The dreaded tick, the ectoparasite (external parasites) that we deal with from spring to the first frost, can expose us to many diseases.  Ticks are hematophagic, or blood feeders, western black legged tickand feed on the blood of mostly mammals and birds. Because of this they are also a vector, or carrier of diseases.  Most of us are familiar with the most common of these, Lyme Disease.

In horses we are most concerned about another tick-borne disease which can be found throughout the year, Anaplasmosis, formerly known as Ehrlichia.  Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagoytophilum.  Anaplasmosis is spread by the Ixodes tick (deer tick & Western black-legged tick).  Twenty percent of Ixodes ticks found in areas with horses are found to be infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

Clinical signs for Anaplasmosis do not appear right away in the horse.  It can take up to three weeks after exposure from the tick bite to start showing clinical signs.  The most common indicator is a fever of 102-106°F.  Besides the fever other clinical signs are depression, loss of appetite, limb swelling, and occasionally muscle stiffness.  The severity of symptoms is dependent on the age of your horse and duration of the infection.  If you suspect that your horse has Anaplasmosis, call your local veterinarian.

morulaThere are a several things that your veterinarian will do to confirm that your horse has Anaplasmosis.  The first thing is to collect a blood sample to run a CBC (complete blood count).  In the CBC, the veterinarian will be looking for a low number of red blood cells, low platelets, and low number of white blood cells.   Secondly, they will create a blood smear with the sample, and look for an inclusion body called Morula that will be present in Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.   However, the presence of the inclusion body usually will not occur until three days after the onset of the fever.  Due to this delay, even with a negative blood smear many veterinarians will start treatment for Anaplasmosis if the horse is exhibiting clinical signs.  Your veterinarian might also advise performing a Chemistry profile, specifically looking at kidney values for your horse.  Due to many horses affected by Anaplasmosis being dehydrated as well as the drug of choice to treat Anaplasmosis being metabolized by the kidneys, the veterinarian will want to make sure that the kidneys are functioning properly.

The course of treatment for Anaplasmosis is most commonly Oxytetracycline and Banamine to treat the fever.  Oxytetracycline is generally given for five days with horses usually responding well.   There is currently not a vaccine for Anaplasmosis.  Checking daily for ticks is the best preventative measure against your horses contracting Anaplasmosis. Anoka Equine also advises using a topical product called UltraBoss which we have found to be an effective method of tick prevention on horses.  Please call us at 763-441-3797 for more information.

Difference from Potomac Horse Fever

Many of the clinical signs for Anaplasmosis are similar to that of Potomac Horse Fever.  This may cause confusion as to which your horse may have.  Like Anaplasmosis, horses with Potomac Horse Fever show clinical signs of fever, depression and loss of appetite.  However, horses with Potomac Horse Fever can develop laminitis, colic and severe diarrhea.  Potomac Horse Fever is caused by horses being infected by the bacterium Neorickettsia risticii.  Horses are exposed to this bacterium by ingesting infected insects like Mayflies and Caddisflies.

Unlike Anaplasmosis, there is a vaccine available for Potomac Horse Fever commonly given in the fall.  If you are in an area that has had Potomac Horse Fever in the past or have low-lying areas of water (swamps or stagnant water) that attract Mayflies or aquatic insects, you should consider adding the Potomac Horse Fever vaccine to your fall vet visit.

If you would like more information on Potomac Horse Fever click here.

By: Katie Jones, CVT (revised 5/16 by PHM)

If your horse is experiencing any of the above clinical signs, please be sure to call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.


Equine Insurance: Who needs it

 By: Katie Jones, CVT

We receive frequent calls regarding information on equine insurance. We do not represent or work for insurance companies. We also do not refer or suggest one over another. It is up to the individual horse owner to research and choose a company to best determine the type of coverage that fits their needs.

TurboI, myself, own a horse (Turbo) who is more of a weekend warrior out on the trail or at the occasional weekend show.   I went through most of my younger years dreaming and wishing for my own horse; however, I knew they were an investment difficult to have during college. The year I graduated from college I finally bought my horse and the investment into what I love began. Last year when I was faced with the question of, “would I take Turbo to colic surgery, if Banamine didn’t resolve his pain”, I didn’t know how to answer. Luckily for me he resolved his colic episode with a little amount of Banamine and time. As an Equine Technician, I see many situations not as simply resolved and surgical decisions become real. Sometimes the only thing separating a horse from euthanasia and a life-saving surgery is economics. A colic surgery base price starts around $3,500; however, overall medical care pre- and post-surgery can quickly reach $10,000. Would you be ready to front this cost in an emergency situation? If you have never had to answer this question, here are a few options to consider to help prepare you if the question ever arises.


