Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nervous humans worry horses.

Recent research has confirmed that horses react to nervousness in their rider or handler.

The project, led by Linda Keeling, Professor of Animal Welfare at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, looked at how the heart rates of horses and riders responded to the rider anticipating a threatening situation.

More details...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Microchipping horses.

Should owners expect any adverse effects from having their horse implanted with a microchip?

A project at the Pennsylvania State University Department of Dairy and Agricultural Science, assessed the inflammatory response to microchip insertion - and whether the chips migrated after having been inserted.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy

Four clinical syndromes have been attributed to Equine herpes virus-1 (EHV-1): respiratory disease in younger horses, abortion in pregnant mares, stillbirth or weakness in newborn foals and paralysis ( equine herpes virus myeloencephalopathy (EHM)).

EHM has been identified more frequently in recent years. Knowledge gained in dealing with outbreaks of the disease is now available in a 74 page report published by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health.

The report, Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy: Mitigation Experiences, Lessons Learned, and Future Needs is based on interviews with 18 veterinarians or state equine program managers who worked to control recent outbreaks of the disease. You can download a copy here.

Also available is an educational brochure about EHM produced by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Veterinary Services. Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) Myeloencephalopathy: A Guide to Understanding the Neurologic Form of EHV Infection is available here.

Read more.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Laminitis: value of soaking hay?

Soaking hay before feeding cannot be relied on to make it safe for laminitis-prone horses, according to a recent study.

One of the factors that has been recognised as increasing the risk of laminitis is the over consumption of water soluble carbohydrates (WSC). It has been recommended that obese animals and those at risk of laminitis should be fed hay with a non-structural carbohydrate (WSC and starch) content of less than 10%. Soaking hay in water before being fed has been suggested in order to reduce the WSC.

The study, conducted by the Laminitis Consortium, examined the loss of water-soluble carbohydrates from different hays submerged in water for up to 16 hours. The nine different hay samples were analysed for WSC and then soaked in cold water. The soaked samples were subsequently analysed after 20 minutes, 40 minutes, three hours and 16 hours.

“The results showed a highly variable leaching of WSC and substantially less leaching than reported previously for chopped hay soaked for 30 minutes” explained Clare Barfoot. “Very few samples reached below 10% WSC, despite prolonged soaking. The concern is that this strongly suggests that soaking may not be sufficient to render some hays safe to feed to horses and ponies prone to laminitis.”


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Changes to UK horse passport rules

The UK's horse passport rules have been tightened up from the begining of July 2009. The horse's owner or keeper is responsible for making sure that each horse has a passport, and that it is available for inspection at all times. You don't need to have the passport with you when the horse is grazing or being moved on foot - but you do have to show it to an inspector within three hours of being asked.

With very few exceptions, all horses have to have a passport. Both the owner, and the main keeper, is responsible for making sure the horse is correctly identified - but only the owner can apply for the passport.

The big change is that to be issued with a passport now horses must be microchipped. As a consequence, the diagram (silhouette) of the horse is no longer compulsory. However, many breed societies and passport issuing authorities still require a silhouette at this time.

For more details see: