South Shore Equine Clinic & Diagnostic Center
Equine Veterinary Services South Shore Boston Massachusetts

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Bits & Pieces: February 2009







SSEC is happy to provide our clients with a wellness plan option for their horses. By signing up for the wellness plan you will receive  3 farm calls, core vaccinations (not including strangles), coggins testing, complete blood screening, annual exam (including ophthalmic exam), oral exam with power float and any necessary sedation, sheath cleaning for geldings, 2 fecal egg counts, 2 doses of Ivermectin/Praziquantel dewormer, and nutritional and health counseling. Additionally, you will receive a 5% discount off of all professional services performed on the enrolled horse for the 2009 year!  By signing up for the wellness plan you will reduce the annual veterinary costs of maintaining a healthy horse by almost 50%!

Please call to discuss the wellness plan option with our patient care coordinators and sign your horse up today.  A healthy horse is a happy horse!

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How to Minimize Respiratory Disease in your Barn during the Colder Months

How many times this winter have you walked into the barn in the early morning or at night and heard coughing? The occasional “clear your throat” cough at the start of exercise is acceptable; however, it is not normal for a horse to cough while it is standing in its stall or in turnout. During these colder months it is very easy to bundle up our horses and close the barn windows and doors to maximize warmth. What many of us forget is that horses need a constant supply of good, clean air flow (ventilation) in their stalls and barn to minimize inhaled

Respiratory disease as a result of poor ventilation is universally recognized as debilitating, performance limiting and sometimes even fatal. Because horses live in an environment that is full of airborne allergens (dust from shavings or pellets, mold, hay, dirt, ammonia from urine, etc.) it is extremely important to provide them with a constant source of ventilation.  Otherwise, while they eat, stand and sleep in their stalls they are constantly exposed to all of these allergens.
Without good ventilation your horse’s respiratory system is on overdrive to clear all of these inhaled allergens and dust particles, making them more susceptible to infection with a respiratory virus (Influenza, Equine herpes), a bacteria, or developing chronic airway hypersensitivity and small airway inflammatory disease (COPD/SAID).

When a horse coughs, it is an indication of irritation or inflammation somewhere in his or her airway. By following a few easy steps you can minimize coughing in your stable 365 days a year!

Steps to Minimize Respiratory Disease

VENTILATION!!  VENTILATION!!  VENTILATION!!   A constant supply of fresh air (oxygen) will reduce mold and minimize the inhalation of toxic particles.
Turn Out / Exercise; Horses tolerate (and prefer) much colder temperatures than humans. Providing plenty of turnout with a run-in shed or shelter so they can get out of the wind in all but the worst weather is ideal.

Good Quality Hay with minimal dust and NO mold is ideal, but can still be a source of inhaled allergens and respiratory compromise.

Wetting the Hay will help minimize aerosolized and inhaled particles. It is especially good for horses that may have airway hypersensitivity or pharyngitis. However, it does require daily clean up to minimize moisture and mold. 

Vaccination at least biannually with ‘Flu/Rhino’ (Influenza/Rhinopneumonitis) vaccine will help protect your horse from contracting respiratory viruses.

Ammonia Reduction is imperative in maintaining healthy respiratory epithelium.  Removing urine soaked bedding at least twice daily (when horses are confined to a stall) and providing good ventilation will minimize the toxic effects of inhaled ammonia. *Note: By the time a human can smell ammonia in a barn, it is already causing damage to the horse’s respiratory tract by damaging and decreasing the muco-ciliary apparatus’ ability to clear inhaled allergens.

Remember ventilation is just as important in the summer months too!!


We are happy to announce that reproductive services at South Shore Equine Clinic have expanded! In addition to Artificial Insemination, we now offer Embryo Transfer. In November, 2008, Dr. Reilly attended an intense, hands-on seminar where they mastered the techniques of flushing and acquiring equine embryos and embryo transfer.  

Seven days after breeding a donor mare to a fertile stallion, the embryo is flushed and recovered from the donor mare and transferred into a synchronized recipient mare (surrogate).  The advantages of embryo transfer include the following: 

(1) obtaining foals from performance mares that continue to show and compete or that are for sale; (2) obtaining multiple foals from individual mares each year;
(3) obtaining foals from two-year-old mares, (4) obtaining foals from reproductively unsound mares; (5) obtaining foals from mares with non-reproductive health problems; and (6) obtaining foals from genetically superior mares. 

Studies have shown that embryos from aged, sub-fertile mares are often defective and have low survival rates.  Therefore, older mares are not ideal candidates for this program.  South Shore Equine Clinic is now working in conjunction with Equine Reproduction Concepts (ERC), a clinic specializing in breeding and embryo transfer based in Virginia.  The ERC has a herd of recipient mares that can carry your donor mare’s embryo to term if you do not have your own recipient mare. 

Please contact Dr. Reilly if you would like your mare considered for our embryo transfer program.  We are also happy to work with your veterinarian to provide this advanced breeding technique. The breeding season is right around the corner and starting early will ensure the most time for optimal success!

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We would like to acknowledge the following employees for their dedication to hard work and their commitment to excellence at SSEC!!

Sarah Wojtyto, our office manager, is recognized for her dedication to continued improvement at SSEC. She has been with us since the beginning! Not only has she helped us with laying the rubber flooring and mucking the occasional stall, but has taken on the ever challenging task of managing a new business in today’s volatile economy—not a job for just anyone!

Sarah Nicotri, our patient care coordinator, has been with us for 1 year and has been named the South Shore Equine’s 2009 employee of the year.  No task is too big or too small for Sarah; and she always goes the extra mile...with a smile!

Thank you both for your ongoing efforts in maintaining an environment that is devoted to providing the best, up to date services for our clients and patients!

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