Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fall 2014 News & Notes



Fall 2014 News &Notes

Vaccination Clinic Schedule

 Equine Dentistry: Why? When? How?

TCVM: What is it?  Does it Work?

 When we see you in September ask Dr. C about her latest Equine Acupuncture training module at the Chi Institute in Florida.

Fall Vaccination Clinic Schedule

Fall exams include flu/rhino booster vaccination and  deworming or fecal examination and sheath cleaning for geldings.  Many of your horses also are due for annual dentistry.

To reserve an appointment, call the office and leave:
  • Name, Phone #, Clinic Date
  • Number of Animals, and Services requested.
  • We will return your call three days before your clinic with an estimated time of arrival at your address.  Please be sure horses are caught and haltered 30 minutes beforehand!

Location                                             Date

Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos1         Sat Sep 6
Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos2         Fri Sep 12

Red Rock North/Silver Knolls 1          Sat Sep 6
Red Rock North/Silver Knolls 2           Fri Sep 26

Span Springs/Palomino Valley 1        Sat Sep 13
Span Springs/Palomino Valley 2        Sun Sep 28

Antelope/Golden/Lemmon Valley 1   Sun Sep 14
Antelope/Golden/Lemmon Valley 2   Fri Sep 26  

South & West Reno 1                    Sat Sep 27

Discounted Price List – Clinic days only

Farm Call/Fall Exam                  $18.00
West Nile                                   $32.00
FluRhino                                     $28.00
Rabies                                        $21.00
Tetanus/ Encephalitis              $18.00
Intranasal Strangles                 $32.00
Ivermectin Deworm                 $14.00
Coggins Test                              $27.00
Sheath Clean w/sedation        $45.00
Fecal parasite exam                 $18.00
Oral Exam (w/o sedation)       No charge!

Equine Dentistry: Why? When? How?

Why?  Because horses are no longer grazers.

Many of you have asked me “how do the Mustangs survive without dental work?” Here’s the answer: they chew more. The equine tooth evolved some 25 million years ago in response to changes in the earth’s vegetation. Available forage went from soft leaves to tough, fibrous grasses. In order to adequately break down this material, the horse developed hypsodont teeth, which erupt continuously throughout life. Each tooth is worn down by rubbing against an opposing tooth, creating an ever changing biting surface with ongoing wear of these surfaces determined by the horse’s diet and chew cycle.

Three factors contribute to wear of the horse’s teeth: the interaction between the two biting surfaces, the time spent chewing and the nature of the material being chewed. Research has shown that horses at pasture chew more and with more lateral (side to side) motion than horses fed a mixed hay/grain diet. Specifically, horses eating hay chew 58-66 times per minute vs. horses at pasture which chew 100-105 times per minute! In addition, horses eating a hay only diet take 16 hours to chew their daily ration while those on a hay/grain mix diet only need 6 hours to chew  their daily feed.

So our performance horses chew slower, for less time, and less effectively than their mustang counterparts. Therefore, they don’t do a good job of floating their own teeth, and small dental abnormalities that would self-correct on a tough grass mustang diet become serious dental issues without regular dental care in our horses living in confinement.

When? Once a year beginning at 2 years old.

Prevention is the key to healthy dentition as your horse ages.  Because their teeth erupt throughout life, and very few horses are born with a perfectly balanced bite, small imbalances become BIG imbalances as years pass.  The horse only has so much tooth, and with advanced age each tooth pushes to the surface and eventually falls out.  The most common occlusal problem encountered is a wave mouth, where the biting surface becomes a roller coaster ride instead of a level grinding plane, with some very long upper teeth opposed by very short lower teeth. The only way to correct the wave is to shorten the longer teeth. It can become impossible to achieve this in older horses with limited remaining tooth and poorly maintained bites.   EARLY AND REGULAR  dental care are the keys to healthy teeth as your horse ages.  If you wait until you notice weight loss, difficulty chewing, or dropping food (quidding) to have your horse’s teeth examined, it may be too late.


How? Dr. C prefers hand floats!

During a tooth float  Dr. Chrysann will carefully reduce any dominant teeth and level the chewing surface with a titanium coated tooth float. Dominant teeth create and are created by abnormalities in the chewing surface, or dental arcade which worsen over time and impede chewing and normal jaw movements. Some common configurations she may correct are hooks, ramps, transverse ridges and a wave which is caused by multiple dominant teeth. She will then adjust the alignment of the incisors, as small changes in the incisors will make a large difference in the occlusion at the back of the mouth. The specialized hand floats which Dr. Collatos uses are exceptionally sharp, and allow her to carefully balance each tooth in the mouth individually.

