Ask the Vet – Locked stifles, joint supplements, SI injections, and more! – November 2017

SARAH: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Ask
The Vet video series. I’m SmartPaker Sarah, and
this is Dr. Lydia Gray, Staff Veterinarian and Medical
Director here at SmartPak. We’re here to ask and
answer horse health questions submitted and
voted on by you guys. If you want to see the questions
that we’ve already answered– we’re going to
answer five today, but we’ve answered five times– DR LYDIA GRAY: Thousands. SARAH: 13, 14, so many. DR LYDIA GRAY: A lot. SARAH: We have a whole
backlog of questions. We have a playlist on YouTube
that you can check that out, and they’re broken out
into each individual ones. You don’t have to watch
the whole episode, you can just get the
answer to the question you’re looking for. DR LYDIA GRAY: Although,
they’re pretty good. SARAH: If you don’t
watch the whole episode you might miss out on the time
that we talked about vampires and there’s all
kinds of good things. We had an idea for a movie. DR LYDIA GRAY: Sweaty bats. Remember that one? SARAH: Oo! Sweaty bats. Good times. Yes, the bats
you’re thinking of. Our first question, was
asked by Louise on YouTube. She is wondering, “what is the
best age to geld a stallion? Is it better to do before
starting them under saddle?” This is so interesting because I
was at my mother in law’s house and we had a question about
the different sexes of horses. DR LYDIA GRAY: Where
are you going with this? OK. SARAH: We had
stallions, and geldings, and mares because she
just got a rescue dog and they apparently
did his neuter the way that you neuter a
cat, not the way that you usually neuter a dog. Which is different,
which I didn’t know. Anyway. DR LYDIA GRAY: I’m like,
was there are a question? SARAH: Nope. Just talking a
lot about gelding. DR LYDIA GRAY: Getting back
to the gelding question. So I have a funny story. SARAH: Yes. DR LYDIA GRAY: When
I was in practice, I had a request from a client to
geld a really, really, really, young horse. A foal. SARAH: Oh. DR LYDIA GRAY: And I had
never been asked that before, and they didn’t teach
me that in vet school, so I called up a
local practitioner who was more experienced,
had been around. I told him what was going
on and he said, “Well, are all four legs out?” I said, “Out of what?” He said the uterus. I went well, yeah. So that’s– SARAH: So there’s
apparently no age too young. DR LYDIA GRAY: –the answer. SARAH: Wow. DR LYDIA GRAY:
There’s a lot of– SARAH: Good question. DR LYDIA GRAY:
–misconceptions about it. I go online and I Google
and I read people. People think, and there’s
a lot of people who think, oh I have to wait till my
colt drops before he’s gelded. Well, here’s the facts. Science wins. The testicles of the horse drop
between 30 days before birth and 10 days after birth. SARAH: That’s why,
hence the question. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. Then the ring that allows them
that they drop through, closes. SARAH: Inguinal ring. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. SARAH: I know. DR LYDIA GRAY: Ding, ding, ding. SARAH: Thank you. DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s later. The inguinal ring closes and
then they’re either dropped, or they’re not dropped. You do not have to wait
for that to happen. Now, if they’re not dropped
or maybe one’s not dropped, then the horse has
cryptorchidism, which is a separate deal and
you can’t castrate in the field. The horse has to be taken
to a surgical facility. That misconception we can just
throw out the window today. The horses, so horses reach
sexual maturity, or puberty, at 18 to 24 months. Most people want
to, if they know they’re not keeping the horses
as stallions they want to, geld before then. I would say a year. Six to 12 months is kind
of what most vets will do because it’s actually a lot
easier the younger they are. The horse is not as big. There’s less bleeding, all
the tissues are smaller, they get up from the anesthesia
better, they just heal better. There’s less trauma. One of the things I
hated to do in practice was someone would bring me a
10, 15, 20-year-old stallion, breeding stallion even,
and say we’re done. We want to castrate him. And I’m like, oh this is
going to be a nasty surgery. There’s lots of reasons
to castrate them early. One is, tell me
if you know this, if you castrate a
male horse before they reach sexual maturity
they will be taller. SARAH: Really? DR LYDIA GRAY: I’m going to go
with no you didn’t know that. SARAH: Yeah. DR LYDIA GRAY:
Testosterone delays, or it actually enhances the
closing of the growth plates. If you get that hormone
out of the system, the growth plates close
when they naturally should. So when you see stallions
that might be 16 hands 16-2, and then a gelding out of that
same stallion is 17 hands 17-2. SARAH: Interesting. I had no idea. DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s
