How Old Is ‘Old’ For A Thoroughbred?

by | 07.06.2017 | 12:53pm

Gulch enjoying retirement at Old Friends Farm

Every year brings a handful of death announcements as stallions and broodmares succumb to “the infirmities of old age.” Whether the horse in question was in their early or late twenties, we usually get questions – doesn’t say, 25 years old sound young for a horse? And what exactly are the “infirmities of old age”?

Just as for people, there’s no hard and fast answer to the question of how long a horse can be expected to live. Generally speaking, ponies and miniature horses can live significantly longer than the average riding horse, and it’s not uncommon for them to reach their early or mid-thirties. Riding horses like Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses begin to show their age in their late teens or early twenties, though may live well beyond that. The oldest horse in the history books, according to The Horse magazine, was Old Billy, a barge horse born in 1760 who lived to be 62. Old Billy is the exception rather than the rule, with most riding horses living to be between 20 and 30. Draft breeds, much like large dog breeds, usually have a slightly shorter lifespan due to their size.

“I figure once they get to be about thirty, every day is a gift,” said Dr. Bryan Waldridge of Park Equine Hospital.

Waldridge treats the residents of Old Friends in Georgetown, Ky., which always includes some number of geriatric Thoroughbreds. Unsurprisingly, Waldridge said, a horse’s life expectancy also has a lot to do with their health history. Horses coming off the racetrack with more wear-and-tear injuries may see those injuries flare into problematic arthritis more quickly and viciously than those that retired sound. Past illness can also leave a horse susceptible to complications later; a horse that has recovered from kidney disease may be more vulnerable years later to a recurrence, as is true for colic. There are also individual differences; some horses are more sensitive than others to environmental changes that could cause colic.

 

 

Waldridge also believes genetics and attitude have something to do with it.

“I think some people just genetically live longer and I think it’s true in horses,” said Waldridge. “Gulch looked like he was going to live forever until he got cancer and then it was over in no time. He was one of the oldest, toughest horses I ever saw.”

Gulch, a longtime resident of Old Friends, was euthanized in 2016 at the age of 32.

As with people, the death of an older horse can be the sum of one or more gradually worsening problems, rather than one, acute bout of illness (with the obvious exception of colic), hence the vague phrase “the infirmities of old age.” According to a study of deceased horses 15 years old and up from the University of Kentucky’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the causes of death for most geriatric horses were disorders of the digestive system and those of the cardiovascular system. About half the cardiovascular cases were caused by a uterine artery rupture, which is considered one of the possible complications for broodmares 15 years of age and up. Most digestive issues likely manifested as colic, which is still the most common cause of death for all horses.

Fifteen years old is also recognized as the benchmark for increased risk of a certain type of intestinal lipoma, a fatty tumor, that can cause fatal colic. Colic generally gets more common with age, and risks associated with anesthesia become more serious as a horse ages, so surgeons are less inclined to operate on colic cases in their late teens and early twenties.

Cardiovascular issues become more common because with time, walls of the heart valves become thickened and the valves can sometimes fail to close properly, allowing blood to leak through the valves, which makes the heart work harder. Waldridge sees a fair number of deaths from congestive heart failure for this reason in older horses.

Aging grays are also at increased risk for skin cancer. It’s fairly common for gray horses to develop tumors on their faces, necks, or around the rectum. Most of those tumors are not problematic on their own but can pose challenges if they begin interfering with an organ’s function.

“Unlike humans and dogs, they don’t tend to be malignant in horses but where they are, they tend to cause trouble and they really like the hind end, so a horse can’t pass manure,” said Waldridge. “I’ve seen them get so big the horse couldn’t raise their tail to pass manure.”

A horse’s teeth, which are constantly erupting through their gums throughout their lives, may also begin to wear down or fall out as they age, making it more cumbersome to chew tough feedstuffs like dry hay or grain. Additionally, older horses struggle to maintain weight during periods of extreme cold, even when fed appropriate diets.

A horse with any level of athletic function is at risk for developing arthritis as they age, and this can progress to the point it interferes with a horse’s day-to-day function, especially if the horse is already dealing with other illnesses.

