Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Drug Testing, Update on Horse #18 and Road Trip in the Works!

My vet e-mailed me the following information concerning pre-purchase drug testing - always something to think about, particularly if a horse is being purchased from a sale barn/dealer or is a performance horse:
Here is the information regarding toxicology screening.  The company that we use is called Center for Tox Services, website: www.centertoxservices.com.  They have a "pre-purchase drug screen" panel that we use.  The test screens for the presence or absence of certain drugs, not the levels.  (They can give you levels but that requires additional testing and costs.)  The company is based in Tempe, AZ, and does testing on Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Fri.  FYI, samples must be shipped overnight so if you're considering doing this test, I would recommend having your pre-purchase exam done on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
The drugs included in this panel are: albuterol, acepromazine, betamethasone, butorphanol, clenbuterol, detomidine, dexamethasone, flumethasone, flunixin, fluphenazine, isoxuprine, lidocaine, mepivacaine, methyl predinisolone, pentazocine, promazine, reserpine, romifidine, acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), benzocaine, ephedrine, furosemide, ibuprofen, ketorolac, ketoprofen, meclofenamic acid, methyl phenidate, methocarbamol, naproxen, oxyphenbutazone, phenylbutazone, penylpropanolamine, procaine, xylazine.  
If you notice, firocoxib is not in this list.  Firocoxib is found in equioxx and previcox, and is a type of NSAID (pain reliever, antiinflammatory).  If you are concerned, you can request additional testing but I do not have that information here for you.
Lots of things people can give horses to treat or mask pain or inflammation or modify behavior, aren't there?  Just something to keep in mind if you're ever doing a pre-purchase exam and aren't completely sure of what the seller might have done to make the horse more saleable.  I don't mean to be a cynic, but you have to wonder sometimes about people in some parts of the horse world.  And, if you ever have such a tox screen run, remember that some herbal supplements can also mask pain or soreness, or calm a horse, or can cause false positives on drug tests - it's a good idea to ask a seller what medicines/supplements a horse is on, as some uses are certainly legitimate.

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I had a chance to talk to the seller of horse #18 - the blue roan gelding. (If you can't keep track of which horse is which, check the sidebars.) The seller runs two trail and pleasure showing barns, one in Wisconsin and one about an hour from me in Illinois.  She got the horse fairly recently - she's essentially a dealer - from some friends of her parents, who had been using the horse for occasional trail riding.  She says it's not clear how much training the horse really had - he was under saddle and would go down the trail even when pulled out of the pasture after a long interval.  She's been working with him, and says he's a quick learner and has a good walk, trot and lope - the video shows this well - he's got pretty nice gaits.  She says she would like his lope to be slower - she's a pleasure trainer after all as she says - and they've been working on that.  She says he's sound and has always been barefoot.  She's done quite a bit of trail riding with him and he does well - there's no spook, just looking.  He's never bucked, reared or bolted.  He's been turned out with mares and geldings, and is a mid-pack sort of horse.

The one thing she would change about him is the speed of his lope, and also his head-shyness - he's particularly ear shy, and especially about one ear.  She's been working with him on haltering and bridling - the first time she tried to bridle him when she started to put the headstall over his ears he shot backwards.  This indicates to me that he's been handled roughly at some point in the past - probably ear-twitched - I know what I'd like to do to people who ear-twitch horses and it's not printable.  My Noble came to me extremely head-shy - in addition to not wanting to have his ears touched, he would show fear if you raised a hand towards his head - I think he'd been hit in the face.  It took us a while to work through this and he was never completely comfortable having his ears handled.  This sort of issue is one I can work through and don't worry about too much, but I'd be on the watch when I see him for other signs that he might have been mishandled in other ways in his past. His pedigree apparently includes Blue Valentine on the top, although I'm still waiting for more details. He's pretty close to me and will be worth a look, if none of my road trip horses work out.

* * * * * *
Ah, the road trip - the l . . o . . n . . g road trip!  I thought about this long and hard - the farthest horse I'm planning to see is more than 8 hours drive away.  Sigh . . . but they're such nice horses. . .  So, I sucked it up and I'm going to do it - my plans are to leave Sunday morning after barn chores and drive about 4 hours to see horse #20, then drive another 2 hours and stay overnight in Eau Claire.  Then on Monday, I'll drive up to north of Minneapolis - about 2 more hours - and see horses #10 and #12 - yes, #12 is still available!  This isn't all arranged yet - I'm still trying to set up appointments with horses #20 and #10 - but I think it'll come together.  I'm also still trying to get in touch with the owner of horse #11 - I left a message several days ago and haven't heard back - this horse is fairly close to horses #10 and #12, and would be worth a visit too if the phone call goes well.  Depending on what happens - if I find a horse I really like - I'll try to schedule a vet exam and any necessary brand and veterinary health inspections while I'm there.  My older daughter would then drive up and pick the horse up on a day off.

Keep your fingers crossed!  If none of these horses pan out, then I'll probably suspend the horse search until spring.

