Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Autumn rise in Atypical Myopathy cases
Help Solve the Mysteries of Laminitis
Drug combination may limit joint damage
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
More help to avoid positive drug tests
More detection times for commonly used drugs have been released by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
According to the BHA, the inadvertent carry over of medication following veterinary treatment is the most common reason for a positive drug test on the day of racing.
An important part of the Authority's drive to keep racing free of drugs is the provision of data to help vets decide when medication should be stopped before racing to minimise the risk of a positive drug test.
"We recognise the need to provide trainers and their vets with this important information to allow them to treat their horses but also avoid race day positive tests."
The BHA has recently announced four new Detection Times for commonly used veterinary medicines; the sedative acepromazine, the sedative /analgesic combination detomidine/butorphanol, the anti-inflammatory treatment prednisolone, and the airway treatment salmeterol.
Read more at equinescienceupdate.com
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Research into gene therapy for osteoarthritis
University of Florida researchers are developing a gene therapy for osteoarthritis in horses, in the hope that the technique will be applicable to people as well. The goal is to create a one-time treatment that gives long-term benefits.
The work involves the use of viruses, called adeno-associated viruses, or AAV, to deliver genetic material to the joints of horses, where it would produce a therapeutic protein directly at the site of the disease.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis. Current medications often only produce limited relief, require repeated administration and may interfere with healing. In contrast, this new gene therapy would require a one-time treatment and would not hinder the body’s healing processes.
Research suggests that the pain, joint inflammation and loss of cartilage associated with osteoarthritis are linked to a protein called interleukin-1. A therapeutic gene used to treat the arthritic joints produces a second protein that naturally counteracts the effects of interleukin-1, but that has not yet translated into effective treatments for patients because of difficulty getting high enough concentrations inside affected joints.
The UF researchers are devising a gene therapy approach that would allow continued production of therapeutic protein within the joints, directly at the disease site.
“We hope that this will be at least the first step in a therapy that will benefit both people and animals,” said Patrick Colahan, a board-certified equine surgeon in the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and co-investigator on the study. “It has the potential to help lots of different species, and from a veterinarian’s perspective, that’s what we’d like.”
Read more at equinescienceupdate.com
Foal heat diarrhoea - no treatment best
New research shows that the bacterial population of the foal's digestive tract undergoes major changes within the first two weeks of life. This change seems to be directly responsible for the "foal heat" diarrhoea that is often seen in young foals.The work, carried out at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna and the Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Science, Neustadt, Germany, found that the onset of diarrhoea was unrelated to the mare returning to oestrus after giving birth.
Horse-breeders expect most newborn foals to suffer from diarrhoea. Many methods have been suggested to avoid the problem, including supplementing the mothers’ diets with ß-carotene, which is known to be helpful in preventing diarrhoea in young calves. However, Juliane Kuhl in the group of Christine Aurich at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna has now shown that this food supplement has no real effect on the incidence of diarrhoea in foals. Kuhl, Aurich and their collaborators examined the bacteria in the faeces of foals and their mothers, as well as the measuring the levels of antibodies (γ-globulins) in the animals’ blood. They found little change over time in the nature of bacteria in the mothers’ faeces, although they did observe dramatic differences in the bacteria in the foals’ faeces. Foals are born with very low amounts of bacteria in their intestines but are colonized by E. coli within the first day of their lives. In contrast, the number of foals with Enterococcus remains low until about ten days following birth, after which these bacteria can be detected in most animals. Other bacteria such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus arrive between two and four weeks after birth, by which time the foals’ intestinal flora is essentially indistinguishable from that of their mothers. Interestingly, the researchers found that the changes in the bacterial flora closely parallel the development of diarrhoea. They also found that foals with low γ-globulin levels did not develop diarrhoea more often than those with much higher levels. So, the incidence of diarrhoea cannot be related to a weakened immune system. Kuhl is careful to note that “we have not yet shown that diarrhoea results directly from the switch in intestinal bacteria, although our data make it seem very likely that this is the case.”The implication is that the horse is essentially predisposed to develop diarrhoea at a very young age. As the condition clears up fairly quickly without the need for antibiotic treatment, food withdrawal or food supplements such as ß-carotene, breeders should simply accept that many of their animals will suffer from the condition. Read more at equinescienceupdate.com
