Your Horse's Health
|Calculators||Colic in Horses||Feeding your horse Garlic||Biliary or Tick Fever|
|Dourine (Slapsiekte)||Drugs & Medications||Horse's Eyes||Joints & Tendons|
|Snake Bites||Laminitis||Stallion DNA|
Calculating your horse's weight
Calculating your horse's age
Calculating the pregnancy
Calculating how much to feed your horse
Researchers examine ancient stallions genetic diversity Click Here
Feeding to Prevent Colic - Click Here
Keeping Flies off your Horses
Here is a handy tip for making your own mixture to keep the flies at bay:
500ml Apple Cider Vinegar
250ml Bath Oil
10ml Citronella oil
Mix all the ingredients and pour into a spray bottle.
Tips for keeping your horses looking good: http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/health/grooming/easy1865/
Colic in Horses
Biliary or tick fever is the common name for equine babesiosis.
It is a tick-borne disease caused by a parasite. The parasites live and multiply in the red blood cells of the horse and are transmitted from one horse to another in the salivary glands. We all know ticks, even if you treat it, your horse may contract it. Stabled horses are most often more susceptible as they do not come in contact with ticks in the field.
Babesiosis is the most frequently treated infectious disease in South Africa. Many countries prohibit the import of horses from Southern Africa, due to this deadly disease.
The incubation period varies from five to 21 days, although some animals develop a carrier state, and only show clinical symptoms of the disease after an episode of stress, such as a viral infection or transport. This disease may be acute, sub acute or in some cases chronic of nature. Acute cases are characterized by a fever usually exceeding 40°C, elevated pulse rate and respiratory problems.
The most obvious signs are: the gums are light pink or yellow, the inside of the eyes are light pink or yellow, the inside of the nose is light pink or yellow. You will immediately notice that your horse does not feel well, he will have little spirit, looks sick and will have no spirit and sometimes do not eat. Bowel movements are in some cases suppressed, resulting in colic.
A variety of complications have been described in equine babesiosis, including colic, enteritis, kidney failure and laminitis. Stallions may lose their fertility and mares may abort their foals.
A diagnosis of biliary is generally made from blood smears and tests although more thorough tests are available. It can be confused with other diseases like the early stages of influenza.
A wide variety of drugs have been used to treat equine babesiosis. Depending on the severity of the case, blood transfusions and/or intravenous electrolyte infusions, liver support, appetite stimulants and antibiotics could be required to save the horse's life. Laxatives may also be necessary.
To prevent biliary, contact should be avoided between horse and tick by applying tick control methods like tick grease, dip etc. There is no vaccine available for babesiosis and animals should be carefully watched for any signs of abnormalities, like bad appetite, loss of weight, and loss of spirit. Many horses in biliary areas are carriers and therefore immune to the fever.
The sooner you treat this disease, the less the damage. I always suggest a good supplement to strengthen the body. RED CELL is an excellent product to replace red blood cells, there are also other excellent products on the market.
Please, let your horse rest after the ordeal, give nature time to heal the body. Give lots of love and attention and look after him for any additional signs or relapses. Always call in the vet, even if you are not certain.
Dourine is a parasitic disease of horses and other equines caused by Trypanosoma equiperdum. The disease does not occur in Canada, and most of the U.S.A. It is enzootic in Asia, Africa, southeastern Europe, South America and a small area in the Southern U.S.A.
Natural infection occurs during breeding. Local infection produces swelling of the external genitalia and lower abdomen after a 1 to 4 week incubation period. If the disease spreads, transient cutaneous lesions (plaques) may develop and there may be paralysis or other nervous signs after genital infection. About one-half the animals with acute disease will dies in 6-8 weeks, however chronic cases can occur, and subclinical infections can occur in donkeys and mules A chronic form characterized only lessened resistance to other diseases has been described in Africa and North America
Control is by prohibiting movement of horses from infected areas. Treatment is not effective, and horses in enzootic areas that test positive should be eradicated.
(Slapsiekte, el Dourin, Mal de Coit, Beschalseuche, Covering Disease)
Dourine is a chronic trypanosomal disease of Equidae. The disease is transmitted almost exclusively by coitus and is characterized by edematous lesions of the genitalia, nervous system involvement, and progressive emaciation.
