Equine Disease Quarterly

Snakebite in Horses

With warm weather comes the increased risk of snakebite. The major venomous snakes in the United States are the pit vipers, including rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and copperheads. Pit vipers are named after the heat-detecting holes, or pits, on each side of the head that help the snake locate prey. Pit vipers can be differentiated from other snakes by t...

Managing Weeds in Kentucky Horse Pastures

What grows in your pasture? Ideally, abundant forage that is nutritious to horses. However, a perusal of most Kentucky horse pastures will uncover 20 plant species, many of which are weeds. The abundance of weedy species depends greatly on pasture management: Overgrazing of pasture grasses and soil compaction are primary causes of weed occurrence.

Fluoridated Water and Horses

The potential risk of fluoride-supplemented public water to horses is a topic that periodically arises. A casual internet search of this topic can uncover alarming reports purporting fluoride poisoning in horses from fluoridated municipal water. These reports typically are published in non-peer reviewed sources and are missing important information necess...

Commentary: Take West Nile Risk Seriously

As of Sept. 4, 2012, West Nile virus (WNV) infections in people, animals, or mosquitoes have been reported from all states except Alaska and Hawaii, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of 1,993 human cases, 54% involved the nervous system. When are mosquitoes especially active? Dawn and dusk. When are most horse people also ...

Mobile Blue Light Therapy for Broodmares

Horses are long-day seasonal breeders. The natural reproductive period coincides with the light-filled days between May and September, when the environment is optimal for the survival of offspring. However, the universal birthday for some horse breeds, like Thoroughbreds, is January 1. This creates a demand for early foals in order to produce mature yearl...

Working to Understand Equine Laminitis

Equine laminitis can be a devastating result of many different disease processes in the horse, including sepsis and endocrinopathies. The two primary types of endocrinopathic laminitis are equine metabolic syndrome (EMS, seen most often in the obese horse), and Cushing's syndrome (also known as pituitary pars intermedia disorder) in older horses (char...

Pigeon Fever in Horses: A Re-emerging Disease

Infection in horses caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis can assume many forms. Deep intramuscular abscesses in horses caused by C. pseudotuberculosis were first reported in San Mateo County, Calif., in 1915. Since that time, the disease commonly referred to as "pigeon fever" was considered one of the most fre...

The Older Horse: An Immunological Perspective

In recent years there has been a shift in the U.S. horse population, with aged horses (15 years or older) an increasing percentage (20-30%). Many of these older horses remain actively involved in equestrian sport competitions, are still being bred, or serve as companion animals. Thus, further understanding of how the biology of aging affects the older hor...

Preparing Horse Farms for Winter Weather Disasters

In 2010, more than half of the United States, from Texas to Maine, was engulfed in a major winter storm. Millions of people were without power, road or highway access, or viable communications. Loss of electricity, impassable roads, and breaks in communications can, however, happen in any climate, at any time, due to floods, straightline winds, tornadoes,...

'Heart Attacks' and Heart Disease in Horses

The cardiovascular system, which is composed of the heart and blood vessels, is essential for the distribution of oxygen, nutrients, and other critical components to all organs throughout the horse's body. As the heart is the sole pump for the cardiovascular system, any disruption of its function can have critical consequences for the animal's life.

Foal Pneumonia Case Review

Foals, like other young animals, are especially susceptible to diseases. A review of necropsy cases over a one-year period at the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center was conducted to determine common pathologic diagnoses in the foals submitted for necropsy. For this study, all foals 1 day to 6 months of age were included. A total of...

Neonatal Isoerythrolysis: Foal Jaundice

Neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI) is caused by an incompatibility of blood types between a mare and her foal. If a foal inherits from its sire a red cell factor (antigen) that the mare lacks, the mare may develop antibodies to that antigen. There is no harm to the foal in utero, as there is no comingling of the mare's blood with that of the fetus. However...

Monitoring and Surveillance of Equine Infectious Diseases

Disease monitoring is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and distribution of health-related information. Surveillance is a process that is specific for a particular disease within a defined monitoring system and implies that an intervention strategy will be initiated at some predetermined threshold level. For a disease like equine infectious ane...

Emerging Disease: Equine Proliferative Enteropathy

Equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE) is an emerging intestinal disease primarily of recently weaned foals. Lawsonia intracellularis, the causative bacterium of EPE, is capable of inducing similar disease in many animal species, most notably swine. To date, comparatively little research has been undertaken into the disease in horses.

Kentucky State Vet's Office Prepares for WEG

From September 25 through October 10, 2010, the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, will host the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). More than 700 equine athletes representing 60 different countries are expected to be imported into Kentucky to compete in one of the eight World Championship competitions.

Understanding Antibody Titers

One of the most often used and least understood immunological terms is antibody titer. But what does titer mean, and how can this information be used in assessing the immune status of a horse?

A titer is defined as the concentration of specific antibodies in the blood that recognize a particular agent, such as equine influenza virus....

Nitrate Poisoning in Horses

Fortunately, nitrate/nitrite poisoning is not a common problem in horses. However, due to serious and potentially fatal consequences of nitrate/nitrite poisoning, horse owners should be aware of the condition and understand the risk factors.

Nitrate/nitrite poisoning in animals is caused by ingestion of excessive amounts of nitrate or nitrite from...

Commentary: Animal Guardianship and Horses

Imagine that overnight a new state law goes into effect declaring that from now on you do not own your animals but rather you are their "guardian." Does this sound farfetched? Some local communities have already made this change The first legal step on this road has been the addition of "owner-guardian" language to local ordinances, then changing the w...

Simple Steps to Reduce Infectious Horse Disease Risk

Infectious diseases are a constant risk to the health and welfare of horses. Along with vaccination, preventive management techniques are critical to disease prevention.

Horse owners should:

  • Develop a comprehensive biosecurity plan with a veterinarian and communicate it to all employees. This plan should include disinfe...

Québec Eastern Equine Encephalitis Outbreak of 2008 Reviewed

Following is a report by the animal health surveillance network (RAIZO) of the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec.

Only two cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) had been reported in Québec in the past 35 years until the fall of 2008, when the province experienced an outbreak of the disease. The fi...

Commentary: Horse Health Research Needs Funding

Research is an important, but not always visible, part of the horse industry. Basic research is often conducted in laboratories away from horse farms and racetracks. However, results from basic research are frequently the starting point for clinical research discoveries used in veterinary practices all over the world.

The Department of Veterinary ...

Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy Resources Available

A 74-page report on equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), for which equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) has been identified as a causative agent, was released by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health in July 2008.

The report, "Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy: Mitigation Experiences...

Human Injuries Related to Horses Analyzed

The American Horse Council's 2005 report "The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry on the United States" documents that more than 2 million horse owners are involved in a variety of activities. Millions more people ride horses every year or handle horses as industry workers, family members of owners, and volunteers.

Horse-related human injuries are ...

International Equine Disease Report, First Quarter 2009

The International Collating Centre, Newmarket, England, and other sources reported the following disease outbreaks:

Contagious equine metritis (CEM) was confirmed on four premises in France. In December 2008, four stallions (three Quarter Horses, one American Paint) were identified as CEM positive in Kentucky. The stallions had stood the 2008 bree...

International Equine Disease Report, Fourth Quarter 2008

The International Collating Centre, Newmarket, England, and other sources reported the following disease outbreaks:

Two cases of contagious equine metritis (CEM) were confirmed in non-Thoroughbred horses in France. As of Feb. 23 the USDA reported 11 non-Thoroughbred stallions positive for (CEM) during the recent outbreak--four in Kentucky, three in I...

Genetics of Contracted Foal Syndrome

The skeletal anatomy of a horse's front and hind limbs is comparable to the anatomy of the human hands and feet. The horse's cannon bone, or metacarpal, is the same as a bone in the palm of a hand. The human phalanges, or finger bones, are comparable to the bones making up a horse's hoof and pastern. Fortunately, most humans and horses are bor...

Most Popular Stories