Comparing hot iron branding and microchipping in foals
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Seasonal pasture myopathy research
Ancient artists spot on
Ancient cave paintings probably give an accurate portrayal of the horses that roamed the earth at the time, according to new research.For years, archaeologists have debated whether cave paintings were intended as a realistic portrayal of life as seen by the artist, or whether they were a flight of fancy, having symbolic significance. The latter view was fuelled by the fact that, although genes for bay and black hair colour had been identified in ancient DNA, the gene for spotted coat colouring had not been found. Now a multicentre research project has found the gene responsible for leopard spotted coat colouration in DNA from prehistoric horses.The international team of researchers has found that all the colour variations seen in Palaeolithic cave paintings – including distinctive ‘leopard’ spotting - existed in pre-domestic horse populations, lending weight to the argument that the artists were reflecting their natural environment. Professor Michi Hofreiter, from the Department of Biology at the University of York, said “...our results suggest that, at least for wild horses, Palaeolithic cave paintings, including the remarkable depictions of spotted horses, were closely rooted in the real-life appearance of animals. “While previous DNA studies have produced evidence for bay and black horses, our study has demonstrated that the leopard complex spotting phenotype was also already present in ancient horses and was accurately depicted by their human contemporaries nearly 25,000 years ago. “Our findings lend support to hypotheses that argue that cave paintings constitute reflections of the natural environment of humans at the time and may contain less of a symbolic or transcendental connotation than often assumed.” Read more at equinescienceupdate.com
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Management affects large intestinal motility
A possible explanation for the increased risk of impaction colic in stabled horses has been revealed by a study that shows that they have lower large intestinal motility compared with horses at pasture.The research team, led by Dr Sarah Freeman at the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, measured the motility of the large intestine at three regions of the large intestine, using transcutaneous ultrasound. The study involved sixteen clinically normal horses, which were divided into two groups.Group A: Horses were stabled continuously throughout the study.
Group B: Horses were initially at pasture 24hr/day. Over a 2 week period they were gradually changed to the same stabling/dietary management as group A. The researchers assessed the motility of large intestine twice daily for two consecutive days. They recorded the number of contractions at each of three sites: the caecum, sternal flexure, and left ventral colon. Overall large intestinal motility as assessed by transcutaneous ultrasound was lower in stabled horses. In particular, stabled horses showed significantly fewer contractions in the sternal flexure and left ventral colon. Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Laminitis due to endocrine disorders
Hormonal disturbance (endocrinopathy) appears to be a common underlying cause of laminitis according to research from Finland.The study, conducted at Helsinki University Equine Teaching Hospital, looked for signs of endocrinopathy in all cases of laminitis presented for examination. Almost 90% of horses with laminitis had endocrine abnormalities. Hyperinsulinaemia, associated with obesity was the most common cause, accounting for two thirds of all cases of endocrinopathic laminitis. Cushing’s disease (or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction: PPID) was responsible for a third of the endocrine-associated laminitis cases. Dr Ninja Karikoski and colleagues examined 36 horses and ponies with laminitis. Thirty-two of them (89%) had signs of endocrinopathy. Eleven horses had signs of PPID - hirsutism (long curly coat) and increased basal ACTH concentration or typical response to a dexamethasone suppression test. Twenty-one horses had raised basal levels of insulin in the blood without signs of hirsutism. All but one of these hyperinsulinaemic horses were overweight. Twelve had a body condition score (BCS) of four, (on a scale from zero to five, where five is obese) and eight had BCS of five. The researchers conclude that, in this study, most cases of laminitis were associated with an underlying hormonal disturbance. They suggest that endocrine testing should be performed on all cases of laminitis unless there is a clear inflammatory or gastrointestinal cause. Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Jet lag benefits racehorses
They research showed that horses adapted very quickly to a shift in time zone. Importantly, this rapid adaptation was not accompanied by an increase in the level of stress, but by alterations in endocrine systems that favour an enhancement of the horse’s physical capacity during the process.
