Horse owners learn latest in equine health at MU College of Veterinary Medicine series

Horse owners from the mid-Missouri area learned the latest in equine health at a seminar Feb. 23 hosted by the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. About 50 people attended the event where they learned about a broad range of equine topics and were shown where the patients live during their time at the facility.

Equine faculty veterinarians and other staff who work there discussed breeding, common poisons for horses, moon blindness in horses and much more. Towards the end of the seminar, participants were given a tour of the facility.

Alison M. LaCarrubba, doctor of veterinary medicine and board-certified specialist in equine practice, spoke on the importance of equine dentistry and the maintenance of a healthy horse. She hopes that the seminar will open dialogue with other equine owners.

“Caring for a horse is a constant learning process,” she said. “We hope that we can be helpful with this and we hope that our owners find these presentations both interesting and useful.”

While LaCarrubba does believe that the majority of horse owners know how to care for their animals, healthcare is constantly changing and it’s important that the public is current and up to date with new studies.

“I always think it’s an excellent idea to perform the necessary research prior to the purchase or adoption of any animal,” she said. “It’s best for people to fully understand what they are getting into. This education will allow the horse owners to enjoy their animals more and understand and avoid dangerous behaviors. As a veterinarian, we are often asked to educate our clients on basic horse care as well as prevention and treatment of disease.”

This seminar helped gather and inform equine owners of recent medical updates and refresh their education.

Dr. Philip Johnson was the organizer of the seminar. He is a board-certified specialist in the discipline of equine medicine and surgery and is recognized by both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the European College of Equine Internal Medicine.

“It’s a form of giving back – all of us at the equine hospital enjoy our interactions with our clientele and, based on past experiences, many of our participants enjoy hearing about the veterinary aspects of what can happen to horses and how veterinarians work to help prevent and resolve issues,” he said.

Johnson believes that most horses remain healthy with standard care and most people seem to do a good job looking after their horses. Many owners are good about educating themselves and keeping up with the changes in health.

 “Some people could be helped by taking a course, but a lot of horse owners have learned about horse ownership/management through participation – they have a lot of help in the form of more experienced horse owners and, of course, their local veterinarians,” he said. “We see quite a range of capabilities and levels of understanding, as you might imagine.”

Johnson said the one aspect of his job that stands out as his favorite, is knowing he is helping horse owners and veterinary medicine students at the same time.

“Working in a team to help horse owners figure out and resolve, when possible, problems with their horses’ health while, at the same time, trying to help educate the next generation of veterinarians,” he said.

 “There exists at the MU CVM a cohesive team of veterinarians, their technical staff, and vet students who, together, are here when needed to help address medical problems when they arise,” said Johnson.

He wants horse owners to know help is always available and they can have confidence in knowing their animals are in good hands.