Friday, February 22, 2013

Seminar and a Hike

All That on Cold Winter Days

Wednesday t night, I attended a seminar put on by my veterinarian, Dr. Elden Klayman, on horse metabolic diseases. He discussed EMS--Equine Metabolic Syndrome, and Cushings.  

While I did know most of the information he was presenting, it was still interesting. He had actual horse hooves there with laminitis from horses he had humanely destroyed do to the damage. Seeing a hoof with the coffin bone pushed through the sole of the horse's foot was a sobering reminder of how serious the disease can become. 

Both Tucker and Chance are "fat boys," although Dr. Klayman prefers to refer to fat horses based on a scale of 1-9 rather than "fat."  It could well be they are both EMS candidates, but despite their weight, they do not show the fatty deposits serious EMS horses are. But there is a new test that does not require fasting to diagnose the disease, so I may get them checked. Actually there is not much to do to treat it except manage their diets.  Most supplements suggested do not do much to help them better regulate their insulin production and its effect. 

Cushings, which Toby tested positive for, is now controlled with Presecend--peroglide, a drug that helps regulate the thyroid. The only upsetting fact Dr. Klayman stressed is that Cushings cannot be cured, but it can just be managed. It's likely that as time goes on, Toby will need higher doses of the drug to manage his symptoms. 

It was a good night out, despite the bitter cold and a relatively long drive in the dark to get to Freehold for the seminar. 

So, yesterday, the weather was not much better. But my fellow environmental activist, Joe, and I are not deterred by wind chill factors. Off we went into the southwestern part of the Pigeon Swamp State Park, to explore.

This time we headed into the woods on a trail that disappeared soon after we took the left branch. We were headed for another lake in the woods. This one is also an abandoned sand mine. It was once part of the operation across the street from my house, but ran into some kind of problem with access because in order to mine the company had to cross State Lands. At any rate, it closed down and the land has bounced around in ownership for years, finally being traded by my Township to the State in order to do some road widening project that was encroaching on other State lands. (Things get kind of complicated around here.)

This lake is really pretty and larger than I thought.  While there were no trails around it I did manage to get about half way around before hitting some pretty thick brush. Meanwhile, we also found The Great Ditch and explored the west side of it a bit--no way to cross as it was full of water.

What is The Great Ditch?  It dates back to the 1700's when the local farmers tried to drain the swamplands for farming by digging a drainage canal. These farmers, from what we know, were rich and powerful landowners in the area with huge tracts of land, tons of grain and crops to sell to the other colonies, and--slaves to do the work.

The Ditch itself stretches for miles, and I'd surmise much of the digging was done by slave labor, and certainly by hand. Written history of the project is pretty sketchy, but there is an official New Jersey proclamation authorizing the project.

Draining a swamp is virtually impossible, mostly because true swampland is where the water table rises naturally to the surface. It would take far more than a 10'-15' wide canal to drain water that's naturally fed like that. But engineering back in the 18th century was not quite as informed as we are today.

I plan on walking the east side of the Ditch soon, just to see where it goes and better appreciate its scope. At some point, on the West side, it feeds into a brook that leads to Farrington Lake, thus serving as the headwaters to a large water supply to the area. I am always intrigued by the the interconnection of our waterways, so exploring the source of one is fascinating.

While it certainly was cold out there and I did, despite some very good layers of clothing, get pretty chilled, winter is the time to explore these areas. If we wait for warmer weather, the mosquitoes will carry us off.

Not my favorite way to travel. *G*


  1. We've dealt with laminitis with Dusty twice now. She's not really fat but has been affected for some reason. Thank goodness our farrier has worked with our vet and the special shoeing she gets has helped tremendously. So far so good, knock on wood.

    Mellon has also been diagnosed with Cushing's and is on the same medication as Toby. He seems to be doing okay too.

    Your hike sounds strenuous but interesting. I'm always interested in the history surrounding an area where I live. Sounds like your new knees are working out for you!

  2. I've read about The Great Ditch in "Weird New Jersey", but I've never been to see it. Sounds neat! That also reminds me that I need to work on my hacking trails while it's cold. The mosquitos and green heads will be out before you know it!

    I worry about laminitis with my fat little pony. She gets very little food and I lunge her a few times a week (weather permitting), but she still stays fat. So far she's been ok, but I'm afraid it's only a matter of time.

  3. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Lily has Cushings, but it's well managed with pergolide.

    The only supplement that I've found that makes a difference to insulin resistance/glucose metabolism/related footsoreness is one containing chromium - there was actually a small study in race horses that showed that it improved glucose metabolism. The supplement I use is a custom one formulated by one of my vets - it contains magnesium, chromium, selenium (we're in a low-selenium area) and vitamin E.