Wild Horse & Burro Update From AAEP


In the last 24 hours, you may have read about a recommendation from the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the potential sale or euthanasia of thousands of wild horses and burros. This recommendation has received national attention.

While most AAEP members are not directly involved in the care and management of wild horses, you may receive questions from your clients or have questions yourself about the issue. We want you to be informed.

Summary of Issue:
On Sept. 9, the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board recommended that the BLM euthanize or sell “without limitation” excess “unadoptable” horses and burros in the BLM’s off-range corrals and pastures.

The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is an independent panel comprised of members of the public that makes recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management regarding its management of wild horses and burros.

The BLM has not yet taken a position on the advisory board’s recommendation and said it would respond at the board’s spring meeting in 2017.

Currently, there are more than 67,000 wild horses and burros on public rangelands, and the BLM is caring for nearly 50,000 animals in off-range corrals and pastures.

The BLM spent $49 million caring for off-range animals during its fiscal year 2015, which accounted for two-thirds of its wild horse and burro budget.

Related Items:

BLM Wild Horse and Burro Quick Facts

Wild horses should be killed or sold, government board decides

BLM drops plan to surgically sterilize horses

AAEP BLM Task Force Report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program (2011)

The AAEP’s Welfare and Public Policy Advisory Council will be evaluating the advisory board’s recommendation as well. If you have questions or comments about wild horse issues, please contact one of the AAEP’s staff liaisons to the WPPAC – Keith Kleine or Sally Baker.

We hope this information will be helpful with any conversations you may have about this population of horses.

Kathleen Anderson, DVM
2016 AAEP President

Does Your Horse Have Heaves?

Blue Ridge Equine Clinic is participating with Boehringer-Ingelheim in a clinical trial of an investigational medication for horses with heaves. To learn more, follow this link: www.equinestudy.com

Please let us know if you have any questions or think your horse may be a candidate.

Client Thanks BREC Team

Pam bought her horse, Swan’s Honor, at Elysian Hills in Marshall, Virginia, as a four year old. The pair learned, competed and foxhunted together and Pam believed he was her horse of a lifetime. When Honor became acutely ill, of course Pam was terribly worried. Last week, we received this lovely note from her:

“One year ago, Dr. Trostle did colic surgery on Honor.  His recovery wasn’t completely smooth as he relapsed back into reflux mode after we thought he was in the clear.   Dr. Trostle thought there was a good chance Honor would recover completely and I’m very happy to report he has!!   This pic is Honor and I competing at the ODH hunter pace this last weekend.  Thanks so much for your wonderful care.”

Pam DiCioccio

Stories like these are why we do what we do at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic. We appreciate Pam updating us, and wish she and Honor many happy years together.


Is My Horse Choking?

Choke is a common term for esophageal obstruction. The esophagus is the tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. If a horse does not chew and soften their food properly, food can become lodged in this tube, causing a blockage. This disorder is called “choke”, as the horse can look as if they are choking. They can retch, cough, act colicky, even become violent with pain. Choke occurs more frequently in the winter as more horses get grain, and they may eat faster as they get very hungry. Choke can be avoided by feeding all grain, especially grain that has some pellets or is all pellets WET. Adding equal amounts of water at feeding time can also be helpful. Beet pulp and senior feeds are the most common feeds to cause choke. Soak well!!!!

If you suspect your horse might be choking, take all food away from him and call your veterinarian.




Wound Healing, Risks And Benefits Of An Equine Foot Cast

In certain cases a cast can be extremely beneficial in wound healing. This case is an example of a wound that benefitted from a cast. This horse got her foot stuck in some fencing and avulsed (tore off) part of her hoof wall along with doing a lot of tissue damage to the pastern area. When the wound was initially treated it was bandaged and started on antibiotics. One week later when we were past the infectioncast foot first picture stage, we put a foot cast on her. The cast acted as a bandage and kept the wound clean and protected. It also stabilized the foot and coronary band which hopefully allows for healing that most closely resembles normal tissue. This was extremely beneficial because there is a lot of movement in the foot area this can prolong wound healing. We left this cast on for 3-4 weeks. During this time the horse was kept in a stall with handwalking or in a very small dry paddock. The owner closely monitored for any cast sores or increase in lameness. We removed the cast at 3 weeks to see what healing we had. At this point we had lots of healthy granulation tissue filling into the wound site. We were so happy with how things were healing that we applied another cast after cleaning the wound and repeated the same process for another 3-4 weeks. At this point we felt we had enough healing that another cast was not needed and we proceeded with some special shoeing along with a light bandage. At no point did we have to worry about extra granulation tissue or proud flesh. Casting can be very helpful in cases where there is a lot of movement in the area that is slowing the healing process, along with saving the owner money on bandage supplies. The main risks associated with casting are cast sores or casting with an infected wound underneath that deteriorates underneath the cast.

Extreme Weather Tips!

Continue turnout unless it is very icy. In deep snow, older horses or horses with lameness or neurologic issues may need to be kept in, or have limited turnout.

-Try to provide a water source that is warmed and convenient for them to reach. If not   warmed, REMOVE ice from troughs and buckets at least 2 times a day. Do not rely on streams for water in the winter.

-Put salt on feed and hay to encourage them to drink.

-Cut grain if they are going to be in or not moving around much. Do not increase grain!

-DO NOT OVER FEED HAY. Feed the normal amount only. You can increase after 5-7  days gradually.

-Monitor manure production if possible. If not passing manure, decrease food offered drastically.

-If in a stall, hand walk 10 min/2-3 times a day in available areas.

-Monitor alpha/head horse(s) for bullying, remove if guarding water, feed or shelter.

-Do not close up the barn. Keep at least some windows or doors open for ventilation.

-In an ice storm, keep horses in until the ice has melted. If they must be out, provide  traction with manure, shavings, ashes, hay or sand. Remove shoes or tape feet with elastikon for traction.

-Remember, a hungry horse is better than a colicky horse!

-Make sure your emergency medications are on hand.

  • Water – A heated source of water will increase water consumption. There are many different types of heaters available. The best ones for troughs are those made to fit in the drain holes of the troughs. There are also individually heated buckets. For older horses with sensitive teeth, heated water is much preferred by them. A leading cause of intestinal impaction colic is a decrease in water consumption. Soaking hay and feed can also increase water consumption.
  • Turnout in the winter is very important to maintain regularly. It may feel cold to you, but horses are designed to live outside. Additionally, their GI system is directly affected by how much time they spend walking. If they do not walk, their GI system slows down. If the GI system slows down, they can get intestinal impactions and/or colic. The only weather that should keep a horse from going out in is thick ice on the ground. Keep them out! You will see me less!
  • Salt: Even though it is cold, your horse still needs salt.

Is It Time To Retire My Horse?

It’s the $64,000 question…..often with emotional baggage involved, especially when you don’t have a ready replacement for your long-time equine partner. Dr. Reynolds Cowles shares things to consider when you are pondering retirement or a change to a less stressful career for your horse. Thanks to TheHorse.com for allowing us to post their article:


Let us know if you’d like help evaluating the most suitable job for your equine partner.

Notice Of Intravenous (IV) Fluids Supply Challenges

At Blue Ridge Equine Clinic, our goal is to always provide the best quality equine veterinary care for our patients and their owners. We strive to do so at a reasonable cost and as such, want to make you aware of an industry wide increase in the cost of fluids.

As availability of intravenous (IV) fluids continues to be impacted by regulatory constraints and human health demand such as dialysis, our cost to secure fluids for our patients has risen. Due to increased manufacturing costs from our external suppliers, clients will incur a price increase if fluids are required for the care of your animal(s).  Many of our suppliers have absorbed a portion of the increased supply cost in their effort to minimize the impact on veterinarians and equine owners.

Although our suppliers have taken actions to increase capacity, we expect continued supply challenges throughout 2015 and 2016. As always, your animal’s care is our primary concern. Please let us know whenever we may be of help in any way. We appreciate the trust you place in us.