Equine Herpes Virus Confirmed in Denton County Horse

AUSTIN, TX – Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) confirmed Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), the neurologic disease linked to Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), in a Denton County barrel racing horse on February 21, 2017.

The horse showed signs of ataxia, loss of coordination of the muscles, and other neurologic signs consistent with EHM when evaluated by a local veterinarian. The premises is under quarantine and TAHC staff is working closely with the owner and veterinarian to implement testing protocols and biosecurity measures.

Prior to confirmation, the positive horse attended barrel racing events at the NRS Arena in Decatur, TX on February 15 and Northside Arena in Fort Worth, TX on February 14. The TAHC has been in contact with event management and veterinarians to ensure enhanced biosecurity measures are taken on the premises and event participants are notified.

While the risk of exposure to the virus was likely low at these events, owners of horses potentially exposed are encouraged to take precautions. Exposed horses should be isolated and have their temperatures monitored twice daily for at least 14 days after last known exposure. If an exposed horse develops a fever or other signs consistent with EHM, diagnostic testing may be performed. Owners should work with their veterinary practitioner to establish appropriate monitoring and diagnostic plans for any potentially exposed horse(s). To learn more, visit http://www.tahc.texas.gov/news/brochures/TAHCBrochure_BiosecurityEquine.pdf.

Symptoms of EHV-1 include fever, which is one of the most common clinical signs and often precedes the development of other signs. Respiratory signs include coughing and nasal discharge. Neurologic signs associated with EHM are highly variable, but often the hindquarters are most severely affected. Horses with EHM may appear weak and uncoordinated. Urine dribbling and loss of tail tone may also be seen. Severely affected horses may become unable to rise.

It is important to remember these signs are not specific to EHM and diagnostic testing is required to confirm EHV-1 infection. Many horses exposed to EHV-1 never develop clinical signs. If you suspect your horse has been exposed to EHV-1, contact your veterinarian.

For more information on protecting your livestock from EHV-1, contact your local TAHC regional office http://www.tahc.texas.gov/agency/TAHC_RegionalOfficeMap.pdf. To learn more about EHM visit http://www.tahc.texas.gov/news/brochures/TAHCBrochure_EquineHerpesMyeloencephalopathy.pdf.

The equine industry is encouraged to obtain the latest information on this outbreak and other disease events across the country by visiting the Equine Disease Communication Center at: http://www.equinediseasecc.org/outbreaks.aspx.

Kentucky EHV: Cases Confirmed at Turfway, Keeneland

The Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office reported late Jan. 24 that testing has confirmed additional equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) cases at Turfway Park, in Florence, and Keeneland Race Course, in Lexington.

Testing was conducted after a mare previously stabled at Turfway Park tested positive for the wild strain of EHV-1 late last week.

At Turfway Park, E.S. “Rusty” Ford, equine programs manager for the State Veterinarian’s Office, said, “the sampling of horses in the affected barn … did identify two additional horses (from one trainer—a 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding and a 9-year-old Thoroughbred mare) to be EHV-1-positive by PCR detecting the ‘wild strain’ of virus from nasal swabs.”

Ford said there have been “no clinical developments in the horses currently housed in Barn 27 and options for removing those two positive horses from the environment and managing the barns remaining population are being evaluated and considered tonight.”

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Researchers Develop Saliva-Based Equine Tapeworm Test

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
In the global fight against parasite resistance to deworming medications, a group of researchers in the United Kingdom has recently developed a more practical test for the equine tapeworm. Because tapeworm infestations are difficult to detect in feces, veterinarians’ preferred testing method has been blood testing. But that could be changing. A new, reliable saliva test is now making its appearance on European markets and could be available in the United States in 2017, researchers said.

The new saliva test allows owners to take samples themselves, said Corrine Austin, PhD, of Austin Davis Biologics Ltd, in Great Addington, U.K. This could encourage the use of a targeted deworming program that can help prevent parasite resistance.

“A limited number of drugs are available for treating equine helminths (worms) and, with no new chemical classes (drugs) in development, care must be taken to preserve the efficacy of the currently effective anthelmintics,” Austin said. “The use of accurate diagnostic tests to detect tapeworm burdens and, hence, inform treatment, will reduce the use of anti-tapeworm anthelmintics. And that could therefore reduce the risk for resistance emergence.”

The level of resistance in tapeworms to current anthelmintics is unknown. “Although resistance has yet to be documented for tapeworms, the risk is significantly increased with continued ‘blanket’ use of anti-tapeworm anthelmintics,” said Austin.

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USDA confirms presence of New World screwworm in Florida

The Texas Animal Health Commission(TAHC) was notified by The United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) of the confirmed presence of New World screwworm in a stray dog that was found in Homestead, Florida. This is the first time screwworms have been found on Florida’s mainland in decades.

The screwworm eradication program has been underway in Florida since October 2016. The USDA, Florida Department of Agriculture and partnering agencies will continue to modify the eradication program as needed in order to eradicate the New World screwworm.

To learn more information regarding the detection dates and locations of the New World screwworm in Florida, please visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Animal-Industry/Consumer-Resources/Reportable-Animal-Diseases/New-World-Screwworm/New-World-Screwworm-Detection-Information

New World screwworms are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including people. Screwworms can enter wounds as well as body orifices, and feed on living tissue in that area. If untreated, screwworm infestations can be fatal.

The TAHC would like to remind all veterinarians, producers and stakeholders, to report any animal suspected to be infested with screwworm larvae, by calling the TAHC at 1-800-550-8242 or contacting the nearest TAHC Region Office.