Dourine is caused by Trypanosoma equiperdum (Doflein, 1901), a protozoan parasite related morphologically and serologically to T. brucei, T. rhodesiense, and T. gambiense (of the subgenus Trypanozoon of the Salivarian section of organisms of the pathogenic genus Trypanosoma). Different strains of the parasite vary in pathogenicity (5).
Dourine is typically a disease of horses and donkeys. Positive CF tests have been obtained from zebras, although it has not been shown that zebras can be infected with T. equiperdum or transmit the disease. The organism has been adapted to a variety of laboratory animals (5,6,9).
Improved breeds of horses seem to be more susceptible to the disease. The disease in these animals often progresses rapidly and involves the nervous system. In contrast, native ponies and donkeys often exhibit only mild signs of the disease. Infected male donkeys, which may be asymptomatic, are particularly dangerous in the epidemiology of the disease, for they may escape detection as carriers.
Once widespread, this disease has been eradicated from many countries. It is currently present in most of Asia, southeastern Europe, South America, and in northern and southern Africa (3)
This venereal disease is spread almost exclusively by coitus. Organisms are present in the urethra of infected stallions and in vaginal discharges of infected mares. The organism may pass through intact mucous membranes to infect the new host. Infected animals do not transmit the infection with every sexual encounter, however. As the disease progresses, trypanosomes periodically disappear from the urethra or vagina; during these periods, the animals are noninfective. Noninfective periods may last for weeks or months and are more likely to occur in the later stages of the disease. Thus, transmission is most likely early in the disease process.
It is possible for mares to become infected and pregnant after mating with an infected stallion. Foals born to infected mares may be infected. It is unclear if this occurs in utero or during birth. Because trypanosomes may occur in the milk of infected mares, these foals may be infected per os during birth or by ingestion of infected milk. Foals infected in this way may transmit the disease when mature and develop a lifelong positive CF titer. This method of disease transmission is rare, however. Some foals may acquire passive immunity from colostrum of infected mares without becoming actively infected; in such foals, the CF titer declines, and the animal becomes seronegative by 4 to 7 months of age. Although the possibility of noncoital transmission remains uncertain, it is supported by sporadic infections in sexually immature equids (1,3,5).
The incubation period is highly variable. Clinical signs usually appear within a few weeks of infection but may not be evident until after several years (1,5,7).
Clinical signs vary considerably, depending on the virulence of the infecting strain, the nutritional status of the infected animal, and the presence of other stress factors. The strain prevalent in southern Africa (and formerly in the Americas) is apparently less virulent than the European, Asian, or north African strains and produces an insidious, chronic disease. In some animals, clinical signs may not be apparent for up to several years (so-called latent infection). Clinical signs may be precipitated by stress in these animals.
In mares, the first sign of infection is usually a small amount of vaginal discharge, which may remain on the tail and hindquarters. Swelling and edema of the vulva develop later and extend along the perineum to the udder and ventral abdomen. There may be vulvitis and vaginitis with polyuria and other signs of discomfort such as an elevated tail. Abortion is not a feature of infection with mild strains, but significant abortion losses may accompany infection with a more virulent strain.
In stallions, the initial signs are variable edema of the prepuce and glans penis , spreading to the scrotum and perineum and to the ventral abdomen and thorax. Paraphimosis may be observed. The swelling may resolve and reappear periodically. Vesicles or ulcers on the genitalia may heal and leave permanent white scars (leukodermic patches). Transient cutaneous plaques are a feature of the disease in some locations and strains but not others. When they occur, they are pathognomonic. Conjunctivitis and keratitis are often observed in outbreaks of dourine and may be the first signs noted in some infected herds.
Nervous disorders may be seen soon after the genital edema or may follow by weeks or months. Initially these signs consist of restlessness and the tendency to shift weight from one leg to another followed by progressive weakness and incoordination and ultimately by paralysis and recumbency. Anemia and emaciation sometimes accompany development of clinical signs even though the appetite remains unaffected.
