Dr. LaPlume’s Fall Newsletter


  • Pasture management: Now is the time to have your soil tested and possibly apply the appropriate products, such as lime.
  • Fall preventative Health Care: It’s time for Fall Vaccinations and Dentistry
  • Body condition/weight gain: If your horse is on the thin side, please call to discuss. Do not wait until winter to try to put weight on your horse.
  • Parasite management: Clean up your pasture and horses now before winter. Now is an excellent time to drag and rest your pasture while using the appropriate new deworming schedule. OCTOBER is the time to perform fecal egg counts to monitor your deworming program.
  • Hay: If you have not been feeding hay, now is the time to start, before it gets cold and the grass dies off. You should at least be investigating a hay source for winter!
  • This continues to be Potomac Horse Fever season-turn off your outdoor lights at night!
  • TICKS! Don’t forget your tick control. They are back in full force.


Make sure your horse has been floated this year. Floating is important for the health and comfort of your horse.


A metal Trash Can and Lid does keep feed safe from mice and rats. Trash Cans do not keep feed secure from horses! Horses tip them over and get access to the entire can of feed. The best place for feed is behind a closed and locked stall or regular door.


How to treat a NEW wound is a common question among horse owners. One of the most import issues is not to damage the tissue any further. Many old remedies have been found to be harmful.

If a wound if bleeding profusely, is over a joint or tendon sheath, the horse is very lame, or the wound is very large and deep, please call before you do any treatment besides a pressure wrap for bleeding.

If you find a simple new wound, first use fresh cold water (from a hose is ok), and wash the wound. Clipping the hair around the wound at this point can be helpful.

Then use very clean or sterile material, such as a clean wash cloth or gauze squares, and a small amount of soap, such as ivory, Betadine scrub or Chlorohexadine scrub to gently clean the wound. Rinse ALL the soap out of the wound.

Pat dry the wound with different clean or sterile material. Follow drying with either nothing, silvadeen/thermazine or triple antibiotic on the wound. If on a leg, wrap appropriately.

Agents to AVOID with fresh wounds include hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, iodine, betadine solution, furacin, icthamol, bag balm, DMSO, caustic powder, gentian violet, scarlet oil, and hydrocortisone. Please do not infuse any medication deep into a wound without veterinary instruction.

Please call to discuss any wound. In general, if the wound is less than 6 hours old, is on the head or below the knee or hock and the skin gapes, the wound should be closed with suturing. How to proceed with subsequent wound care will depend on size, depth, location and age.

Finally, do not forget to check the tetanus status of your horse!

10 Tips for Preventing Colic

Colic is a killer of horses. Colic is not a disease, but rather a combination of signs that alert us to abdominal pain in the horse. Colic can range from mild to severe, but it should never be ignored. Many of the conditions that cause colic can become life threatening in a relatively short period of time. Only by quickly and accurately recognizing colic – and seeking qualified veterinary help – can the chance for recovery be maximized.

While horses seem predisposed to colic due to the anatomy and function of their digestive tracts, management can play a key role in prevention. Although not every case is avoidable, can maximize the horse’s health and reduce the risk of colic:

  1. Establish a daily routine – include feeding and exercise schedules – and stick to it.
  2. Feed a high quality diet comprised primarily of roughage.
  3. Avoid feeding excessive grain and energy-dense supplements. (At least half the horse’s

energy should be supplied through hay or forage. A better guide is that twice as much energy should be supplied from a roughage source than from concentrates.)

  1. Divide daily concentrate rations into two or more smaller feedings rather than one large one to avoid overloading the horse’s digestive tract. Hay is best fed free-choice.
  2. Set up a regular parasite control program with the help of Dr. LaPlume.
  3. Provide exercise and/or turnout on a daily basis. Change the intensity and duration of an exercise regimen gradually.
  4. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. (The only exception is when the horse is excessively hot, and then it should be given small sips of luke-warm water until it has recovered.)
  5. Avoid putting feed on the ground, especially in sandy soils. Use mats if you have to feed on sand or blue stone, even for hay.
  6. Check hay, bedding, pasture, and environment for potentially toxic substances, such as blister beetles, noxious weeds, and other ingestible foreign matter.
  7. Reduce stress. Horses experiencing changes in environment or workloads are at high risk of intestinal dysfunction. Pay special attention to horses when transporting them or changing their surroundings, such as at shows. Discuss gastric ulcer preventative therapy with your vet.

Virtually any horse is susceptible to colic. Age, sex, and breed differences in susceptibility seem to be relatively minor. The type of colic seen appears to relate to geographic or regional differences, probably due to environmental factors such as sandy soil or climatic stress. Importantly, what this tells us is that, with conscientious care and management, we have the potential to reduce and control colic, a killer of horses.

Reprinted with permission from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.


September 28th is the World Rabies Awareness Day.

In VIRGINIA, 2014, (2015 statistics are not available yet) 236 raccoons,162 skunks, 45 foxes, 28 cats, 23 Bats, 12 cows, 1 dog, 0 horses, 1 Bob cat, 1 goat, 5 groundhogs, 1 coyote, 1 Otter were tested positive.

Rabies is a zoonotic (can be passed from animals to humans) disease. The vaccination available to our domestic animals is very effective. Rabies is almost always fatal.

Most horses have the “dumb” or “paralytic” form of rabies, and diagnosis is often delayed, causing many people to be exposed.

Please make sure ALL your animals are up to date on their rabies vaccinations!


CHOKE, Pellets and Beet Pulp

To Avoid “CHOKE” -Please feed all pellets and Beet Pulp WET! What feeds are pellets you may ask? They include:

Any senior type feed (Purina, Blue Seal, etc)

Alfalfa pellets

Beet pulp pellets

Rice bran pellets

Any nugget like feed (Blue Seal common)

Some Textured feed will have a large pellet component, and very greedy eaters can choke on it!


Equine Asthma AKA HEAVES study at BREC:

If your horse is over age four and has been diagnosed with Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO) or Summer Pasture Associated Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (SPAOPD), your horse may be eligible to participate in this FDA-regulated clinical study of an investigational medication that will help bring much-needed quality research to the equine community.

Afflicted horses are now being recruited for this study to carefully evaluate an investigational drug with the potential to treat RAO and SPAOPD. Our hope is that the research will result in an approved treatment – because today there are far too few FDA-approved drugs for horses afflicted with these diseases.

Please call our practice if you own or know a horse with one of these debilitating diseases. Visit EquineStudy.com to see if your horse may qualify.