FALL 2012
Welcome to Montana Equine




We hope you will find this newsletter to be informative and helpful in guiding you as you care for your horse. If you have any questions as you read through the newsletter, please feel free to contact the clinic. Also please note that our fall clinic regular hours will be 9am-4pm from November 15th through March 15th.  We will still be available for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


We would like to inform you about a fund that has been established by her owner in memory of a Thoroughbred mare named Honour. The purpose of the fund is to help clients that are considered to be in need of financial support to help see their horse through treatment or euthanasia. This decision will be made by Dr. Shannon Moreaux, assistant professor of Equine Science at Montana State University. Donations to the fund can be mailed to Montana Equine, 3934 Frontage Rd. Three Forks, MT 59752 . Checks can be made out to "The Honour Memorial Fund".


Shockwave Therapy: What is it? How does it work?


"With more than 20 years experience in the Shockwave Therapy Market FOCUS-IT is the leading company when it comes to Shockwave Therapy Equipment. FOCUS-IT specializes in Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Equipment(ESWT) for acute and chronic equine injuries and lameness. ESWT is a non-invasive technology that offers pain relief to horses while it significantly speeds up healing and restores mobility."


At Montana Equine, we have been using an ancillary treatment modality called "shockwave" for 4 years now. We use non-invasive shockwave therapy as a healing aide for certain equine injuries.   So, what is shockwave?


There are two forms of shockwave - focused shockwave and radial shockwave. In general, shockwaves are actually pressure waves created by acoustic (sound) energy, not electric shocks as some people presume.   The focused shockwave unit ("FOCUS-IT", made by Storz) sends a very precise, very brief burst of acoustical energy through the tissues. The acoustical energy has been shown to increase local blood flow, and to increase the activity of cells in the treated area therefore decreasing healing time of certain injuries by stimulating regeneration of tissues.


Focused shockwave is much more effective than radial shockwave. Radial shockwave therapy delivers much less energy to the tissues, especially to deeper tissues, and its efficacy is probably limited.   Therefore, we utilize only focused shockwave treatments at Montana Equine.


While ligament and tendon injuries have healed on there own for a number of years with rest and rehabilitation alone, focused shockwave has been clinically proven to decrease the healing time required for suspensory ligament and superficial digital flexor tendon injuries. In addition, shockwave has been proven to decrease healing time of skin wounds.  


In addition to decreasing healing time, research has also shown that the shockwave temporarily decreases pain (for 5-7 days) by blunting nerve signaling from the treated area. Because of the proven analgesic effect of focused shockwave therapy, we have also used this modality on horses that have sore lumbar (back) muscles and sacroiliac ligaments. As a result of the analgesic effect of shockwave therapy, the FEI and certain racing clubs have established rules requiring a withdrawal time. 


If you have any questions regarding shockwave therapy and if it will help your horse, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic.   




            The weather around the country can bring many different types of challenges to horse care. This year, here in Montana we are anxiously waiting for rain. We have managed our horse on less green pastures and we are revamping our budgets to afford our hay.   There is more dirt and less grass therefore we have growing concern of a colic caused by the ingestion of sand, otherwise known as sand colic.


            As our horses eat the moisture on their noses and lips attract little particles of sand to which they ingest by licking their lips. If they are foraging or are fed their ration in a sandy area they attract more sand therefore lick more sand. This sand accumulates in their colon over time and can cause major trouble for their very sensitive digestive tracts. It has been found that horses with bad sand colic can accumulate up to 150 lbs of sand in their digestive tracts.   Your veterinarian may be able to detect large amounts of sand by listening to the ventral abdomen with a stethoscope, it sounds like listening to the ocean floor under water.


Sand colic can cause a horse to be painful for a couple of reasons. The weight of the sand can push against the walls of the intestines causing decreased blood flow (kind of like pushing on your finger nail until it turns white) and an uncomfortable pull on the bpdy wall. Another potential cause for discomfort is the sand can accumulate in a way that blocks the flow through the digestive tract causing an impaction and thus discomfort.   In addition, the little rough particles of sand can rub on the delicate tissues that make up the inside of the digestive tract causing irritation and potentially diarrhea. At this point it would be best for a veterinarian to be involved to help monitor pain and would likely administer fluids and mineral oil. The fluids and oil help to moisten the intestinal tract to allow the sand to pass through.


There is a simple test for sand colic that can be done at home.   To check if there is sand in your horses intestinal tract you can take up to six fecal balls from the top of your horses manure pile, being careful not to pick up any surrounding sand with the fecal balls. Place that manure in a mason jar or clear plastic bag with enough water to float the fecal balls around. Watch the bottom of the jar for sand particles to settle out.   If you notice sand at the bottom of the jar it would be wise to be proactive and start taking steps to help your horse clear the sand from his intestinal tract.


The product of choice for clearing sand is called pysillium. Pysillium is made from the seed of a fleawort plant when it is moist it become gelatinous. Pysillium is a known laxative in humans, pigs and horses and is thought to move small amounts of sand through the intestines by encompassing sand into the gelatinous bulk.   Pysillium generally can be administered easily with small amounts of grain or sometimes as a stand-alone treat. (Depending on how picky your horse is.) There are specific instructions for feeding Pysillium that usually involves a period of time know as "loading" then a maintenance amount. Feel free to call the clinic if you have any questions about psyllium for your horse. Another good way to move sand through the intestines is to take your horse for a good trot. The bouncy action of the trot can help suspend some of the settled sand into the ingesta and allow it to move through the intestinal tract with the manure.


Minimizing sand ingestion is simple, and just requires some simple management adjustments. Feeding horses on rubber mats is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to control the amount of sand that your horse has contact with during feed times. Large water tubs that no longer hold water are great feeders that still allow your horse to eat hay with his head naturally low while containing his feed. These large tubs can also be great places to feed grain since horses generally do not tip them over with the natural pawing and pushing that can be associated with grain time. Sometimes it is still important to surround the tub feeder with mats since horses generally like to spread their hay all around and pick through it. Making sure your water tub is cleaned regularly and filled regularly. Our arid conditions have lead to more dust and dirt around water sources making them good sources for your horses to have contact with sand.


Sand colic can be an uncomfortable, veterinary emergency that can potentially be avoided through some of the steps mentioned above. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call our office. We would be happy to assist you with your particular situation.

In This Issue
Shockwave Therapy
Sand Colic
Fall Vaccines and Dentals



Don't forget the importance of fall vaccinations for your horse! Please vistit out website at www.montanaequine.com for more information on choosing the appropriate fall vaccines for your horse.  In addition, please see the coupon below for a dental discount.  As always, please feel free to call us if you have any questions.

Peter Heidmann
Montana Equine
                                   Save 15% on dental procedure ONLY November 1,
SAVE 15%                       2012 through February 28th, 2013
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Montana Equine | 3934 Frontage Rd | Three Forks | MT | 59752