Dourine is characterized by stages of exacerbation, tolerance, or relapse that may vary in duration and occur several times before death or recovery. The course of the disease may last several years after infection with a mild strain. Experimentally, horses have survived for up to 10 years after infection. The course is apparently more acute in the European and Asian forms of the disease in which the mortality rate is higher (1,5).
Anemia and cachexia are consistent findings in animals that have succumbed to dourine. Edema of the genitalia and ventral abdomen become indurated later in the course of the disease. Chronic lymphadenitis of most lymph nodes may be evident. Perineural connective tissue becomes infiltrated with edematous fluid in animals with nervous signs, and a serous infiltrate may surround the spinal cord, especially in the lumbar or sacral regions (1,5,7).
Although the course of the disease may be long, it is usually fatal. Uncomplicated dourine does not appear to be fatal unless the nervous system is involved. The progressive debilitation associated with the neurological manifestation of the disease predisposes infected animals to a variety of other conditions. Because of the long survival time in some experimental cases, reports of recovery from dourine should be regarded with skepticism.
Diagnosis on physical signs is unreliable because many animals develop no sign. When signs are present, however, they are suggestive of a diagnosis of dourine. If "silver dollar plaques" occur, they are pathognomonic for dourine.
Specimens for Laboratory
Detection of trypanosomes is highly variable and is not a reliable means for diagnosis of dourine. The following specimens should be submitted: serum, whole blood in EDTA, and blood smears.
A reliable complement-fixation test (CFT) has been the basis for the successful eradication of dourine from many parts of the world. The antigen used in the CFT is group-specific, leading to cross-reactions with sera of horses infected with T. brucei, T. rhodesiense, or T. gambiense. The test is therefore most useful in areas where these parasites do not occur. Indirect fluorescent antibody, card agglutination, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test (ELISA) have also been developed for dourine but have not replaced the CFT (1,3,4,5,6,10,11).
The perineal and ventral abdominal edema characteristic of dourine may also be seen in horses with anthrax. These signs may also resemble infection with equine infectious anemia or equine viral arteritis. Coital exanthema and purulent endometritis (as occurs in contagious equine metritis) should also be considered.
Although there are reports of successful treatment with trypanocidal drugs (e.g., suramin at 10 mg/kg IV, quinapyramine dimethylsulfate at 3-5 mg/kg SC), treatment is more successful when the disease is caused by the more virulent (European) strains of the parasite. In general, treatment is not recommended for fear of continued dissemination of the disease by treated animals (1,6). Treatment may result in inapparent disease carriers and is not recommended in a dourine-free territory.
Immunity to trypanosomiasis is complicated. T. equiperdum has the ability periodically to replace major surface glycoprotein antigens, which is a strategy supporting chronic infections (2). No method of immunization against dourine exists at present.
Control and Eradication
The most successful prevention and eradication programs have focused on serologic identification of infected animals. Infected animals should be humanely destroyed or castrated to prevent further transmission of the disease. Some geldings may still show service behavior and constitute a risk. All equids in an area where dourine is found should be quarantined and breeding should be stopped for 1 to 2 months while testing continues.
Sanitation and disinfection are ineffective means of controlling the spread of dourine because the disease is normally spread by coitus.
Humans are not susceptible to infection with T. equiperdum.
Doping is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport.
Fundamental Rationale for the FEI's EADMC RULES
Anti-doping programs seek to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about sport. This intrinsic value is often referred to as "the spirit of sport"; it is the essence of Olympism; it is how we play true. The spirit of sport is the celebration of the human spirit, body and mind, and is characterized by the following values:
• Ethics, fair play and honesty
• Excellence in performance
• Character and education
• Fun and joy
• Dedication and commitment
• Respect for rules and laws
• Respect for self and other participants
• Community and solidarity
FEI Medication Code
All treatments must be given in the best health and welfare interests of the horse.
• Every treatment must be fully justifiable by the medical condition of the horse receiving the treatment.
• Horses that cannot compete as a result of injury or disease must be given appropriate veterinary treatment. The Person Responsible must obtain advice from their treating veterinarian or team veterinarian prescribing a treatment and the necessary duration of treatment.