All this means owners and managers often must weigh an older horse’s “infirmities” with his quality of life.

“My definition that I always tell people is that when they can’t walk around and eat grass pain-free anymore, then to me, it’s time to think about euthanasia. If they can walk around and eat grass all right, they’re pretty happy,” said Waldridge, who emphasized a horse that lives to 23 is not necessarily receiving inferior care to one that lives to 30. “I think you can’t do anything about genetics. If they’ve had some serious problem in their past, it may ding them somewhere and make them where if they get an injury or illness in the same body system, it’ll hit them harder. It’s genetics and what’s happened to them their whole life leading up to that point, it doesn’t mean anyone’s done anything wrong.”

Pasture, for the Insulin Resistant Horse?

By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

 

When is pasture safer for the insulin resistant (IR) horse – late afternoon or early morning? Google this question, ask your vet, or talk to a friend and you will get both answers!  How frustrating! It’s time we cleared this up.

Grass is a living organism and requires NSC (non-structural carbohydrates) for energy in order to grow. NSC is a measure of sugars, starch, and fructans and is produced through the process of photosynthesis when the plant is exposed to sunlight.

In general, the following are true: 

  • Grasses accumulate NSC as the day progresses, making them highly concentrated in NSC by the late afternoon.
  • Once the sun sets, grasses will metabolize NSC for energy, making them lowest in concentration in the early morning hours.

This pattern can be disrupted if the night temperatures remain below 40 degrees F (4 degrees C). When exposed to cold, grasses will hold on to NSC and not relinquish it during the night, making morning grazing less safe for the IR horse.

Other factors that increase NSC:

  • Stressors, such as overgrazing, drought, and too much rain
  • Mowing too short – limit mowing height to no less than 5 inches
  • Letting grasses go to seed
  • Fertilization stimulates growth

 

Warm season vs cool season grasses

Warm and cool season grasses behave differently during prolonged intense heat and sunlight[i]. Warm-season grasses (e.g., Coastal Bermuda and Teff) will naturally thrive during very hot, sunny days and accumulate substantial amounts of NSC by day’s end. However, cool-season grasses (e.g., timothy, brome, orchard, crested wheat grass, rye, fescue, as well as alfalfa) will actually be lower in NSC during periods of prolonged heat and sunlight, as long as the grass is adequately watered. This apparent contradiction occurs because heat and light stimulate the cool season plant’s enzymes that burn off NSC.

 

What about cloudy days? 

Here again, there is a difference between warm and cool season grasses. Photosynthesis still takes place during cloudy days. However, clouds usually cool down the temperature. This can potentially decrease NSC in warm weather grasses, but cool season grasses respond to cooler, more moderate temperatures with a higher NSC content.

 

It is a bit of an art form

You have to know your grasses. You can’t be passive about it. The best way to think about the NSC content in your pasture is to first know the type grass you have, which will give you an idea of what climates it prefers. Then, examine the amount of stress the grass is enduring. Stress will cause all grasses to be higher in NSC.

 

The best approach is to test your pasture

 It’s true that testing only provides a snapshot since grasses are living organisms and change from day to day. But you can get a good idea of how your grass is performing by testing early and late in the season.[ii]When testing your pasture:

  • Note the weather conditions on the day before you test
  • Choose a sunny day to take your samples
  • Take an early morning sample and a late afternoon sample and note the weather conditions

 

Interpreting the test results

 There are three measurements to consider:

1)      ESC (ethanol soluble carbohydrates): simple sugars

2)      WSC (water soluble carbohydrates): simple sugars plus fructans (long chains of fructose molecules)

3)      Starch: long chains of glucose molecules

Add ESC + Starch. You want this sum to be less than 11% (on a dry matter basis) to be considered safe for the IR horse. This is because ESC and starch digestion will raise blood glucose and cause a rise in insulin secretion from the pancreas. Elevated blood insulin is the basis for many laminitis cases.

