Thal Equine LLC
Regional Equine Hospital • Horse Owner Education & Resources
Santa Fe, New Mexico • 505-438-6590

Common Veterinary Tests Used to Diagnose Conditions Causing Colic (CCC’s)

Your horse is showing signs of colic. You have asked us to provide emergency veterinary care, or your local veterinarian has referred you to us for additional diagnostic testing and treatment. We want to be clear about the value you get from the diagnostics and treatments we perform, as the costs add up quickly and we don’t want to surprise you with them. The purpose of this handout is to educate you about how we evaluate horses...

Read More

What? You are going to ROLL my horse? Non-Surgical Correction of Left Dorsal Displacement with Nephrosplenic Entrapment

Case Report from Thal Equine LLC January 2015   Friday, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, arrived at Thal Equine showing signs of abdominal pain (colic).  He had not responded to pain relievers and fluids by stomach tube given by the veterinarian at the farm. Upon arrival at our clinic, Friday still exhibited mild signs of abdominal pain; occasionally pawing, stretching and looking at his side.  He looked visibly bloated, and he...

Read More

Worms vs. Drugs: The Fundamentals

Research over the past 10 years has confirmed that indiscriminate deworming leads to selection for worms resistant to common deworming compounds.  Because of this, “targeted deworming” based on fecal analysis results has become the industry standard. This approach reduces the total amount of chemical used and better matches drug to worm.  But when it comes to equine parasite control, controversy and confusion remains, and there are still...

Read More

The Value of a Diagnosis

Jake, a 20 year old Hanoverian gelding, showed signs of colic (looking at his side, not eating) and also seemed to be having difficulty urinating (based on his stretching out, dropping his penis as if to urinate, but having only a few drops of urine dribble out.) Jake’s owner, after doing a Google search, and armed with powerful drugs provided to her by a friend with an extensive equine pharmacy in her tack room,  treated the...

Read More

Deciding When to Use “Risk-Based” Vaccines

Vaccination is one of the most practical and cost-effective means for reducing infectious disease incidence in horses. There are dozens of equine vaccines made by various pharmaceutical companies and for a variety of equine diseases. Vaccine types and availability change frequently. These factors and many others make the question of how to vaccinate horses a confusing one. One might be tempted to just vaccinate for every disease, but...

Read More

Horsemanship Tip – “Feel”

This is actually not a veterinary tip. It is a horsemanship tip. Nevertheless, it may be the single most important thing I have to say about horsemanship. Ask Yourself: Do You & Your Horse Understand “Feel” May 2013 will mark 20 years that I have been in solely equine veterinary practice. Before that, I was a horseman. I had and trained a number of my own horses and had started colts for others. I started my first colt...

Read More

Horse Breeding: Balancing Breed & Specific Goals with an Emphasis on Soundness

Recent tragic events, like the breakdown of the race horses Eight Belles and Barbaro in highly publicized races, have raised many questions regarding the causes of these tragedies. Many factors, including training techniques, medication rules, and track surfaces have been and will continue to be analyzed and discussed.  But questions have also arisen regarding the genetics and breeding of these horses.  As an equine veterinarian who sees...

Read More

Thal Equine Client Handout: Equine Behavioral Workshop

Some Take Home Points from our October 15, 2011 Equine Behavioral Workshop I owe the late and great Ray Hunt a debt of gratitude for first opening my eyes to a new way of seeing horses. It’s never the horse’s fault. Always look inward to find the reason (variation on RH). Be suspicious of anyone who tells you there is only one method or device needed for getting something done. You will form your own methods. Recognize all...

Read More

Sand Accumulation in the Colon: A Common Cause of Equine Colic

Most horses live long and healthy lives with small amounts of sand and dirt in their intestine. As they eat, horses naturally pick up small amounts of soil, which usually moves through with other feed material and causes no problems. Horses accumulate sand in their intestine by eating off of sandy ground, or grazing short stubble on sandy soil. The most important factor determining whether or not a problem develops is the soil particle...

Read More

How to Perform Equine Veterinary Treatments Without Drama

Horse owners need not have extensive veterinary knowledge or skills, however it is important for them to be able to perform basic treatments to their horse without drama.  While some horses may present a challenge in learning to accept veterinary treatments, ultimately all horses should accept all but very painful treatments in a calm and controlled manner.  They should generally accept these treatments with minimal restraint and no...