one consideration is how tall do you
want the horse. How masculine do you
want the horse to look. Some don’t like to
geld young because they want to see performance. SARAH: That was going
to be my other question. Is it– because the
tallness you would kind of think is the opposite
but that was interesting and so I wondered– are
there things like the way that stallions
present themselves? Do they always have nicer manes,
or is that just my impression? DR LYDIA GRAY: It’s probably
the crestiness of their neck that makes their mane look so– as far as presence there is
definitely a stallion presence, yet there are many
geldings that are pretty sure they’re hot stuff. I don’t know that
you need– that’s not for me one reason to keep
horse a stallion because there are lots of cons to
keeping a stallion. You not going to be able to
turn out in a group, especially a group of females. Lots of barns prohibit
you from being there. We don’t want stallions. A junior can’t show a
stallion in many disciplines. There’s just a lot of reasons
to not having a stallion. Unless the horse has
superior breeding lines, or really
good way of going, or you want to keep him as
a stallion, I would geld. I would geld young. Get it done. SARAH: Cody thinks
he’s hot stuff. He’s a gelding. I think he might think
he’s a very hot mare. DR LYDIA GRAY:
Well there is that. Yeah. SARAH: All right. Our second question,
also submitted by Louise on YouTube, same Louise. Great job. DR LYDIA GRAY: Wonder
if it’s the same horse. SARAH: Oh. “I have a young
horse–” perhaps– “that had a locked stifle. It happened twice so far. When she was two years
old–” not the same horse– “when she was two years
old, and the second time was about a year after that. Why does it happen? Is there a treatment for it? Is it a long term problem?” DR LYDIA GRAY: OK. Let’s talk about
the stifle, first. The stifle is the joint
in the horse’s back leg that is between the femur,
the long bone from the hip, and the tibia. It’s like our knee and
it does have a patella. In the horse– it’s the reason– they have this unique
locking mechanism. There is a ridge
coming from the femur. There’s three ligaments. Three patellar ligaments. They hook over that ridge. That’s what allows them
to sleep standing up because they can lock their
hind legs into position. The problem is because
of conformation. An excessively straight leg,
sometimes a hoof defect, a horse is not fit
or conditioned, the quadriceps muscles aren’t
as bulky as they need to be, trauma, debilitation, the
unhooking part of the equation doesn’t happen. The leg gets stuck locked. If they try to go with
the stuck hitched leg, it is kept in the
extended position. The toe drags, the top of
the ankle rubs in the ground, or like their knuckles,
they can’t go very well. It does seem to happen more
often in the young horse, and some of them grow
out of it as they get more strength, and
development, and body condition, and proper movement. If it doesn’t, you want
to talk to your farrier and your veterinarian. There may be corrective
shoeing involved. There are specific–
there’s physical therapy for strengthening the stifle. Very specific exercises
that can help horses build up the hind
end and especially the area around the stifle,
so that those ligaments work properly. If those don’t work and it’s
becoming a fairly serious problem there are some
injections, hormone injections, that can be given that change
the density of the ligaments. You can inject a
counter-irritant right into the ligament and change
the density ligament that way. Last resort would be
a desmotomy, which is a splitting of a ligament. I don’t like to do that
unless you have to. It’s fairly
aggressive and there’s complications with that. If the horse– you’ve
done everything else, you’ve tried everything
else and it’s not working, that may be your only option. SARAH: Is it a
long term problem? It depends? DR LYDIA GRAY: Depends. SARAH: And you only have to– DR LYDIA GRAY: This sounds
like a young horse, still, so we don’t know yet. There are things that she can
do now and hopefully improve it. SARAH: All right. Well good luck. Our next question was submitted
by amy_campi on Instagram. Amy is wondering, “Is there any
benefit to joint supplements given in feed?” Scandalous question. “I have been told they are
helpful but also that horses do not metabolize them
when given this way and injections are better. Is this true?” Great question. I’m really glad we get
to talk about this. DR LYDIA GRAY: I am, too. I actually found two,
now I can show you this, two pages of research. There’s tons and tons but– SARAH: These are just
the names of the studies and it’s two pages worth. This isn’t like the research. DR LYDIA GRAY: No, no no. These are just the
citations themselves. It’s got to do from everything– your main ingredients,
your glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, HA, MSM. The bio availability,
because I think that was one part
of her question, as well as the efficacy and
some of them the safety. One of them here,
here’s this one: “The effect of MSM on
bio-markers of oxidative stress in sport horses
following jumping exercise.” It doesn’t get much
more specific than that. These guys conducted
a great experiment and showed that a very, very
common joint supplement was not only taken in orally, got to
the tissues it needed to get to, but it had a positive effect. There’s one here from a
very well-known surgeon, Larry Bramlage. He gave oral HA to young
Thoroughbreds that had OCD, chip removal surgeries, and
found that the treatment group that got the HA had less
swelling and pain than the group that didn’t. We’re not supposed
to say those words, but that’s what
the research says. It’s hard to talk
about the research when that’s what it says. Here’s bio-availability,
pharmacokinetics, of glucosamine and
chondroitin sulfate. There’s tons and tons
of research out there. I pulled these from
Ask the Vet blogs. There’s probably a half
a dozen entries in– SARAH: Those are written
by a pretty smart lady. DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, I
had done the work already. I knew these studies
were up there, already. If you want to find
them, we can probably put a link on this video. SARAH: In the video description. DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s
where the link is going to take you to the Ask The
Vet blogs because they’re just, they’re all there. SARAH: So the important
words that you heard, at the beginning, were
“bio-availability.” Can your horse absorb it. Then efficacy, does it work. DR LYDIA GRAY: And safety. SARAH: Yeah. DR LYDIA GRAY: There’s some
safety studies in here, too. SARAH: Yeah, for sure
but hopefully you guys know what that one means. It’s nice to see
that there’s research on all of those things. Improving and reinforcing it. I do want to talk just
for a minute if I could. DR LYDIA GRAY: This one I like. Sure. SARAH: Yeah. Go for it. DR LYDIA GRAY: Well
this is the one that Martha Rogers
did that said, consistent use of an oral
glucosamine chondroitin supplement, this was in
a barn of 100 jumpers, reduced the need for
hock joint injections. They were able to spread the
injections out farther and get more performance
out of the horses, spending less money basically. It shows a combination
of oral supplements for joints with other methods. SARAH: Yeah. So not that they worked better. They worked differently. DR LYDIA GRAY:
They work together and they’re complementary. There you go, yeah. SARAH: Just like us. I like to think so. I did want to talk about
one thing you said, in terms of that we
can’t talk about it or that we’re not
supposed to talk about it, and it’s something that I think
we don’t talk a lot about. DR LYDIA GRAY: We’re
not supposed to. SARAH: Because we’re
not supposed to, but there’s differences
between supplements and pharmaceuticals. Drugs that go through
rigorous testing. That’s why we’re not
allowed to say things that are disease or condition terms. Arthritis or inflammation
can only be treated by drugs. Supplements can help
support normal function. If those things are
a concern for you, it might be wise
to be supporting your horse with a supplement. Those are hard connections
for us to make. That’s why we avoid
those words and that’s why you don’t see SmartPak
ever saying, “cures arthritis.” There are companies out there
that say it, about supplements, and they shouldn’t. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right. SARAH: Kind of a rule
of thumb, I think, about when looking
at supplements is if it sounds too
good to be true– DR LYDIA GRAY:
Probably is, yeah. SARAH: –it might be. That’s– you can read all about
NASC guidelines on our web site. We’ll include a link to that. That’s the National
Animal Supplement Council. They help us
regulate the industry so that you guys can feel
confident when you’re shopping for supplements. That you know that you’re buying
from a trustworthy vendor. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah,
there’s the seal on it. Yeah. That was very well said. SARAH: Thank you. I could tell you were
a little bit nervous. We were getting into it. DR LYDIA GRAY: Nah,
complete confidence. Complete confidence. SARAH: It’s true. We could always edit it out. If it went horribly awry,
you guys wouldn’t even know. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right. SARAH: All right. Fourth question, submitted
by Alicia on the Ask The Vet forum. Alicia, look at you.
has a handy little form that you can drop your question
right into and it goes straight to the team who condenses and
consolidates and puts them up for voting. That’s a great thing to use. Alicia said, “My horse
recently got her SI injected.” Man, joint injections and
joint questions, I love it. “I was just wondering