In fact, following experimental jetlag, horses experienced improved athletic performance, being able to run at full gallop for an additional 25 seconds before reaching fatigue.
This improved performance did not persist, however, and had returned to pre-shift values after 14 days in the new lighting conditions. Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Comparing positive and negative reinforcement training methods.
Progress towards a vaccine against deadly foal pneumonia
Ancient wild horses help reveal past
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Identifying the cause of Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Effect of blinkers
How do horses respond to partial loss of vision?In a study at Texas A & M University, eight driving horses were assessed to see if they responded differently to stimuli when wearing blinkers or not. A racing hood with half cup blinkers was used to restrict the field of view behind the horse. A similar racing hood without blinkers was used as a control. One experimenter administered one of four stimuli while standing about nine strides behind the horse:
- a length of steel chain was dropped onto an aluminium sheet
- a children's toy gun was fired
- an aluminium can containing coins was shaken
- an umbrella was rapidly opened
The horse's heart rate was recorded after each stimulus. They found that wearing blinkers was significantly associated with an increase in heart rate when worn by horses experiencing a noise for the first time. On the other hand, blinkers were significantly associated with a decrease in heart rate when worn by horses exposed to a primarily visual stimulus (the umbrella opening). "It would seem logical that wearing blinkers would be advantageous when a visual distraction is hidden by the blinkers. Because the horses cannot see the object, he has no reaction to this object which is potentially frightening" they comment. However, sounds are different. "This paper shows that horses wearing blinkers react more when they are exposed to unexpected noises." They point out that this reaction is not necessarily seen by an observer - most of the horses in the study showed little visible reaction to the noise stimuli. There was, however, a dramatic increase in heart rate. The researchers suggest that this model of restricted vision could be used to investigate how horses react to other visual deficits such as total blindness, or the changes that occur after cataract surgery.More details at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Catching things from horses
The authors suggest that the foal was the most likely source of the infection. In fact, the foal itself had been hospitalised in an equine clinic two months earlier for treatment of a wound infection.Another report describes a surgical operation that became infected with Streptococcus equi. S. equi, the cause of strangles in horses, is a cause of great concern to many horses' owners, but is rarely a danger to humans or other domestic species.The patient, a professional racehorse trainer, underwent treatment for an aortic aneurysm - a condition in which the walls of the main artery leaving the heart are weakened and balloon outwards. If untreated there is a risk of sudden rupture leading to sudden death. A specialised endovascular technique was used, in which a stent, a tubular framework, was inserted into the femoral artery in the groin, and passed up the artery until it came to lie within the affected vessel. The stent became infected and the causative organism was identified as Streptococcus equi. Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Faecal egg counts after tapeworm treatment
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Does soaking make hay safer for laminitics?
An important part of treatment and prevention of laminitis is to limit the water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) intake. To achieve this, access to pasture is restricted and the horse or pony is fed hay instead.But even hay may not be safe for horses with laminitis. Most authorities suggest that horses and ponies prone to laminitis or with insulin resistance should ideally receive hay that has a water soluble carbohydrate concentration not exceeding 100g/kg on a dry matter basis (DM) However, in northern Europe pasture grasses often contain high levels of WSC (>300g WSC/kg DM), which may result in hay with WSC content up to 200g/kgDM.It is often suggested that soaking the hay may reduce its water soluble carbohydrate content and thus make it safer for laminitis-prone horses and ponies. However, the studies that have supported this approach have often used large quantities of water and, as well, the hay may have been chopped prior to soaking. Often owners do not go to such lengths. What is the effect of soaking hay when carried out according to common practice?Dr Annette Longland, Clare Barfoot and Dr Pat Harris conducted an investigation into whether the degree of soaking that is in common use in the UK would have an effect on the WSC content of various hays. The study looked at the loss of WSC and crude protein from a range of British hays, which were either shaken or left compacted in the "flake" and then soaked in just enough water to cover the hay, for various lengths of time. The authors found that soaking hay for up to 16 hours produced variable and incomplete loss of WSC.