Read More

Parasite Management In Horses: A New Paradigm

Internal parasites can cause serious disease in horses without leading to external signs obvious to horse owners.  Parasite eggs and worms are tiny or microscopic and rarely visible in manure.  Significant parasite loads cause all sorts of problems for horses.  They can reduce immunity, cause gastrointestinal irritation and damage, reduce nutrient uptake and cause generalized unwellness. While these “hidden” problems are more...

Read More

Vesicular Stomatitis: What Horse Owners Should Know

Vesicular Stomatitis (“VS”) is a viral disease that affects horses, and less commonly cattle, pigs, llamas, alpacas, and other livestock. We see periodic outbreaks of Vesicular Stomatitis in our region of the Southwest.  VS is a reportable disease, meaning that when a case is suspected by a veterinarian, we are required to involve the United States Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA:...

Read More

Thal Equine Client Handout: Intramuscular (“IM”) Injections

This handout is intended for clients that are comfortable and willing to administer intramuscular injections and have horses that are relatively well-behaved during this process.  It is only recommended when the client is fully advised by their veterinarian or has communicated with their veterinarian about the situation calling for such an injection.  If you are unsure or your horse is needle-shy, you need to consult with me or another...

Read More

Thal Equine Client Handout: Giving Your Horse Oral Medications

The most important part of any oral treatment is seeing that your horse or foal gets the total dose of medicine at the prescribed time for the total number of days, as directed by your equine veterinarian.  As discussed in greater detail in my article “How to Perform Veterinary Treatments on Your Horse Without Drama,” envision this task within the context of your relationship with your horse.  It is simply another opportunity...

Read More

Thal Equine Client Handout: Castration Care

TIMING & PREPARATION Castration is surgical removal of the testicles.  It is performed on colts to modify behavior and to prevent stallion-like body development.  Castration is usually performed before the age of 24 months.  Any colt older than 9 months of age should not be put on pasture with fillies and mares because they may mount and potentially impregnate them.  In our area, we like to castrate colts during the cooler months...

Read More

Thal Equine Client Handout: Common Diagnostic Tests for Equine Abdominal Diseases

The purpose of this client handout is to describe some of the actions that I take in trying to determine the cause and severity of your horse’s abdominal illness.  If you have questions about any of the exam components or diagnostics performed, please feel free to ask me. HISTORY I usually start with a detailed history of the problem and your prior management of the horse, including any recent changes.  Questions involve things like...

Read More

Equine Wounds: What Horse Owners Should Know

Wounds are one of the most common equine emergencies.  Horses are especially prone to wounding themselves because of their size and speed.  Their often violent flight response means that collisions with objects are common.  Their large size and fast movements mean that the forces of impact are great and wounds are often serious. This article explains basic wound healing and successful wound care.  It is very important to differentiate...

Read More

Winter Health Care Basics for Horses

Generally, horses are not used as heavily during the winter months, but their proper care is every bit as important as in other seasons.  Winter provides different stresses on horses than they experience during the rest of the year, and horse owners should know the basics before winter arrives. HOW COLD TOLERANT ARE HORSES? Given some protection from the wind and wet (shelter), a healthy horse can easily tolerate -40 degree Fahrenheit...

Read More

The Equine Eye: What Horse Owners Should Know

The equine eye is a miraculous and delicate organ.  Veterinary problems relating to the horse’s eye are common, and should be recognized and treated appropriately.  There are many types of problems that affect the eye, but the purpose of this article is to touch on a few of the most common.  Injuries and disease involving the eye are usually considered veterinary emergencies.  Disease processes in the eye can progress rapidly, and...

Read More

Lameness & The Lameness Exam: What Horse Owners Should Know (Updated October 2014)

WHAT IS LAMENESS? Lameness is a term used to describe a horse’s change in gait, usually in response to pain somewhere in a limb, but sometimes as a result of a mechanical restriction on movement.  Lameness is sometimes noticed when a horse obviously favors a limb, but can be as subtle as a small change in gait, or just a decreased ability or willingness to perform.  A horse can become lame from a variety of causes (conditions or...

