large Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) we hold on the website. This article will discuss the various treatments offered by professionals and vets. Please ensure you read the main EGUS article here please follow the link. Treatment for Equine Squamous Gastric Disease (ESGD) As ESGD is caused by acid splashing onto the squamous mucosa, ESGD is very effectively treated by switching off acid production. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor (often termed a ‘PPI’) available as a licensed oral paste or granules which switches off acid production. Unfortunately, feed lowers the…

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Sarcoids are the most common skin tumour of horses, accounting for 40% of all equine cancers. They affect breeds of all ages and both sexes. Most skin lumps in horses that are non-painful and non-itchy are sarcoids. Sarcoids do not usually self-curing and affected horses often develop multiple sarcoids at once. Sarcoids are skin tumours. They are persistent and progressive skin lumps that occur mainly around the head, in the axilla, and the groin area, as well as developing in wounds where they can be confused with ‘proud flesh’. Sarcoids:- What are sarcoids and do they cause a problem- Types…

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