As would be expected, the dry matter content of the hays fell after soaking - there was a significant reduction in DM content after 20 minutes soaking, and a continued fall with longer periods of soaking. However, regardless of the duration of soaking or whether the hay was shaken up or left compacted the WSC content of most of the hays remained above the recommended limit for laminitics of 100g/kgDM.The researchers found no significant difference between the compacted or shaken hays. They conclude that soaking cannot be relied on to make hay suitable for feeding to laminitic horses. They recommend that hay for animals prone to laminitis be analysed for WSC content, and only hay that is low in WSC is fed to horses prone to laminitis. Soaking can be used as an extra safeguard.
Friday, July 22, 2011
How does a brumby stallion spend his day?
Magdalena Zabek's latest report on the feral horses of central Australia is now available. Click here to read
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Research confirms effectiveness of grazing muzzles
Making sense of flexion tests
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Treponemes found in canker lesions
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Effect of psyllium on glucose and insulin
Researchers at Montana State University conducted a trial to see if adding psyllium to a horse's diet had an effect on glucose and insulin metabolism. It had been noticed previously that psyllium had a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, when taken by people with insulin resistance. So they wanted to investigate whether a similar effect occurred in horses.They used 16 healthy horses (8 mares and 8 geldings), which they divided into 4 groups of 4, each containing 2 mares and 2 geldings. All horses were fed a diet of mixed grass hay and a commercial whole grain feed twice a day. Psyllium pellets were added to the grain ration of three groups at 90g, 180g, or 270g daily. The fourth group received the same diet, but without added psyllium. On the 60th day the researchers withheld food from the horses overnight. In the morning they collected blood samples before the morning feed and then every 30 minutes for six hours, to monitor the blood glucose and insulin concentrations.The researchers found that on average, horses that had been receiving psyllium for 60 days had lower average peak glucose levels after feeding and lower average glucose levels. Psyllium-fed horses also had lower peak insulin levels and lower average insulin levels after feeding compared with horses that had not received psyllium.Dr Shannon John J Moreaux, Assistant professor of Equine Science at Montana State University, and one of the research team commented. "Psyllium could be especially beneficial to obese, insulin-resistant horses, or horses that are predisposed to developing laminitis because of metabolic syndrome". He added that it was commercially marketed and readily available to horse owners, and when fed daily, may help to maintain lower post-feeding blood glucose and insulin levels.This was a small study carried out using normal horses. Before we can conclude that psyllium will benefit insulin resistant horses, further research is needed using affected horses.However, if it proves to be effective in insulin resistant horses it could provide a useful addition to the strategies available for managing this condition.Read more at equinescienceupdate.com
Psyllium, a sort of "super-bran", is already used in horses, particularly for treatment and prevention of sand colic. When mixed with water, it swells to up to 10 times its original volume, turning into a jelly-like substance which is thought to ease the passage of sand through the digestive tract.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Is your vet a health risk?
Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Hendra virus vaccine progress
Australian scientists have succeeded in developing an experimental vaccine to protect horses against Hendra virus.Hendra virus (HeV) was first isolated in September 1994 from an outbreak at a training complex in Hendra (a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) after which the virus was named. During that initial outbreak 14 horses died. Seven other horses were found to have been infected and were humanely destroyed. Two humans were affected, one of whom died.In five of the 14 known outbreaks, the infection has spread to people. The virus has killed four of the seven people infected. Fruit bats (Pteropus spp), commonly known as flying foxes, have been identified as the natural host for the Hendra virus.“Our trials so far have shown that the vaccine prevents the infection of horses with Hendra virus,” said Dr Deborah Middleton from the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL). Stopping the disease in horses could also help protect people from the disease."All the human infections have come from contact with infected horses," Dr Middleton explains. So if you can control the disease in horses, you break the transmission cycle to people as well as protecting the health of horses. Studies so far have shown that the vaccine will prevent horses becoming infected. It also protects them from developing the disease and shedding the virus.Further work, including field trials and product registration, is still required. However, if all goes well, the vaccine may be available as soon as 2012. Dr Barry Smyth, President of the Australian Veterinary Association, said that both vets and horse owners would welcome the news on the vaccine.“It’s important that veterinarians and horse owners continue with precautions that reduce the risk of spreading the virus and that they report suspected cases immediately,” Dr Smyth said. Read more at: www.equinescienceupdate.com
Monday, May 16, 2011
Saddle research uncovers new theory in asymmetry
Following a series of pilot studies carried out in conjunction with educational establishments throughout 2010, the charity claims to have evidence that highlights previously unidentified areas and measurable characteristics of saddle performance.
