Horse Health

Health news, veterinary advice, and educational tools to keep your horse healthy provided by The Horse

Fatigue in Racehorses

While visibly obvious, fatigue is hard to quantify. Electromyography (EMG) measures conduction along nerves in a particular muscle group--as muscle fibers fatigue, EMG signals shift from high to low. Taking EMG readings during galloping is unreliable, however, because signals are susceptible to inaccuracies from lead changes. Kinematics is another eval...

Yearling Colt in Kentucky Dies Of West Nile Virus

A Thoroughbred yearling from the Lexington area has died of West Nile Virus. It is the first time this year West Nile has been identified in a horse in Kentucky, according to the state Department of Agriculture's office of the state veterinarian.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Partial paralysis of the larynx prevents maximal opening of the equine trachea. Affected horses can move air, but breathing noises occur, especially during exercise. The most common form of laryngeal paralysis is recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN), which involves degeneration of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The cause of RLN is unknown, but it seems...

On-Going MRLS Studies Focus on Eastern Tent Caterpillar

A research project begins well before the experiment starts. That was the case of the recently completed collaborative effort at the University of Kentucky that associated the Eastern tent caterpillar and its frass (excrement) and Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS). Work on that project began last fall, even before funding was finalized.

Isolated Cases Consistent with MRLS Identified

A few isolated cases consistent with a diagnosis of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome have been identified in the last seven days, said the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners at a meeting May 1. The numbers are significantly less than reported for the corresponding period in 2001.

Free Veterinary Workshop in California

Learn about the latest veterinary treatments and procedures for racehorses at a free workshop March 16, sponsored by the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Foundation, and the Southern California Equine Foundation.

Thoroughbred Pedigrees Show Little Genetic Diversity

More than 95% of Thoroughbreds share the same paternal lineage, and almost half of the genetic makeup of the breed can be attributed to just 10 foundation horses. These facts are just a few of the recent findings brought to light by a research team at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The group, led by Professor Patrick Cunningham, MS, PhD, used pedi...

The Young Horse Upper Airway

It has become commonplace for an upper respiratory tract (URT) endoscopy to be performed at pre- and post-sale examinations of young horses--especially at Thoroughbred sales. To address what is normal and what is abnormal, Rolf M. Embertson, DVM, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexing-ton, Ky., studied Thoroughbred weanlings and yearlings and comp...

Group Attempts to Assist Horse Refused Entry

A 7-year-old Thoroughbred stallion has spent five days crisscrossing the Mediterranean Sea because of an error in the horse's documentation that the destination country will not accept. The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) is trying to cut through the red tape that's preventing Shorten Sail from landing at his final destination: Cyprus.

Placentitis-Causing Bacterium Gets Name

Each year throughout the United States, mares lose their pregnancies due to placentitis or an infection in the placenta. Placentitis causes lesions in the placenta, which provides nourishment from the mare to the fetus. When that nourishment is disrupted, the fetus might be compromised, or die.

International Mare Owners Not Worried By MRLS

Preliminary data from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture shows that, following required quarantine and testing of imported horses, approximately 205 overseas Thoroughbred mares were received in the state in 2001 compared with 248 mares 2000. Exact totals will be available in a few weeks.

Text of Racehorse Medication Summit Report

The attached list of racing organizations and officials were invited to attend a one-day workshop for the purpose of determining if agreement could be reached as to the need for a uniform policy for racehorse medication in the United States, and if so, where agreement can be reached on elements of such a policy. The workshop consisted of two segments: a two-hour open session briefing by experts on topics pertinent to the purpose of the Summit, and an intensive seven-hour workshop for the invited representatives which was conducted by a professional facilitator from outside the racing industry.

Dealing With MRLS on the Farm: No Magic Bullet

Kentucky farm managers and owners are taking steps to prevent the reoccurrence of mare reproductive loss syndrome while fervently hoping last year's devastation was a one-shot deal. There are almost as many theories of what caused MRLS as there are people addressing the problem, so preventative measures differ from farm to farm.

Tobacco Funds Approved For MRLS Study

The Kentucky Agriculture Development Board on Friday approved using $311,000 from state and county tobacco-settlement funds to research causes of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome that resulted in deaths of foals and caused some mares to abort fetuses last spring.

Kentucky Directive: No Tubing on Raceday

Kentucky has taken its ban on "milkshakes" in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing one step further with a specific directive that naso-gastric tubes cannot be used at all on raceday, even for therapeutic purposes. The commission said the directive was issued "to inform current and newly licensed veterinary practitioners of current policy."

AAEP Prepared for Medication Summit

The American Association of Equine Practitioners has spent many hours over the past year getting ready for the Dec. 4 medication summit that will be part of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program's Symposium on Racing. "We hope for the first time to bring together key stakeholders in the racing industry to specifically discuss racehorse medication," said Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, 2001 president of the AAEP.

Central Florida Farms Handling West Nile Virus

Though Florida has been hardest hit by West Nile vVrus this year, the number of confirmed cases in Marion County, home to Ocala and many horse farms, isn't out of line with the rest of the state, according to data registered through Oct. 31.

Major Breakthrough Made in EPM Research

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ohio State University have made a major breakthrough in equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), finding that the raccoon can serve as an intermediate host for Sarcocystis neurona, the single-celled protozoan parasite that causes the neurological disease.

West Nile Virus Suspected at Churchill Downs

The Kentucky State Veterinarian's office is investigating an unconfirmed case of West Nile virus at Churchill Downs. According to Churchill Downs, the horse that is being investigated as the possible victim of West Nile virus was Rocket Express, a 2-year-old with one career victory.

Horses Becoming Wimps?

Many Thoroughbred racehorses aren't as tough today as their yesteryear counterparts, at least in the opinion of Bill Moyer, DVM, a professor and department head at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Moyer was one of several speakers during a therapeutic medication seminar for veterinarians at Churchill Downs on Oct. 31. The program...

EIPH: Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage

Perhaps the most widely recognized of all disorders affecting racehorses is "bleeding," or exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). We now know that most racehorses bleed at some time during their careers. In fact, many horses might bleed every time they undertake intense exercise, such as breezing and racing. We also know that bleeding can occur ...

Endoscopic Exams Indicate Racing Potential

Recent research indicates that endoscopic examination of yearlings can help determine their eventual racing success. However, research also showed certain abnormalities that in the past were considered indicators of poor performance were not predictive of actual athletic performance in the adult horse.

Unbridled: 'A Wonderful Privilege to Be Around'

Dr. Douglar Byars, respected surgeon at the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee equine hospital near Lexington, spoke with The Blood-Horse about the unsuccessful efforts to save Claiborne Farm stallion Unbridled, calling the 1990 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner "the most extraordinary, patient horse I've ever been around."

MRLS Losses, Executive Summary

The Department of Equine Business at the University of Louisville was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Office of the Governor, to quantify the economic loss to the Kentucky equine breeding industry resulting from the loss of a large number of foals to Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) in 2001. Following is a summary of the detailed analysis contained in that study.

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