The use of motorized dentistry tools has become common in equine practice, and these tools are necessary in some cases of neglected mouths with severe bite abnormalities.  However, in the regularly maintained mouth, the use of motorized tools is unnecessary, and can cause permanent damage to teeth.  Prolonged grinding with motorized dental tools can create intense heat due to high rotational speed. Research studies have shown that temperatures reached with high speed (12,000 rpm) motorized floats can destroy dental pulp cells with resulting permanent damage to the tooth.  In addition, it is very easy to “overfloat” or remove excessive tooth material, with motorized tools.  Horses teeth are NOT smooth or rounded naturally, and the tearing and grinding action of normal anatomical sharp borders are the essential first step in the digestive process.

When performed correctly, the goal of equine dentistry is to balance the horse’s bite while leaving the natural contours of the tooth intact. This ensures longevity of a functional bite as your horse ages, reducing the need for costly senior diets.  It also allows free movement of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which insures not only correct chewing of food, but correct alignment of the head and neck.  Hock soreness and back pain can be the result of a poorly balanced mouth in performance horses!

TCVM – Are you a believer?

Dr. Chrysann is learning the practice of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), with an emphasis on Acupuncture.  Does it work in horses? Yes, it does, when performed correctly, with an accurate and appropriate diagnosis.  TCVM is based on the ancient concept that energy follows specific anatomic pathways, called meridians.  Meridians have now been mapped using modern scientific methods.  If a radio signal is introduced at one acupuncture point, it accumulates at other points along that  meridian, but NOT at points on other meridians.  Also, MRI brain images have shown that pain related acupuncture points activate specific pain-associated brainstem regions, while sham points do not.  Join Dr. C in expanding our ability to keep our horses healthy  and comfortable by using TCVM and acupuncture.

Make your Fall Clinic appointment today, and don’t forget your dental exam!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Neck Injections/Cervical Facet Injections

Neck Injections/Cervical Facet Injections

Look carefully at this radiograph.  These are the fourth, fifth and sixth cervical (neck) vertebrae of a 14 year old equitation horses with severe left forelimb lameness.  Let your eye move along the top edge of the bones from left to right.  Do you see the fracture fragment, irregular boney growth (exostoses), and loss of joint architecture (degenerative joint disease) at the top joint (dorsal facets) between the last two vertebral bodies? This is arthritis, and it can develop in the neck in the same way it can in any other joint in the body. 

The joints between each of our vertebrae, whether horse or human, have the same function as any other joint in the body, which is to cushion compression forces during motion .  In the horse, particularly jumping and dressage horses, flexion of the neck during athletic performance increases the compressive forces on the lower neck joints, or C3 through C7.  Over time, this repetitive trauma can overcome the body's natural ability to dampen these concussive forces.  Inflammation results, with subsequent degradation of joint fluid and intervertebral disc material.  Ultimately, in an effort to stabilize the joint, the body begins to lay down additional bone.  What was once a dynamic, spring-like mechanism, becomes brittle and rigid.  This is degenerative joint disease (DJD), commonly called arthritis.  In the neck, DJD can be responsible for clinical signs as subtle as occasional tripping, progressing up through severe neurologic instability.  Primary forelimb lameness is an unusual, but well documented, clinical sign occasionally caused by cervical DJD.  All other causes of forelimb lameness must be ruled out with a careful lameness evaluation and localizing nerve blocks before such lameness is attributed to cervical DJD.

The dorsal facets are the knobby boney structures at the top of each cervical vertebral body.  The positive clinical outcome of injecting anti-inflammatory and lubricating medications (steroids and hyaluronic acid) into the space between the dorsal facets is well documented.  The sterile injection procedure is done with ultrasound guidance in the standing, sedated horse.  The response to injections varies considerably from horse to horse, both with respect to effectiveness and duration. 

In addition to intra-articular facet injections, modalities including acupuncture, laser therapy and physical therapy by a QUALIFIED equine physical therapist can provide important  benefits to horses with cervical DJD.

 The horse with the radiographic changes pictured here improved 75% after facet injections, however, the severity of these radiographic changes and of his lameness were cause for retirement to pasture turn out.  His owner and trainer were happy to honor him with this option in return for his years of service as a show jumper and equitation horse.

If your horse has unexplained stiffness, difficulty turning, repeated tripping, or undiagnosed forelimb lameness, ask your veterinarian about the possibility of a neck problem.

