Monday, December 9, 2013

Tips for Managing Horses in Winter to Avoid Colic

As Maryland prepares for more snow tomorrow, I thought that I would pass along this great article from The Horse about managing horses in winter to avoid colic.  Click HERE to read!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Outbreak alert website for Equine Disease
This website is courtesy of Merial.  It may feed chronic worriers a little too much but it seems to have accurate and timely information.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) 2015 Equine Study

The National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), a nonregulatory division of USDA–APHIS–VS, in collaboration with the National Agricultural Statistics Service is planning for the Equine 2015 study, NAHMS third national study of the equine industry. The survey is scheduled to begin in summer 2015.

Your input is essential if we are to address specific needs and information gaps in the equine industry. Stakeholder input will be collected throughout the remainder of 2013 to help determine the objectives of the study. What information would you like to know about the equine industry and what would prompt equine owners to participate in this national study? 

You can provide input on specific information that would be valuable by completing a 5-minute survey at  Surveys must be completed by December 31, 2013.

Results of previous NAHMS studies of the equine industry are available at:

Comments and questions can be directed to Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz at 970-494-7261 or

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Free talks at Marion Dupont Scott Equine Center

The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center
would like to invite you to attend our 2013-2014 Tuesday Talks
December 3, 2013:  “Diagnosis and Treatment of Upper Airway Conditions: 
                                 Can Surgery make a difference?"
                                 by Dr. Kenneth Sullins
January 7, 2014:      “Diagnosis and Treatment of Lower Airway Conditions:
                                 Lower airway infections and how to treat them effectively"
                                 by Dr. Martin Furr
February 11, 2014:  “Tendons, Ligaments & Imaging:
                                ‘No leg no horse’: Advances in diagnosis and treatment of tendon
                                 and ligament injuries".
                                 by Dr. Nathaniel White
March 11, 2014:      “Sports Medicine & Lameness:
                                What can go wrong within your horse’s joint and how we can help
                                by Dr. Jennifer Barrett 
April 8, 2014:         “Advances in Holistic Equine Medicine:
                                Ways to complement traditional medicine for your horse’s complete wellbeing” 
                                by Dr. Anne Desrochers (Location TBD) 

Seminars will begin at 7:00 pm in the library of the
Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, Leesburg, Virginia,
unless otherwise stated.
 Please contact Sharon Peart at 703-771-6842 or
for reservations or information.

Herbal supplements

Until there is some oversight of this multimillion dollar industry there is no way to know what you are feeding your horse (or yourself)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Seven More Organizations Support AHC Welfare Code

October 9, 2013
Contact: Ashley Furst
Seven More Organizations Support AHC Welfare Code
(Washington, D.C.) The American Association of Professional Farriers, American Competitive Trail Horse Association, California Professional Horseman’s Association, Canadian Association of Professional Farriers, EQUUS Foundation, Inc., Maryland Horse Council, and the U.S. Eventing Association are the latest organizations to endorse the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Welfare Code of Practice.
“These seven organizations have added their support to the 42 other associations that endorse the Welfare Code of Practice,” said AHC president, Jay Hickey. “The continued support for the Code shows that more-and-more organizations are committed to the common goal of ensuring the welfare of the horse in all their activities.”
The AHC Welfare Code of Practice is a broad set of principles designed to establish good welfare procedures for organizations to follow to “Put the Horse First.”  The code outlines in broad strokes what principles organizations are committed to in breeding, training, competing, transporting, enjoying, and caring for their horses.  The code encourages everyone to consider the health, safety, and welfare of their horses in all aspects of their activities, including the social and ethical issues. 
The AHC’s code is not intended to supersede an organization’s rules or regulations.  The organization’s more specific rules still govern activities sanctioned and regulated by the organization.  Rather the code is a compliment to any such rules and restates the principles to be followed by breed registries, trade associations, various disciplines and the horse community as a whole in pursuing their equine activities.
“By committing to the Code, an organization is reemphasizing that it supports the principles for which the code stands and that it is committed to the responsible ownership, breeding, training, competing, use, transport, care and welfare of the horse.  The AHC encourages all members of the equine industry to support and endorse the Welfare Code of Practice as yet another indication to the horse community, the public, the media, federal and state officials that the industry is committed to ‘Putting the Horse First,’” said Hickey. 
To review the AHC Welfare Code of Practice, a list of the 42 organizations supporting the code, and a FAQs page, please visit the AHC Website at