if there was anything I could do to help her
be more comfortable, especially after
hard work or jumping? Could I poultice/liniment
the area–” that’s a tough spot to get to
“–or is there something else I could do? Thanks!” DR LYDIA GRAY: So I went
right to the source. We had Dr. Kaneps
here, recently. He is board,
double-board certified. He’s a real smart guy. He’s an American College
of Veterinart surgeons and the new American
College Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehab. SARAH: He’s got all the letters. DR LYDIA GRAY: I know. That’s a lot of letters. SARAH: The alphabet soup. DR LYDIA GRAY: ACBSMR. I sent him that question, in
the hopes that it was going to rise to the top and it did. This is what he said. SI is sacroiliac region
lies deep to the croup, like you said, and relies on
the muscles of the top line and croup for stability. SI injections reduce
inflammation around the joints. Poultices and liniments
applied to the area, would have very little effect. Further support of
this area depends on building strength
and flexibility in the support muscles. Top line muscle strength, is
improved with carrot stretches and belly pinches. I think that’s where you– SARAH: Oh, and have them tuck. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yep. Upper rear limb and
croup muscle strength is improved with work over
ground poles, cavalettis, and cycles of gait transitions,
like walk, trot, walk, trot, canter, trot. Building strength of the support
muscles of the back and croup is the best way to ensure long
term comfort in the SI area. I asked him– one of my
favorite books is called, “Activate Your Horses
Core: Unmounted Exercise For Dynamic Mobility,
Strength, and Balance,” by Doctor Hilary Clayton
and Narelle Stubbs. He said he uses that a lot too,
and he highly recommends it. SARAH: You guys should
have a book club. DR LYDIA GRAY: So
that’s his answer. I think it’s right
on, and there you’ve got a resource to go read up on. SARAH: I really like
imagining with all of his many, many credentials,
him taking out his prescription pad. Belly pinches, two times daily. Call me in the morning. DR LYDIA GRAY: Knowing him,
he might do exactly that. SARAH: Belly pinches is
an amazing, amazing term. Last but not least,
question number five. You’re flying through them. Ashlee also on the
Ask The Vet forum. Alphabetically, too. I like it. “Clicker training for horses
has been growing in popularity.” You little trend setter. “What are the pros
and cons of it? Is it a more humane
way to train horses?” DR LYDIA GRAY: Clicker training. I thought no one was ever going
to ask so I have a prop here. It’s my clicker, and I
used it earlier on Sara. SARAH: I appreciated it. DR LYDIA GRAY: The
important thing is to know that the
clicker is not a cue. I think people are
confused about that. There’s three names
that pop into my head when I think about
clicker training. It’s been around for
horses since the mid 90s. It was Shauna Karish was the
first one that I knew about. She actually got her
start with marine mammals. Then Alexandra Kurland is one. Then the last one
is Karen Pryor. So those are all good names. If you’re going to try
this you need training yourself or a resource. One of the cons, I’ve found,
is that if the human is not clear in their own head
what they’re doing, then the animal is not
going to be clear either. The thing about
this is it’s a tool for positive reinforcement. When there’s a pro that’s
very attractive to people. We’re finding more and more that
negative reinforcement is not the best way to train
animals or husbands. It’s positive reinforcement. SARAH: Do you want
to take a minute and explain the difference –
not between horses and husbands – but between positive and
negative reinforcement. DR LYDIA GRAY: The clicker
is positive reinforcement because it’s when the
animal does something, a desired behavior,
you click and then the click is timed immediately
with the desired behavior. That’s why this tool
is so important. Now, I can fumble and fish
around and get the treat because with the sound, which
is a very distinctive sound, it can be any sound, but this
they’ve never heard before. It’s easy to associate
this with, “That was the right thing. Now let me find where
I put my treat.” You can not take
your time, but you don’t have to be as quick with
the actual giving of the treat, if you use the signal to
indicate that was right. SARAH: So positive
reinforcement is recognizing the right behavior. Negative reinforcement is
correcting the wrong behavior. DR LYDIA GRAY: Exactly. SARAH: So we’re leaning
towards positive. DR LYDIA GRAY:
Behaviorists now saying animals learn better,
quicker, and retain more when you use positive
reinforcement. SARAH: It makes sense
because that is what’s right. All you know with
negative reinforcement is this is not the right thing. DR LYDIA GRAY: Don’t do that. Don’t do that. And that horse has to keep–