InsuranceWhen faced with a major medical expense, insurance is used to help soften the financial blow; so why couldn’t this work for your horse? Just like with human insurance, equine insurance has different types and levels of coverage. The two most frequently chosen insurance types are major medical and surgical. Major medical covers veterinary treatment, medications, and surgery due to an accident, injury, or illness on horses valued at a minimum of $7500. Surgical insurance only covers emergency or necessary surgeries performed under general anesthesia in a veterinary clinic, for any value horse.   To acquire either type of coverage, additional yearly mortality insurance is also required. Mortality insurance covers the horse’s value due to death from an accident, illness, or disease, and will typically cover loss due to theft. In the chance of an unexpected death, a mortality claim would require a necropsy report to determine the exact cause of death. (There are additional coverage options for individuals with equine businesses, such as loss of use or breeding coverages.)

The cost of equine insurance is based on the age, value, and use of the horse. Here is an example of what a quote would look like for an average trail horse (my horse, Turbo) from Blue Bridle Insurance.

sick horse

Great American Ins. Co.: (Turbo is categorized as a 7 yr. old Pleasure/Show Horse)
Plan 1: Only mortality: $2,000 (Value of Turbo) @ 3.6% = $200 Minimum/yr.
Plan 2: Surgical (ONLY surgical expenses included): $10,000 = $150/yr.

Total Annual Premium for Surgical Coverage: $350.00

+ An additional $10,000 limit can be added to the Surgical Coverage Plan to cover colic medical and/or surgical expenses for an additional $150/yr.


When considering purchasing equine insurance make sure to do plenty of research. It can become overwhelming when first looking into insurance due to the number of providing companies and the levels of coverage available. A company that specializes in equine insurance, or at least livestock, is highly recommended. By doing this, their overall understanding of the possible claims will heighten the ease of filling a claim. This will in turn result in less run around and a quicker response from a company with more equine claim experience compared to a typical Home-owners Insurance Company.

Finally, insurance coverage does have limitations. Limitations will be specific to the insuring company and are details to look into when considering equine insurance. Most insurance companies have an age limit on coverage, as well as restrictions regarding horses with preexisting conditions, specific to their policies. Make sure to compare coverage limitations, exclusions, and deductibles when considering different policies.

ColiCare – SmartPak

colic_care-379x121ColiCare is a wellness program supported by SmartPak. This program allows a small peace of mind by providing up to $7500 towards colic surgery (reimbursement will only cover the cost of the surgery not any medical treatment of the colic). To qualify for this wellness program, administration of an eligible ColiCare product daily to your horse is required. These supplements are designed to provide comprehensive hindgut support to lower the risk of digestive upset that can lead to colicky episodes with ingredients like prebiotics, yeast, and enzymes. An annual wellness exam with a veterinarian is also required. The veterinarian will verify vaccination history, perform a dental exam with recommendations, and perform a fecal test to set-up a deworming schedule. ColiCare is a wonderful compliment to any insurance policy. ColiCare will reimburse independently; therefore, additional financial coverage will be seen in addition to any initial insurance reimbursement.

Program Requirements

Annual Wellness Requirements, which include:

  • Physical exam performed by your veterinarian
  • Dental exam performed by your veterinarian
  • Vaccinations administered by a veterinarian
  • Deworming program developed with your veterinarian that includes at least one fecal test and two deworming administrations per year

For more information on the products or to get signed up for the ColiCare program, please visit the SmartPak website: Anoka Equine Veterinary serves does currently have clients that are on this program.


EQCO Coverage – Platinum Performance

eqco-program-slidePlatinum Performance has its own wellness program similar to the one offered by SmartPak. The coverage that Platinum Performance offers is up to $8,000-$10,000 towards colic surgery. To qualify for this coverage you have to administer eligible supplements to your horse on a daily bases, as well as complete an annual wellness exam with your local veterinarian. Platinum Performance supplements are formulated to provide omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals to support total body heath.

For more information and for a detailed list of available supplements, please visit Platinum Performance’s website

**Please note: any previous colic/abdominal surgery, history of chronic colic, or an incidence of colic in the past twelve months will mark the horse unqualified for the both programs.

Who needs equine insurance? No one. Is this for everyone? No. Ultimately these questions come down to anyone who can not easily afford the unexpected cost of extensive treatments or surgery can benefit from having it. However, there is still an expense associated with either the ColiCare Program or insurance and it is a cost to be economically comfortable with. If this annual expense is something you may be willing to invest into, then these two program options provide a peace of mind if an emergency situation were to occur and life-saving-options will be more easily funded.

