Polo Players Edition

SEP 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1016123

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Page 59 of 67

58 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N we soon found out that the horses that needed surgery didn't get surgery as soon as they should. We'd give Banamine and it would be 4 or 5 hours before the horses started showing they were sick again. Sometimes those few hours were the difference in whether they lived or died. If the horse is not a surgical candidate, giving Banamine is fine. But if the horse does need surgery, you shouldn't wait. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with the owner giving Banamine— whether the paste, or the injectable (whether by IV or oral)." Banamine may mask the colic symptoms enough that you end up being a little late with the decision to do surgery. The horse seems better after the Banamine, so the owner goes off and does something else for a while, and then comes back to find the horse is worse again. By then it may be evening, and also the optimum window of time for doing colic surgery (before the horse is too shocky and the gut too compromised) may be gone. "If the horse is shocky and you give a full dose of Banamine this is hard on the kidneys, because that horse is essentially dehydrated (not as much circulating blood volume, because of shock). Or if you have a hard-working horse that's dehydrated, you need to get 10 to 15 liters of fluid into him before you give him any drugs. And then you should give only a quarter or a third of a dose of Banamine," he explains. Dr. Matt Randall, a veterinarian at Collier Equine, in Waller, Texas, (who earlier practiced veterinary medicine in Montana with his father Ray Randall) says there seems to be more risk with full doses of Banamine, compared to giving a half dose or less. "You can give the product orally, however, to reduce the risk for problems. I recommend to my clients that if they can't get the injectable product into the vein, to just give a little extra and squirt it in the mouth. It tastes terrible, but they can get it into the horse that way if the horse is having a serious problem like colic," says Matt. Many people have given IM injections of Banamine for years without problems, but need to be aware of the risk. "It's a low risk, but it is a risk. I have seen three cases and all three of these horses were very sick, and toxic. There is often a fair amount of swelling at the injection site. The typical 'calling card' of clostridial myositis is gas bubbles under the skin. It feels like Rice Crispies. If you ever feel gas under the skin on a horse that's recently had an intramuscular injection, this is serious and warrants an emergency visit to the veterinarian. It can make a big difference in the outcome if you can start treating it early, to reduce the extent of complications." The most recent case he's seen was when a horse owner called to say her horse colicked a couple days earlier. "She had some Banamine but couldn't give an injection in the vein so she gave it in the muscle. The next day, her horse was a little stiff-necked and sore at the injection site, so she gave some penicillin, which was fine. Two days after the Banamine shot was when she called me. The mare's neck was swollen on both sides and she had a fever of 104, and a toxic line on the mucous membranes on her gum." "The owner told me what had happened, so I was looking for evidence of gas under the skin as I was examining the mare—because I was thinking it probably was a clostridial myositis. I didn't find any gas near the injection site but finally found a pocket of gas under the skin by her withers. The gas had traveled up and along the neck, clear to the withers. So I prepped the skin at the injection area and blocked it with anesthesia as best I could and made incisions through the skin and partway down into the muscle with a big scalpel," he says. One of the important aspects of treatment is to open up the area and get oxygen down into the infection. "Those bacteria are anaerobes and don't like oxygen. They thrive in damaged tissue with no oxygen supply." He made several deep incisions and bluntly dissected down into the muscle. "Then suddenly my finger fell into an opening and I thought maybe I'd been unlucky enough to drive my finger right into a large blood vessel. I was afraid it might start bleeding but I realized I had to pull my finger out. When I pulled my finger out of the wound, gas rushed out of that hole and the stench was foul. So I opened it up even more, grabbed chunks of necrotic muscle tissue and dragged it An important aspect of treatment is to open up the area and get oxygen down into the infection. Bacteria thrive in damaged tissue with no oxygen supply. (continued from page 17)

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