there’s a question been asked and they had to keep
seeking out answers. SARAH: Maybe the answer is this. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, nope. Wasn’t that. And maybe it’s this. Nope, wasn’t that. With this tool, when
I ask the question and they give an answer, and
I go yep that was the answer. So click and treat has been
the term that’s been used and I use click and prune
because with Newman. The nice thing about this is– SARAH: She feeds him prunes,
she doesn’t prune him with pruning shears. He does not find that
rewarding I don’t think. DR LYDIA GRAY: Although, I
use this for mane pulling. SARAH: I know you do. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, yeah. Also to get him to drink water. SARAH: Oh. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah so that is
two examples of– here’s back on the pro list–
clicker training can be used to teach a good
habit or skill or behavior, or discourage or
remove a bad habit. If you’ve got a horse
who kicks or bites or doesn’t trailer
load or moves away from the mounting
block, all things we would consider negative,
you can clicker train. On the other hand,
if you want a horse to do some positive
behavior like drink water, you can also clicker train. It doesn’t have to be either
a good behavior or not a good behavior. It can be anything you do. The sky’s the limit. And it calms our– I think people think that,
oh clicker training causes horses to mug you for treats. Quite the opposite in fact. SARAH: Do your horses
not do that already? DR LYDIA GRAY: You can clicker
train horses to not mug you for treats because
you can teach them if I don’t give you a cue to
come wherever my treats are in my pocket, then you
don’t because you’re not going to get rewarded until
this thing makes a noise. With a horse that was
really pushy about that, Shauna tells a story where
she went to the farm. You have to associate
the click with the treat and then they begin
to seek out, what do you want so you push the
button and I get a reward. Every time he looked
and went away from her, she clicked and
gave him a treat. So he was like, “Oh, the
farther I stand away from you, the better it is for me.” He got that in less
than five minutes. SARAH: Wow. DR LYDIA GRAY: So
in less than five minutes you remove the
mugging for treats problem. SARAH: That’s fantastic. DR LYDIA GRAY: She’s
like, next problem. SARAH: On the other cons, you
mentioned an interesting thing before we started
filming which was you clicked it out in the office. It’s more packed. We have like 50 dogs, 60 dogs
that come to work every day. DR LYDIA GRAY: Oops. SARAH: She saw some
gopher heads pop up. “What? What?” DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. SARAH: Is there ever a problem
if you’re using it in the barn, if there are other horses in
the barn are clicker trained, do you try to be not near
where those horses are? Do you try to do it
more as a solo activity? Have you encountered
that at all? Does anyone else
at your barn do it? DR LYDIA GRAY: I have
not encountered it, only because there are
so few people around me that I know that are
clicker training. When I did it at their
rescue that I worked at, I would take the horse
to a specific location for the training. It was partly to get
away from other horses but it was partly for
them to associate. Yeah. This is an area of learning. Yeah. SARAH: All right. DR LYDIA GRAY: I love it. SARAH: Fantastic. Well that’s all that we had. Thank you so much for
submitting the questions. If you want to submit a
question for future video and potentially win a SmartPak
gift card if your video gets voted into the top five, you
can submit those questions on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube,
Twitter, at You can email them to
[email protected]
is a great place to submit them right on that handy form. If you’re posting them
out in social media don’t forget to use
#AsktheVetVideo. We can keep track of
all the great questions. Otherwise, you
could get an answer from someone who has no ability
to help you, but probably strong opinions on
clicker training. DR LYDIA GRAY: Correct. SARAH: Who knows. DR LYDIA GRAY: Correct. SARAH: So you can
vote and the voting will be on YouTube,
Twitter, and the blog. The voting is how we pick the
questions for the next video. That’s a really important step. Even if you have
a great question, if it doesn’t get voted for,
we won’t be able to answer it. So, keep an eye out for
the voting and of course, subscribe to our
channel so you know when the voting is happening. We do a video about
that, as well. If your question was answered
in this or a previous video, and you want to claim
your SmartPak gift card, just email
[email protected] or hit us up on our
YouTube direct messages. We look forward to
hearing from you. Thanks, as always, for
watching, for Asking The Vet, and have a great ride.