Meet Our Summer Help

Throughout the summer you may have seen one of our “summer help” employees running around the clinic. Brianna, Maddy and Kaylin all spent their summers working for Anoka Equine in preparation for veterinary school. Their jobs entitled many different activities including: caring for hospitalized patients, cleaning up the barn, assisting with appointments, and much more! All three girls have intentions of going to vet school in their future. Maddy and Brianna have been accepted to the University of Minnesota and will be attending their first semester of vet school this fall, while Kaylin will soon be submitting her application to begin vet school in fall 2016.

Brianna recently graduated from the University of Minnesota earning a degree in Animal Science. She will be embarking on a new adventure as she starts her first year ofBrianna veterinary school this fall at Minnesota. Her love for animals and interest in veterinary medicine started at a very young age when the local vet would come treat the numerous animals on her parent’s hobby farm. She grew up riding multiple disciplines and caring for her horses in her own backyard. “My experience this summer with Anoka Equine has been simply amazing! The friendly clients, knowledgeable technicians, and excellent doctors all contribute to a perfect learning environment. From farm calls to surgeries, lameness exams to pregnancy checks, giving medications and running blood work, it’s never a dull day here at Anoka! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the team and learn about what running a busy equine hospital entails. The vast exposure to equine medicine I have experienced this summer has confirmed this is the area of veterinary medicine I want to focus in!”

maddyThis is Maddy’s third summer working for Anoka Equine. She has always been a horse person and grew up riding and caring for her own horses. After her freshman year of undergrad, she found an internship with the clinic and has been a part of the Anoka Equine team ever since. She will be starting vet school in the fall and will be specializing in equine. Maddy has specific interests in surgery and equine sports medicine. “Before starting at Anoka Equine, I knew I wanted to become an equine veterinarian from working with my own horses growing up. Working at Anoka has fueled that passion and reassured that this is the right career path for me. Thanks to my wonderful coworkers, I have learned so much about veterinary medicine and what it takes to be successful in this career. Everyone has been so willing to take time to explain things and to allow me to be involved with every aspect of the clinic. Working with various patients and clients from day to day has been so rewarding and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of this top notch clinic and people who work there. Moving forward into vet school, I am so grateful to have an immense variety of experiences and skills that I have gained here and the wonderful connections that evolved along the way!”

Kaylin will be entering her senior year as an undergraduate student at the University Kaylinof Minnesota Crookston this fall. She will be earning a degree in Equine Science this spring with hopes to continue on to veterinary school fall of 2016. Her list of prospective vet schools include University of Minnesota, Colorado State University, Louisiana State University, Washington State University and Oregon State University. “After spending a day shadowing the veterinarians and technicians at Anoka Equine this winter, I knew this would be the perfect place to spend my summer in order to complete my undergraduate internship. The staff has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow as a student, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.  Working at Anoka Equine has not only given me the chance to learn a tremendous amount about equine medicine, it has given me even more passion for veterinary medicine.”

        We love to see the passion of Veterinary Medicine through students’ eyes and this summer has not been any different. The ladies we were able to spend our time with this year reiterate why we love teaching and sharing our own equine passion. We are very fortunate to have Bri, Maddy, and Kaylin this summer! These young women are exceptionally intelligent and we are excited to see them grow in their Veterinary Medicine careers. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your hard work and dedication at the clinic this summer; we couldn’t have asked for a better trio!  If you are someone that would like to gain experience in the veterinary field like these ladies, either through shadowing or interning, please visit our website for more information.

New Equipment | Clinic News

New Equipment at Anoka Equine

2013 was a big year for Anoka Equine when it came to improving the services that we offer to our clients, specifically in the field. new xray

First, we purchased a new portable X-ray machine, which has proven to be very reliable and extremely easy to use in the field. We spent close to six months researching all the X-ray systems available and have been very impressed with the quality of the images that our new unit performs.  Our focus for adding a piece of equipment like this was to provide better service to our clients and improve the quality of medicine that we can provide to you and your horse in the field.

uSWe also purchased two new ultrasounds.  One of which will improve the quality of our reproductive services that we offer.  This ultrasound will give us the opportunity to perform late stage fetal assessment in the field as well as in the Hospital.  The second ultrasound, that was added, will allow us to perform not only high quality ultrasound of the lower limb, but also full abdominal scans.  Both of these ultrasound units are highly portable, allowing us to be able to offer these serve to you at your facility.

We are excited to share this equipment and the knowledge that comes with it, with you over the coming years.