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The UK’s leading equine health & well-being magazine

November/December 10 £2.95

Protein changes could hold key to treatments By Louise Cordell NEW treatments could be developed for equine respiratory disease thanks to the result of a new study. A research project funded by The Horse Trust has discovered how proteins in horse’s mucus change as the disease develops and scientists are now investigating how these changes are regulated. Respiratory problems are common in horses, with various surveys reporting that respiratory airway inflammation occurs in between 10 and 50 per cent of animals. They are often associated with an accumulation of mucus in the horse's airways and with the mucus becoming more viscous and hard to clear – reducing quality of life and causing exercise intolerance. The research has revealed that particular genes that regulate mucus proteins, known as mucins, undergo various changes in equine respiratory disease. Professor Peter Clegg at the University of Liverpool led the study, in collaboration with Dr David Thornton from the University of Manchester. They found that horses with respiratory disease have high levels of a particular mucin, known as Muc5b and that a second mucin, Muc5AC was also increased in respiratory disease, but was

present in much lower levels. The team discovered the change by collecting and examining both the respiratory secretions, and cells that lined the airway from horses both with and without respiratory disease. Finally they concluded that alterations in both mucin genes, and their resultant proteins are likely to be a major cause of the increased viscosity of mucus in horses with respiratory disease. Professor Clegg said: “Understanding how mucins change in respiratory disease is the first step in developing new treatments for this condition. Once we are able to find how these changes are regulated, we may be able to develop better treatments.” They also found that horses which produced high levels of mucin genes have increased numbers of goblet cells in their airways, indicating that a key regulatory step may be the actual production and development of the glandular cells, rather than the absolute production of the mucin proteins. The next stage of The Horse Trust-funded research will look at how mucin levels are controlled and affected by treatment in vitro, as the ability to affect mucin production and its viscosity would hugely improve the veterinary management of horses with all forms of respiratory disease.

Over £33,000 has been raised at a charity auction in aid of the British Horse Society’s ‘Drawing the Line’ campaign. The funds will be used to help halt indiscriminate breeding and bring an end to the unnecessary suffering of horses. The star of the show was a walk on part in the TV series Doc Martin, which raised almost £3,000 for

the campaign. However, there was also fierce competition for other lots including Katy Sodeau’s ‘Mare and Foals’ painting and Debbie Gillingham’s ‘Tack a Jack’, which achieved more than twice its estimate. Picture: A rocking horse twin of superstar mare Headley Britannia was one of the many lots auctioned.


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HORSE HEALTH I NEWS 3

UK facing ‘most unprofitable year for a decade’ By Louise Cordell THE UK’s bloodstock industry is facing its most unprofitable year for more than a decade, according to equine accountants James Cowper.

the same period, and actually dropped by 12 per cent in the last three years.

The firm has announced that fees charged for covering stallions is increasing at a faster rate than the prices achieved for the yearlings produced when subsequently sold at market two years later.

In 1995, the average cost for a breeder of covering a mare with one of the leading stallions would have been £38,920; by 2010 the cost had increased to £73,700 and 2009 the average price achieved for the top 200 yearlings was £270,310 – a drop from £309,969 in 2007.

The James Cowper Bloodstock Price Index charts the cost of fees associated with covering stallions and the prices achieved by yearlings when sold.

Philip added: “If prices follow the downward trend seen at the top of the market at Deauville breeders will be facing their most unprofitable year for at least the last 14 years.”

It also tracks the relationship between the stallion cover costs and the subsequent sale of yearlings when they come onto the market two years later.

However, the Index also includes the number of yearlings sold in Europe that exceed £500,000, £200,000 and £100,000 and these figures make more encouraging reading.

Philip Freedman, James Cowper consultant and former chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association, said: “The cost of covering a mare at the very top of the market has increased by 92 per cent over the last 15 years.

