“C” Words Your Veterinarian Uses

 Elite EquineC.N.S.: central nervous system
 calk or caulk: a projection on the heels of a horseshoe, similar to a
cleat, to prevent slipping, especially on wet turf.
canker: an infection of the frog that can spread to the adjacent sole and
hoof wall. The affected frog grows thick folds and ridges, and a
foul-smelling, cottage-cheese like exudate oozes from the crevices.
Affected feet are usually lame. Canker is most often caused by long term
hoof neglect and wet, filthy footing. Because infection is often quite
deep, successful treament might require surgical debridement and systemic
antibiotics.
cannon bone: the third metacarpal (front leg) or metatarsal (rear leg),
also referred to as the shin bone. The largest bone between the knee and
fetlock (ankle) joints.
canthardin poisoning: see “blister beetle” poisoning.
 capillary refill time: the amount of time it takes for blood to return to
capillaries after it has been forced out, normally two seconds. It is
usually assessed by pressing the thumb against the horse’s gums; when the
pressure is removed the gum looks white, but the normal pink color returns
within two seconds as blood flows into the capillaries. A delayed
capillary refill time is an indication of dehydration.
 capped elbow: inflammation of the bursa over the point of elbow (olecranon
process of the ulna). Also known as “shoe boil.” See bursitis.
capped hock: inflammation of the bursa over the point of the hock (tuber
calcis). See bursitis.
 carpus: a collection of three joints halfway up the horse’s front leg,
more commonly referred to as the knee. However, the carpus is actually
equivalent to the human wrist.
cast: 1) a horse positioned on its side or back with its legs wedged
against a wall such that it can not get up. 2) A fiberglass cast that is
applied to a horse’s leg to protect it in the event of a fracture or
injury.
cataract: loss of transparency of an eye lens. Once a lens becomes
clouded, there is no treament to restore it. If the cataract is large
enough to block vision, the lens may be removed surgically, which permits
the horse to see, but not to focus.
cathartic: a laxative given to quickly purge your horse’s bowels of their
contents. Examples include epsom salt solution, mineral oil or psyllium.
caudal: toward the tail of the horse.
 CBC: Complete Blood Count.
cellulitis: inflammation of cells and connective tissue, usually
associated with deep skin conditions such as scratches or greasy heel.
chestnut: 1) a horse color which may vary from a red-yellow to
golden-yellow. The mane, tail and legs are usually variations of coat
color, except where white markings are present. 2) horny growth on the
inner side of the legs. On the forelegs, they are just above the knees. On
the hind legs, they are just below the hocks. No two horses have been
found to have the same chestnuts and so they may be used for
identification. Also called “night eyes.”
chiropractic: use of bone alignment by veterinarians or under a
veterinarian’s direction to treat malalignment problems.
 choke: an object or wad of feed lodged in your horse’s esophagus. Muscles
around the obstruction clench in response, prolonging the choke and
increasing the odds of damage to esophageal lining, which can lead to
narrowing of the esophagus due to scar tissue. (A narowed esophagus is
prone to repeated chokes.) During a choke, food, water and saliva are
regurgitated through one or both nostrils and your horse may cough and/or
retch. Encouraging the choked horse to keep his head lowered can help
prevent regurgitated material from spilling into the windpipe (trachea),
which can cause aspiration pneumonia. Treatment can include: gentle
irrigation and suction of impacted feed with warm water or saline through
a stomach tube, removal of any lodged foreign matter with an operating
endoscope or by surgery (a last resort) if it can’t be removed
endoscopically, and/or diagnosis and treatment of any underlying problem
that caused the choke. Anti-inflammatory medications usually are given to
soothe tissues inflamed by the choke and treatment. Treatment for
aspiration pneumonia is administered, if necessary.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: commonly known as “COPD,” a
hyperallergenic response of the respiratory system that involves damage to
the lung tissue, similar in may ways to human asthma. Affected horses may
cough, develop a nasal discharge and have a reduced exercise tolerance.
Respiratory rate is increased and lung elasticity is diminished.
chronic osselet: permanent build-up of synovial fluid in a joint,
characterized by inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule over the
damaged area. Usually attended by changes in the bone and cartilage. See
arthritis.
chronic: a disease or condition of long duration.
CL: corpus luteum. A progesterone secreting gland in the ovary formed from
the wall of an ovarian follicle.
clerk of scales: an official whose chief duty is to weigh the riders and
tack after a race or competition to ensure proper weight is (was) carried.
climbing: when a horse lifts its front legs abnormally high as it gallops,
causing it to run inefficiently.
closed knees: a condition where the cartilaginous growth plate above the
knee (distal radial physis) has turned to bone. Indicates completion of
long bone growth and is one sign of maturity.
 coffin bone fracture: a fracture that usually is associated with a misstep
or fall;  commonly seen on the inside (and more consistently stressed) leg
of racehorses. Symptoms usually include sudden onset lameness, heat that
can be felt on the hoof wall and increased digital pulse. Treatment
depends on the fracture’s location and on how unstable it is. Some cases
heal well with 12 months’ rest and application of a bar shoe to limit hoof
flexion. Others require surgery and stabilization of the fracture with
bone screws.
coffin bone: the third phalanx (P3). The major bone within the confines of
the hoof. Also called the “pedal [PEE-dal] bone.”
 coggins test: a blood test to detect infection with the virus that causes
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). The disease is spread by biting insects
that feed on infected horses, then carry the virus to other horses. Many
events such as shows and rodeos require recent (6 to 12 months) negative
Coggins tests on all participants, and most states require negative
Coggins test in horses crossing their borders. Horses testing positive
become subject to state law that requires quarantine away from biting
insects and other horses, or euthanasia. There is no known cure and no
vaccine.
colic: refers to abdominal pain, usually due to intestinal problems and/or
gas build-up.
colitis: inflammation of the colon, usually due to infection. Diarrhea,
colic pain and rapidly progressing dehydration are usually the result.
Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing dehydration and
shock while identifying and treating the underlying cause, if possible.
colors (horse): include bay, black, chestnut, dark bay or brown, dun,
gray, palomino, roan, sorrel, white.
 colt: an ungelded (entire) male horse four years old or younger.
comminuted (fracture): a fracture with more than two fragments.
compound (fracture): a fracture where damaged bone breaks through the
skin. Also known as an “open” fracture.
condylar (fracture): a fracture in the lower knobby end (condyle) of a
long bone, such as the cannon bone or humerous.
 conformation: the physical make-up and bodily proportions of a horse; how
it is put together.
congential: present at birth.
conjunctivitis: inflammation and/or infection of the tissues around the
eye. Symptoms can include reddening, itching, watering and swelling.
Causes can include irritants such as dust or flies; trauma and infection.
Treatment usually includes gently cleaning, addressing the underlying
cause and medicating with ointments containing appropriate antibiotics
and/or anti-inflammatory medication.
cooling out: reducing a horse’s temperature after exercise, usually by
walking. All horses that are exercised are cooled out. Horses that work
hard in hot, humid weather have difficulty cooling out. Under these
circumstances cold water may be applied to their bodies and the excess
water scraped off to assist cooling.
COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heaves: see Heaves, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD.
 corn: a bruise on the sole of the foot, toward the heel as a result of
pressure from the shoe.
 cornea: the transparent, domed portion
corneal abscess: an infection between the onion-like layers of the cornea,
most associated with a penetrating wound. The condition is painful and, if
unresolved, can result in blindness. Treament is chanllenging since the
location of the infection between corneal layers makes it difficult for
topical or systemic medications to penetrate to the site. Treatment
usually is similar to that of a corneal ulcer; in nonresponsive cases,
surgery may be needed to remove corneal layers and expose the abscess. (If
the infection is resolved, the cornea will heal.)
corneal ulcer: a defect in the cornea, most often associated with injury
and subsequent infection. The condition is painful and, if unresolved, can
result in blindness. Treatment usually includes antibiotics and other
medications to combat infection, inflammation and pain and facilitate
repair of the damaged cornea. In most cases, topical treatment is used.
coronary band: where the hoof meets the skin of the leg.
corticosteriods: hormones that are either naturally produced by the
adrenal gland or manmade. Perform an anti-inflammatory function and
regulate the chemical stability (homeostasis of the body).
cough: to expel air from the lungs in a spasmodic manner. Can be a result
of inflammation or irritation to the upper airways (pharynx, larynx or
trachea) or may involve the lower airways of the lungs (deep cough).
cover: 1) a single breeding of a stallion to a mare. 2) in race-driving,
the horse racing immediatley in front of another is said to be the “cover”
of the trailering horse. The horse behind the cover has a horse cutting
the wind, but, obviously, trails by at least a length.
cow hocked: abnormal conformation in which the points of the hocks turn in
when viewed from behind.
cracked hoof wall: a vertical split of the hoof wall. Cracks may extend
upward from the bearing surface of the wall or downward from the coronary
band, as the result of an injury to the band. Varying in degrees of
severity, cracks can result from injuries or concussion. Hooves that are
dry and/or thin (shelly) or improperly shod are susceptible to cracking
upon concussion. Corrective trimming and shoeing may remedy mild cracks,
but in severe cases when the crack extends inward to the sensitive
laminae, more extensive treatment is required, such as using screws and
wires to stabilize the sides of the crack.
cranial: toward the head of the horse.
creep feeder: a feeding device designed to allow a foal to eat but keep
its dam out. Otherwise, the mare will eat the foal’s food.
cribber (wind sucker): horse who clings to objects with his teeth and
sucks air into his stomach. Also known as a “wind sucker” when a horse
sucks air without grasping an object between his teeth.
crop: 1) the number of foals by a sire in a given year. 2) a group of
horses born in the same year. 3) a jockey’s whip.
cryptorchid: a “unilateral cryptorchid” is a male horse of any age that
has one testicle undescended. A “bilateral cryptorchid” is male horse of
any age that has both testicles undescended.
cup: concavity in the occlusal surface of the tooth (the surfaces that
meet when a horse closes its mouth) in young horses. It is used as a
visual aid in determining the age in a horse. Also known as the
infundibulum.
curb: 1) a thickening (strain) of the plantar ligament of the hock that
causes an enlargement on the back of the hind cannon region just below the
point of the hock. 2) Also, a type of bit.
Cushing’s disease: a hormonal disease due to a pituitary gland tumor. It
causes a variety of problems which can include diabetes-like syndrome;
weight loss; chronic laminitis and a long, shaggy, curly hair coat that
fails to shed. There is no cure, but in some cases the signs can be
lessened by administration of medications to suppress overproduction of
certain hormones, and stimulate production of the neurotransmitter
dopamine.
cut down: horse suffering from injuries from being struck by the shoes of
another horse. Or, due to a faulty stride, a horse may cut itself down.
cyst: an enclosed, smooth lump with a solid or liquid center produced by
the cells lining the cyst’s wall. Cysts generally do not cause problems
unless their location and size are in the path of tack or interfere with
function of adjacent parts. Treatment options may include surgical
removal, cryosurgery, cauterization or obiteration by laser. When a
fluid-filled cyst is simply drained, it usually refills within a few days.

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