GFM Network News


Internal metabolic distress of horses is recorded in their hoof growth as abnormal “rings.” These rings are testimony to the ongoing episodes of laminitis or founder. The signature rings are evident in both the pre- and post-trim pictures of this hoof.

IR/EMS/PPID in horses = OMG

Horse Health: These related metabolic diseases are a clear picture into horse-keeping shortfalls

The alphabet soup grouping of acronyms IR (insulin resistance), EMS (equine metabolic syndrome), and PPID (pituitary pars intermediare dysfunction also known as Cushing’s syndrome) represent an increasingly common and growing incidence of illnesses in horses between the ages of five and 15 years of age. Despite their separate labels these illnesses share many similarities in

A young foal is a lot like a child. They’re both a wonderful thing and an expensive long-term commitment that requires a lot of work to succeed.

Considerations before breeding a horse

Horse Health: This is not a project that should be simply taken on at an impulse — it requires planning, patience and commitment

Foals are adorable and the idea of raising a foal can be tempting – very tempting. The reasons why owners breed a horse is often a combination of emotional gratification, performance expectations and economic gain. Yet none of these outcomes are “for certain” and so the eventual outcome of the foal as it becomes an


An established relationship with a veterinarian is key to future use of antimicrobial products.

Handle antibiotics with care

Horse Health: How the ‘new’ veterinary oversight affects horse ownership

First of all, the idea of veterinary oversight regarding the use of antibiotics in animals is nothing new. However, as of December 1, 2018 what animal owners will notice as “new” regarding the purchase of all antimicrobials for animal health is the need for the involvement with a veterinarian to ensure prudent use of antibiotics.

One type of mosquito, the Culex tarsal, spreads WNV to horses and humans and this species usually appears later in the summer season.

West Nile virus revisits horses in the Prairies

Horse Health: There can be cycles of this disease, which are subject to a complex interplay

Since the first horse was detected with West Nile virus (WNV) in Canada in 2002 the prevalence of the disease has cycled annually through peaks and troughs. The initial peak prevalence occurred in 2003 following its introduction. In the following years much fewer cases were reported until 2007 when the incidence of the disease spiked

Timothy is considered the gold standard among grass hays because of its high palatability, easy digestibility and low-energy yet nutritious profile.

Some points for a horse hay shopping list

Our own senses are wonderful tools for making informed choices about hay. Choose hay that is as fine stemmed, green and as leafy as possible

Hay selection is an important aspect of horse ownership. The type and quality of hay the horse eats can make a big difference in its overall nutrition, and its value in a horse’s diet is unquestionable. The extra dollars spent on sourcing good-quality hay and its proper storage is invariably cost effective on many levels


Processed feeds are especially prone to short shelf life, but there’s no requirement for formal expiry dates.

Expiry dates matter to horses too

Keep an eye on the freshness of everything from medications to feed

Modern horse keeping carries a responsibility of housekeeping that pertains to periodically reviewing the expiry dates of products routinely used in the care of the horse. Most horse owners will immediately consider the expiry dates of drugs and medications, however, there are other items that also carry expiry dates that may be even more relevant

Horses that have travelled to events and commingled with others are especially vulnerable to nEHV-1 infection.

Be on guard for neurotropic equine herpesvirus-1 (nEHV-1)

Symptoms range from none through mild respiratory infection to abortion and paralysis


A diagnosis of neurotropic equine herpesvirus (nEHV-1) in a horse displaying neurological symptoms has recently been confirmed in Saskatchewan. Prior to diagnosis this horse had travelled to a number of rodeos in Alberta and thus there is the potential for exposure of numerous horses. As a result, horse owners have been alerted and are advised

A yawning horse can be a prompt to delve deeper into that animal’s health and welfare.

When horses yawn — good or bad?

Horse Health: The horse’s yawn hasn’t been closely studied but there is a close connection to some welfare issues

Horse enthusiasts often question, “What does it mean when a horse yawns?” and, “Is it a good thing or is it bad thing?” The short answer is it all depends, and here is why. Both humans and horses yawn, however, the triggers for yawning in horses is not the same as that for the yawn


A properly fitting bit will lay about an inch in front of the cheek teeth, and create no wrinkles.

Proper use and placement of the bit seat

Horse Health: Equine dental care is about the health of the horse, not performance

The terms “bit seat” and “performance float” are often used to indicate a seemingly higher, more sophisticated level of dental care for the performance or sport horse — implying that the horse will perform better with such dentistry. The duty of the equine dental provider is not to make horses perform better — even though

The heavier winter coat protects horses from the harsh weather, but when spring arrives it begins to loosen and fall out.

The shedding horse

Horse Health: This annual event arrives with spring and can be a barometer for certain health conditions

Shedding of a horse’s winter coat is a complex physiological process that can reveal information about the horse’s general health. Many — well actually all — horses look cosmetically “messy” during the shedding period with a thorough shed usually occurring over a six- to eight-week period. This transition period often accompanies the fickle weather of