NSC = WSC + Starch. If this number exceeds 13% (on a dry matter basis) and the ESC + Starch sum is below 11%, it tells you that the fructan level is elevated. Fructans do not significantly raise blood insulin and are generally not a concern. However, excessive fructan intake can possibly lead to cecal acidosis and endotoxin-related laminitis as a result of bacterial fermentation in the hindgut.[iii] There is a need for further, in-depth study since a dangerous level has not been established and studies using fructans have inconsistent results.[iv]

Fructans and starches vary according to the type of grasses. Cool season grasses and alfalfa tend to be higher in fructans, while warm season grasses accumulate starch. The sugar content of all grasses, however, can vary dramatically mainly based on environmental factors.

 

Bottom line

Pasture grazing is the best way to keep your horse healthy. Grasses are not only highly nutritious, but grazing supports both physical and mental health. Get to know your grasses and periodically have them analyzed to offer your horses grazing opportunities at the most opportune times and conditions.

 

This article updates and expands information in one of Dr. Getty’s previous Tips of the Month. Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided attribution is given to Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. No editorial changes may be made without her permission. Dr. Getty appreciates being notified of any publication.

 

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Dr. Getty’s goal is to empower the horseperson with the confidence and knowledge to provide the best nutrition for his or her horse’s needs.

 

Dr. Getty’s fundamental resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, is now in paperback as well as in hardcover, searchable CD and Kindle versions. All except the Kindle version are available at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com — buy the book there and have it inscribed by the author. Print and Kindle versions are also available at Amazon (www.Amazon.com); find print versions at other online retail bookstores. The seven individual volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition”series are available with special package pricing at her website, and also at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Dr. Getty’s books make ideal gifts for equestrians!

 

Find a world of useful information for the horseperson at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com: Sign up for Dr. Getty’s informative, free e-newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her library of reference articles; search her nutrition forum archives; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars. Find top-quality supplements, feeders, and other equine-related items, at her online Free Shipping Supplement Store[v]. Reach Dr. Getty directly at gettyequinenutrition@gmail.com.

 

 

[i] Watts, K., 2008. The influence of solar radiation and temperature on the diurnal fluctuation of NSC in grass. Rocky Mountain Research & Consulting, Inc. www.safergrass.org

[ii] Equi-Analytical Labs offers instructions on how to test your pasture. www.equi-analytical.com

[iii] Johnson, R.J., Rivard, C., Lanaspa, M.A., Otabachian-Smith, S., et. al., 2013. Fructokinase, fructans, intestinal permeability, and metabolic syndrome: An equine connection? Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 33(2), 120-126.

[iv] Crawford, C., Sepulveda, M.F., Elliott, J., Harris, P.A., and Bailey, S.R., 2017. Dietary fructan carbohydrate increases amine production in the equine large intestine: Implications for pasture-associated laminitis. Journal of Animal Science, 85, 2949-2958.

[v] http://horsesupplements.gettyequinenutrition.biz

 

EHV May Remain Viable In Water For Three Weeks

by

 

A new study has shown that some equine herpes viruses (EHV) can remain viable in untreated water for over three weeks, becoming a source of infection for equids, reports Vet Times.

In many parts of the world, water sources are shared by horses, other equids and other species. If a horse that is actively shedding the EHV-1 virus visits the water and sheds the virus, the virus can remain there long after the animal has left.

The study challenges the long-held belief that the herpesvirus is unstable outside the host; it was believed that they are spread by direct aerosol transmission. However, animals like rhinos and polar bears have contracted EHV though they had no direct contact with horses or their relatives.

Conducted by researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and the Institut für Virologie of the Freie Universität Berlin, the results were reported in Science Daily. The team tested this assumption by spiking the water with EHV under various conditions over three weeks. They then examined  it to see if the viral DNA could be retrieved and how infectious the virus was after having been in the water.

It was shown that the EHV-1 virus remains stable and infectious for up to three weeks. Water temperature and pH played the biggest role in whether or not the virus stayed alive. The addition of soil, which would mimic a natural body of water, actually seemed to “pull” the virus out of the water and into the soil, where it stabilized. This result suggests that EHV-1 can persist for an extended amount of time without infecting other animals. This also shows why some animals can be infected from these bodies of water long after the animal that shed the virus has left.

