Dr. Makkreel is singing! Also, reminders about spring vaccines and grass.

Beware the Ides of March (and the Spring Grass)
Two horses grazing in the bluebonnet pasture in Texas spring
Spring is upon us once again! Hopefully, your pastures are greening up and you are able to get more riding in before the sun goes down. However, don't forget to limit feeding time on the new spring grass for horses that have been eating mostly hay all winter. Start with an hour on the pasture and work your way up to a full day over the course of a month or more to avoid grass diarrhea and possible laminitis. Horses that have been diagnosed as insulin resistant or Cushinoid should not have access to new spring grass at all. These horses should be kept off the pasture entirely or muzzled during turn-out until the grass dies back in the heat of the summer, usually July.
macro photography of a syringe ready to put a vaccine
Spring Vaccines are Here!

Every horse in the mid-Atlantic should have a West Nile Virus vaccine as well as Eastern and Western Encephalitis between April 15 and June 15. This is also a good opportunity to have other vaccines and preventative care such as annual physicals, dentistry, and fecals done. Please give our office call at 609-291-0535 to schedule your appointment! You can find recommended vaccines at our website below.

Recommended Vaccines 
Dr. Makkreel is Warbling!

The birds know it's spring and so does Dr. Makkreel! She will be lending her lovely soprano to the New Jersey Chamber Singers spring concerts entitled "Requiem: Vive la France!" One concert will be at Christ Episcopal Church in Toms River at 8pm, Friday, April 29, 2016. The second concert will be at Trinity Episcopal Church in Red Bank at 2pm on Sunday, May 1, 2016. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. To get tickets in advance, leave a message for Dr. Makkreel at the office at 609-291-0535. Please click the link for more information about the   New Jersey Chamber Singers.
What if you DO Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth?
Everyone knows that you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. And why not? Probably because you are likely to find that your gift horse is a bit older than the giver told you he was. Aging horses based on their teeth is not an exact science, and it can take years of experience to be competent. If aging the horse is of critical importance, please have your veterinarian do it for you. However, if you want to try to do it yourself, how would you? 

The easiest part of the horse's mouth to look at are the incisors, or front teeth. Horses have 12 incisors and up to 4 canine teeth, though geldings are more likely to have canines than mares. Just like people, horses first grow baby teeth, or deciduous teeth, then these teeth fall out and are replaced by a permanent set that the horse keeps throughout his life.

In foals, the deciduous incisors are often wider than they are tall. Foals get their first four incisors within the first week of life. These are the central four. The second four incisors erupt at approximately 4-6 weeks old, and the third set of four (the corners) erupt at 6-9 months old. Therefore, you can reliably estimate the age of a foal based not only on body size, but dentition.

As foals grow up, they begin to lose their deciduous incisors. In general, they replace the central set of incisors at 2.5 years, the middle set at 3.5 years, and the corner set at 4.5 years.  The permanent teeth tend to be more rectangular in shape and taller than they are wide. Especially when the permanent teeth are newly erupted, they have a very deep cup in the chewing surface called the infundibulum.

So, here is a quiz. How old are these horses?

Horse 1:
This horse is A) 6 months  B) 1.5 years  C) 2.5 years  D) 3.5 years

Horse 2:
This horse is A) 1 year B) 2 years  C) 3 years  D) 4 years

Horse 3:
This horse is A) 1 year B) 2 years  C) 3 years  D) 4 years

Horse 4:
This horse is A) 6 months  B) 2 years  C) 4 years  D) 6 years

Horse 5:
This horse is A) 3 days  B) 6 weeks  C) 9 months  D) really cute!

Quiz Answers (Don't Cheat!)
Horse 1 is B) 1.5 years old. He has all of incisors, but they are all deciduous (baby) teeth meaning he is older than 9 months and younger than 2.5 years.

Horse 2 is C) 3 years old. His central incisors are permanent teeth, but the middle and corner incisors are still deciduous (baby) teeth. This makes him between 2.5 years old and 3.5 years old.

Horse 3 is D) 4 years old. His central and middle incisors are permanent teeth, but his corner incisors are still deciduous teeth, making him between 3.5 and 4.5 years old.

Horse 4 is D) 6 years old. He has a full set of permanent incisors, making him older than 4.5 years. However, if we look at the chewing surface of his incisors, he may well be older than that. (We will cover this in a future article.)

Horse 5 is A) 3 days old (or D) really cute! is also an acceptable answer here.) Other than just looking at his body size, you can also see as he lifts his lip that he has NO incisors, making him less than 1 week old.

If you didn't do that well, don't worry. The veterinarians at Foundation Equine are happy to help you age your horse anytime! 
  Foundation Equine Wellness and Performance | 609-291-0535| info@foundationequinenj.com www.foundationequinenj.com
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