• No substance shall be given to any horse during or close to an event unless the appropriate FEI guidelines for medication authorization have been followed.
• A complete and accurate record of all treatments during or close to an event must be maintained.
For the Rider
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the international independent organization created in 1999 to promote, coordinate, and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms.
Composed and funded equally by the sports movement and governments of the world, WADA coordinated the development and implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.
WADA works towards a vision of the world that values and fosters doping free sport.
WADA’s chief activities focus on seven areas emanating from the responsibilities given to the Agency by the Code and reflect the importance of a comprehensive approach to the fight against doping in sport:
Code Adoption, Implementation & Compliance: facilitating sport and government acceptance of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and its principles to ensure a harmonized approach to anti-doping in all sports and all countries; monitoring implementation of and compliance with the Code; working for the proper adjudication of results
Science & Medicine: promoting global research to identify and detect doping substances and methods; developing and maintaining the annual List of Prohibited Substances and Methods; accrediting anti-doping laboratories worldwide; monitoring Therapeutic Use Exemptions granted by stakeholders
Anti-doping Coordination: developing and maintaining the Anti-doping Development Management System (ADAMS), the web-based database management system to help stakeholders coordinate anti-doping activities and comply with the Code
Anti-Doping Development: facilitating the coordination of Regional Anti-Doping Organizations by bringing together countries in regions where there are no or limited anti-doping activities so that they can pool resources to implement doping control and anti-doping education
Education: leading and coordinating effective doping prevention strategies and education; assisting stakeholders in their implementation of anti-doping education programs
Athlete Outreach: educating athletes at major international and multi-sport events through direct one-on-one interaction with anti-doping experts, answering their questions about the dangers and consequences of doping; empowering stakeholders to implement high-impact athlete outreach programs
Out-of-competition Testing: contracting with stakeholders to help them fulfil their responsibility of no-notice out-of-competition testing
For the Horse:
When we humans have a problem with not being able to see well, we can correct the problem with eyeglasses. Since a horse's eye structure and placement on it's head is different than us, horses don't wear glasses.
Even though a horse has far greater peripheral vision than we do, they have two blind spots. One is directly in front of the horse when it's about four feet away, and the other is directly behind it, about 10 feet in length.
When you realize that this front blind spot exists in all horses, the feats of jumpers become all the more amazing. When the horse reaches a point a few feet in front of a jump, the obstacle simply disappears from its field of view. It has to put great faith in the rider who is guiding it toward the barrier, and remember what it saw a split second before it disappeared from view.
How Horses See
Because the horse's eye is different than most animals, the horse can't focus its eyes as we people do. This is why a horse sometimes will raise and lower its head while staring at an object. It is adjusting the focal length between its eyes and the object, until the image falls into focus on a portion of its retina.
And since a horse's eyes are located on both sides of its head, it's a wonder horses aren't in a constant state of confusion. Sort of like watching two things going on at the same.
There is another thing about a horse's eye. The eyeballs operate sort of like bifocal glasses. When its head is lowered and it is looking through the upper part of the eyes, it can continually survey the horizon. If there is something up close that catches its attention, the horse will raise its head and examine the object through the lower part of the eye.
When a horse is startled
by a sudden movement just behind or beside it, it is because the
horse hasn't had an opportunity to focus on the object, but its
peripheral vision has picked up the quick movement.
A horse being led to a paddock on a windy day can be startled even by paper blowing by, even though it is traveling a familiar path.
Night Vision and Colors
Generally speaking, a horse's night vision is better than ours. This is because the horse's eye contains a reflective panel on its retina that pulls in what little light is available at night.
But a horse doesn't see colors as well as its we do. While a horse does see green and blue, it pretty much functions in a gray world.
It is assumed that those horses indicated as normal horses are the animals that in all likelihood would be able to derive satisfactory nutrition from complete feeds, although when horses are breeding, there is an increased requirement – particularly in pregnant mares - for more nutrients. In the case of the various different types of performance horses, the activity of these horses, in virtually every case, has an impact upon the skeletal structure because of the performance requiring the horse to exercise its mobility as dictated by the particular sport.
