Episode 57 of the Disease Du Jour podcast features Dianne McFarlane, DVM, PhD, a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She is a professor in the Physiological Sciences Department at Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Ricks Rapp Professor of Equine Musculoskeletal Research. Her research interests are in age-related and endocrine diseases.
This year’s Disease Du Jour podcasts are focused on ambulatory/field medicine. The podcasts are designed for equine veterinarians, vet students, vet techs and industry professionals.
- What are the most common issues veterinarians face with aging horses?
- Insulin dysregulation – pay attention
- Immune dysfunction in aged horses
- Vaccination in the aged horse
- Be vigilant with aged horses—they don’t adapt to change as well
- Geriatric annual exams should be more like a prepurchase exams
- Take time for more extensive veterinary exams of aged horse—charge for your time
“Our goal as clinicians is to keep the horse working and productive,” said McFarlane. That could be as a performance horse, a trail horse or even as a companion animal.
She added that aged horses need to be vaccinated and dewormed the same as young horses. She said antibodies from vaccination might not last as long in an aged horse, but they are protected.
“Treat your geriatrics like a young horse and protect them,” said McFarlane. She said keeping them separated from traveling horses can help reduce exposure to diseases. “There is a slightly greater risk for novel diseases” in older horses. “When West Nile virus was a new disease, older horses were highly affected.”
One point McFarlane made was that in PPID horses, tooth abscesses and foot abscesses are common. She said veterinarians need to train owners of aged horses to be on the lookout for clinical signs to catch these problems early.
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