Polo Players Edition

JUL 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/996749

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Page 60 of 67

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 59 Having a pair of hoof testers at your barn can help you differentiate a hoof abscess from other possible problems. A horse that is significantly lame, in combination with being painful or reactive to an area of the hoof with hoof testers, and that has an elevated digital pulse within that foot, most likely has a foot abscess. Keeping the foot clean and dry (wrapped) along with daily Epsom salt soaks will help the abscess to rupture out, alleviating the build up of pressure that causes your horse to be so painful. Do not remove the healthy tissue of the sole if you are unable to identify a potential abscess at the time of the initial exam as that tissue can take months to grow back. Despite taking weeks to heal, acute diagnosis and treatment of a sole abscess will prevent development of a chronic abscess or involvement of the abscess with the coffin joint or coffin bone. Nasal Hemorrhage The fifth category of emergency to recognize with your horses is nasal hemorrhage or epistaxis. Nasal hemorrhage secondary to head trauma only becomes emergent if the nostrils are obstructed and the horse's ability to breathe is compromised. Any condition that compromises your horse's airway is considered an emergency; a temporary tracheotomy may need to be placed by your veterinarian in order to facilitate breathing. An endoscopic exam performed by your veterinarian can diagnose the origin and severity of the bleeding. A condition called Guttural Pouch Mycosis is a life- threatening problem where surgical ligation of the carotid artery is necessary. Other conditions of epistaxis are not as life threatening. Racehorses and polo ponies commonly develop a condition called Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage. This condition rarely results in respiratory distress or death. The exact cause of EIPH is unknown, but bleeding into the airway in turn causes airway inflammation, fibrosis, and alteration of normal tissue. Furosemide (Lasix) is the primary therapy initiated and is administered prophylactically prior to exercise in order to decrease the severity of hemorrhage. Bronchodilators and steroids have also been used as treatments targeted at decreasing airway inflammation, minimizing fibrosis, and decreasing bronchoconstriction, but little is known if these medications prevent EIPH. Fever As established earlier, any temperature greater than 101.5 F should be c onsidered febrile. High, uncontrollable fevers, greater than 103.0 F should warrant not only emergency treatment for your horse but for your barn. The affected horses require treatment and isolation in order to prevent the rest of your herd from succumbing to the same ailment. Banamine (an anti- inflammatory) and alcohol baths are essentials to help control high fevers. High fevers are usually attributed to a respiratory disease, virus, colitis (diarrhea) or neurological condition. In hospital scenarios, horses with high fevers, decreased white cell counts on their blood work, and diarrhea (any two of the three problems) are isolated from all other patients due to the likely contagious nature of their condition. These horses are treated in the beginning stages with supportive care and isolation until further diagnostics can identify or rule out contagious conditions. This article merely scratches the surface of the many emergency situations that can occur. Other emergencies include burns, thoracic trauma, snake envenomation, laminitis, and contagious and zoonotic diseases. Playing a sport that entirely relies upon our equine counterparts makes their health a top priority to ensure both their safety and ours on and off the field. Knowing your horses' normal vital parameters will enable you to recognize when they are not normal, hopefully saving your pocketbook a few dollars before simple problems become catastrophic events. Recognizing these problems early will also help you ensure your horses will be able to perform at their best for you as athletes, thus, helping preserve your string, and getting you out on the field for more chukkers of competitive fun. The location of a laceration is concerning if it involves a joint or tendon sheath. Even with immediate treatment, there is higher risk of complications. If treated within the first 12 hours, lacerations can be cleaned, debrided and closed by the vet- erinarian. If there is significant contamination, bandaging with delayed closing may be needed.

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