I believe that education is the key to evolution. I believe that animals are the key to compassion. I believe the learning never stops.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Spring News & Notes

High Desert Veterinary Service

Building Healthy Partnerships

Chrysann Collatos VMD,PhD,DipACVIM
775-969-3495 (Office)          742-2823 (Cell)

Spring 2014 News & Notes:

Ø Vaccination Clinic Schedule

Ø Acupuncture & Physical Therapy

Ø Your Mare and Spring Transition

It is time for our seasonal reunion during your horse’s spring wellness exam.  My technician Amanda and I have lots to share as we head into 2014 revitalized by continuing education and new diagnostic equipment.  All to better serve every aspect of your horse’s health care.

For the welfare of the horse,


Spring Vaccination Clinic Schedule

Spring exams include tetanus/encephalitis, flu/rhino and West Nile vaccinations plus deworming or fecal examination, an oral exam, and sheath cleaning.
To reserve an appointment, call the office and leave:
  • Name, Phone #, Clinic Date,
  • Number of Animals, and Services requested
We will return your call three days before your clinic with an estimated time of arrival at your address.  Please be sure horses are caught and haltered 30 minutes beforehand!

Location                                             Date

Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos1         Sat Mar 8
Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos2         Fri Mar 14
Red Rock North/Silver Knolls 1          Sun Mar 9
Red Rock North/Silver Knolls 2          Fri Mar 27
Span Springs/Palomino Valley 1        Fri Mar 7
Span Springs/Palomino Valley 2        Sat Mar 22
Antelope/Golden/Lemmon Valley 1   Sun Mar 16
Antelope/Golden/Lemmon Valley 2   Fri Mar 28  
South & West Reno 1                   Sat Mar 29
Discounted Price List – Clinic days only

Farm Call/Fall Exam                 $18.00
West Nile                                   $32.00
FluRhino                                     $27.00
Rabies                                        $21.00
Tetanus/ Encephalitis                $18.00
Intranasal Strangles                   $32.00
Ivermectin Deworm                   $14.00
Coggins Test                                $27.00
Sheath Clean w/sedation            $45.00
Fecal parasite exam                   $18.00
Oral Exam (w/o sedation)         No charge!

Acupuncture & Physical Therapy

As our understanding of medicine evolves, many practioners and patients alike are coming to a deeper appreciation of alternative medical interventions. Modalities such as acupuncture can play a vital role in healing, and can complement traditional western medicine treatments. 

I am excited to announce my enrollment at the Chi Instititute, located in Ocala, Florida.  Over the next 6 months I will be studying the art of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, with particular emphasis on equine acupuncture.  The first segment of this intensive training program happens on line, and as I watch the initial lecture series, my hard-wired analytical intellect is doing  some serious adjusting as I listen to discussions of Chi and Bian Zheng and Yin Yang theory and wonder if my young anglo-arab has a fire, wood, water, earth, or metal constitution!

My course lecturers are veterinarians with advanced degrees, one is Associate Professor of Neurology & Neurosurgery at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, another a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine board certified in Neurology.  These veterinarians have taken their advanced western training and embraced Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine because they have discovered, through years of practice, that acupuncture can provide healing opportunities that cannot be achieved with the current tools of Western Veterinary medicine.

In addition to acupuncture, another important aspect of our integrative approach to whole horse health is equine physical therapy.  Denise Montagne PT, an equine physical therapist registered with the Nevada State Veterinary Board, has been assisting me in treating horses with complex musculoskeletal conditions.  Denise’s knowledge of anatomy combined with her empathic nature and years of manual therapy skills make her a smokin’ addition to our horse healing practice.

Denise and I are excited about combining acupuncture, western medicine and manual therapy to ensure long, comfortable athletic careers for our equine partners.  Is your horse girthy?  Unwilling to engage or move forward? Unbalanced in one direction? Stiff turning one way? Call me to discuss your concerns. Let’s work together to make your horse the best he/she can be.


The Mare's Transitional Period

In the past week I've had conversations with clients concerned about performance mares exhibiting unusual behavior or brood mares showing irregular heat cycles.  Both of these problems are related to the seasonal nature of the mare's reproductive cycle, and specifically the transitional period that affects many mares between January and April.

Seasonal variation in the duration of daylight has a profound influence on equine reproductive performance.  The horse is a seasonal breeder - increasing daylight improves the mare's reproductive efficiency while short days result in poor reproductive regulation.  Daylight is believed to act by stimulating the production of melatonin by the brain’s pineal gland.  This melatonin in turn causes the hypothalamus to release reproductive hormones which influence the ovaries to develop and release follicles. 

