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.

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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.

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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.

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Broodmares’ Nutritional Needs During Late Gestation

Late-pregnancy mares need to be fed adequately so they are not undernourished, because the last few months of fetal development see the most growth, tissue accumulation, and weight gain. This growth particularly accelerates in the last two months, according to Laurie Lawrence, PhD, professor in the department of animal and food sciences at the University of Kentucky, who, along with research staff and students, oversees a broodmare band of 20 at UK’s Maine Chance Farm.

Because a mare will rob her body to feed the fetus first, it’s important she maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. When considering her calorie needs, make sure her Henneke body condition (BC) score remains stable. BC scores range from 1 to 9, with 9 being obese and 1 malnourished. In late gestation, aim for a score between 5 and 6.

“It’s not an issue if she’s a slightly higher score, but a lower score can compromise a mare’s ability to get rebred,” Lawrence cautioned. “With an appropriate body condition, you can’t see the ribs but you can feel them, and there is a fat cover over the topline. The mare will appear pleasingly plump.

“It’s important that mares receive adequate feed to fuel fetal growth,” Lawrence continued. “To accomplish it, they can use a combination of body stores and diet. Ideally, a mare will get sufficient feed and use the nutrients from her diet to supply the fetus’s needs. That way she retains her own body stores for herself.”

Lawrence points out that in late gestation, a mare’s voluntary feed intake does not increase with her body’s needs. Thus, owners should feed mares higher amounts of grain at more frequent intervals because the mare might not be able to manage large amounts of feed as the foal fills her belly. She instead needs to nibble throughout the day to meet her nutritional requirements.

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Tips for Producing High-Quality Alfalfa Hay for Horses

  • By Heather Smith Thomas

Are you thinking about harvesting your own alfalfa this year? If so, there are a few things to keep in mind while cutting and baling it.

The Best Time to Cut

Stage of maturity when you harvest it is particularly important. “As soon as alfalfa starts to bloom it is time to cut that field,” says Glenn Shewmaker, MS, PhD, State Forage Specialist at the University of Idaho, in Moscow. “After it blooms, most of the yield increase is stem. When alfalfa is this mature, horses try to eat just the leaves and sort out the larger, coarser stems.”

Follow this rule even if you’re harvesting mixed (alfalfa and grass) hay and the grass isn’t quite ready to be cut when the alfalfa starts to bloom.

“Alfalfa usually matures more quickly, starting to bloom before the grass is in the boot stage (at its highest quality, just prior to producing seedheads),” says Shewmaker. “If you wait until you see that first bloom in the alfalfa you are giving up about 20% of potential biomass for the grass but still have a high-quality feed that works well for horses.”

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Vicky Boone Casting Seeks Skilled Cowgirls and Cowboys with Rodeo experience for AETNA print AD


Vicky Boone Casting is looking for Caucasian WOMEN in their EARLY 40s with riding and barrel racing skills and Caucasian BOYS AGES 6-8 with roping skills along with their MOMS for an AETNA print AD shooting in HOUSTON on 4/7/17.

Audition Dates: WED MAR 22 (Austin), THU MAR 23 (Houston)
Shoot Dates: Fitting 4/6/17, Shoot 4/7/17
Shoot Location: Houston – must be able to work as a local in Houston.

These roles are PAID.

Those interested should submit the following to
*Snapshot (face), full body photo, and a little bit about your rodeo experience
*City where you reside
*How you heard about this opportunity

Please use the subject: “AETNA Barrel Racer” or “AETNA Young Roper and Mom”

Click here to dowload PDF of flyer

How to Feed Senior Horses

By Nettie Liburt, MS, PhD, PAS

Twenty percent of the U.S. horse population is now over the age of 20. And with age comes increasing risk for several conditions, including colic, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, aka equine Cushing’s disease), dental disease, and weight loss/gain. Fortunately, nutrition can aid in managing these issues. After all, “age is a number, not a disease,” said Megan Shepherd, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN.

Shepherd, a clinical assistant professor in Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, in Blacksburg, Virginia, talked about feeding considerations for seniors at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

Calories and Energy

While it’s good practice to assess and address body condition score (BCS) at all life stages, weight management is particularly important for senior horses. Shepherd said a score of 5 out of 9 is ideal for seniors. A horse with no metabolic issues can have a BCS of 6 to account for future weight loss due to illness, she added. An arthritic animal might fare better with a little less weight stressing those joints, in which case a BCS of 4 is acceptable.

Inactive and/or overweight seniors have lower energy needs than hard keepers that have trouble maintaining weight. Hard keepers often benefit from higher fat diets for extra calories, whereas easy keepers or overweight horses generally fare well with forage-based diets plus an added ration balancer.

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