Philip added: “In 2007, 19 yearlings topped £500,000 and this dropped to 12 in 2009, but in the £100,000 bracket, 212 were sold in 1997, increasing to 408 in 2009.

“By comparison, the price achieved at the sales by the top yearlings has increased by just 29 per cent over

“Contrary to perceived wisdom, it has not been demand at the very top of the market which has driven prices, but demand for horses in the £100,000 to £200,000 bracket.”

BEVA introduces new healthy mouth campaign BEVA has introduced a new campaign to help horse owners understand the possible problems and risks of diseases in the horse’s mouth. Its Equine Healthy Mouth Campaign is the first in a series of planned educational initiatives that belong to the Association’s new Equine Health Project. This project aims to increase awareness of a broad range of important health and welfare issues affecting horses, ponies and donkeys. The Healthy Mouth Campaign will be focussed on informing horse owners but will also help BEVA members with the practical delivery or oral and dental veterinary work.

Henry Tremaine, BEVA’s honorary information officer, said: “Over the past ten years we have seen significant improvements in knowledge, technology and scientific approaches to equine oral and dental care. “The resulting benefits to horse welfare are enormous and it is crucial that we make continuing education in equine oral health as accessible as possible, not only for the veterinary profession but also for horse owners.” The Equine Healthy Mouth Campaign will be supported by downloadable educational resources to help inform horse owners as well as promotional materials to help vet practices raise awareness of the campaign.

All samples ‘negative’ THE FEI has announced that all blood and urine samples taken from horses competing at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games were negative for all prohibited substances. Under FEI Veterinary Regulations, samples from a minimum of five per cent of competing horses are tested, but almost 11 per cent of the 752 horses competing in Kentucky were tested. A total of 140 samples were taken from 82 horses, with blood being taken from all 82, plus urine where possible. All individual medal horses were tested, as well as one member of each medal winning team and random samples were also taken throughout the 16 day event. HRH Princess Haya, FEI president said: “This is a great success for everyone involved in equestrian sport and is the best possible endorsement of our Clean Sport Campaign. “It also proves the value of the FEI’s educational programme, as athletes and their supporters now have the knowledge to make a clear distinction between the use of routine, legitimate medication and deliberate doping to affect a horse’s performance. Everyone has a role to play in maintaining this clean record.”

EDITORIAL GROUP EDITOR:

Andrew Harrod Tel: 01226 734639 email: ah@whpl.net EDITOR:

Christine Keate Tel: 07825 097 464 email: chris.keate@horsehealthmagazine.co.uk REPORTER:

Louise Cordell Tel: 01226 734694 email: lcordell@whpl.net

PRODUCTION STUDIO MANAGER:

Stewart Holt email: sth@whpl.net

DEPUTY GROUP EDITOR:

Judith Halkerston email: jhalkerston@whpl.net

ADVERTISING SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR:

Tony Barry ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER:

Andrew Loades Tel: 01226 734482 Fax: 01226 734478 email: al@whpl.net NATIONAL FIELD SALES EXECUTIVE:

Ellie Robinson Tel: 01226 734483 email: er@whpl.net

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of all content, the publishers do not accept liability for error, printed or otherwise, that may occur.


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HORSE HEALTH I NEWS

Welfare Act ‘a significant improvement’ THE Animal Welfare Act has been described as ‘a significant improvement’ for safeguarding equine welfare, according to a new, Defra commissioned review.

Over 1m YouTube viewings OVER a million viewers have now watched World Horse Welfare’s YouTube films – making it the 15th most viewed charity site in the UK. There are 81 films available to see, ranging from stories about prosecution cases, factual pieces on equine health, information about charity campaigns and help and advice for horse owners. A number of celebrities also appear on the site, including Jilly Cooper and event rider Pippa Funnell on a video about the Great British Horse Survey and a message from the

president of the charity, HRH The Princess Royal. Basil Hayes, WHW film and new media officer, said: “Our YouTube channel has proved to be a great success. It’s great to see so many people appreciating the work the charity does for horses through viewing our videos, linking to them and commenting on them. “We have always tried to keep the videos informative and educational, and it’s important that World Horse Welfare uses technology such as this to educate people on the need for charities like ourselves.”

