EQUUS ‘Farm Calls’ episode 26: 2022 podcast wrap-up

Kim Brown, group publisher of the Equine Health Network and host of EQUUS “Farm Calls,” walks us through key points from this series’ 2022 episodes. We encourage you to go back and listen to some of the episodes you might have missed!

EQUUS Farm Calls was brought to you in 2022 by Farnam.


  • Episode 24 West Nile Virus in Horses
    • More than 250,000 horses have been reported to have West Nile virus (WNV) since it was first identified in the United States in 1999, according to Dr. Sarah Colmer. She said no one knows how many cases of West Nile virus have gone undiagnosed in this country, but “This is certainly something to be on the lookout for!”
  • Episode 23 EPM in Horses
    • Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) can cause severe neurologic disease in horses. Dr. Nichola Pusterla said EPM in horses is caused by single-celled protozoan parasites. This disease can infect any part of a horse’s central nervous system. Because of that, there are a myriad of clinical signs EPM can cause in a horse.
  • Episode 22 Equine Eye Issues
    • Many equine eye issues are emergencies. In this episode, Dr. Ann Dwyer discussed three of the most common eye problems your horse is likely to face and how you can help your vet deal with them. She mentioned that eyelid tears in horses are critical. “Bucket handles are the number one cause of eyelid tears,” Dwyer noted. To that end, she suggested taking electrical or other tape and wrap it around the end of the handle where it attaches to the bucket to help prevent injuries.
  • Episode 21 Donkeys and Mules
    • Donkeys—and especially mules—are not for everyone, said Amy McLean, PhD. She said that horse owners might think mules are difficult because mules think things over more than horses do. “A lot of people think poorly of mules and donkeys, but they are smart,” said McLean. “They stop and think. And once you teach one to do something, they continue to do it. The idea that they are stubborn is confused.”
  • Episode 20 White Line Disease in Horses
    • Dr. Stephen O’Grady reviewed the basics of white line disease, an often-misunderstood condition. He said, “White line disease can occur in the hoof wall of any horse of any breed or discipline. It can happen to the best horse in the world or one in unhygienic conditions. One that is well-shod or barefoot.”
  • Episode 19 Equine Physical Exams
    • Dr. Alison Gardner discussed the importance of learning to perform a physical exam on your own horse. “I tell my vet students that the best way to tell how sick a horse is, is through a physical exam and assessing the temperament of the horse,” she said. With the veterinarian shortage, horse owners might not be able to see their usual vet for an emergency, so owners need to be able to relay the physical and “attitude” differences of the sick horse.
  • Episode 18 Equine Rabies
    • “Equine rabies is a devastating disease that is largely preventable,” said Dr. Sarah Colmer of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. “It is almost always fatal.” In most cases, Colmer said, horses get rabies when they are bitten by a rabid animal in their environment, such as a skunk, bat or raccoon. Most of the time owners or managers will not see that interaction happen, so they have no idea the horse has been exposed. A bite is a tiny wound, so even with meticulous grooming, an owner might not notice that bite puncture wound. Colmer noted, “Rabies can affect all parts of the horse’s neurologic system. That is why rabies in horses is difficult to diagnose in the live animal with clinical signs.”
  • Episode 17 Changing Seasons and Equine Nutrition
    • Clair Thunes, PhD, MS, said she encourages all of her horse-owning clients to body-condition score their horses once a month. “It’s a good skill for horse owners to hone,” she said. “I want them to look at the horse and put their hands on the horse.”
  • Episode 16 Tick-Borne Diseases
    • Learn more about diseases that ticks can spread to horses in this discussion with Dr. Toby Pinn-Woodcock. The three major tick-borne diseases diagnosed in the United States are Lyme disease, piroplasmosis and anaplasmosis (a bacterial disease). Pinn-Woodcock reminded the audience that ticks can vary in size from tiny nymphs to large ticks. The key is to try and prevent ticks from attaching to horses, no matter their size.
  • Episode 15 Electrolytes in Horses
    • Dr. Emily Schaefer said the two major reasons for owners to give electrolytes to horses are to replenish loss or make the horse thirsty. She also discussed the importance of weather-related electrolyte administration.
  • Episode 14 Equine Genetics and Health
    • Dr. Samantha Brooks talked about topics such as coat color (which also has deadly health ramifications); genetics that link height of horse and health issues; and how genes react to viruses such as those that cause sarcoids. She said, “Genetics can be used for culling and strategic breeding. That’s important. Some of these [genetic] issues can be deadly. Breeders should think of genetic testing as an investment for management That’s a big responsibility of breeders and horse owners.”
  • Episode 13 Equine Arthritis
    • General wear and tear, conformation faults and injury can put cartilage at risk, said Dr. Kyla Ortved. “Animals can develop arthritis, and that cartilage is not good at healing. If it becomes worn or damaged, that can lead to progressive degeneration.” She said if this disease process is recognized early, veterinarians can help with the repair and slow progression of damage.
  • Episode 12 Equine Acupuncture
    • Dr. Ann-Marie Aumann said acupuncture has many uses for the prevention and treatment of acute and chronic conditions in horses. She said acupuncture is best used in horses “for everyday aches and pains.” Athletic horses have muscle issues just like human athletes simply due to use and overuse.
  • Episode 11 Skin Problems
    • The skin is the largest organ of the body. That means there is a lot of territory for something to go wrong. Every horse owner has had to face some sort of skin problem with a horse, whether mild scratches, rain rot or something severe. In this episode, Dr. Ann Rashmir discussed what can go wrong with your horse’s skin and how to promote equine skin health.
  • Episode 10 The Equine Microbiome
    • Dr. Marcio Costa helped us understand how the microbiome affects our horses, both positively and negatively. Each part of a horse’s body has a distinct microbiome—the skin, the oral cavity, the vaginal area and the gastrointestinal tract, to name a few. Costa said, “Bacteria regulate the immune system and protect our horses.” He added that “Good bacteria help the horse absorb more nutrients [in the GI tract] than a horse without those good bacteria. The good bacteria protect against bad bacteria, so a population of good bacteria equals less diarrhea and malabsorption.”
  • Episode 9 Equine Wounds
    • Wounds are one of the most common equine emergencies seen by veterinarians in the field and the hospital, said Dr. Alison Gardner. She talked about the most common types of equine wounds, how to treat them, and how to tell whether a wound needs emergency attention. Gardner advised horse owners to take stock of what they have on hand to treat wounds, even if it is just until the veterinarian can arrive.
  • Episode 8 Fly Control on Horse Farms
    • Bob Coleman, PhD, MS, said horse folks have animals that attract insects, and those animals produce byproducts that also attract pests. “Horse farms are a fly paradise,” he said. One issue that some horse owners face is “neighbor management.” If your neighbor isn’t doing his or her part of cleaning up fence lines where horses or livestock congregate, then the flies can breed there and annoy your animals. Coleman said, “It can be hard to have that conversation. Lead by example. If your horses congregate next to the neighbor, be a good manager. Clean up manure in the tree line or fence line.”
  • Episode 7 Equine Influenza
    • Equine influenza is easily spread among horses, but there are ways to decrease exposure and reduce the severity of the disease. Tom Chambers, PhD, said one of the ways influenza viruses are so efficient is that they are always changing their “appearance” to the host. That way the host’s immune system has a hard time building defenses against influenza virus.
  • Episode 6 Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)
    • Horse owners need to know about a major change in the mode of transmission for equine infectious anemia (EIA) that has occurred in the last 10 years. Dr. Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, National Equine Epidemiologist for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services, said that today, the majority of equids found with the infection are inapparent carriers, showing no outward signs of disease, and usually found when testing is required for movement or congregation. Many of these EIA-positive horses are illegally imported Quarter Horse racehorses from Mexico. These horses then mix with domestic horses when on the track and when retired to second careers, potentially spreading EIA.
  • Episode 5 The Science of Equine Deworming
    • According to Dr. Martin Nielsen, the bad news in equine deworming is that all three of the drug classes used to combat internal parasites in horses now have some degree of resistance—meaning that some percentage of the parasites won’t die when treated. The other bad news is that there haven’t been any new anthelmintics (or dewormers) created in the last 40 years. The good news is that all three of the drug classes are still efficacious against some parasites. The other good news is that there have been scientific advances in determining when and how to deworm our horses in order to keep them healthy, and more research looks promising.
  • Episode 4 Equine Colic
    • Dr. Alison Gardner said colic is “scary” for horse owners.It can range from mild gas colic to situations that require surgery. Clinical signs also can range from hardly noticeable in stoic horses to severe, where horses are a danger to themselves and the humans around them. Gardner said, “I tell my students that horses only have a few ways to show us pain, and most of them look like colic.”
  • Episode 3 Senior Horse Management
    • As a horse gets older, owners have to focus on quality of life, said Dr. Diane McFarlane. “Their joints get creakier, it’s harder for them to warm up and cool down, and they aren’t as able to bend and move,” she said. “There are nutritional challenges and dental issues. There are diseases that are more common that are endocrine- or hormone-related.” She discussed PPID, “inflammaging” and metabolic issues of aging horses.
  • Episode 2 Equine Dentistry
    • Dentistry is a critical part of keeping all types of horses healthy—from youngsters to seniors, and from trail horses to top-level athletes. Dr. William Rainbow said that just like in humans, an annual (or more frequent, if necessary) dental exam should be used to catch problems in your horse early. He recommended that young horses have bi-annual exams until the last “baby” teeth shed at about 4 years of age.
  • Episode 1 Hay and Feed Concerns
    • Dr. Clair Thunes discussed hay and feed shortages and price increases, how to not waste hay, creative ways of stretching your hay supply, and more!

A big thanks to our audience for joining us for this year’s EQUUS “Farm Calls”!

EQUUS Farm Calls is a production of the Equine Podcast Network, an entity of the Equine Network LLC.




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