Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Autumn rise in Atypical Myopathy cases

Once again, Europe is seeing a seasonal rise in cases of Atypical Myopathy.

Horses with Atypical Myopathy suffer from severe, generalised weakness. They are often unable to get to their feet, or only do so with difficulty. If they are still able to walk, they do so with a stiff gait - especially of the hindquarters.  Muscle tremors and generalised or patchy sweating may be seen.

Affected animals have elevated heart rates. They often have increased respiratory rates, with difficulty on expiration. The rectal temperature is usually below normal. Dark brown colouration of the urine is characteristic.

Despite the severity of the signs, horses often still seem keen to eat and will try to grasp hay that is held close to their mouth.

Often the first sign of disease is stiffness, especially of the hindquarters. However, it is not unusual for severely affected cases to be found dead on the pasture with no previous sign of illness.

The Atypical Myopathy Alert Group was set up to help owners take preventive measures against the disease. The Group reported that by 23rd December 2011, 116 clinical cases compatible with a diagnosis of Atypical Myopathy had been communicated to Liege University, Belgium, and RESPE (Réseau d’Epidémio-Surveillance en Pathologie Équine: Network of epidemiological surveillance on equine diseases) in France.

Help Solve the Mysteries of Laminitis

Horse owners and veterinarians are asked to collaborate with researchers in a new study into pasture- and endocrinopathy-associated laminitis.

Rather than being based on laboratory research, the study is designed to make use of the wealth of information available in naturally occurring cases of laminitis. Research is already underway under the direction of epidemiologist, Noah Cohen, VMD, PhD at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.


Drug combination may limit joint damage

Research at the University of Sydney suggests that a new osteoarthritis drug combination could significantly extend the working life of racing and other performance horses.

Previous studies has evaluated various medications for the treatment of osteoarthritis in horses, but this is one of the first to show a new drug combination has the ability to slow down damage to joints, rather than just alleviate pain.

"Osteoarthritis is a major cause of wastage in athletic horses, with a significant economic impact on the equine industry," said Dr Toby Koenig, surgical resident at the University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Camden, and lead researcher for the study.

"We found a new combination of three commonly used drugs - pentosan polysulphate, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid - can reduce the damage experienced during strenuous exercise," he added.

"Until now the focus has been on minimising pain for horses suffering from osteoarthritis. We think this new drug combination could have significant impact on the way horses are treated, potentially extending careers of horses in racing, dressage and other competitive events."


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.