Hooves Helping Joints

By Nancy S. Loving, DVM

The degenerative joint disease arthritis is all too common in active and aging horses. In an effort to slow the progressive deterioration of joint tissue, owners and veterinarians often reach for anti-inflammatory medications and/or regenerative therapies. After all, our goal is to keep these joints comfortable.

One often-overlooked strategy in this effort is hoof care. Certain trimming and shoeing techniques can alter a horse’s limb biomechanics—for better or worse. In this article we’ll discuss how to care for arthritic horses’ hooves for maximum comfort.

What Exacerbates Joint Pain?

Arthritic horses try to minimize their joint pain by reducing the load on the affected limb(s) and shortening stride length. “This suggests that pain is associated with the concussion of impact and extreme ranges in motion (ROM),” says Andrew Parks, DVM, Vet MB, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, a professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Athens.

Force of impact The limb’s loading rate (deceleration) when the foot lands affects the force of impact on that leg, as can footing type. “The impact of baked clay in summer or frozen ground in winter is quite different from a soft dirt paddock, bedded stall, or engineered arena,” says Parks. “Anything that slows down the rate of deceleration of the foot is likely to decrease the effect of impact. Materials that absorb energy on hoof landing—either from the ground surface or within the shoeing apparatus—also reduce impact.”

To read the rest of the article click here

Horse tests positive for Virginia’s first 2017 case of West Nile Virus

WYTHE COUNTY, Va (WHSV)— The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced the state’s first positive case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a horse in 2017. It is the first case since August 2015 in Virginia.

The horse, a ten-year-old Saddlebred gelding, was from Wythe County and died as a result of the disease.

Symptoms included loss of control of bodily movements and partial paralysis in the hind limbs, dazed appearance and lack of ability to stand.

The horse was euthanized because of the severity of his symptoms. It was necropsied at VDACS’ Regional Animal Health Laboratory (RAHL) in Wytheville and tested positive on June 29 at the Warrenton RAHL via a serologic test.

The positive was confirmed at the National Veterinary Service Laboratories Friday July 7. It had not been vaccinated.

Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS’ Office of Laboratory Services, urges horse owners to check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for WNV.

“West Nile is a mosquito-borne disease,” he said, “and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September. The disease is usually preventable by vaccination, as is Eastern Equine Encephalitis, so many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, and in mosquito-prone areas, every six months.”

To read more of this article click here

Kentucky Confirms First Equine WNV Case for 2017

By Erica Larson

The Kentucky State Veterinarian’s office has announced that a horse from Bourbon County has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first equine WNV case confirmed in the commonwealth this year.

In a statement Kentucky Equine Programs manager E.S. “Rusty” Ford said the case was confirmed June 13.

The yearling Thoroughbred filly first showed signs of disease on June 7. She was initially down, but able to rise with assistance; she also suffered muscle fasciculation (twitching) and seizures. By June 7 her condition had improved, and on June 13 the attending veterinarian reported the filly continued to show daily improvement.

Ford’s statement indicated that the filly had been vaccinated against WNV in 2016 and had received a booster on June 1.

West Nile is transmitted to horses via bites from infected mosquitoes. Clinical signs for WNV include flulike signs, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed; fine and coarse muscle and skin fasciculation; hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to touch and sound); changes in mentation (mentality), when horses look like they are daydreaming or “just not with it”; occasional somnolence (drowsiness); propulsive walking (driving or pushing forward, often without control); and “spinal” signs, including asymmetrical weakness. Some horses show asymmetrical or symmetrical ataxia. Equine mortality rate can be as high as 30-40%.

Click here for the rest of the story

Kurt Crawford joins APHA as Director of Business Development


FORT WORTH – The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) is pleased to announce that Kurt Crawford has joined the association to lead sales and sponsorship efforts as director of business development. In this role, Crawford will work to build APHA’s market position by developing, defining, negotiating, and closing sponsor and commercial advertising relationships.


With deep roots in the equine world, Crawford grew up in Pennsylvania where he competed in many disciplines and later developed a focus on reining, cutting and cow horse events. He attended Western Kentucky University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial recreation/business and a master’s degree in community agency counseling.


He comes with a wealth of experience in sales management, business development, project management, sales analysis, distribution relations and market research, with much of that experience earned in the equine industry.


Among other notable titles, he has served as executive director of the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association, senior sales executive at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA), director of equine operations at M3 Companies and director of sales and marketing at Rancharrah.


During his career, he has lived and worked in Kentucky, California, Nevada, Colorado and Texas, most of which time was spent contributing to the horse industry. He is a member of numerous equine organizations/associations and is a past NCHA director. He has also served as a member of the board of directors for the Colorado Horse Development Authority.


“I am very excited to join an organization with so many positive things taking place,” said Crawford. “I look forward to utilizing my skills and industry experience to help keep that momentum going.”


As evidenced by a life lived around horses, Crawford brings to the table a plethora of industry relationships as well as a reputation for hard work and respect.


Crawford and his wife currently have two horses and have been involved in breeding, equine rehabilitation, therapeutic riding and helping others to understand more about the horse industry.


To contact Crawford and learn about the many opportunities available through the American Paint Horse Association, call (817) 222-6445 (office), (720) 878-7503 (mobile) or send an email to kcrawford@apha.com.


Livestock producers should be aware of small-headed sneezeweed

Sneezeweed consumption by grazing animals produces signs of illness including weakness, staggering, diarrhea, vomiting, salivation, bloating, groaning and grinding of teeth, sticky non-pelleted feces and gastroenteritis, Rector said. Poisoned animals can have forced and fast respiration and a nasal discharge.

Signs of illness will appear within a few hours after the consumption of sneezeweed, and animals may convulse prior to death, Barr said.

“Not much else causes an illness that looks like this,” she said, “but if you need confirmation, our laboratory can examine the rumen content or stomach content microscopically and identify the plant material. We’re here to assist your veterinarian with a diagnosis.”

Rector said earlier feeding studies with this plant have shown that consumption of as little as one-quarter of a percent of an animal’s body weight produced acute poisoning and death, with the mature plants being more toxic than the seedlings.

The plant, also commonly called “small sneezeweed” and “sneezeweed,” commonly occurs in small localized areas on moist habitats of silty, clay loam and sandy soils around ponds, tanks, bar ditches and especially in ephemeral or dry creek bottoms, he said.

Rector said wet falls followed by wet springs usually assure a good crop of seedlings. He said in the past two weeks he’s seen a lot of the plants growing from Sonora to Wichita Falls.

To read the rest of this article click here

Equine GI and Respiratory Disease

By Nettie Liburt, MS, PhD, PAS

Diarrhea is a leading cause of disease in foals, affecting about 6% per year. In foals 7 days old and younger, it causes about 25% of disease. But diarrhea itself has many causes. One of the more worrisome causes to veterinarians is equine rotavirus (ERV) infection, which causes illness in nearly 100% of infected foals, and has high mortality rates in neonates and untreated cases.

Christian Leutenegger, DrVetMed, PhD, FVH, worldwide head of molecular diagnostics at IDEXX Laboratories, in West Sacramento, California, and Ron Vin, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, also of IDEXX and the Myhre Equine Clinic, in Rochester, New Hampshire, discussed ERV during a Sunrise Session at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

Rotavirus can be found across the world, but within the United States veterinarians see higher numbers of cases in areas with large breeding populations, such as California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, and Texas.

To read the rest of the story click here.

How MRI Helps Manage Hock, Suspensory Ligament Injuries

By Erica Larson

When it comes to diagnosing injured horses, imaging can be a veterinarian’s right-hand man. These tools allow the practitioner to see under your horse’s skin to help diagnose injuries, select appropriate treatments, monitor healing progress, and determine prognosis.

This even holds true for injuries to the proximal metatarsal and tarsal region, which includes the hock joints and the surrounding bony and soft-tissue structures (proximal suspensory ligament). Problems in this area are common in performance horses and have variable presentations that can make them challenging to diagnose accurately with traditional imaging modalities (X rays and ultrasound), said Matt Brokken, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, ACVSMR, a clinical assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, in Columbus. At the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida, Brokken reviewed how he uses MRI to help take some of the mystery out of diagnosing and treating such injuries.

Magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetic fields to create cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of both bony and soft tissue structures, allowing the veterinarian to clearly visualize multiple tissue types at once. Veterinarians might recommend it after performing a thorough lameness examination and localizing the issue to the proximal suspensory or lower tarsal region (using diagnostic analgesia), but when radiography and ultrasonography are inconclusive, Brokken said.

Veterinarians can use MRI to assess internal structures’ shape (to check for fractures or tears) and size (i.e., inflammation or atrophy), as well as signal intensity (which can indicate edema or fluid collecting in bones or soft tissue). Brokken recommended, when possible, performing MR examinations on the affected limb as well as the contralateral limb for comparison (for subtle changes), as well as to check for bilateral (on both sides) disease.

To read the rest of the story click here.