Read more at Science Daily 

Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory Announces Free App

The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL), is pleased to announce our free mobile app is available to download for both Android (Play Store) and iOS (Apple iTunes store) devices.
The TVMDL mobile app gives you the ability to search for diagnostic tests and get laboratory information.
Test information includes:
– A detailed description of the test.
– Specimens needed for testing.
– How to package and ship specimens safely.
– Pricing information.
– Test schedules and expected turnaround times.
Laboratory information includes:
– Link to driving directions to all four locations.
– TVMDL contact information.
– Billing and physical addresses for sending specimens.
– Hours of operation.
Coming soon – retrieval of test result reports

AAEP Announces 2017 Education Opportunities for Equine Veterinarians and Students

Equine practitioners can invest in practical veterinary knowledge in diverse areas of equine medicine through a slate of continuing education events in 2017, sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

The schedule includes two Focus meetings, which present the latest evidence-based knowledge within a specific area of medicine; a 360° meeting that combines lectures and wet labs into an intensive “boot camp” experience; and the 63rd Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

360° Diagnosing, Imaging and Treating the Hind Suspensory and Stifle: Everything You Need or Want to Know: July 9-12 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Meeting sponsors are Boehringer Ingelheim, Dechra Veterinary Products and Sound

In sport horses, hind suspensory and stifle injuries are common but often underdiagnosed. At the AAEP’s 360° Diagnosing, Imaging and Treating the Hind Suspensory and Stifle, you’ll go from “how to” to “can do” with interactive, small-group training that employs a holistic approach to identifying and resolving lameness in these areas.

 

Focus on Colic/Focus on DentistryJuly 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Ky. Sponsorship provided by Arenus and KEMIN, platinum level sponsors.

Increase your knowledge and ability to diagnose and manage the No.1 killer of horses at AAEP’s Focus on Colic. This meeting is a three-day exploration into the latest evidence-based knowledge to enable practitioners to assess abdominal pain, employ appropriate techniques and manage the condition medically and surgically.

Focus on Dentistry is an in-depth look at equine dental care—providing practitioners the means to perform a thorough oral exam, recognize oral pathologies, develop treatment plans, perform routine dental care and be introduced to advanced dental therapies.

Focus on Dentistry and Focus on Colic will be held jointly, allowing registrants to attend sessions of both meetings for one registration fee.  

 

Focus on StudentsJuly 15-18 at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Ky. Sponsorship provided by Arenus and KEMIN, platinum level sponsors.

Future horse doctors will gain hands on experience through clinical dry labs combined with professional development and career networking. Students will also attend sessions of Focus on Colic and Focus on Dentistry.

 

63rd Annual Convention: Nov. 17-21 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas

Anchored by more than 100 hours of CE, the world’s largest education event for equine veterinarians returns to the always-popular city of San Antonio to deliver the latest clinical knowledge in veterinary medicine.

 

To view the complete program for the 360° and Focus meetings or to register, visit https://aaep.org/meetings. The program and registration for the annual convention will be available this summer.

 

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

 

Hay Before Grain, or Vice Versa?

By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

 

This is a recurring question that I receive. Which should be fed first – hay or grain?  If you’re feeding correctly, this issue is truly a moot point because the horse should have access to forage in hay and/or pasture 24/7 with no gaps. Therefore, when fed concentrates, the horse’s digestive tract should already have hay flowing through it.

But if you were to feed starchy cereal grains (oats, wheat, barley, etc.) on an empty stomach, the horse would produce more acid than normal, which could potentially lead to ulcers. Furthermore, grains leave the stomach quickly, increasing the risk that they will not be fully digested in the small intestine (especially if large amounts are fed), and end up in the hindgut where starch can be fermented by the resident bacterial population. This can lead to endotoxin-related laminitis.

A better approach is to have hay present in the stomach first. It creates a physical barrier for the grain, making it leave the stomach less quickly. The fiber in the hay mixes with the starch and the whole mass enters the small intestine to be digested. Fiber is not digested until it reaches the hind gut, but its presence slows down the digestion of starch, and obstructs the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, leading to a less dramatic rise in insulin.

Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided attribution is given to Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. No editorial changes may be made without her permission. Dr. Getty appreciates being notified of any publication.

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Dr. Getty’s goal is to empower the horseperson with the confidence and knowledge to provide the best nutrition for his or her horse’s needs.

Dr. Getty’s fundamental resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, is now in paperback as well as in hardcover, searchable CD and Kindle versions. All except the Kindle version are available at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com — buy the book there and have it inscribed by the author. Print and Kindle versions are also available at Amazon (www.Amazon.com); find print versions at other online retail bookstores. The seven individual volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition” series are available with special package pricing at her website, and also at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Dr. Getty’s books make ideal gifts for equestrians!

 

Find a world of useful information for the horseperson at www.GettyEquineNutrition.com: Sign up for Dr. Getty’s informative, free e-newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her library of reference articles; search her nutrition forum archives; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars. Find top-quality supplements, feeders, and other equine-related items, at her online Free Shipping Supplement Store[i]. Reach Dr. Getty directly at gettyequinenutrition@gmail.com.

 

[i] http://horsesupplements.gettyequinenutrition.biz

It’s Not Just You: Antibiotic Resistance A Challenge For Equine Veterinarians

by  | 03.24.2017 | 12:04pm
SMZs

Long hailed as the greatest advance in medicine, antibiotics have become the go-to treatment for nearly every scratch, cough, or fever, whether or not they were caused by bacteria. Many doctors and veterinarians began indiscriminately prescribing antibiotics simply because their patients expected — even demanded — them. This overuse of antibiotics eventually created today’s crisis, in both human and animal medicine: antibiotic resistance.

Dr. Ken Marcella, founder of KLM Equine in Canton, Ga., has been beating the drum for years to alert horsemen to the danger of overuse of antibiotics. Last year, he treated his first case of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in a horse. In humans, the disease is widespread, with government agencies requiring hospitals to screen incoming patients for MRSA to curtail its spread.

In equine medicine, researchers and practitioners are doubly concerned about antibiotic resistance because there aren’t that many types of antibiotics in their arsenal. If a disease becomes resistant to the antibiotic of choice for treating it, horsemen — and the horse — are in trouble.

“First-choice drugs out in the field are going to be things like the sulfas — Trimethoprim [SMZ] or Uniprim are still the #1 deal,” Marcella said. “Because [sulfa] is generally broad-spectrum, and it is real simple for the client to administer, I think it’s probably overused. So we try to hold off on that.”

Gimme some SMZs, Doc

Horsemen have become accustomed to stopping at the veterinary clinic to pick up a supply of antibiotics, either for a special case or just to have on hand. Marcella said his clinic has had a long-standing policy not to dispense antibiotics unless he has examined the horse. Even then, he may choose to allow the horse’s immune system to do the work.

“Say a horse presents with just a runny nose,” Marcella said. “A lot of times, if the horse is eating and drinking and its temperature and physical exam are normal, we’ll hold off on any sort of treatment.”

He’ll follow up with the owners to assure the horse is recovering and if it isn’t, he’ll do lab work to determine which antibiotic is effective against that particular bacteria.

“It really doesn’t help in terms of resistance if you go ahead and treat with the wrong antibiotics for 10 days and then find out it’s not working,” he said.

Marcella may turn to stronger antibiotics — penicillin, gentamicin, enrofloxacin, or the tetracyclines — but only after blood work or cultures indicate their need.

What is the risk?

Risk management Is the key factor in deciding if and when to treat with antibiotics. Some horses may be healthy enough to fight the bacteria on their own, while others may be more at risk because of their age and overall health.

Another consideration is the disease itself.

“If I think it’s a disease that if I wait and I’m wrong, the horse is going to have more of a problem, then I’m more likely to go ahead and start antibiotics if I think they are needed,” Marcella said. “Or if I go ahead and do [blood work] and there’s a good chance of an infection somewhere, I’m going to put the horse on antibiotics, even if I can’t find the source to culture it.”