A particular area of the locomotive system which is subjected to pressure during performance, is the joints and tendons. When we specifically consider joints and tendons, there are certain characteristics which should be recognized as playing an important role in the health and maintenance of these structures.
and tendons consist of collagen and cartilage. Cartilage is a type
of connective tissue composed of mucopolysacharides (e.g.
chondroitin sulphate), protein substances, calcium, sulphur and
collagen. Collagen is one of the proteins found in most connective
tissues including cartilage, bone and skin. Gelatin is a form of
collagen commonly used in foods, and preliminary reports suggest
gelatin can improve the structure and health of hair and hooves. An important factor concerning both joints and tendons is that the blood supply to these structures is limited. It is often for this reason that treatments that need to be applied to joints are injected directly into the joint. If the treatment had been applied systemically to the animal, the penetration of that treatment ingredient into the joints is limited by the blood circulation to joints and tendons. For this reason, when injuries occur to joints or tendons, it is recognized that a major requirement for recovery from those injuries - is rest and/or controlled exercise.
In our attempts to assist in the repair and maintenance of injured joints or tendons, the treatments that are normally applied include rest, massage (– to increase the blood circulation to an injured area), electrical stimulation (– to achieve the same objective as massage) and then anti-inflammatory treatments. Anti-inflammatory can be simply the utilization of alternating hot and cold water to an area where there is swelling. In general where there is swelling in joints or tendons, this is often associated with pain and is indicative of an accumulation of liquid either in the joint or tendon. If infections occur in these areas, this is particularly problematical. Again this is related to the limited blood supply to that area and may require antimicrobial treatment directly into the affected area. Veterinary treatment always includes the use of anti-inflammatories.
However, there are some specific nutrients which can be supplemented
in the diet that supply the body with immediate nutrients that
contribute to repair and maintenance. The best known of these
nutrients are chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine (as one of its
salts) and MSM. An associated industry where the level of nutrition
is considered very high, is pet nutrition. If one examines some of
the more expensive and sophisticated pet foods – particularly those
brands that are sold
through the veterinary profession, and one specifically looks at the label of the product, it is interesting to note that several of the different brands of dog food are now including the nutrients mentioned above. In addition there are several other nutrients that are also included in pet foods like antioxidants, dental care enhancers, immune stimulants, etc. This indicates that although the level of sophistication of dog foods has reached a high level, the companies producing those foods still consider it beneficial to supplement the foods with e.g. chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine and/or MSM.
considering these 3 nutrients, there are some interesting aspects to
them. Chondroitin sulphate consists of repeating chains of molecules
called glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s). Chondroitin
sulphate is also a major constituent of cartilage and it is also rich in sulfur plus it is related to glucosamine. The only significant crude source of chondroitin sulphate is to extract it from animal cartilage (primary sources being either shark or bovine cartilage). However, it should be recognised that the body does make chondroitin and therefore it is doubtful whether there is any dietary deficiency.
Download the full document here (printable)....
However, once pressure is placed on joints and tendons, the requirement for increased quantities of chondroitin sulphate in the body -to allow for repair and maintenance - is undisputed. In humans, oral chondroitin sulphate is rapidly absorbed when it is dissolved in water prior to ingestion. However, approximately 12 % of the chondroitin sulphate taken by mouth becomes available to joint tissues from the blood1.
Glucosamine is an important building block needed by the body to
manufacture specialised molecules
called glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s). Glucosamine as such is not present in significant amounts in most
diets. The typical supplemental sources are derived from shells of shrimp, lobster and crab (or this
nutrient is manufactured synthetically). Glucosamine is available in several forms, e.g. glucosamine
sulphate, glucosamine hydrochloride and other salts, but in humans - glucosamine sulphate is the only
form clearly shown in clinical trials to be effective for osteoarthritis.5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 Glucosamine is a much smaller and simpler molecule than chondroitin sulphate and is readily water soluble. Methyl-sulphonyl-methane (MSM) is a naturally occurring, organic, sulphur containing compound related to another sulphur-containing substance, di-methylsulphoxide (DMSO) – which is also a well known active ingredient that promotes the absorption of chemicals through the skin. MSM is found in small amounts throughout nature and has been detected in small amounts in the blood and urine of humans. A precursor of MSM is formed initially by ocean plankton and released into the atmosphere, where it interacts with ozone and sunlight and returns to earth as MSM in rainfall. MSM can be taken up by plants and incorporated into their structure, but no measurement of MSM content of foods has been done.
