Equitarian Initiative

208586_10151501266119228_1853540683_nThis week in honor of Client Appreciation Day on Saturday, we are introducing the organization our silent auction will be benefiting, the Equitarian Initiative.

Equitarian Initiative is a non-profit organization created by veterinarians to improve the heath of the working horse in low income and developing areas. Collaborating with local veterinarians, other organizations, and veterinary colleges, the Equitarian Initiative works to improve learning opportunities which therefore improves the basic health care found in both the United States and internationally.

Mission Statement:
Equitarian Initiative prepares volunteer veterinarians worldwide to deliver health care and 69115_10151216253734228_1562934646_neducation to improve the health, nutrition, productivity, and welfare of horses, donkeys, and mules, and to empower their care providers for sustainable change.

What They Do:
– Direct aid –
Through hands-on learning and discussion at the Equitarian Workshops and Equitarian projects throughout many parts of the world, veterinarians are empowered and mentored to join and start health care delivery and education projects.

Collaboration – Equitarian Initiative and volunteer veterinarians maintain project success by partnering with local veterinarians, veterinary colleges, and charities which share their vision.

Education – An emphasis on community partnership creates a two-way educational discussion between working equid caretakers discussing the value of their animals and volunteers sharing the best methods to provide animal care.

Inspiration – They increase public awareness of the vital role working equids play in developing economies and the critical support they provide for the livelihood of the families which depend on them.

If you are interested in reading more information on the Equitarian Initiative, the link below will direct you to an EQUUS article written by Dr. Julie Wilson; whom is the co-founder of the Equitarian Initiative.

In addition, the following link provides a video documenting the Equitarian Initiative work completed during a workshop in these areas.

Equitarian Initiative Website: http://www.equitarianinitiative.org/

Equitarian Initiative Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EquitarianInitiative

Upcoming Events:

902019_182835585239468_182555562_o5th Equitarian Workshop Nicaragua, October 19 – 26, 2014

This is the second year Anoka Equine Veterinary Services is hosting a silent auction during our Client Appreciation Day benefitting the Equitarian Initiative’s work. Items are donated to the auction from local businesses; such as, Stone Ridge Equestrian and Cowgirl Tough. For a complete list of donating businesses, please visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/anokaequine).

If you are unable to attend the event and would like to help support this cause, personal donations can be made here: (https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=AaIAe1-iDHQlGfzu6qkE0otFuM6VNbth79W7PkSQIyYgntnuhmRIHcKh-Du&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8dae318ac9ffd6aa6b72a490566890f82e).


Compounded Drugs

By: Katie Jones, CVT

Every day we are bombarded with drug choices both in stores and through social media. coumponded drugsVeterinarian pharmacies are not any different. Adequan®, Banamine®, and GastroGuard® are all common names many have heard and learned about. A drug is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “as any substance, food, or nonfood intended for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, or prevention of disease in humans or other animals; any substance intended to affect body structure or function; or any substance administered by infection.”1 There are several different drug classifications a veterinarian can choose from when prescribing medication for their patients. The classifications are generic, brand name or patented drugs, and compounded drugs.

The first type of classification we will discuss is brand name drugs. Brand name drugs were developed and tested by their creating company. Once they are tested and approved by the FDA, the company holds the drug patent up to 12 years. After the patent expires, other manufactures are able to create their own version of the drug and sell it at a lower price; these new drugs are called generic drugs. Generic drugs are marketed under their chemical name but have the same dosage, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics, and intended use as the brand name version. (For example: Acetaminophen is the generic name of Tylenol.) Both the brand and generic versions of a drug are FDA approved. The FDA approves all drugs through their testing for efficacy, quality, purity, strength, bioavailability, and stability before being available to the public. So why choose generic over the brand name version? Simply, PRICE.

Why are generic drugs so much cheaper when they are designed to be identical products to their brand name counterpart? The primary answer is generic drug developers have much less overhead invested into the drug. The original creators of the drug have invested large sums of money and time into the development, clinical trials, and marketing of the drug. By the time a specific drug is FDA approved, the creating company on average has invested 10 years and around $40 million into the product. These costs can skyrocket into the billions once the drug is in the hands of consumers.

Compounded drugsThe final type of drug classification is compounded drugs. Compounding is defined as “the art and science of mixing ingredients, which may be active, inactive, or both, to create a specific dosage form to meet a specific patient’s needs.”2 Many horse owners have used compounded drugs at one time or another. There are multiple reasons why drugs are compounded, here are a few: to add flavor, to combine two different drugs, to suspend a drug for oral administration, or to treat a horse with a drug not currently available with FDA approval. Due to the lower sale cost and the limited demand for certain drugs, drug developers have less incentive to invest millions into creating new drugs. This is where compounding comes in. Compounding allows veterinarians the ability to offer certain drugs as treatment options for horses. Though they are not regulated by the FDA, there are rules regarding the creation and prescription of compounded drugs:

  1. Compounded drugs can only be prescribed in circumstances where a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship has been established.
  2. A drug can not be compounded if there is a FDA-approved drug available that will effectively treat the horse.
  3. The drug needs to be created from a FDA-approved commercially available drug; not from a bulk source.
  4. The compounding of the drug must be done by a licensed veterinarian or pharmacist.

Even with the previous rules and regulations there are risks associated with compound drug use. For one, mathematical errors can occur when ingredients are mixed. If the mixture doesn’t contain enough active ingredient, the drug will be ineffective; on the other hand, if too much is added, adverse reactions can be seen. Secondly, during the creation of the drug there is always a chance a chemical reaction will take place when multiple drugs are mixed together. Compounded drugs typically have a short shelf life which means they expire fairly quickly, making them a ‘use it or lose it’ drug. Finally, labeling errors can occur which can change the efficiency of the drug. Due to all these complications, it is very important to only purchase compounded drugs through a veterinarian.