Foal Pneumonia

foalRhodococcal pneumonia in foals is a deadly disease that begins as small focal points of infection in the lungs that eventually become abscesses. This insidious pneumonia infects the foal in the first days of life but does not show symptoms until the advanced stage months later, a point where little can be done to save its life. In the early stages, foals continue to nurse normally, and they even may appear bright and healthy.

Researchers have developed a way to identify and monitor lesions in the foal’s lungs using ultrasound. The lesions are graded on a scale of zero to 10. A companion study found that smaller lesions (less than Grade 2) are able to resolve without medical intervention. But with such a serious disease, are farms willing to take that risk?

Three Chimneys Farm routinely ultrasounds its foals’ lungs for R. equi, but the size of a lesion is not the only factor farm manager Chris Baker said they use to decide if a foal should be treated.

“Clinical signs, ultrasound, and blood work — those three criteria are what we rely on in determining our choice whether to treat,” Baker said. “We’ll follow those along, but we only treat when we feel we have an active infection that needs to be treated, not an inflammatory [condition] or a low-grade infection process that the foal is dealing with on its own.”

Alternatives

For serious infections, ranging from wounds to respiratory disease, Marcella prefers to use Excede, an antibiotic with effects lasting four days.

“If you get a puncture wound or a respiratory issue, four days of Excede and then re-evaluation is probably a better way to go,” Marcella said.

Researchers also are looking to natural cures as a way to fight antibiotic resistance. Natural honey has shown promising results. A Swedish study found the beneficial lactic-acid bacteria in a bee’s stomach is effective in treating MRSA, non-healing wounds, and other antibiotic-resistant diseases. Commercial honey does not contain the lactic-acid bacteria; the source must be fresh raw honey.

Researchers in the United States also are looking into the antibiotic properties of the metal gallium maltolate to treat wounds and Rhodococcal pneumonia.

“The biggest thing from us out in the field is not to jump on antibiotics for no particular reason,” Marcella said.

4 Proactive Steps to a Healthy Horse

A veterinary-directed wellness plan is an easy way to care for your horse

 

PLYMOUTH, MA – March 21, 2017 – At SmartPak, our mission is to support healthy horses and happy riders. One of the best ways you can help keep your horse healthy is by partnering with your veterinarian to develop an annual wellness program. With spring just around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking about a wellness plan for your horse.

Your veterinarian is the best source of advice on what is right for your individual horse, and will take into account factors such as age, workload, and any existing health conditions. “Working with your veterinarian is important to help spot problems early and keep your horse healthy,” said Dr. Scott Spaulding of Badger Veterinary Hospital, Janesville, Wisconsin. “A well-rounded wellness program includes four key areas to help your veterinarian evaluate your horse’s health: annual physical exam, dental exam, vaccinations, and deworming.”

 

Annual Physical Exam

During an annual physical exam, the veterinarian starts with a thorough visual inspection of the horse, and evaluates basic measures of health such as temperature, pulse, and respiration. Next, the veterinarian will listen to the lungs, evaluate skin and coat health, and discuss any specific concerns. The physical exam is also a great time for your vet to evaluate your horse’s Body Condition Score and discuss the horse’s nutrition program, including grain and hay. “For older horses,” said Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak’s Staff Veterinarian/Medical Director, “more frequent exams that include specific tests may be recommended, such as bloodwork to rule out conditions like Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction, also known as Cushing’s Disease.”

 

Annual Dental Exam

Having your veterinarian perform an annual dental exam is equally important. Regular dental care is vital for maintaining your horse’s health, especially in senior horses or those prone to dental issues. Dental problems can lead to weight loss, decreased performance, and sometimes unwanted behavior. Having your horse’s mouth and teeth checked at least once per year is a smart way to spot issues early and take care of them before they cause problems.

 

Annual Vaccinations

Annual vaccinations are essential for the health of the horse and to help prevent disease outbreaks. While the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) core vaccine recommendations are Eastern/Western equine encephalitis, tetanus, West Nile virus, and rabies, it is important to remember to work with your veterinarian to determine a vaccination plan that is optimal for your horse based on your geography and other individual risk factors.

 

Deworming

Having your horse on a deworming plan is also an important part of responsible horse ownership. Your veterinarian is the best resource to develop a deworming program designed specifically for your horse and property. “In order to have an effective parasite control strategy,” said Dr. Gray, “it’s important to work with your veterinarian to create a deworming plan that includes fecal testing and targeted deworming based on those results.”

 

Horses that receive all of these essential services each year are not only staying healthier, they are also meeting all of the Annual Wellness Requirements for ColiCare, SmartPak’s free colic surgery reimbursement program. In addition to the wellness services performed by your veterinarian, simply feed any ColiCare eligible supplement in SmartPaks™ and you could be eligible for up to $7,500 of colic surgery reimbursement. SmartPak recently made it easier than ever to enroll in SmartPak by allowing horse owners to designate an agent, such as a trainer or lessee, to apply for ColiCare on their behalf. Learn more at www.SmartPak.com/ColiCare.

 

 

About SmartPak

From the feed room to the tack room, SmartPak offers innovative solutions to help riders take great care of their horses. SmartPak was founded in 1999 with the introduction of the patented SmartPak supplement feeding system. The revolutionary, daily dose SmartPaks are custom-made for your horse, individually labeled and sealed for freshness. With the success of this simple and convenient feeding system, SmartPak has continued to expand its offering of quality products, including its own line of more than 55 supplement formulas called SmartSupplements, and a wide variety of tack, equipment, and supplies. The company has grown rapidly each year and is now the largest retailer of equestrian products in the United States. SmartPak’s success has been powered by a passion for delivering an unbeatable customer experience, and the company has been recognized with a Bizrate Circle of Excellence award seven years in a row, as well as receiving an “Elite” rating from STELLAService. A nine-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree, SmartPak is the only equine company ever named to the Inc. 500 list.

EHV-1: KY Dept. Of Agriculture Issues Revised Protocol For Horses Shipping In From Louisiana

“Earlier this year, in response to the EHV-I outbreak at Fair Grounds Race Track in New Orleans and pursuant to 302 KAR 20:040, we initiated a directive addressing horses originating from or having been stabled in the past 30 days at a premises in Louisiana where EHV-I infection had been diagnosed. The directive required these horses test negative prior to gaining entry onto a Kentucky racetrack or associated training facilities. Our objective in requiring this testing was to help us better define (understand) what if any elevated risks horses originating from these environments might pose to our equine populations here in Kentucky. Unfortunately, the reluctance of trainers to test their horses to qualify for movement to KY has not provided enough testing of those horses to enable us to conclude the risk is not elevated. With the lack of needed evidence, we do today continue to have concern that allowing unrestricted and less regulated movement of those horses to a Kentucky track continues to pose elevated risk (albeit undefined) of disease introduction to our racing environments.

“We did last week initiate conversation with regulators and animal health officials in Louisiana, and they shared their thought and comments that they are not aware of suspicion of EHV1 cases on the track. Additionally, there has apparently been a number of horses moved from Fair Grounds to other racing jurisdictions, and we’ve had no reports of disease events having occurred in those jurisdictions.

“Appreciating, while there remains concern today, we do have an identified need to facilitate interstate movement of horses from those environments to KY race tracks is a safe and efficient manner. Based on the above factors we are today amending our directive by removing the requirement that horses originating from (or having recently resided) Fair Grounds be tested prior to entry onto the track. We will though continue to require these horses (Fair Grounds) to enter Kentucky via an Entry Permit (described below) issued by our office and recorded on the CVI. Copies of this CVI and the EIA testing certificate are to be on file in the track’s stable office and a copy also available in the barn. Post arrival, temperatures for each horse are to be taken three times daily and recorded on an individual log sheet that is to be maintained in the barn. Regulatory and/or track officials will be making periodic visits to the barn.

“Feel free to contact us should you have any question, comment or concern regarding this revised directive.