studies have shown that sulphur from oral supplements of MSM is
incorporated into body
proteins2. Animal studies have also reported that joints affected by osteoarthritis have lower sulfur
content and mice with arthritis given MSM, experience less joint deterioration.3,4 Stride Distributors CC markets two formulations that include the nutrients chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate and MSM. These are RIGLY GLUCO LUBE which is a water based solution.
Info from Website: www.stridedistributors.co.za
Do’s and Don’ts
Laminitis (founder) is a relatively common cause of severe and often debilitating lameness in the horse. Laminitis results when there is disruption of blood flow to the sensitive lamina of the distal phalanx (coffin bone). When there is disruption of the blood flow to the laminae, inflammation and swelling within the hoof result in severe pain and lameness. The resulting death of sensitive lamina leads to a loss of attachment of the sensitive lamina of the bone to the insensitive lamina of the hoof. Once this occurs the coffin bone can rotate away from the front of the hoof wall or sink within the hoof wall 360 degrees (sinking). Laminitis can be acute or chronic. The term founder is often associated with chronic laminitis and resultant rotation or sinking of the distal phalanx within the hoof. The purpose of this article is to investigate the causes, clinical signs, and treatment of acute laminitis.
Lameness is the most common clinical sign associated with laminitis in the horse. It may affect one or all of the feet. Typically it affects the front feet. The front feet are usually affected because they support approximately 60% of the horses body weight. The horse may be reluctant or hesitate to walk, which is usually described as walking on eggshells. When standing still, the horse may appear to have a sawhorse stance. This is due to the horse trying to relieve the pain on the front feet and back feet by placing the front feet out and the back feet positioned under the body. Palpation of the hoof often reveals increased heat. Other clinical signs include bounding or increased digital pulses in the arteries along the flexor tendons (behind the sesamoid bones), treading of the front feet, and a painful response detected over the toe region using hoof testers. Severely affected horses may have blood or serum oozing from around the coronary band.
Causes and Risk Factors
There are various causes and risk factors associated with laminitis in the horse.
Some common causes include:
Digestive upsets due to grain overload or sudden changes in the diet
Sudden access to lush pasture (spring grass)
Colic (horses with damaged intestine)
Excessive concussion to the feet when walking on pavement, often known as "road founder"
Bedded on black walnut shavings or ingestion of black walnut shavings
Excessive weight bearing on one leg due to injury of opposite leg
Risk factors associated with laminitis include:
Heavy breeds, such as draft breeds (large body weight)
Horses on a high grain diet
Unrestricted grain intake
Prevention and Treatment
When dealing with a horse affected with laminitis, a quick response by the owner and veterinarian can play an important role in the eventual outcome of the disease. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the laminitis, but may include:
Treatment of the primary problem (very important in acute cases)
Treating with mineral oil to increase the passage of foodstuffs through the gastrointestinal tract and limit the absorption of bacterial toxins
Dietary restrictions to prevent overeating and obesity
Stabling the horse on soft ground, such as shavings or sand
Encouraging the horse to lie down to reduce pressure on the hoof
Administration of drugs such as antibiotics to fight infection, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce bacterial toxicity, vasodilators to reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow in the hoof, and anticoagulants.
Corrective trimming and therapeutic shoes
Frog support in the way of lily pads or Styrofoam blocks compressed to fit the hoof
By resolving the causes of laminitis the disease may be prevented in many instances. Providing good health and routine hoof care are important preventative measures against the development of laminitis. Early recognition of laminitis and prompt treatment by your veterinarian can help prevent potentially serious side effects associated with laminitis including coffin bone rotation and debilitating lameness.
by Ryan Rothenbuhler,
DVM Student (Class of 2001)
Vol. 3, Issue. No 2, 2000