Overall, compounded drugs are a great resource in situations where a horse requires treatment when otherwise there would not be one. Compounded drugs should only be used under veterinary direction and should not be purchased from pharmacies that are selling expensive drugs cheaply.


1. Food and Drug Administration-Center for Veterinary Medicine. FDA seeks to clear up confusion about compounding. Jam Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1103-1106

Horse Lovers Are Really Sick People

During this holiday weekend, when we are enjoying the company of friends and family as summer is winding down, I hope that you get the opportunity to enjoy your equine friend(s). Due to it being a holiday, I thought instead of having the blog dedicated to a medical topic I would share with you my favorite story from the Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul. I know it describes me, so I know it will touch the hearts of most of you.


Horse Lovers Are Really Sick People

Did you ever stop to wonder what exactly it is about horses that makes so many people fall obsessively in love with them?

One contribution factor is the number of horse-related stories so many of us read as kids. Black Beauty, The Black Stallion, My Friend Flicka, CW Anderson’s Billy and Blaze stories, Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind……the list goes on and on. And, of course every horse-mad girl (or boy) that I’ve ever know has a collection of Breyer horse models. But what exactly is the unknown thing that pushes a normal kid to ask, over and over again, “Mommy, Daddy, when can I have a pony?”

I have long believed that it is very easy to fall in love with horses. Why shouldn’t it be? They are beautiful, powerful animals; the stuff of fantasy and legend. They are an integral part of our country’s history and the rest of the worlds as well. The very fact that a mere person can bond and form a partnership with such a large and intelligent creature has inspired art, literature, and myth throughout the ages. But how…why…what makes it happen?

I have a theory about that. I believe that the love of all things equine, the true love, is a virus. Most people are carriers of the infection. Many will suffer the symptoms at some point in their lives, usually late childhood to mid-teens. Then there are those who are terminal, destined to exist in the grip of the horse-love virus for their entire life span.

What other rational explanation could there be to explain the intense emotional, physical can financial sacrifices we make for our horses? Why on earth would a normal, sane person dedicate all of his or her time to grooming a very big animal that is going to roll in the mud as soon as he gets outside? It certainly can’t be considered typical behavior to spend the better part of the day picking bits of poop out of a stall with a pitchfork, or spending all one’s free hours in a barn. And why would anyone even want to be at the barn when the weather is soggy, freezing, or hot enough to melt your eyeballs? The concept of horse ownership seems to defy all logic.

It starts innocently enough. The average young girl rides a carousel horse for the first time. Not long after, she graduates to pony rides. One Christmas morning, she receives a toy horse or her first copy of Black Beauty. Her parents notice their little darling clipping pictures of horses out of magazines and making a scrapbook. Her weekly allowance is deposited into an elaborately decorated, equine-themed coffee-can for the future horse-purchasing fund. The Barbie dolls are shoved into the closet and replaces with Barbie’s horse, Breyer models, Grand Champions, or whatever other brand the local toy stop carries. Christmas rolls around again, and the obligatory letter to Santa simply begs, “Please bring me a pony.”

Her parents chuckle to themselves, “Oh, she’ll grow out of it,” and in some instances, they could be right. There are those who escape the clutches of the virus. Puberty hits and the rush of hormones occasionally is strong enough to extinguish the infection. But not always.

If the virus persists, the requests for driving lesions are now accompanied by those for riding lessons. The coffee-can fund is in the bank and the horse-crazy teenager is looking for a part-time job to raise additional cash. Instead of rock stars and athletes, posters of galloping horses cover the bedroom walls. Books on stable management and horse care join the well-read storybooks on the shelf. Horses are scribbled on the covers of notebooks. Book reports and class projects consistently revolve around an equine subject. Shopping expeditions always include a quick side trip to the local saddlery. No, she may not own a horse, but she already had riding boots, a hoof pick, brushes and a halter, all displayed in a place of honor in her bedroom.

If the parents are willing to treat the symptoms, the victim may get riding lessons. If she is truly fortunate (and her folks have the cash), she might actually get a horse. Then there are those poor, sad souls, the riders without horses. Perhaps college got in the way, or marriage and motherhood. The virus is still there; nighttime finds the subject tossing verdant fields. Oftentimes, these folks may have to wait until the mortgage is pad and the kids have moved away before being able to satisfy the needs of the disease.

I am not trying to scare you by telling you all of this. I only seek to warn you, to let you know what to expect in yourself or younger members of your family. You see, I speak from experience. I am a terminal horse-lover virus patient. It hit me early, when I was about three and had received my first Breyer model horse. It stayed with me through my childhood, up to college and into adulthood. My parents were very understanding, and provided therapy during my teen years in the form of riding lessons and a big, black gelding named Shadow.

I’m in my late thirties now. My Family still loves and supports me. They never fuss when I miss weekend gatherings because I need equine treatment. They don’t comment when I can’t spend money on them, because I’ve already spent it all on my horse. If the basement in my house is full of tack, horse blankets and other equipment, they just smile and walk around it. And at Christmas, there are as many gifts for my horse under the tree as there are for me. They know the virus can’t be fought, only accommodated.

One of my best friends recently had a baby. I went to visit them both and brought a stuffed pony for the new little girl. In a crib full of toys, it was the only thing she would hold on to. The contagion has been passed again.

-Cristina Scalise

[Canfield, Jack. Chicken Soup For The Horse Lover’s Soul: Horse People are Really Sick People. p354-357. Health Communications, Inc.. 2003. Print]