U program educates public about horse health

Saturday’s program connected veterinary faculty members and horse owners.

Lynn Samuelson leaned into the horse and picked up its foot. She placed the bandage flat over the hoof and wrapped bright pink bandage tape around it in a figure eight pattern.

Samuelson, of Menomonie, Wis., took part in the Veterinary Continuing Education Hands-on Day at the University this weekend.

Saturday’s program was the first of its kind in the equine department, said Jan Swanson, College of Veterinary Medicine director of outreach.

Samuelson volunteers at Refuge Farms in Spring Valley, Wis., a farm that cares for abused, starved and neglected horses.

She said she attended the program to learn how to help injured horses at the farm before veterinarians arrive.

The school wanted to connect University veterinary faculty members with horse owners, and “it’s easier to get a group together than going out to individuals,” Swanson said.

Fifty horse owners filled the auditorium at 9 a.m. to learn about horse nutrition from Larry Lawrence from Kentucky Equine Research.

He discussed nutrition information from water to protein requirements and how to tell if a horse is overweight.

At the same time, another group of attendees learned about first aid for injured horses and got to try their hand at bandaging.

Patty Norwig from Hampton brought her daughters, Emily, 12, and Angie, 10.

“We have one horse that gets injured all the time,” Norwig said. “We thought this (program) would be a good idea.”

She said her horses have had lacerations on their legs or an injured hoof she had to care for.

Sophomore veterinary student Freya Stein showed the Norwigs how to apply a bandage. Then they each tried to wrap layers of padding, gauze and bandage tape around the legs. The horse kept busy nibbling hay.

The group also discussed specific injuries with University veterinarian surgeon Micky Trent.

To foster discussion about treatment, she showed the horse owners a picture of a horse that had sheared off its skin on a fence.

“We’ll see what your first impulses are and what you might do next,” Trent said.

She explained the process of holding your fist to the wound and adding pressure to determine the amount of blood lost.

Other classes during the day included problems with obesity, infectious diseases, hay and toxins to help owners take care of their horses and avoid problems. Participants also received a tour of the horse facilities on campus.

Freelance Editor Emily Kaiser welcomes comments at [email protected].