The Amazing Flow of the Standards of Proficiency as seen through the Veterinary Knowledge block
By Rae Birr, Pony Club Board of Governor and Veterinarian

• Discuss what a veterinarian is.
• Give one reason a vet might treat your mount.

• Give two reasons to have your mount routinely checked by a veterinarian.

Improving powers of observation.

• Name some symptoms of a sick or injured mount that would cause you to seek help.

Going from basic to more complex, Introduce an understanding that routine care is needed.

• Know health care schedule for own mount including dates of inoculations
(tetanus, encephalomyelitis, etc.), deworming, floating of teeth, shoeing.

At this point, as any C-1 knows, the expectation of working knowledge of Horse Management is expanded. Some disease names are introduced showing a comfort level with the terminology.

• Describe how tetanus and strangles are transmitted.

Some specifics are now expected in Health Care knowledge. Strangles (also called equine distemper) should be more than a familiar name, an understanding of how horses can contract the disease becomes important. Strangles is transmitted by contact with bacteria-laden mucus and pus from an infected horse via direct contact or by the discharges being carried by wind, clothing, tools, water and tack.

• Discuss causes, signs, preventive measures and care of mount for the following: colic, laminitis/founder, insulin resistance, influenza, strangles, tetanus, encephalomyelitis, rhinopneumonitis, heaves, choke, skin and tooth problems, West Nile virus, and rabies.

This represents a leap in understanding of equine diseases but it is an appropriate flow of knowledge.

Continuing with strangles as an example, the HB Certification candidate needs to know what a horse with strangles may look and act like and what causes the disease. Streptococcus equi is the bacteria that causes strangles. A very common sign is large abscesses under the jaw that rupture and drain French’s Mustard yellow pus in large amounts. This distinctive yellow drainage may come from the nostrils as well. They have fever and they act “sick.” They do not eat well and they may have a cough. This disease is extremely contagious.

• Locate and discuss the following disorders/diseases according to the anatomical system involved, causative agent, signs, and care: colic, , , ,strangles, . . .

Strangles is a disease of the lymphatic system, the respiratory system and can potentially involve the function of any internal organ (bastard strangles). The bacteria colonizes the lymphatic tissue at the back of the horse’s throat (pharynx) and the guttural pouches where it can be dormant for long periods of time (carrier state). There is controversy over when to treat strangles (before or after abscesses rupture, at first sign of fever, etc.) and an HA candidate should have an idea of why there is controversy. Penicillin injections is the definitive treatment along with other supportive care. A clear understanding of how to quarantine an ill horse would be expected here.

The Standards of Proficiency clearly build from D-1 to HA!