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Miniature_Horse_World_JuneJuly

36 Miniature Horse World JUNE/JULY 2013 Discomfort From A Dirty Sheath May Be Mistaken For Lameness Sometimes the horse is so uncomfortable with a dirty sheath that it affects his attitude and/or the way he moves. “Years ago when I was a farrier, before I went to veterinary school, the veterinarian I worked with took me along to look at a horse that was lame in his hind limbs,” recalls Nelson. “He’d been a horse in training in California, and the trainer could not figure out what was wrong. The horse was ‘off’ and couldn’t get his hindquarters under himself. The trainer sent him back home to Montana. The owner called the vet out to look at the horse, and the vet brought me because I did most of his lameness work,” says Nelson. “This veterinarian did a lot of massage therapy and chiropractic work, but hearing the owner’s description of what was wrong, he thought maybe it was a foot problem. We watched the horse travel and he was not moving very well. The veterinarian grinned at me and asked if I knew what was wrong. I didn’t. The veterinarian told me to watch the horse again and pay close attention. So we watched him travel again, and he was picking up his stifles too much. It looked like a stifle problem,” Nelson recalls. “Then the veterinarian sedated him. The horse dropped his penis and it was covered with smegma. The sheath was filthy and the diverticuli in the head of the penis were full of beans. This horse was absolutely miserable. We cleaned his sheath and two days later he was doing fine, with no lameness at all! Now I always keep this possibility in mind when examining horses that are lame in the hind end.” It’s easiest if the horse’s penis is extended. Some horses are good about letting you do this if you pick a moment when they are already relaxed and extended, as some will do after a ride or after urinating. “Every horse has his own habits, and if you are observant you can figure out when your horse tends to relax the penis. With some horses you need your veterinarian to sedate them a little so they will relax the penis,” Freckleton explains. If the horse is already relaxed, just move slowly and speak softly, to keep him relaxed. “If you startle him he will immediately retract the penis,” she says. He will also retract it if the water is cold. Some people squirt water up around the inside of the sheath with gentle pressure from a hose, but care must be taken to not use much


Miniature_Horse_World_JuneJuly
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