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Formulating a Ration for Your Horse Seminar

Formulating a Ration for Your Horse
October 16 and 23, 2013 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Harford County Extension Office
2335 Rock Spring Road in Forest Hill, MD 21050

Is your horse's feed providing just the right combination of nutrients? Do you know how to make sure it is? This workshop will teach you how to select feeds that are best suited to your horse and develop a ration to meet your horse's individual needs. Topics will include: an overview of the horse's digestive anatomy; determining your horse's nutrient requirements based on its current body condition score and workload; selecting hay, concentrates, and supplements that are right for your horse; and calculating how much of each feedstuff to feed to your horse each day. 

This is a two-part class so participants should attend both sessions. Registration is $10 per person and includes
printed materials and refreshments. Space is limited, so advanced registration is requested by October 14. This class is geared toward adults and older youth, but younger horse lovers may attend with a parent or guardian.

 For more details or to register, contact Sara or Robin at 410-638-3255 or

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nationwide Equine EEE, WNV Case Totals Creeping Up

Thankfully Maryland has only had 1 confirmed case of EEE (Eastern equine encephalitis).  Regardless, this article from The Horse has great info on the nationwide status of EEE and WNV (West Nile virus):

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UPDATE: Hold Order on Barn 16 at Bowie has been lifted

BALTIMORE, 09-24-13---Blood samples on the Bowie Training Center-based horse that was humanely euthanized by the Maryland Department of Agriculture Saturday morning were negative for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1).

The Hold Order on Barn 16 at Bowie has been lifted, meaning the 27 horses stabled in the barn will be allowed to train beginning Wednesday morning, Sept. 25.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Previcox efficacy

Efficacy of cyclo-oxygenase inhibition by two commercially available firocoxib products in horses

Article first published online: 16 JUL 2013 Equine Veterinary Journal

In the control group, there was no significant change in LPS-induced PGE2 over time. In contrast, immediately prior to and 1 h after treatment on Day 7, the mean LPS-induced PGE2 concentration decreased significantly compared to Day 0 values in all treated horses. There was no difference in PGE2 or plasma firocoxib concentrations between firocoxib treatment groups.


In this model, the canine chewable preparation of firocoxib was as effective as the equine paste formulation at reducing LPS-induced PGE2 synthesis.

Potential relevance

The canine chewable preparation of firocoxib may be a suitable alternative to the paste formulation in horses for situations where extra-label drug use can be legally justified.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Horseman's IPhone app

If you have an IPhone (not yet available for Android) here is an app courtesy of Zoetis


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Equine vets support research and horse welfare issues

AAEP Foundation Allocates More Than $316,000 in Support of Programs Benefiting the Welfare of the Horse

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation has approved 2013 funding of $316,298 for 25 equine organizations and special projects committed to improving the welfare of the horse.
The Foundation Advisory Committee selected recipients from a group of new applications and ongoing projects seeking continued Foundation funding during its summer meeting in Lexington, Ky. 
Among the initiatives receiving support are Equitarian workshops, student veterinary scholarships, important equine research, unwanted horse programs, and professional and youth development. New initiatives to receive funding include an October 2013 Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy Summit, the AAEP’s National Equine Health Plan Task Force and its efforts to develop an Equine Disease Communication Center, and additional support for laminitis research. 
Congratulations to the following recipients (by category): 
Disease Mitigation 
  • Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) Summit at United States Animal Health Association
  • AAEP’s National Equine Health Plan (NEHP) Task Force and efforts to develop an Equine Disease Communication Center 
Equine Advocacy/Unwanted Horses
  • American Veterinary Medical Association Foundation’s Congressional Fellowship Program
  • Unwanted Horse Coalition
  • Operation Gelding Program 
Equine Research
  • AAEP Foundation’s Laminitis Research Project
  • Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation
  • Morris Animal Foundation
  • Equine Research Coordination Group
  • AAEP Past Presidents’ Research Fellow
  • EQUUS Foundation/AAEP Foundation Research Fellows
 Equitarian Initiatives
  • Equitarian Workshop in Mexico
  • Equitarian Workshop in Costa Rica
  • Fast Horses Seminar in Mongolia
  • Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust
 Professional Development
  •  World Equine Veterinary Association (Congress and Intermediate meetings)
 Scholarships and Veterinary Student Development
  • The Race For Education/Platinum Performance/AAEP Foundation Winner’s Circle Scholarships
  • Markel/AAEP Foundation Scholarships
  • Zoetis/AAEP Foundation Scholarships
  • AAEP Student Member Programs: 
o   Educational meeting support at AAEP Annual Convention and summer Focus meeting
o   Equine Dentistry, Veterinarian/Farrier and Horse Handling Short Courses
o   Student chapter activities
o   AAEP Annual Convention travel support stipends
 Youth Development in the Equine Community
  • National FFA 2014 Student Career Workshops 
To learn more about programs receiving financial support from the AAEP Foundation,
. For more information about the AAEP Foundation and its grant program, visit
The AAEP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization created in 1994, serves as the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners to improve the welfare of the horse. Since its inception, the Foundation has allocated more than $2.8 million to support its mission.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Your Horse Too Fat? There's an App for That

Is Your Horse Too Fat? There's an App for That
By: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture        Aug 22, 2013

A recent collaborative project between equine researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Kentucky has resulted in an app that helps horse owners better determine their horse’s body weight.

Knowing the weight of a horse relative to the ideal weight of his breed can help owners better determine their horse's nutritional needs and medication dosage.

Born from collaborations between UK and University of Minnesota over the past several years on equine metabolic studies, the two sets of university researchers often discussed how the industry needed a way to more easily measure a horse’s body weight.

“We wanted to come up with a better way to determine a horse’s body weight and provide something similar to the BMI (body mass index) measurement currently used in humans,” said Bob Coleman, PhD, PAS, associate professor in UK’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences and extension horse specialist. “We also wanted a scoring system that wasn’t going to be as impacted by the adiposity (fat deposits) of a horse as the current method of using girth measurement to determine a horse’s body weight.”

Asked if researchers were successful in developing that something, Coleman’s short answer was yes.

“The big thing is that it gets people talking about where they are with their horse instead of guessing. If they want to use technology to do that, they can,” Coleman said. “We found that horse owners were excited to give us the data and more excited when they found out how it could help them manage their horses.”

Morphometric measurements collected on 629 horses in Minnesota, including height at the third thoracic vertebra (A), neck circumference located half way between the poll and withers (B), girth circumference at the base of the mane hairs (C), and body length from the point of shoulder to a line that was perpendicular to the point of the buttock (D).

Coleman helped collect data on 629 horses at the Minnesota State 4-H Horse Show and Western Saddle Club Association Championship Show. Owners volunteered their horses for measurement and for those figures to be used as part of the data.

The app, called the Healthy Horse App, is marketed by the University of Minnesota and currently available only on the Apple app store, with plans for compatibility with android devices soon. It currently costs $1.99, and according to Coleman, proceeds will be used to help improve the app's functionality in the future.

The app currently works for adult Arabian horses, Miniature horses, ponies, saddle horses (defined as Morgan, Mustang, Paso Fino, Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walking Horses), and stock horses (Appaloosas, Appendix, Paint Horses, Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds).

When using the app, Coleman said owners provide measurements, in inches, for their horse’s girth circumference, neck circumference, body length (with diagrams showing how to measure from the shoulder to the hindquarters), and height at the top point of the withers. Those measurements are then calculated through formulas developed by university researchers to provide the horse’s weight. A comparison ideal weight of that breed is also given, which lets owners see if their horse is over or under the ideal weight for that breed.

