SmartPak’s Ask the Vet: Shivers, Sheath Cleaning, Vitamin E, and More!

by Dr. Lydia Gray | September 1st, 2016 11:44 PM | No Comments

[originally published in the August 2016 issue of Show Horse Today]

SmartPak is excited to bring a new video version of their popular Ask The Vet series with Dr. Lydia Gray.  Watch below to learn more about: 

  • I am adopting a draft horse with whom I’ve worked with for several years. He is a 10-12 year old Belgian gelding who has a slight “wobble” in his head when he’s standing at liberty or while tied as well as stringhalt-like symptoms in his right hind. I’ve been told that his condition is called “shivers” though to the best of my knowledge it’s never been officially diagnosed by a veterinarian. He appears to be otherwise workably sound and happy to do his job around the farm with his teammate; it’s been something we’ve learned to work around. From my understanding of the condition, it’s degenerative so I’m anticipating a lot of time over the next few years making sure his quality of life is the best it can be. Are there any exercises, feeding programs or supplements that will help his shivers symptoms?
  • My horse’s sheath gets dirty very quickly, and I can give him baths and clean it in the late spring, summer, and early fall, but when the weather turns cold I can’t clean his sheath without getting him cold and wet. Is there a way I could keep his sheath clean without a bath?
  • Going along with the water after work question from last month…what about feeding them grain? When is it safe to feed our horses after or even before riding? I was always told 30 minutes, but is that true?
  • My vet has recently been pushing for all her clients’s horses to get more Vitamin E. What is Vitamin E used for in the horse? How much should a horse be getting per day? And should you use a natural or unnatural supplement? What’s the difference?
  • How do you treat and prevent stubborn cases of scratches?

About the Author

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal.

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