More of the Same, With Something New
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Dr. Johanna Reimer drains fluid from the sac around a yearling's heart.
Dr. Doug Byars, head of the medicine unit at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee in Lexington, Ky., said his clinic alone has seen about 40 cases of pericarditis (fluid in the sac around the heart) in the past two weeks.

A week ago, Byars reported at the industry-wide informational gathering that 20 cases had been seen at either the Hagyard's clinic or at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. He said the Hagyard's clinic is still taking in "red bag" foals, but in general things seem to be slowing down. He said the practice's field reproduction veterinarians feel the problem is lessening, although there still are early fetal losses.

It is hoped that a bell-shaped curve reflects the current problems, with a peak that now is behind us as we slope toward the bottom. However, there is caution that the problem could be a roller coaster, with another peak coming up.

Byars also reported more horses seen with oral ulcers, and that the eye problems are continuing. He said human fatigue is playing a part in the syndromes now with all the people involved, from veterinarians to farm managers to the hands-on caretakers of horses.

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