The report, carried out by The Horse Trust, concludes that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is a ‘significant improvement on previous legislation’, but that some changes are required ‘for the Act to be fully effective’. The review was commissioned to look into the Act’s effectiveness in relation to equines and will now form part of the post-legislative scrutiny process. Liane Crowther, The Horse Trust’s welfare and education officer and report co-author, said: “This report underlines the value of the Animal Welfare Act and how it has helped improve the welfare of horses across the UK. “We hope that the government will

take note of the recommendations outlined in the report to make it easier to enforce the Act and close any loopholes for offenders.” Various improvements were listed in the report, including stronger powers to deal with non-compliant horse owners, a suggested change in sentencing guidelines, and the need to increase awareness amongst owners, keepers and equine businesses about their responsibilities under the Act. It also called for called for deprivation and disqualification orders to be prioritised over other penalties as these are of greater use in safeguarding welfare. Organisations including the RSPCA, BEVA, NEWC, BEF, World Horse Welfare and Redwings Horse Sanctuary were consulted in the production of the report, and the findings will now be incorporated into Defra’s post legislative review.


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HORSE HEALTH I NEWS 5

Warning for owners over treatments By Louise Cordell HORSE owners should tread carefully when comparing treatments given to animals with those taken by humans, according to a nutritional supplementation expert. Hannah Crook, head of Supplement Solutions, has claimed that while a recent study published in the British Medical Journal throws doubt on the effectiveness of treatments used to treat joint pain, the same does not necessarily apply to horses. Researchers in the BMJ said studies showed that the human treatments containing glucosamine and chondroitin did little to reduce the pain suffered by people with osteoarthritis in hips and knees – and these ingredients are also found in many equine supplements to promote joint flexibility and lubrication. However, Hannah has pointed out that the role of these ingredients in horse feeds is to help prevent such problems arising in the first place. She said: “When a horse is exercised regularly, especially if jumps or gallops are involved, its joints suffer continual trauma – and the cartilage covering the end of the bone erodes. “When this erosion exceeds the body’s ability

to lay down new cartilage, the bones to rub together causing inflammation, pain and joint damage. “Joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin help prevent erosion by encouraging the horse's body to produce more cartilage tissue, so avoiding the onset of osteoarthritis.” Her advice was echoed this month by many of the specialists who joined her to attend the European Workshop on Equine Nutrition in Cirencester. This bi-annual event brings together experts working in equine nutrition, including university researchers, veterinarians and scientists, who share their knowledge and experience. Hannah added: “The point was made by a number of delegates that supplements which provide nutrients to promote joint flexibility and lubrication should not be compared with human treatments. “As users of these products are aware, their crucial function is to provide an insurance policy by maintaining healthy cartilage and joints – and in this respect, they are highly effective. Although many users find that the treatments do alleviate mild symptoms in their animals, most owners simply include these supplements as part of a normal feeding pattern.”

Malcolm Pyrah receiving his certificate from BHS president Desi Dillingham

BHS welcomes its latest laureates THE British Horse Society has welcomed the latest laureates to its Equestrian Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Household Cavalry's Knightsbridge Barracks. Those joining the ranks included the late Count Robert Orssich, showjumper Malcolm Pyrah and Anneli Drummond-Hay, while

Anneli’s famous thoroughbred Merely-aMonarch took his place alongside other equestrian legends. The laureates were selected by a panel featuring Patrick Print, show jumper Liz Edgar, Olympic gold medal eventer Richard Meade and showing legend Robert Oliver.