The transition from the short days of winter when most mares stop cycling all together, to the long days of June, when fertility is at its highest, is a gradual process.  During the spring and fall, mares enter a period of anovulatory receptivity, or the transitional period.  At this time, they often exhibit erratic estrus behavior, and while they appear to be in standing heat and accept a stallion, there often is not an associated ovulation of a mature follicle.  Even if a transitional mare does ovulate appropriately, the hormonal sequence necessary to maintain pregnancy may not be in place and the conceptus is lost.  Particularly in the spring, this transitional period is characterized by long, erratic heat cycles without ovulation. 

During the transition period performance horses often exhibit irritable behavior and are difficult to train.  There are many oral supplements available over the counter which claim to improve the demeanor of irritable mares. The effectiveness of these supplements is variable.  For years people have used cattle subcutaneous hormonal implants to control mare's heat cycles, but multiple research trials have been performed using these implants and no one has ever been able to show that they have any real effect on the mare's hormonal regulation. In the past the only truly reliable means of preventing cycling was the daily administration of  oral Regumate liquid (altrenogest, a synthetic progesterone). Now we also have a time released injectable altrenogest manufactured by BET Pharm, which provides 30 days of active estrus suppression.

Once the transitional period is over and mares are cycling regularly, reproductive efficiency rapidly improves.  The "normal" mare has a 21 day heat cycle.  She is not receptive for 14-15 days (diestrus), then comes into heat for 4-7 days (estrus), ovulating 12-24 hours before behavioral signs of estrus disappear. Regarding performance horses, some mares continue to be difficult during the days close to ovulation, but in general the number of days when undesirable behavior is exhibited are markedly reduced.

So, when your mare is acting like a maniac in February and March, remember that part of her behavior may be attributed to temporary hormonal imbalance  Mares, just like people, are very individual in their reaction to their internal chemistryIf you own a mare you are trying to breed in the early spring, or a performance horse with seasonal behavior problems, ask me about management practices that may improve your breeding success or help your mare's disposition. 

Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook at, and call today to schedule your clinic appointment!


I believe that education is the key to evolution. I believe that animals are the key to compassion. I believe the learning never stops.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Preventale winter Problem: The Subsolar Abscess

 A preventable mid-winter problem: The Subsolar Abscess

This time of year I commonly see horses with lameness caused by subsolar abscessation. It seems like part of the winter cycle - we discussed what you can do to avoid cold related problems during our December crazy cold spell, then we talked about the dangers of icy footing around Christmas time, and now as mid-winter arrives the preventable problem of the season is the foot abscess. 

Here is what happens: First, horses are likely to be confined to smaller areas and get less exercise (and therefore less grooming) during the winter months.  Second, weather conditions make manure collection and disposal challenging, so pens tend to be dirtier than normal.  Third, freeze/thaw cycles, urine spots and collected manure all contribute to the creation of deep, wet, bacteria rich footing in our horses pens.  Moisture and bacteria enter the sole through small defects that occur naturally.  But now the foot may not be getting picked out daily, the sole never dries, and bacteria migrate through the horny sole and begin to replicate in the space between the horny, insensitive sole tissue and the deeper soft, sensitive tissues of the hoof.  The body tries to fight this slow growing infection by sending white blood cells to the area.  The white blood cells break down to form a gooey, black semi-liquid pus.  This pus spreads between the superficial and deep sole layers, building up pressure until one day your horse is suddenly extremely lame. 

As with all abscesses, drainage is the key to cure.  Subsolar abscesses are resolved by aggressively removing the overlying dead sole and exposing the infected area and underlying sensitive tissue to air.  The area is packed and bandaged for 7 to 10 days to prevent re-abscessation and allow the exposed tissue to cornify and begin the transition from sensitive to insensitive sole.  Antibiotics are not part of my routine care of subsolar abscesses, but tetanus vaccination status must be confirmed, and pain control with phenylbutazone is usually warranted. So your horse gets better, but in the mean time he/she experiences severe lameness, and you are out there in the freezing cold when you get home from work every night in the dark struggling to change the darn bandage!

The good news is these winter weather condition related abscesses are preventable!  Your job is to work hard to keep you horse's pen as clean and dry as possible, not to neglect regular farrier visits every 6-8 weeks through the winter, and to pick out your horse's feet thoroughly every day through the winter months.  Some of these slow developing winter abscesses, such as the one pictured above, can be deep and extensive.  Please be a good partner to your horse and pay special attention to foot care during the off season, and you can spare your horse this painful problem.

I believe that education is the key to evolution. I believe that animals are the key to compassion. I believe the learning never stops.

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