Veterinarians can submit collected samples to the State-Federal Laboratory in Austin at:

8200 Cameron Road Suite A186
Austin, TX 78754 Phone: 512-832-6580

Or the National Veterinary Service Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/lab-info-services.

Thomas Swafford
Public Information Officer
Texas Animal Health Commission
(512) 719-0743

Soft Tissue Injuries of the Western Performance Horse’s Foot

By Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor

Nearly 100 veterinarians gathered to discuss how they diagnose and treat soft tissue injuries in the feet of Western performance horses during a table topic at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

Vern Dryden, DVM, CJF, of Bur Oak Veterinary and Podiatry Services, in Lexington, Kentucky, and Brian Beasley, DVM, CJF, from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, in Athens, led the conversation.

They defined Western performance horses as primarily Quarter Horses competing in everything from barrel racing to hunt seat. Soft tissue issues they said they commonly see in these horses’ feet include injuries to the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT), impar ligament, suspensory ligament of the navicular bone, navicular bursa, and collateral ligament of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. They broke the discussion into three parts:

Injuries to the DDFT, Impar Ligament, and Suspensory Ligament of the Navicular


During the initial physical exam of a horse with a foot problem, Dryden said he looks for wear patterns on the horse’s hooves or shoes, watches to see if the horse’s hoof lands toe-first or heel-first when moving, feels for a digital pulse on either the medial (inner) or lateral (outer) side of the fetlock, and applies hoof testers.

Attendees agreed that they then try to localize the source of pain using palmar/plantar digital nerve blocks (in which they inject anesthetic at specific points along the lower limb nerves). Once they know which part of the foot to focus on, they use radiographs, ultrasound, and even MRI to visualize the affected area. Pinpointing the exact cause, however, can be challenging. “Some lamenesses take several days to properly work up,” said Dryden. This diagnostic process is the same for all soft tissue injuries to the foot.

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Can Subchondral Bone Thickness Predict Catastrophic Injury?

  • By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Wouldn’t it be great to know a horse was about to break a bone before it tragically fractures on the racecourse? For one particular—and common—break, such premonition may now be possible. British researchers have determined that MRI images of bone thickness could provide critical information about fracture risk in the lateral condyle of the third metacarpal bone (MC3)—those that occur on the outer half of the bottom bulbous end of the cannon bone.

These long front leg bones are particularly susceptible to fracture starting from the joint surface within the fetlock. It’s a high-risk fracture area for racehorses—the No. 1 reason horses are euthanized on U.K. racetracks, said Tim Parkin, BSc, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ECVPH, FHEA, MRCVS, dean of the Division of Equine Clinical Sciences and clinical director of the Weipers Equine Centre in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow, in Scotland. In the United States, these fractures are the second most common site for catastrophic fracture, just behind fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones.

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2016 APHA Open/Amateur World Show successfully concludes with increases in key areas

FORT WORTH—The American Paint Horse Association is celebrating the successful conclusion of its 2016 World Championship Show, which was held November 2-13 at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

In addition to naming 181 world champions over the course of 12 days, APHA held a total of 289 classes and paid out more than $600,000 in cash and prizes.

The show saw an increase in entries in several key areas over the 2015 Open/Amateur World Show including Amateur Halter classes (up 6%), Amateur Solid Paint-Bred performance classes (up 21%), Open Solid Paint-Bred performance classes (up 30%) and added money classes (up 4%).

When the dust settled and the final champion was named, the show had 925 horses with a total of 2,703 entries. Forty states as well as Australia, Denmark, Canada and Mexico were represented.

Farnam’s 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddles Stakes classes and the Farnam Non-Pro 3- and 4-Year-Old Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle Stakes paid out more than $70,000 to horses that had been consigned to the 2015 Stakes Session of the Farnam/APHA Breeders’ Trust Select Sale.

APHA once again hosted the American Cutting Horse Association’s (ACHA) Cowtown Cutting November 12 and 13, an all-breed cutting event attracting 70 horses and 187 entries. The Cowtown Cutting consisted of 20 classes and paid out $24,660.

In addition, held in conjunction with the APHA World Show, APHA and the United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) co-hosted the USTRC Cowtown ShootOut team roping at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum November 11-13 offering an extra $5,000 cash bonus for the high-money earning registered Paint horses in addition to the regular prize line.

“This year’s show was particularly positive,” said APHA Executive Director Billy Smith. “And seeing increases in several areas is always a bonus. A huge thanks goes out to all exhibitors and show staff for making this year’s event a success. Now, we turn our attention to the new show dates in September 2017 and making the next APHA World Show better and more exciting than ever.”

Watch for more World Show wrap-up information in the January 2017 issue of APHA’s Paint Horse Journal.

About APHA and the Open/Amateur World Championship Show

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses. For more information about the American Paint Horse Association, visit apha.com or connect with Paint Horse fans globally at facebook.com/americanpainthorse or on Twitter @APHANews.

The World Championship Paint Horse Show features the finest gathering of Paint Horses from around the globe. APHA hosts two annual world-class competitions to showcase the talents of American Paint Horses and their owners. The second in the series, the Open/Amateur World Championship Show takes place at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth’s cultural district. The Open/Amateur World Championship Show has taken place in November for the past eight years; however, 2017 marks an exciting transition to September. This means exhibitors will no longer have to choose between the APHA World Show and other major equine events in November. The 2017 APHA Open/Amateur World Show will take place September 20-30.

Visit apha.com/oawcs for more details.