Read More

The Equine Hock: What Horse Owners Should Know

The “hock” is a horseman’s term for the tarsus, an anatomic region of the horse’s hind limb.  Horses of all breeds, types, and disciplines can suffer from hock-related lameness problems, especially those that work heavily off of their hind limbs.  This article discusses basic hock anatomy and function, describes desirable hock conformation, and discusses common lameness problems associated with this area. WHAT IS THE...

Read More

Understanding & Managing the Rising Costs of Equine Veterinary Care

This article addresses a subject that I deal with on a daily basis – the rising cost of providing quality equine veterinary care.  It is a topic many horse owners and veterinarians find uncomfortable, and is too rarely addressed. These days, most services provided by modern and well-equipped equine veterinarians (from routine care to an unanticipated crisis) are costly.  How can you, the horse owner, obtain the very best veterinary...

Read More

The Late-Term Pregnant Mare, Foaling & Newborn Foal Care

From the last trimester of pregnancy through the foal’s first month is a critical time.  It is extremely important for horse owners to know what to expect.  In this article I outline several important management points and concerns during this period. THE LATE-TERM PREGNANT MARE The average mare has a pregnancy of about 335 days, but normal pregnancies occasionally last over 365 days.  The defining aspect of the last part of the...

Read More

Subtle or Hard to Diagnose Equine Lameness: What Horse Owners Should Know

Your performance horse (of any discipline) is not performing up to the level he has before.  Maybe he won’t take a lead, or won’t engage his hindquarters in quite the same way as he has in the past.  Maybe he won’t hold his sliding stop, or can’t perform a dressage movement that he usually performs consistently.  You notice that his back seems sore and tight after work.  Is it a training or behavioral issue?   Is there...

Read More

The Importance of Pre-Purchase Exams

For horse people, the purchase of a new horse is an exciting time.  Unfortunately, many horses are purchased that are not suitable for their intended use.  This lack of suitability is most often due to a lameness problem that was not noticed at purchase, but can result from anything from behavioral to general health issues. As an equine veterinarian, I often run into the scenario when a horse has already been purchased and then found to...

Read More

Preventing or Addressing Weight Loss in Horses

Clients often bring horses to our veterinary practice with a complaint of weight loss.  In my approach, I start by determining whether the horse is really underweight.  Whenever I think about changes in body weight, there is a specific thought process I use to identify the reasons for it.  This approach is based on an understanding of the balance between a given horse’s energy intake and energy output.  Keeping this in mind, I look...

Read More

Equine Navicular Disease/Chronic Heel Pain: A Common But Misunderstood Problem

The loss of use resulting from chronic lameness (pain in a limb that causes visible change in gait) costs the equine industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually.  Foot lameness makes up a high percentage of this lameness, and the heel structures of the foot are the most commonly affected part of the foot.  Within the heel sits the infamous navicular bone.  Problems associated with the navicular bone and surrounding structures are...

Read More

Maintaining the Health of Older Horses

Within the practice of equine veterinary medicine, equine geriatrics has become an increasingly specialized niche that many veterinarians, including myself, enjoy practicing.  Horse owners are keeping old horses around far longer, and they are in better health than ever before.  There are many reasons for this.  These days, an owner’s loyalty to their old horses outlives their usefulness as a work animal.  People have a strong...

Read More

Equine Laminitis: Part 2: Treatment & Prevention

In Part 1 of this article, I explained what laminitis is and described some current ideas on how it is caused.  I discussed the anatomy of the attachments of the hoof wall to the underlying pedal bone as it relates to the development of laminitis, and described how “laminitis triggers” (substances in the blood coming from a variety of causes) free these attachments and allow movement of the coffin bone away from the hoof wall.  I...

Read More

Equine Laminitis: Part 1: What is it?

Laminitis (a/k/a “founder”) is a disease of the feet common in equines – horses, donkeys, and mules.  This disease is one of the most heartbreaking and costly to the equine industry.  It can cause severe and debilitating lameness and may necessitate euthanasia.  It can seemingly come out of nowhere, or can follow as a sequel to other serious diseases that have been successfully treated and resolved. The mechanisms of...

Read More

Equine Infectious Diseases & Prevention

Maximizing your own knowledge of horse health enables you to make intelligent decisions that save you money while providing the best care for your horses. Understanding the fundamentals of equine infectious disease and vaccination is an important part of that. In the world of infectious diseases, things are constantly changing. Diseases wax, wane, and evolve over time in response to poorly understood and complex biologic pressures. The...

Read More

Horse Owner Self-Help: Knowing When to Call a Veterinarian

Too often I have dealt with cases in which a horse owner or caretaker treated a horse incorrectly for a long period of time.  By the time I was asked to help, it was too late.  This is sad and needless. It is often difficult for horse owner’s to know whether equine health problems require a veterinarian’s attention or can be handled without such intervention.  Loaded with products, medications, and unreliable information,...

Read More

Horse Management During Drought Conditions

Several regions throughout our County are currently experiencing drought conditions. These dry spells pose some unique healthcare and management challenges for horses.   Whether it is stress from heat and blowing dust, changing feeds or dwindling water supplies, the additive stresses from drought can cause potentially serious health problems for horses. Understanding and anticipating these problems will help maintain your horse’s...

Read More

Handling Equine Emergencies: What Horse Owners Should Know

I define an “equine emergency” as any problem with your horse where a delay of appropriate treatment might endanger their future quality of life or their soundness.  Horses have a unique ability to injure themselves, often seriously.  This is due to a combination of size, power and speed coupled with an overdeveloped fight or flight response.  They are also notoriously sensitive for their size.  Equine lower limbs and intestinal...

Read More

Equine Gastric Ulcers: What Horse Owners Should Know

In the past 10-15 years, it has become clear how common gastric (stomach) ulcers are in trained horses and in the general horse population. This problem has a huge impact on the horse industry.  The development and more widespread use of the 3-meter endoscope over this time has given veterinarians a tool to visualize the inside of the horse’s stomach and definitively diagnose this problem.  Excellent recent research helps explain the...

Read More

Equine Skin Conditions: Part 2

This article discusses skin-related problems that primarily affect horses during the summertime.  Equine skin problems arise more frequently during the summer months for several reasons.  First, horses tend to be more active.  They are ridden more and are reproductively active and so they tend to incur more injuries and skin wounds and are exposed to infectious diseases.  Second, intense summer solar radiation causes sunburn and...

Read More

Equine Skin Conditions: Part 1

For large animals, horses tend to be very sensitive and also tend to have unique veterinary problems.  Their skin is no different.  Horses have a relatively “thin” skin and can have a wide variety of skin problems.  Skin disorders are common and tend to be highly visible to owners.  While many don’t think of the skin as an organ, it is actually the largest organ in the body.  It is designed to house and protect the rest of the...

Read More

Post-Breeding Endometritis: A Common Cause of Reproductive Failure in Mares

Young mares and mares with healthy reproductive tracts usually conceive easily and carry a foal to term without difficulty.  Attempts to get some older mares and mares with reproductive problems pregnant can be very frustrating and costly.  In this article I discuss a few of the factors that result in uterine problems.  I then describe the diagnosis, treatment and management of mares with post-breeding endometritis, the most common...

Read More

Equine Dentistry: Part 2 – Performance

There are many different opinions on how effective dental treatments are on equine performance.  There is still much research to be done.  However, recent observation and research may be cause for reconsidering commonplace techniques in equine dentistry. As discussed in Part I of this article, an educated horse owner should have a basic understanding of the anatomy and function of equine teeth and understand the concept of continuous...

Read More

Equine Dentistry: Part 1 – The Basics

In the last two decades there has been a revolution in equine dentistry.  Twenty years ago, very little effort was made to care for horse’s teeth.  Basic dental “floating” has been performed for hundreds of years, but techniques and knowledge did not progress much during that time.  Until fairly recently, many veterinarians had either little interest in doing dentistry or, if they did, they had poor equipment that did not...

Read More

Cushing’s Disease / Syndrome – PPID & EMS: What Horse Owners Should Know

Horse owners are often unaware of problems that affect their horse’s health in less obvious ways.  Endocrine diseases are classic examples.  The endocrine system is the hormonal, regulatory system of the body.  Endocrine glands are tiny organs that secrete hormones and substances into the bloodstream as necessary to maintain control of body systems. There continues to be great confusion in the horse world surrounding endocrine...

Read More

Colitis, Diarrhea & Intestinal Health in Adult Horses

The equine digestive tract is a complex and fragile system that is easily disrupted.  The intestines (about 80 feet long in an average adult horse) digest and absorb feed, extract nutrients, absorb water, and eliminate waste.  One sign that the intestines are disturbed or otherwise stressed is the development of diarrhea.   The causes of equine diarrhea can range from mild to life threatening.  In adult horses, these causes include...