Anne Bondi BHSI, Director for the trust explains: “The initial objective of our early pilot studies was to measure the effect of the rider asymmetry using a variety of scientific measuring systems open to the trust. It soon became apparent that a more complex pattern of interaction was occurring, one that could not just be explained by a rider sitting crookedly.”
Humans are not perfectly symmetrical, and most riders are aware of being right or left handed. This ‘handing’ often creates a loss of symmetry in the rider in the vertical plane.
“After observing this common occurrence we began to examine further the effect the saddle has on the rider and their posture” she continues.
A similar lack of symmetry also exists in the horse in the horizontal plane. The movement of a horse’s back and limbs creates movement in the saddle, generating an unstable platform for the rider. This forces riders to adopt a compensatory action - accentuating the already asymmetrical posture. The horse also compensates for carrying the asymmetrical rider by counterbalancing.
According to the SRT, this is far more complex than a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. It involves a mixture of symptoms involving asymmetries in the horse, rider and saddle, but more significantly the interaction between them.
"Our studies to date have shown a clear lack of synchronisation in this three-way interaction, and it is our understanding that the degree to which this occurs is greatly affected by saddle design and fit."
“We have raised many new questions about the effect of saddles on asynchrony, as well as identifying measurable characteristics in saddle performance. Although our work is in its infancy we believe it will have far-reaching effects on all levels of equestrianism.”
Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Bedding dope test risk
Flunixin excreted in the urine may be ingested with bedding, risking prolonging the time taken to clear the drug from the body.Owners and trainers should be aware that horses may recycle anti-inflammatory drugs such as flunixin in the stable environment. This may prolong the time the drug is detected in the urine - thus increasing the risk of positive dope test. Flunixin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used in horses. The rules of many disciplines prohibit its presence in the blood or urine of horses on the day of competition.Detection times have been established for some medications to help veterinarians advise owners and trainers on how long before a competition treatment should be withdrawn to minimise the risk of the drug being found in the urine. However, research in France shows that the problem can be complicated by horses absorbing flunixin from bedding that has been contaminated by urine containing the excreted drug. Work at the Laboratoire des Course Hippiques, found that, even if bedding is removed completely and the floor brushed out, there is still a risk of a "rebound" increase in urine flunixin levels. Dr Marie Agnès Popot and colleagues looked at the excretion profiles of flunixin in urine collected from horses under various systems of stable management. They gave flunixin as either a single intravenous dose (1mg/kg) or as an oral paste (0.5mg/kg twice daily for 3 days). Horses were housed in stables from which the bedding was either completely removed on a daily basis, or only "skipped out" (removing only soiled bedding on a daily basis, and cleaned completely once a week.) The largest rebound in urine flunixin concentration was seen in those horses kept in stables that were not cleaned completely on a daily basis. However, removing all the bedding and sweeping the floor could not totally prevent rebound in flunixin levels. The only circumstance in which a rebound in urine flunixin levels did not occur was when the drug was given intravenously and the horse was moved to a clean stable after 24 hours. "Flunixin is mainly eliminated by renal clearance and a large amount of flunixin is eliminated in urine within the first 24 hours following administration" the researchers explain in a report in the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. "Then, for horses housed in unclean boxes, the conditions exist for the possibility of prolonged recycling; the only way to break recycling is to move the horse in another separate box after the first 24 hour of treatment, rendering unavailable the flunixin excreted in the urine for the first 24 hour." They conclude that attention to stable hygiene can drastically reduce the risk of spurious drug excretion profiles for drugs such as flunixin that are mainly eliminated in the urine.Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Focusing on the next obstacle
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Mares behaving badly
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Sublingual detomidine for needle-shy horses
Detomidine is a popular choice for sedating horses, capable of producing profound sedation when administered intravenously. Previous studies have shown that detomidine is not effective when administered by stomach tube, and is variably effective when mixed with food. However it seems to be absorbed through the gums and appears to be effective when given sublingually. Recent research looked at the value of sublingual detomidine for sedating horses known to need sedation to permit routine management or veterinary tasks - such as farriery, routine dentistry, passage of a stomach tube or clipping. The study by Dr Rachel B Gardner and colleagues was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.Horses used in the study were all known to require sedation or strong additional restraint - such as a twitch - to allow the procedures to be carried out. The treatment group comprised 129 horses treated with detomidine sublingually, at a dose of 0.04mg/kg (double the usual dose when given intravenously).A further 42 horses were treated with a gel which appeared identical, but did not contain detomidine. The study personnel did not know whether they were administering the detomidine gel or the placebo. The efficacy of the treatment was assessed according to whether it allowed the required procedure to be carried out. Treatment was only considered successful if the procedure could be completed without resort to further sedation or the use of a twitch. The procedures were completed successfully in 98 of 129 (76%) of detomidine treated horses compared with only 3 of the 42 (7%) of control horses. Little or no ataxia was reported in 70% of detomidine treated horses Sublingual detomidine was most successful for sedating horses for manual teeth floating and hoof trimming and shoeing. It gave a lower success rate for clipping with electric clippers - only half of the detomidine-treated horses could be clipped successfully. For more details see:Efficacy of sublingual administration of detomidine gel for sedation of horses undergoing veterinary and husbandry procedures under field conditions.
RB Gardner, GW White, DS Ramsey, JE Boucher, WR Kilgore, MK Huhtinen
J Am Vet Med Assoc (2010) 237, 1459 - 1464
Thursday, March 31, 2011
No benefit in metformin IR study
The researchers found no measurable benefits of metformin. No significant change was noted in any of the indices of insulin sensitivity. Neither was there any change in bodyweight, body condition score or cresty neck score. Read more at: www.equinescienceupdate.com/articles/nbmir.html
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Role of bacteria in periodontal disease
Thursday, March 17, 2011
FIS test success
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Does restricting grazing really reduce grass intake?
Friday, February 18, 2011
Vancomycin-resistant bacteria in equine manure
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Study finds whipping racehorses pointless
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Equine Guelph survey research
Mistletoe for treating equine sarcoids?
Could a festive winter decoration provide the cure for equine sarcoids?
Sarcoids are the most common skin tumour of horses. They are difficult to treat, and may recur after treatment. A new therapeutic option has been suggested by a Swiss study, which found that an extract of mistletoe was an effective treatment.
The findings have been reported in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Lead author was Ophélie Christen-Clottu of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Frick, Switzerland.
The study compared the response of sarcoids to treatment with an aqueous extract* of the pine mistletoe (Viscum album ssp. austriacus) and a placebo.
Mistletoe contains compounds, like lectins and viscotoxins that have been shown experimentally to have cytotoxic and growth inhibiting properties and immune modulating activity. Extracts are used as an adjunct to treatment of cancer in human medicine.
The treatment consisted of injections of 1ml of mistletoe extract in increasing concentrations (from 0.1mg/ml to 20mg/ml) administered 3 times a week for 15 weeks. Control animals were injected with 1ml of saline at similar intervals.
The researchers monitored the location, number, and type of sarcoids present for a year after the start of the study. Neither they nor the horse owners knew which horses were treated with the mistletoe preparation or the placebo until the end of the study.
Fifty-three horses, with a total of 444 sarcoid lesions, were treated - with either mistletoe extract or placebo. Forty-two horses were treated as monotherapy and 11 horses were treated with mistletoe extract or placebo after selective surgical excision of some sarcoids.
Five of the treated horses developed mild oedema at the site of injection when the higher concentration injections were given. This swelling disappeared within a few days without treatment. No other adverse effects were noted.
At the end of the study, sarcoids were no longer visible in 9 of 32 mistletoe extract treated horses and 3 of 21 placebo control horses. This difference was not statistically significant. However, another 4 horses in the VAE group showed reduction in more than half of the sarcoids.