The project’s team included Coleman; Molly McCue, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, PhD, associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; Krishona Martinson, PhD, associate professor at the University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science; Nicol Schultz, DVM, graduate student at the University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science; Aaron Rendahl, of the University of Minnesota School of Statistics; and Krishna Natarajan, graduate student in Computer Science at the University of Minnesota.

More information about the app, the study and the research can be found at

Holly Wiemers, MA, is communications director for University of Kentucky’s Ag Equine Programs

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Confirmed in Maryland Horse

From: Vanessa Orlando []
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2013 3:39 PM
To: Jennifer A. Reynolds
Subject: MDA News: Eastern Equine Encephalitis Confirmed in Maryland Horse


CONTACT: Dori Henry, Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, 410-767-3536; or Vanessa Orlando, Maryland Department of Agriculture, 410-841-5889

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Confirmed in Maryland Horse;
Marylanders Urged to Take Precautions; Horse Owners Encouraged to Vaccinate

BALTIMORE (August 16, 2013) – A case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in a horse in Worcester County.  The horse tested positive for EEE which, like West Nile virus, is spread by mosquitoes. Officials remind Marylanders to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites to prevent mosquito-borne diseases.

EEE is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause a swelling of the brain (encephalitis). The disease is rare in humans, but can occur when an infected mosquito bites a person. EEE disease occurs primarily in areas close to swamps and marshes with high mosquito populations. The last confirmed human case in Maryland was in 1989, and prior to that there were two cases in 1982. The last confirmed case in a horse in Maryland was in 2009 in Wicomico County.

Although EEE occurs in humans less frequently than West Nile virus (WNV), it can be more serious. Only a subset of people infected with either virus develop neurological illness, however of those who develop neurological illness, approximately one-third of all EEE-infected persons may die compared to fewer than 10 percent who die following WNV neurological illness. EEE survivors can have long-term damage to the nervous system.

Typical symptoms of EEE in humans include fever, headache, mental confusion, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain, and sometimes seizures and coma. Individuals reporting these symptoms should be referred to their health care provider. Symptoms usually occur four to 10 days after exposure to a mosquito carrying the virus. There is neither a specific treatment nor a vaccine available for use in humans infected with EEE virus.

In horses, EEE is a serious disease that can be fatal; however, well vaccinated horses are generally safe from the disease. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) encourages all horse owners to consult with their veterinarian to discuss the best vaccination program for their horse and its circumstances.  The horse in Worcester County had not been vaccinated. Infected horses show a range of clinical signs that often progress over two to three days, including depression, altered mental status, circling, problems with balance, weakness, aimless wandering, impaired vision, walking (gait) abnormalities, head pressing, paralysis, convulsions and death. Horses that survive serious disease often have permanent nervous system deficits.

MDA, working with Worcester County officials, has mapped out a 6,000 acre area in the Whaleyville area where air spraying for mosquitoes will be conducted tonight, beginning at 5 p.m.  MDA generally checks mosquito populations in the area every week and conducts ground spraying according to its findings. As a result of the EEE discovery, MDA will increase ground spraying activities to approximately every 5 to 7 days over the next two weeks. Spraying will take place between dusk and dawn.

Measures people can take to protect themselves from diseases spread by mosquitoes include:
•       Avoid areas of high mosquito activity
•       Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
•       Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats to reduce mosquito exposure
•       Use an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions

For additional information on West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne viruses, visit:
•       Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
•       Maryland Department of Agriculture:
•       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: and

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Legislation to Eliminate Soring Introduced in Senate

Courtesy American Horse Council:

