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HEALTH CHECK When handling and cleaning the penis and sheath, any areas that look red, raised or bubbly should be checked by a veterinarian. “The dried, flaky skin along the shaft of the penis is what most people notice, but it’s important to gently clean this away so you can get a good look at the skin underneath,” says Freckleton. Squamous cell carcinoma is important to find and treat early. Frequent checks may save your horse’s life if you discover this type of cancer. If the growths are removed when small, they won’t spread. “For pinto or appaloosa colored horses, we encourage owners to have us sedate them and check them thoroughly, especially as geldings get older. This is part of a good geriatric exam. We usually check them at least once a year—unless it’s a horse that gives the owner a chance to regularly examine this area,” she says. “It can happen in younger horses, and in other breeds. A client in our practice noticed a cancer in her gelding. He ended up having a phallectomy—surgery to remove most of his penis--but he’s now happy and comfortable, and doing well because she noticed this in time.” “If caught early, squamous cell carcinoma growths can be frozen off when they are small,” says Nelson. “Checking for early stages of cancerous tissue on the horse’s penis is similar to having a breast exam, pap test or prostate check. I’ve caught several squamous cell carcinomas doing an annual check. As the gelding gets older, it’s even more crucial to check for problems,” she explains. JUNE/JULY 2013 Miniature Horse World 37 pressure. “One man used a power washer—on low pressure--to bathe his horses, and used it to clean the sheath. This caused a lot of trauma; it was a bad idea!” says Freckleton. “Many horses swish their tails when you are cleaning the sheath. This can be a warning that he doesn’t like it, but in some individuals this may mean he does like it, so you have to interpret this properly. Some tread with their hind feet and you need to read this carefully as well— since he might take a swipe at you with a hind foot,” she says. “It might be a sign of discomfort, but it may also border on sexual behavior. If the horse has ever been a breeding stallion, use good judgment and be careful about choosing your timing, because they expect to breed a mare after being washed. And, if you are washing a stallion you will handle him a little bit differently.” Made in the USA


Miniature_Horse_World_JuneJuly
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