16 Replies to “Ask the Vet – Locked stifles, joint supplements, SI injections, and more! – November 2017”

  1. Great video! But I just want to correct the common misconception of what people think negative reinforcement is. Negative reinforcement is NOT disciplining the wrong behaviour. Negative reinforcement is when you reward the good behaviour by REMOVING a negative stimulus. Example when you want your horse to move forward you apply pressure (negative stimulus) and then when the horse moves you reward them by removing the pressure. Both positive and negative reinforcement are very necessary methods of training horses but are used in different situations! 🙂

  2. I LOVE clicker training! My very food motivated cat is clicker trained to sit and lay. I may start training my horse with a clicker and see how he does.

    There are clickers that have different noises, or you can use a vocal marker if there are more than just your animal that’s trained. My cat uses a dollar box clicker, and my dog is trained to the word “ding.”

  3. Great video! Love that you explained that difference between drugs and suppliments. I worked in research and too many people don't know about that.
    This was a great video!

  4. I share a 18 year old cob. She loves to jump and we having been doing it for about 3 months now. She also loves to gallop.
    When she is walking, trotting etc it is visible that her front legs click back?
    As in, she puts her foot down, then it goes under her belly, but when her leg is under her and straight? It almost clicks ? Don't know if that makes any sense but hey.
    She is also on supplements that are for her joints because she a bit old.

  5. #AsktheVetVideo My mare is quite chubby, but we are going into winter and don't have an indoor arena. She only gets a small handful of grain to get her supplements and 2 flakes of hay if they come in at night. Otherwise shes out 24/7 on pasture. How can i get her weight down?

  6. when you get the hormone out of the system, the growths plates close when they naturally should…. but wouldn't it be more natural for them to close at the enhanced rate since being a stallion is a natural thing and gelding is not natural?

  7. (#AskTheVetVideo Feeding oats: the do's and don'ts? What are the benefits/downsides of feeding them? ) My grandparents fed them as I was growing up, and all of their horses were top performers and never had any issues. I still currently feed them, and like the benefits of being more natural, my horses are also on free choice loose minerals along with free choice hay, and pasture (weather permitting)

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