Legislation to Eliminate Soring Introduced in Senate

(Washington, D.C.) There are now bills in both the House and Senate to amend the Horse Protection Act to eliminate soring.  On July 31, just before breaking for the August recess, Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2013.  The bill is intended to strengthen the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which was enacted in 1970 to prohibit the showing, exhibiting, transporting or sale at auction of a horse that has been sored.
The Senate bill is the same as the legislation already introduced in the House, which now has 137 cosponsors. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforces the HPA.  USDA deems soring to involve the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, or wedges to cause pain in a horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition.  According to the USDA, soring has been primarily used with Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses and continues despite the existence of a federal ban for over forty years.
The bill focuses on those breeds by amending the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an action device, or a weighted shoe, pad, hoof band or other device if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic.  These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds and would not prohibit the use of therapeutic pads, or bell boots or quarter boots that are used as protective devices. 
“The horse show industry has been living with the HPA for over 40 years.  However, the base for USDA enforcement of the Act is the showing, exhibition, auction or transport of a sore horse,” said Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council (AHC), which supports the bill.  “For this reason USDA has focused its efforts on those segments of the show community that involve breeds and activities that are most frequently involved in soring.  If a breed or discipline is not soring its horses to exaggerate their gaits, then as a practical matter the Act has likely not adversely affected them and the bill to amend the Act, if passed, will not affect them any more than current law.”
The legislation would also increase fines and penalties for violations for soring, including the potential for a lifetime ban for repeat offenders. 
The bill would create a new licensing process for horse show inspectors, eliminating the current program that uses industry-affiliated designated qualified persons (DQPs).  This program has received criticism because DQPs are often not independent of the industry they are inspecting.  Under the bill, USDA would be required to train and license the new independent inspectors for shows and other HPA-regulated activities that wish to hire an inspector.  Licensed or accredited veterinarians would be given preference for these positions.  The decision to hire an inspector, however, would still be up to the show, sale or auction.  It would not be made mandatory.  Shows or sales that employ DQPs now would begin using USDA-selected inspectors.  Shows or sales that choose not to use DQPs now would not be required to use them should the bill pass.
“The AHC supports this legislation, as does the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Morgan Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the Pinto Horse Association of America, the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the Appaloosa Horse club, the Arabian Horse Association, the Maryland Horse Council, the United Professional Horsemen’s Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and other horse groups,” said Hickey.  “The bill focuses on the problems it is intended to solve and does not adversely affect other segments of the show industry that are not soring horses and have no history of soring horses.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New USEF rules regarding drugs and collapse at a show

Change to GR 414 Prohibited Practices

RELEASE: July 22, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

This rule change introduces a new category of rules called Prohibited Practices to the USEF Rule Book. It will take effect December 1, 2013:

1. No injectable substances may be administered to any horse or pony within 12 hours prior to competing, with the following three exceptions subject to paragraph 2 below:

a. Therapeutic fluids, which amount must consist of a minimum of 10L of polyionic fluids; and which must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and guidelines. The fluids must not be supplemented with concentrated electrolytes, such as magnesium.
b. Antibiotics. Procaine penicillin G is prohibited under this exception.
c. Dexamethasone. This is permitted only for the treatment of acute urticaria(hives). The dose must not exceed 0.5 mg per 100lb (5.0 mg for 1000lb horse) if administered more than 6 hours and less than 12 hours prior to entering the competition ring, and must not exceed 1.0 mg per 100lb (10.0 mg for 1000lb horse) within any 24-hour period.

2. The above exceptions are permitted only when (i) the substance is administered by a licensed veterinarian and no less than six hours prior to competing; and (ii) the "Trainer" as defined under General Rule 404 properly files, or causes to be properly filed, an Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form with the Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative within one hour after the administration of the substance or one hour after the Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative returns to duty if the administration occurs at a time outside competition hours. The Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative shall sign and record the time of receipt on the Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form.

RELEASE: July 22, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

This rule change becomes effective on August 1, 2013, and concerns the actions taken should a horse or pony collapse at a USEF Licensed Competition. This rule change proposal has been commonly referred to as the “Collapse Rule” and is the first  to be presented in the formation of an Over-Arching Catastrophic Incident Protocol.

GR 843 Mandatory Reporting & Cooperation of Horse/Pony Collapse

This rule applies to collapses of horses/ponies. For purposes of this rule, a "collapse" is defined as a fall to the ground with no apparent cause at any time from when entries arrive at the venue until departure from the venue. Other falls are not considered to be a collapse and are defined in GR122 and specified division rules. Refer to GR1035.4 for reporting requirements for all other falls and accidents.

1. The trainer as defined in GR 404, or the owner if the trainer is unavailable, or the rider if the trainer and owner are both unavailable, shall notify the Steward/Technical Delegate as soon as possible but no later than three hours after of such occurrence of any collapse of a horse or pony. When a collapse occurs outside of competition hours or before the competition begins, notification must occur as soon as possible but no later than three hours after the Steward/TD reports to the show or returns to duty.

2. The Steward/TD shall report to Competition Management and the Federation within one hour of notification of a collapse.

3. In addition to the duties set forth in GR 1035.4, the Steward/TD shall file an Accident/Injury/Equine Collapse Report Form or Equine Fatality Report Form with the Federation within 24 hours of notification, except in exceptional circumstances such as no internet access at the venue.

4. The Federation, at its expense, may appoint a veterinarian to inspect the horse or pony that has collapsed and provide a full report to the Federation. Refusal to submit an animal for examination by an authorized veterinarian after due notification shall constitute a violation of this rule.

5. Any horse or pony that collapses at a licensed competition is subject to drug and medication testing in accordance with Chapter 4 of these rules.

6. The rider, owner, and trainer as defined in GR 404 shall cooperate with the Federation as to any investigation it undertakes with respect to a collapse or death of a horse/pony. This includes providing information requested by the Federation within 10 days of the request.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Outbreak Alert - Rabies - Gaithersburg, Maryland

The following was sent to us by Jack Chellew, Mid-Atlantic Equine Sales Specialist for Merial Ltd., A Sanofi Company:

On 7/2/2013, a case of rabies was reported in a Raccoon in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Among wild animals, the disease is most often reported in skunks and raccoons but is also found in bats and foxes,1,2 and usually is transmitted from the saliva of an infected animal into a bite wound.1

Every case of rabies presents a death sentence to the infected horse - and a risk of infection for other horses.1 Infected horses may show common signs including depression, lack of coordination and aggressive behavior,1 or display more obscure signs, such as lameness or colic.3

Because the signs of rabies can vary so widely - and the disease is so serious - some experts recommend that horse owners think of rabies first whenever they see unexplained clinical signs in horses.3

Disease prevention - through vaccination and good management - is good for the horse, owner and equine veterinarian. MERIAL® vaccines provide the tools to help prevent some of the most common and most serious equine diseases, including rabies. IMRAB® is a rabies vaccine made by Merial and approved for use in six species of animals, including horses. And it is available in a combination vaccine that also helps protect against Potomac horse fever.

For more information about rabies or other equine diseases, talk with your veterinarian. 

Potential toxicity from down tree limbs

With summer storms come downed tree limbs.  Cherry trees are a particular concern since the wilted leaves may contain cyanide compounds.  Cattle are most affected but potentially horses may be as well.  Maple trees, particularly red and silver are also toxic.  They are capable of producing severe illness or death in horses with natural leaf fall as well as damaged limbs.   For a fuller discussion of maple toxicity see blog date 11/21/11.

Adequan availability

For those who have not heard Adequan will be unavailable until the first quarter of 2014.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Primer on Strangles (Strep Equi)

