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.”