Local News

June 4, 2014

Veterinarians: Not one horse in good health


Her foal, No. 21, a foal, scored 1+ on the scale.

Knapp said the condition of the young horse’s hoof walls indicated there had been a big nutritional shock to the young animal’s system.

“It was not getting enough to eat,” the vet said. “That’s as close as you can get to touching a (horse) skeleton.”

Another pregnant mare had two offspring still nursing; all were designated thin and scored low on the scale.

Each of the three veterinarians said mares with foals or that are pregnant should score even as high as 7 on the 9-tiered Henneke Scale.


Tansey questioned the veterinarian’s assessment procedure.

“When you feel the body parts, it becomes a bit of a subjective test, doesn’t it?” he asked.

Knapp said no, suggesting the use of words like “skinny” or “thin” are subjective.

The medical evaluation using a standard numerical scale was adapted to be an objective test, she said.

Tansey asked if the amount of fat on the animals would be better assessed using blood tests.

Knapp said she was unaware of any test that showed how fat in horses is metabolized.


Dodd assessed the second round of 13 horses, including an overlap of two that the other vets had scored on the first day.

“We were right on the same page,” she said.

All of Wing’s horses were taken.

To have remained on the farm, they would have had to score a 5, which is required of all horses shown at county fairs and at 4-H shows, Dodd said of the common evaluation practice for horse husbandry.

She was eventually retained by Essex County to monitor conditions of all the horses as they were placed in rescue and foster care.

The veterinarian said all them “were insatiable for water the first week.”

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