This is a bacterial disease of horses and other equines.  The incidence has been low but may be increasing.  Traditionally young horses are at greatest risk but with less chance of exposure over the last generations, older horses may not have had the opportunity to develop immunity.  After a natural infection that runs its course, there is a long lasting but not lifetime immunity.   Horses may be chronic carriers.  It is a difficult and expensive procedure to prove that an individual horse is not a carrier.
Prevention: Vaccination may help reduce the frequency and severity of the disease but does not provide a solid immunity in some horses.  There are two types of vaccine, an intranasal modified live (Pinnacle) and  an intramuscular  M protein extract (Strepvaxx II).  Some veterinarians believe that the modified live vaccine can produce disease but that has not been my experience.  The M protein extract may cause swelling and soreness at the injection site.  The disease is primarily transmitted by contact, direct and indirect.  Compared to viral respiratory diseases, it is not transmitted easily by aerosol over distances.   Quarantine sick horses.   Quarantine of new horses in a barn for two to three weeks especially if they have come from a public sale or dealer  is a good idea.   At a show do not let your horse have direct contact with other horses, graze, or drink from a common trough.  At an overnight show stabling is a potential problem.  A true disinfection of the stall is not possible.  A hand garden sprayer with dilute chlorine applied to the inside of the stall might reduce the potential load of bacteria but not help your relationship with neighbors.
Treatment:  If you have a horse with a fever and a copious nasal discharge or enlarged, painful  lymph nodes, seek advice from your vet.
If you want the full story (and want be scared to death about potential but rare complications) here is a link to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Consensus Statement on strangles .   Some of the recommendations may not be applicable to individual situations for financial or practical reasons.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Equine Vets and Controlled Substances

I recieved this from The American Association of Equine Practioners (AAEP).  If you believe that equine and other mobile vets should be able to carry controlled substances in their trucks please contact your congressman using the link below.  If we are unable to carry controlled substances we will be unable to address emergency situations requiring pain relief or euthanasia.

Dear Dr. Radue:
The AAEP Welfare and Public Policy Advisory Council is working with the AVMA and Congress to ensure that veterinarians can provide complete care to their animal patients.  With the recent introduction of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1528) we have the opportunity to make an impact.
As large animal veterinarians, most of us have frequent need to use controlled substances to treat our patients at the stables, ranches, farms and other sites where they live.  However, the provisions of the existing Controlled Substances Act
 (CSA) make it illegal for any veterinarian to transport and/or use controlled substances outside of the DEA license location that is registered for that individual. This means that it is currently illegal for veterinarians to carry and use these vital medications for pain management, anesthesia or euthanasia on farms, at house calls, in veterinary mobile clinics, or in ambulatory response situations.
Veterinarians must be able to legally carry and use controlled substances for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, to safeguard public safety and to protect the nation’s food supply.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which enforces the law, has informed organized veterinary medicine that without a statutory change, many veterinarians are in violation of the CSA and cannot legally administer controlled substances away from their registry site. The DEA has already notified some veterinarians in California and Washington State that they are in violation of this law.
We encourage you to contact your members of Congress and urge them to support the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1528). This act would amend the CSA that currently prohibits veterinarians from transporting controlled substances to treat their animal patients outside of their registered locations.
Please join us in telling Congress that veterinarians need to be able to transport controlled substances to the locations of their animal patients, not only for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, but for public safety.
The link below takes you to the AVMA Legislative Action Center where you can easily express your support of H.R. 1528.  Contact information for your representative(s) is generated  automatically by your zip code and a message which you may edit is provided. 
Take Action!
Thank you for your advocacy.
Ann E, Dwyer, DVM
2013 AAEP President

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Parasite Control Guidelines from AAEP

Here are the new guidelines for parasite control using a strategic deworming program rather than the traditional rotational program.  While I have been pleasantly surprised at how well this approach works, as you can see from reading this, its not as simple as deworming every two months with a variety of deworming products.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Good article from the Chonicle on Veterinary Drugs and "Veterinary Devices"

Nobody likes to pay more than they have to to treat their horses but there is a difference in regulatory over-site between "veterinary devices" used as drugs (none) and FDA approved drugs (proven efficacy, quality control inspection).

New York Times article on (over)medication of show horses
 (copy and paste to command line)

 The article speaks for itself quite well. There are a lot of subjects for discussion here, from how we treat our horses to the influence of money on the horse community. Some of us were a little smug when it was the race horse industry under the microscope. This hits a little closer to home. If you don't like the status quo and you are a member of the USEF, make your feelings known. The USEF (formerly AHSA) drug rule started out as a simple, useful regulation to allow reasonable and humane treatment of competition horses while banning drugs that would affect performance or hurt the health of the horse. Some owners, trainers, and unfortunately veterinarians continue to push the envelope in an effort to gain an "edge" resulting in a more and more complicated set of rules.