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Sports related injuries are common in equine competitions and training.  They are expected to occur and are likely, due to the extreme stress placed upon joints and other supporting structures, often exceeding normal limitations.  The injuries can be a short term nuisance or many prove to be long term, career ending problems that drag on for years.  How we approach these injuries from both a preventative and therapeutic perspective can dictate the outcome and often improve our odds of success.  In order to understand the options before us, we have to understand what is taking place within that animal.

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Joint injections are all too common in today's equine world and one of the main reasons why I opted to go to the opposite side and seek alternative options, as a veterinarian.  The most common reason for their use is joint disease, mainly arthritis, with the intent or purpose to alleviate pain and prolong or improve performance.  In many, their use is warranted while in others, not so much.  In either case, if we do decide to go that route, with an injection, we need to understand the pros, the cons and what options are before us to help extend the effects of those injections.  After all, they are not cheap and do not come without harm.

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The performance of an equine athlete is vitally important whether if we are talking Dressage, Jumping, Western Pleasure, Barrel Racing or on track TB or QH racing. One of the biggest determinants of performance is stamina.  Without stamina, almost always, performance is reduced on various levels.  So, what determines one or the other? What dictates performance in that equine athlete and considering that stamina is involved, what options do we have to improve the outcome?

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Why is my horse fat?  That's a good question and one that I was asked routinely during annual preventative wellness checks on my patients.  It is also a question that I get asked in emails all too frequently.  I think it is a good question and for those that ask the question, it is a sign that they recognize that a problem exists, thus opening door for correction.  An overweight horse is not a sign of good health and over time, can lead to significant health problems and increased morbidity, not to mention mortality for some.  Seeing that the problem is present is the first step, but taking the following steps to conquer the issue at hand means that we must understand some basic concepts.  

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Itching, scratching, coughing, red eyes, hair loss and oozing skin bumps....all related to allergic conditions in the horse and a common occurrence. Current approaches to therapy are often complex and unrewarding, leading to the allergic condition often becoming worse with every passing year, fluctuating from season to season.  All of these clinical signs are evidence of a deeper seated problem in the patient, and through a better understanding, we can take a different approach which often yields better management. As with most issues though, in regards to chronic disease, we have to see the root, the cause, and not so much focus on the clinical signs that are present.  

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