“Qualifying Horses to Move from Fair Grounds in New Orleans LA onto KY Race Tracks = Effective Wednesday, March 15, 2017

1. A licensed accredited veterinarian shall examine and issue a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) within the day preceding a horse’s departure from Fair Grounds*.
2. The veterinarian issuing the CVI shall obtain an entry permit from the Office of KY State Veterinarian 502-782-5901, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (EST).
3. The issuing accredited veterinarian shall record the entry permit number on the CVI.
4. The issuing accredited veterinarian shall record the EHV-1 vaccination on the CVI.
5. A statement is to be included that each horse(s) listed on the CVI has not demonstrated any evidence of infectious illness during the preceding 30 days nor exposure to any such illness.
6. Trainers shall provide to the stable office copies of the CVI and EIA test certificates in addition to keeping a copy of each document in the trainer’s assigned barn. These documents will be presented to regulatory and/or track officials when requested.
7. Animal health officials, racing officials and track officials will be conducting random inspection of horses, the stabling environment and applicable health documents that does include temperature logs during the race meet.
8. These requirements shall remain in effect until further notice.”

*or having been located at Fair Grounds during the 30 days preceding departure for Kentucky

Equine Injury Database: Rate of Fatal Injuries Declines for Fourth Consecutive Year

An analysis of data from the Equine Injury Database (EID) has shown a reduction in the rate of fatal injury for a fourth consecutive year and a 23 percent drop since 2009, The Jockey Club announced today.

When comparing 2016 statistics to 2015 statistics across all surfaces, ages, and distances, the rate dropped from 1.62 per 1,000 starts in 2015 to 1.54 per 1,000 starts in 2016. The overall rate of 1.54 per 1,000 starts is the lowest since the Equine Injury Database started publishing annual statistics in 2009.

 

Statistical Summary from 2009 to 2016

Thoroughbred Only

Calendar Year

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Rate

2.00

1.88

1.88

1.92

1.90

1.89

1.62

1.54

 

Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database, once again performed the analysis.

“One of the primary objectives of this project from the outset was to build a comprehensive data source we could utilize to improve safety and prevent injuries, and we are now clearly achieving that goal,” said Dr. Parkin. “The racetracks, the horsemen, and the regulators who have implemented safety initiatives over this time period deserve a great deal of credit for this encouraging trend.”

On dirt, there has been a 19 percent drop since 2009.

On turf, there has been a 44 percent drop since 2009.

The rate on synthetic surfaces, according to Parkin, has remained stable since 2010, hovering in the 1.0 to 1.2 per 1,000 starts range.

A graph depicting all updated statistical data pertaining to surface, distance, and age is available at jockeyclub.com/pdfs/eid_8_year_tables.pdf.

“The sport, as a collective entity, has made a sustained difference that should serve as motivation to continue the search for new safety and welfare initiatives and to permanently eliminate the usage of ‘part of the game’ from the lexicon when discussing equine injuries,” said Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a consultant to the EID.

The EID statistics are based on injuries that resulted in fatalities within 72 hours from the date of the race. The statistics are for Thoroughbreds only and exclude races over jumps from the calculations. Summary statistics for the EID are subject to change due to a number of considerations, including reporting timeliness.

Since March 2012, racetracks have been able to voluntarily publish their statistics from the EID in the Safety Initiatives section of The Jockey Club website. There are 25 tracks that self-reported during 2016 and their aggregate rate was 1.41.

The list of racetracks participating in the Equine Injury Database and detailed statistics from those tracks that voluntarily publish their results can be found at: jockeyclub.com/default.asp?section=Advocacy&area=11.

Throughout the course of 2017, racetracks accounting for approximately 96 percent of flat racing days are expected to contribute data to the EID.

The Equine Injury Database, conceived at the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s first Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, was launched by The Jockey Club in July 2008 and seeks to identify the frequencies, types, and outcomes of racing injuries using a standardized format that generates valid statistics, identifies markers for horses at increased risk of injury, and serves as a data source for research directed at improving safety and preventing injuries.

The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club, directly or through subsidiaries, provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives, and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms. It is the sole funding source for America’s Best Racing, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing. You can follow America’s Best Racing at americasbestracing.net. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.