Horse Health

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

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.

MRLS Economic Impact: $336-Million

More than 30% of the anticipated 2002 Thoroughbred foal crop in Kentucky has been wiped out due to mare reproductive loss syndrome, and the economic cost to the state from losses suffered by all horse breeds will total nearly $336 million, according to a study commissioned by Gov. Paul Patton and conducted by the University of Louisville's Department of Equine Business.

Derby Decisions

Every competitive horse has normal wear and tear, just like human athletes. Horses on the road to the Kentucky Derby in Thoroughbred racing receive more media attention than probably any other equine athletes. So, when a spring season arrives, and when there is attrition in the upper ranks of 3-year-olds, it is seen and commented on by millions of peop...

Venereal Disease in Horses

Venereal diseases are those that can be sexually transmitted. "Vener" is the Latin term for sexual intercourse and, hence, the origin of the term "venereal." The outcome of sexually transmitted diseases in horses can vary depending on the gender of the animal exposed to infection and the causal agent. Infections can give rise to infert...

Dual Hemisphere Breeding

Thoroughbred breeding stallions truly have joined the jet set. These four-legged  Romeos are flying from one part of the world to another these days as they perform breeding duties on both sides of the equator. Hundreds of stallions from other breeds also have joined the jet set, but in less dramatic fashion. Because artificial in...

Oxytocin and Maternal Recognition of Pregnancy

A research report from the laboratory at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky noted that it is well-established that early conceptus loss (the embryo and its associated extra-embryonic membranes) is a major source of reproductive inefficiency in domestic animals. Early preg...

Research Expands on Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Commonwealth of Kentucky held a press conference late Sept. 20 to announce that they are splitting the cost of bringing in expert help to look at all of the health problems seen in Kentucky this spring. A team headed by Dr. Noah Cohen of Texas A&M University will look at not only records of aborted fetuses and dead foals sent to the Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center, but also at records from the two large referral equine practices in Central Kentucky and private practitioners.

Recommendations Forthcoming From Mare Reproductive Loss Survey

The survey of 133 Central Kentucky farms was designed to identify risk factors, not causes, of mare reproductive loss syndrome, said Dr. Roberta Dwyer of the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center. As a result of the survey, a list of recommendations will be put forth in the next four to six weeks to help farm managers avoid risk factors in the future.

Mare Reproductive Loss Survey Confirms Some Beliefs; Belies Others

Results from the survey of 133 farms in Central Kentucky regarding the early fetal loss and late-term abortions that occurred this spring substantiated the preliminary ideas held by researchers and veterinarians this spring. The survey also put to rest some fears of causes put forth by individuals in the industry. It is perhaps this second result that makes the survey good news for horse owners.

Study: Growth Rates Not Affected by MRLS

While mare reproductive loss syndrome has had a devastating effect on in-foal mares in 2001, a just-released study indicates it had no affect on the growth rate of foals of 2000 and 2001 raised on Central Kentucky farms and foals of 2001.

Mare Study's Preliminary Results Are Encouraging

There are no significant differences between mares bred in Kentucky and mares bred in Florida, according to the preliminary results of a study that was designed to determine the effects of mare reproductive loss system (MRLS). Drs. Tom Riddle and Kent Vince of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington used ultrasound exams to compare the allantoic and amniotic fluids of the two groups. They also looked at fetal heart rates.

Researchers, Vets, Others Discuss West Nile Virus

Researchers, government officials, and private practitioners who are members of the Emerging Diseases Committee met at the Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center for nearly two hours Friday to discuss how to handle information dissemination to veterinarians and horse owners on West Nile Virus (WNV) in Kentucky.

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