Read More

Equine Colic (Abdominal Pain): Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I discussed how colic is not a disease but a group of signs shown by a horse experiencing abdominal pain. The signs can range in severity from a subtle reduction in appetite to violent rolling or thrashing. I explained that abdominal pain (colic) could be caused by any number of conditions (“Conditions Causing Colic” or CCC’s) that affect any part of the equine gastrointestinal tract. When a non-vet...

Read More

Equine Colic (Abdominal Pain): Part 1

It always surprises me when an experienced horse person asks me how I treat “colic.” That question is akin to asking a physician how they treat a “limp.” Equine colic is simply abdominal pain. Signs of equine colic are what we see – a horse’s behavior when it is experiencing abdominal pain.  Like a limp, colic can be caused by any of a large number of conditions (diagnoses). The key question we (vets and horse owners) must...

Read More

Care & Management of the Growing Foal (One Week through Weanling): Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I discussed management and veterinary considerations for the baby foal from birth through one week of age. In this article I continue with some important health considerations for the growing foal from 1 week old to weaning.  The period through weaning is a critical time for the developing foal.  Healthy growth is critical for horses to reach their full athletic potential. The young colt from the last article...

Read More

Care & Management of the Growing Foal (Newborn): Part 1

This is the first of two articles on the young foal from birth to weaning.  The purpose of the first article is to take a short journey from the separation of the umbilical cord through the first week of life.  I touch on some of the important points of care and common problems you should be on the lookout for.  One recurring theme is to observe the young foal carefully, and promptly discuss with your veterinarian any questions that...

Read More

Camping & Packing with Your Horse: A Veterinarian’s Perspective

The most common veterinary emergencies on the trail are colic, wounds (including rope burns), lameness, and “tying up.” While accidents happen to even the best-prepared, thinking ahead and knowing the basics can prevent most of these problems.  The best approach is always to try to avoid emergencies by ensuring that you and your horses are prepared for the outing in every way.  Below are some basic guidelines and tips for avoiding...

Read More

Bute & Banamine®: Commonly Used & Misused in Horses

“Hey Doc… my horse has been colicky since last night. I gave her some Banamine® and she seemed OK for a while, but now she doesn’t look so good…”  This scenario is unfortunately still common in my vet practice.  Although my established clients know to call me before administering these medications, there are many horse owners who regularly use these two common but poorly understood prescription drugs without any veterinary...

Read More

Back Problems in Horses: Understanding a Mysterious Part of Equine Anatomy

While back pain is poorly understood in human medicine, equine back pain is even more difficult to comprehend, diagnose and treat.  We start with an animal who can’t tell us where or how it is experiencing pain.  This animal is so massive that we only have access to the very “shallow” layers by touch, radiography and most other diagnostic equipment.  The spine is buried up to a foot deep in heavy muscle and tough connective...

Read More

The Use of Complimentary or Alternative Therapies: An Equine Veterinarian’s Perspective

Complimentary (or alternative) therapies are commonly practiced in the horse world.  These therapies include, but are not limited to acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, homeopathy, energy work, aromatherapy, magnetic therapy and cold laser therapy.  Equine health problems that don’t have easy solutions – such as equine back problems – naturally lend themselves to many different alternative therapies.   Usually these...

Read More

505-438-6590

Fax: 505-474-7645

Dr. Thal se habla Español

69 Bonanza Creek Road

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508

69 Bonanza Creek Road

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508

SPRING & SUMMER BUSINESS & VISITING HOURS

Mondays – Fridays: 9:00 – 12:00 & 1:00 – 5:00
Saturdays: 9:00 – 12:00  •  Closed Sundays & Holidays
 
EMERGENCY SERVICES
If you call after business hours with an emergency,
please follow the instructions and you will receive a call back shortly.
 
 
 
 

All images & information contained in this website including the rounded-square/horse/caduceus logo are the property of Thal Equine LLC, unless otherwise stated. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. "The Whole Horse Exam" "WHE" is the property of Thal Enterprises, Inc. and is used by permission. Professional affiliation and social media logos are the property of their respective owners. The information contained in this website is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied on in lieu of consultation with your local equine veterinarian. In fact, we strongly encourage you to maintain and strengthen that relationship.