Writing From the Right Side of the Stall

Carefully curated musings about the writing life, horses, bitterness and crushing career disappointment. Fun, right?

Archive for the tag “Disease”

Disease of the Week

I write a column on equine health for the Canadian Sportsman, a harness-racing magazine with a relatively storied history (it claims to be the oldest continuously-published magazine in the Great White North, though its mandate, as the name indicates, may have veered slightly from the original concept).

Following the example of the Sportsman, my column has run continuously over the last 286 issues. It would have been more except prior to that (um, 1998?) no-one had asked me.

The Sportsman used to publish on a biweekly schedule; a couple of years ago, it throttled back to every three weeks. Still, that’s a fair number of issues. I know, because I’ve lugged the archives along with me every time I’ve moved, which has been fairly frequently over the past five or six years.

Oh, for an intern who could scan all of these colourfully oversized magazines and save my columns as PDFs on one nice, neat external drive …

Anyway. One of the issues (publishing pun, sorry) with writing an equine health column for nearly 300 editions is that you start to worry about running out of Diseases of the Week to write about. Go ahead, ask me. Colic? Did it. Laminitis? Oh yes. Salmonella, equine protozoal myelitis, rhodococcus pneumonia, equine herpes virus, rabies, palmar foot pain (ex-navicular syndrome), equine polysaccharide storage myopathy, sarcoids, botulism, alopecia …. uh-huh.

The only ones I can’t write about are the ones that are unlikely ever to affect racehorses, which are of course the Sportsman‘s focus. So maladies of draft horses and minis are, sadly, excluded. Awww.

If my latest column strikes you as scraping the bottom of the barrel with “cholangiohepatitis”, well, there might be some small truth to that. But it’s a real disease. Was even in the news this past spring. Look it up. (Hint: Search “Uncle Mo“.)

Fortunately, horses are endlessly self-destructive critters, so there’s almost always something new and weird coming down the pike. Or artery. Or colon. Whatever.

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