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HORSE HEALTH I NEWS

Tendon injury research looks at performance

First for Charlotte ... A STUDENT from Myerscough College has become the first in the UK to complete a new course specifically designed for the equine industry. The Dual Equine Qualification has been designed in partnership with Mike Kidd Horse Power and is available from a number of centres of excellence throughout the North West. The training programme has been planned to assess competence, encourage excellence, develop commercial awareness and create highly skilled and employable staff for the equine industry.

Charlotte Hodgetts, 18 from Freckleton, Preston is the first to have completed this new course. She said: “The DEQ apprenticeship programme uniquely uses e-learning and innovative assessment techniques which allowed me to enhance my education and produce an extensive portfolio. “I thoroughly enjoyed the training and found it gave me the necessary knowledge and practical training to further my studies and gave me the relevant contacts to start my career in this field.”

A RESEARCH project funded by The Horse Trust has discovered that a racehorse's performance does not markedly change after it has recovered from a tendon injury. The research was led by Bryan O'Meara, who is in the final year of a three-year scholarship funded by The Horse Trust. He examined the clinical records and racing histories of 400 racehorses who had been treated for superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendonitis injuries over a five year period, from 2003 to 2008. The race records of horses affected by tendon injury were compared with 400 matched control horses that had never suffered SDF tendon injuries, but that were training in the same establishment at the time of injury and of the same age and sex as the case horse. Researchers then looked at performance before and after treatment for injury and at the control horses’ performances, using the ‘Racing Post Rating’ as a measure of performance. Surprisingly, Bryan found that there was no significant difference in RPR before and after the treatment date in both case and control horses. The result is unexpected as in vitro studies have found that healed tendon tissue has reduced elasticity due to the presence of scar tissue. This suggests that a horse with a healed SDF tendon would need to work its muscles harder to compensate and would

Busy time for Asssociation THE British Association of Equine Dental Technicians has continued to be active in the horse world this year with trade stands at both the Burghley and Badminton Horse Trials. Our Equine Dental Technicians met members of the horse-owning public and were able to answer questions about equine dentistry and the education and training of its members. Hartpury College runs a degree course where students can gain a BSc in Equine Dental Science and a Foundation in Equine Dental Studies course. To become a fully qualified Equine Dental Technician they then take the BEVA/BVDA examination. The courses run by Hartpury offer in

depth theory knowledge but it is important to note that taking the course alone does not exempt them from the very stringent practical exam which they take after completing their degree or foundation course. Upon passing the BEVA/BVDA exam individuals then are qualified as BEVA/BVDA Equine Dental Technicians and are then eligible to become a BAEDT member. By being a member of the BAEDT the horse owner can be assured that the EDT working on their horse is fully insured, follows a code of conduct and has undergone this rigorous training.

For the full list of BAEDT members in your area visit www.baedt.com

therefore be expected to have lower performance. Bryan has now confirmed that more research is needed to back-up his findings and said: “It could be that using RPR to measure performance isn't sensitive enough to pick up a change in the horse's performance. However, it's encouraging that there's no marked change in performance after a horse has recovered from a tendon injury. These findings show that there's no need to give up on a horse that has a tendon injury – they can still come back and perform well, or can be used for other, less demanding riding activities." Bryan’s research also found that there was no significant difference between case and control horses when returning to racing and completing three races. It was only after completing five races, or three years’ post treatment, a significant difference was found. He added: “At the moment, some tendon treatments state their success as the percentage of horses that return to racing after treatment. “However, we've shown that there's no significant difference at this time. “At the moment, there are a myriad of treatments available to treat tendonitis, but hopefully this finding will be used in further research to learn which treatments are most effective.”


