BVH runs the hospital with a very "open door" policy. Clients are welcome in the treatment areas and are encouraged to participate in all procedures. In fact, at Speedy's most recent ultra-sound (more on that later this week), I pressed the freeze button on the machine when Dr. Tolley couldn't quite reach it.
While providing top notch care to its patients is BVH's primary function, the doctors also place a high value on providing educational opportunities for their clients. Each year, the vet hospital partners with Zoetis, an animal health company, to host a complimentary Client Seminar and Banquet. BVH's doctors and a vet from Zoetis give lectures on a variety of topics that are most likely to affect horses in our area. This year, Dr. Tolley spoke on Physical and Pharmaceutical Restraint. Dr. Hall, Zoetis vet, spoke on Eye Anatomy and Health, and Dr. Gonzalez addressed Equine Dermatology.
Dr. Tolley addressed the different ways that horses can be restrained. In his context, it was for the purpose of providing health care, but he made it clear that it's important to handle your horse safely even when just grooming or leading to turn out. He covered basic safety tips such as not coiling the rope around your hand and not looping fingers through halters - all pretty basic stuff, particularly for the crowd that was there.
He then discussed the many types of pharmaceutical options for restraining horses, many of which are readily available for clients. Dormosedan and Ace (both of which I keep on hand, but rarely need) are drugs that he feels are safe to administer and can help horses through stressful situations like clipping, trailering, and farrier work.
My biggest take away from Dr. Tolley's lecture was that today's sedatives are quite safe and help the doctors provide better care for our horses. A horse relaxed through the use of a pharmaceutical "cocktail" is much safer to treat and will be far less stressed than if forced to simply power through the procedure.
Eyes are delicate, sensitive organs. He stressed the importance of avoiding putting any medication in the eye unless it was prescribed for that particular ailment. The most interesting part of his lecture was hearing that many eye diseases can be diagnosed with an ultrasound.
Good nutrition, grooming, exercise, and proper shelter can also help. For some horses, shelter from the sun and rain eases their skin issues, while good old fashioned sunshine can help heal others. I think Dr. Gonzalez's advice for dealing with skin diseases would be to be vigilant and pay attention to changes in your horse's skin and coat condition. Things are much easier to treat when they're caught early.
If you live in the Bakersfield area, be sure to come to the next BVH Client Seminar. It's an excellent opportunity to educate yourself on equine health care. And if you don't live here, ask your vet about hosting a similar event. Speaking of which, do any of your vets do something similar? If so, please share!