1 Most veterinary visits for horses are stable visits. Dr. Ganser carries all her equipment in a briefcase and in a small plastic bin. The large, green bag is a portable mounting block that allows Dr. Ganser to stand above the horse's back during an examination or treatment.
2 Rutger was treated first. My stable manager, Betsy, guided Rutger up and down the front of the stable, so Dr. Ganser could assess his gait.
3 Horses are very big, strong animals. The key to working with horses is to gain their trust, which in turn helps them relax. As you can see, Rutger was very comfortable with Dr. Ganser.
4 Dr. Ganser assessed Rutger's overall health. She reviewed his history, especially the recent procedure he had to correct an infected sinus. Rutger's posture, pulse and breathing were also checked.
5 She examined certain points on his body to see where chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture was needed.
6 She felt along his neck, and made a slight chiropractic adjustment. A horse's neck is a heavily muscled part of the equine anatomy. Its health is crucial to the horse's overall soundness. Rutger remained calm and still through it all.
7 Equine veterinarians examine a lot through feel. Here, Dr. Ganser carefully ran her hands along Rutger's spine to check that each vertebrae was properly aligned.
8 Dr. Ganser felt Rutger's hips to see whether he reacted to pressure, which could indicate soreness or misalignment.
9 At the base of the spine is the sacrum, a triangular bone that functions as a platform for the horse's pelvis. An adjustment to the joints surrounding the sacrum allowed pressure in tight muscles to release and set down at the correct angles.
10 Rutger's left hip needed a slight adjustment as well, but overall, he was in very good shape.
11 Rutger's legs were examined next. Dr. Ganser looked for proper range of motion in each leg.
12 After a few chiropractic adjustments, Dr. Ganser
reassessed Rutger's response to pressure in the treated areas.
13 Acupuncture needles were tapped into certain key points to alleviate blockages. Rutger has a little arthritis in his rear leg, and he is still recuperating from his recent procedure, so extra care was given to help him feel his best.
14 The needles used for equine acupuncture are the same grade as those used for humans.
15 Each individually wrapped needle is made of high quality stainless steel with a color coded grip for identification.
16 If you look closely at this photo, you can see two needles in Rutger's lower back. Rutger barely felt them.
17 The needles were also placed in his legs and chest.
18 The needles stay in for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ganser made another slight adjustment to help Rutger's shoulder. The average weight of a Friesian is about 1500 pounds. Rutger helped by offering his leg up to his doctor.
19 Dr. Ganser documented all her findings, so progress could be monitored.
20 Rutger was very relaxed. His head was held low and his breathing was calm. This indicated a good treatment.
21 Betsy walked Rutger again, so Dr. Ganser could see how the treatments affected his gait - they seemed to help nicely.
22 Rutger no longer favored either side and his gait was smooth.
23 He was ready to head back to his stall for an afternoon nap.
24 Meindert was next. Betsy accompanied him while Dr. Ganser assessed his movement.
25 After walking, however, Meindert didn't really want to go back inside - he was more interested in staying out in the fresh air.
26 Dr. Ganser checked Meindert's pulse, and slowly went over his shoulders, back and rear.
27 Dr. Ganser also checked his jaw for proper alignment.
28 Meindert's rear and tail were examined too. A horse's tail is flexible, strong, and functions as part of the horse's spinal column. A thorough examination would always include the tail.
29 She checked Meindert's spine. The vertebrae in the horse's back protects its spinal cord and nerves. Meindert's spine was in excellent condition.
30 As part of Meindert's acupuncture treatment, a needle was inserted at his shoulder.
31 Dr. Ganser documented details of her patient's examination and treatments. She was very pleased with both horses.
32 Meindert was also very relaxed during his treatments. I think he was even beginning to fall asleep.
33 Meindert appeared more comfortable after his session.
34 Thank you, Dr. Ganser. It was a successful day with the veterinarian. See you in another three months!