So, overall, 41% of horses in the treatment group showed complete or partial regression of the sarcoids - which was significantly different from the response in the placebo group.
The curative effects were higher in verrucous sarcoids than by other types of sarcoids. On advantage of VAE treatment is the systemic effect: if treatment is successful, all tumors of one horse can regress. The disadvantage of the therapy was that response to treatment was slow - being seen only after the end of the 15 week treatment period in many cases.
They conclude that mistletoe extract proved effective for treating clinically diagnosed equine sarcoid in this study. They suggest that it can be recommended particularly when excision may not be appropriate, for example for sarcoids around the eyes or for cases with multiple sarcoids.
Striving to prevent foal pneumonia
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Gene for PSSM type 1 in European draught breeds
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Latest stem cell research results
Stem cell treatment reduces the rate of repeat injuries when used for treating superficial flexor tendon injuries in racehorses, according to research at the Royal Veterinary College.Professor Roger Smith developed a technique for harvesting stem cells from the bone marrow, multiplying them in the laboratory and then implanting them back into damaged tendon. So far, the procedure has been used in over 1500 horses throughout the world. Monitoring the healing process using ultrasound scans showed that the hypoechoic "core" lesion filled in quickly, although a reduced longitudinal striated pattern usually persisted. A study of the clinical outcome in 113 treated racehorses, found that the re-injury rate was significantly lower in stem cell treated horses than in conventionally treated horses. Histopathological examination of 17 tendons from post mortem samples obtained from horses that had undergone stem cell implantation showed both good quality healing with minimal inflammatory cells, and crimped organised collagen fibres. A further experimental study found that stem cell treated tendons had more normal mechanical characteristics and their shape, appearance and composition were also improved. Tendon cross-sectional area, cellularity, crimp pattern and DNA content were all significantly better in the treated tendons than in the saline controls. Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Obesity in English horses
A University of Nottingham study found that at least one in five leisure horses was overweight or obese. Owners were likely to underestimate body condition score.
Veterinary student Helen Stephenson assessed the prevalence of obesity among horses whose owners were registered with an equine veterinary practice.
Questionnaires were sent to five hundred horse owners, and 160 were returned. None of the horses was kept for breeding, livery, riding stables, or competition, so all were classed as being used for leisure only.
One in five owners indicated that their horses were either overweight or obese.
The owners were asked about their perceptions of their horses’ body condition, and asked to score this from zero to five, with a score of more than three indicating overweight.
The researchers then assessed the body condition of 15 randomly selected horses to see if the owners had under or overestimated the horse’s weight.
They assigned an average score that was significantly higher for these horses; eight of the owners had scored their horse at least one grade lower than the researcher had, indicating that the owners had underestimated their horses’ weight.
Based on the researchers’ findings, the authors estimate that the true prevalence of overweight/obesity was likely to be 54% rather than the 20% indicated by the questionnaire responses.
Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com/obeng.html
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Feral horse survival under changing environmental conditions
Magdalena Zabek has been working with the Australian Brumby Research Unit (ABRU), keeping a photographic record of their work. Now she is looking to complete a study of her own into the effect of a period of plentiful rainfall on the feral horses of central Australia (“brumbies”) following nine years of severe drought.
Currently the brumby population is estimated to grow at around 20% annually. It seems likely that the foaling rate in 2011 will be higher, due to the more favourable conditions during the 2010 breeding season.
In the ABRU December 2010 newsletter, she writes: "Information from this study will provide valuable information about fluctuations in numbers of feral horses due to the changes in availability of food and water, which is crucial knowledge when implementing population control methods. The study will also contribute to the development of better welfare outcomes for feral horses."
"The sudden increase in numbers will have an enormous impact on the feral population when the favourable climatic conditions change because the fragile semi-arid ecosystem is not able to meet the food and water requirements of feral animals during periods of less favourable conditions. When resources become scarce due to drought, the feral horses are forced to travel ever increasing distances to obtain adequate food and water, and, as a result, may die."
The findings of the study should help direct strategies used to manage feral horses, and hopefully reduce suffering and death during periods of drought.
Read more in the ABRU December 2010 newsletter.
For more information about Magdalena´s art work see: