Horse Health

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

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.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

Vets Following Progress of Pregnant Mares in Kentucky

Several reproductive specialists at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee veterinary firm in Lexington, Ky., are following about 100 pregnant mares. These are mares from farms which were either affected or unaffected by Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome this spring; are 15 years old or younger; were bred March 15 or earlier; and are not going through the sales and will remain in Kentucky to foal next spring.

Tobacco Money to Help Offset Foal Loss Syndrome Study Cost

The board dispensing Kentucky's portion of tobacco settlement money has approved a $56,400 grant to cover half of the cost of the investigation into the Mare Reproductive Foal Loss Syndrome that negatively impacted the horse breeding industry last spring.

Ohio Blood Samples to be Tested for West Nile

The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have collected 143 blood samples from horses in Lake County, Ohio, to determine if the horses have been exposed to West Nile virus. The first confirmed incidence of the virus in a bird was found in that area.

Bapten Discontinued By PR Pharmaceuticals

The equine tendon medication Bapten has been discontinued by its manufacturer, PR Pharmaceuticals, because of a lack of demand for the product. The expense and length of treatment involved with Bapten therapy kept the drug from becoming popular with horse owners, according to Keri Nightingale, the company's marketing manager for Bapten.

First West Nile Virus Vaccine For Horses Released

The equine industry called out for a way to protect its horses from the deadly neurological disease West Nile virus (WNV), and researchers and federal authorities responded. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Fort Dodge Animal Health announced Wednesday, Aug. 1, the approval and release of the very first WNV vaccine for horses

British Study Looks At Training and Injury

Racehorse owners might one day be able to handicap a horse's risk of injury. A new study in its early stages at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in the United Kingdom is monitoring a group of two-year-olds with the intention of using the data for both orthopedic and training evaluations.

Researcher Joanna Price, BSc, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, and her te...

Farm Bill Has Foal-Loss Impact Provision

Language that calls for low-interest loans for owners and breeders impacted by mare reproductive loss syndrome is included in a farm bill now under consideration by the House Agriculture Committee. The bill may be ready the week of July 30.

West Nile Virus Found In Florida Horse

Health officials in Florida have confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in a horse in the state, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported on July 21. It also is the first case of the disease that has been reported in a horse in this country this year.

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