22 comments:

  1. This looks like a pretty interesting trip! Can't wait to read about it.

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  2. I hope you have some luck on the trip. There are some really nice horses available to you.

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  3. Oooh! Can't you just find some horses down in my area and drive a little furtther south? I'd love to meet you someday :)

    I hope your road trip is safe and successful.
    I can't wait to read all about it :)

    ~Lisa

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  4. I hope you have fun! I'm debating over postponing my horse search until spring. Besides, I have someone at my barn attempting to set me up to look at and test ride a bay gelding. It's an ex-ponying horse, so supposedly he's well trained, but we'll see. =) He's free! Anyways... good luck on your road trip - I hope you are successful! Best of luck!
    ~MunciEquestrian~

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  5. Kate, Your trip sounds exciting! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that you find a wonderful horse! I'm curious about one thing... if you see a horse you like, how will you locate a local vet you can trust for the exam? Perhaps your regular vet has recommendations of vets in those areas. Just wondering... Good luck- can't wait to hear what you learn!

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  6. great info on the drug testing Kate, thank you.

    Hope your rode trip goes well and it's successful!

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  7. Wow, I had no idea there were so many drugs available to alter horses in some way! The list went on and on and on...

    The road trip sounds fun! Long, but fun. I wouldn't mind a long road trip if I was using it to shop for horses. :)

    Good luck!

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  8. Wow--that's a lot of driving. Good luck--I hope you have peace of mind in whatever way you decide to go. And I really hope you're able to find that perfect horse for you!!

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  9. Fingers and toes crossed for you! Sounds like it will be fun no matter what!

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  10. How exciting! Can't wait for pix from the road trip.

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  11. The roan guy sounds interesting :)

    I've flown to other countries to look at horses, somehow that seems less of a chore than the drive you have ahead! Have a very safe journey and lots of luck for finding that next equine partner, fingers are indeed crossed!

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  12. Are you bringing the trailer with you on your road trip? Hope it all goes well!! Do you plan to run the bloodwork as part of the PPE or just have it pulled and run it later if anything suspicious comes up? Can't wait to see more pictures and I'm glad #12 is still available, I think he's still my favorite of the group.

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  13. Jan - I haven't got the vet check thing figured out quite yet - we'll either have to haul the horse to a clinic or else have a farm visit. I'd prefer to deal with a vet the seller doesn't already use, but if need be I will use their vet - I can watch the flex tests myself and can look at the x-rays as well - I'm no expert but I can see a lot of things having seen a lot of not right things in the past.

    Laura M - I'm deliberately not bringing my trailer with me on this trip - I don't want to look over-eager to the sellers, there are some logistical issues - my rig is 55' nose to tail - and it'll also mean I don't have to make a snap decision. Fortunately, my older daughter's willing to make the trip back to pick up a horse if I find the right one.

    I will decide on doing a tox screen depending on what vibes I get from the seller and the environment the horse is in. Anyone can dope a horse, but my tactic of showing up early and asking to not have the horse gotten ready beforehand helps, as does not dealing with a sale barn or a dealer - in my experience doping is a lot more common in those environments (apologies to honest dealers and sales barns out there).

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  14. Lisa - that's a far piece to drive, although I'd like to meet you too! Maybe someday we can figure out a way - I've always thought that someday it would be fun to drive all around the country and stopping off to see horse blogger friends.

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  15. Wow that #18 Blue Roan sure is a LOOKER! Ear shy..poor guy if he was ear twitched..jeez. I feel so bad for horses that are so head shy b/c you know it's a learned fear typically.
    Good luck on your search! You are right, there are too many shady horse dealors out there!!

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  16. Thanks for the wonderful info on tox/drug screening. Great post.

    I love to window shop, and getting to do this vicariously is terrific. I hope your trip goes well, and you have a blast trying different horses, and get a great match!

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  17. Horse shopping is a good way to increase your knowledge; every horse presents a different aspect, problem, or promise. Thanks for taking us on this journey, and I hope you choose one of them this week. Just a word on the Blue Valentine horse, that is from the Hancock line, good solid dependable using horses, many of them are used in ranch and roping events.

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  18. Is it weird for me to be so excited for you? I can't wait to read about your adventures with your new horse once you decide. It's almost like getting my own new horse (only cheaper).

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  19. My fingers and toes are crossed!!! I am getting excited for you!!!

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  20. Keeping those fingers crossed for you!!

    On drug testing- I would totally reccomend it. I wish I would have done it on a previous horse. Went out to try him multiple times and he was great. Got him home and he was a totally different horse. It would have saved me a lot of headache/heartache if I had done it pre-purchase!

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  21. I know you probably want something younger, and probably have plenty to look at already, but I saw this mare and had to pass her along: http://www.horseclicks.com/horses/ny37vs/

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  22. Kate, if you ever decide to meet up with your blogger buddies, count me in on that trip! I'd love to meet you someday!

    P.S. Good lucky with your trip...can't wait to hear all about it!

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