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HORSE HEALTH I NEWS 7

Experts join forces to promote equine welfare symposium By Louise Cordell INDUSTRY experts joined forces to promote the first worldwide equine welfare symposium at the BEVA Congress. Representatives from 12 organisations attended the meeting including the European Working Horse Federation, UK equine welfare NGOs and veterinary institutes and universities. The event was hosted by former BEVA president Chris House and Harry Werner, past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Together they introduced discussions into the plight of the working horse, mule and donkey around the world and the importance of building collaborations between organisations. The delegates also examined the benefits of long term and sustainable educational programmes, the role of vets, the potential for constructive research opportunities and the need for funding. Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, emphasised the need for collaboration and said: “There are around 100 million working equids in the world and the equine quarter need to speak with one voice to get through to humanitarian NGOs.

“The key element is trust; sharing information leads to ideas and ideas lead to trust.” Alex Thiemann, representing the Gambia Horse and Donkey Sanctuary, suggested that the development of an e-learning network could improve the training of overseas vets and increase their chances of gaining employment and Gina Pinchbeck, lecturer in Equine Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, pointed out that funding is a big issue, as is the need for clear aims and objectives that address local needs and secure local participation. Finally, Professor Josh Slater, president of the Federation of Equine Veterinary Associations, concluded: “Local research should be sold as a preventative on a global level and that donating organisations should be made aware that research in the developing world has a global impact.” A follow up meeting is to be held in Baltimore at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention in December 2010, where attending NGOs will be correlating information on welfare projects to identify how joint initiatives can be taken forward and how funding can be generated.

New campaign looks at sensitive issue WORLD Horse Welfare has launched a new campaign to get people talking about the practical arrangements of having their horse put to sleep. The aim is to encourage people to make a plan for that final decision well in advance, as currently the subject is rarely discussed openly and can lead to major welfare problems. Samantha Lewis, manager of the Just in Case initiative, said: “The idea is to get people talking about the difficult subject of having their horse put to sleep. “We want to make it ok to think about the options available as well as any legal restrictions and other important details – it can be quite an eye opener when you start looking at costs involved. “It is a tough subject for owners to think about at any stage, but leaving it until there is a distressing situation to deal with will only make it harder.” The charity points out that people only

tend to think about the issue if their horse is elderly or ill, but hopes that by discussing the subject, it will become something that everyone thinks about as soon as they take on a horse, regardless of its age or health. David Boyd, WHW chief field officer, said: “Our team of field officers deal with hundreds of welfare problems every year. Many of these will be horses which had been sold on and ended up in a downward spiral or their owners are struggling to make that final decision. This is one of the most difficult things that we as horse owners have to do and it’s generally the last thing we think about. “If this initiative can encourage everyone to plan ahead, hopefully we can help owners preserve the dignity of their horses and stop some of these welfare cases from ever happening.” Just in Case information packs are available from www.worldhorsewelfare. org/just-in-case.


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HORSE HEALTH I NEWS

Editor’s insight... IT was a great pleasure to meet so many of our readers, contributors and clients at BEVA Congress again this year, and to introduce Andrew and Ellie who are now firmly established as our product management team.

Christine Keate

Congress, as always, presents much more than equine veterinary CPD and a good shopping opportunity. It provides a platform for the announcement of new initiatives to the benefit of equine welfare, and the opportunity for groups of international experts to meet and further this objective.

With the threat of infectious and exotic diseases increasing, and very topically in the press recently, one such group, is PrEquID (The Prevention for Equine Infectious Diseases) Guidelines Group. Its aims are to establish a rational basis for infectious disease prevention through vaccine use and management measures, focussing particularly on the importance of disease monitoring, surveillance and reporting, and the spread of pathogens through horse movements. Its website provides management guidelines of the main equine

infectious diseases which can be freely downloaded. As this is the Christmas edition of Horse Health, we have again, stories from a selection of equine welfare charities together with their contact details. Hopefully those of you considering purchasing cards will support them, or indeed, sponsor an animal or make a donation as a Christmas gift. Albeit a little early this year, all at Horse Health wish you a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Veterinary boost for Olympic team By Louise Cordell A VETERINARY surgeon from the University of Liverpool will be lending his expertise to the equestrian team at the London 2012 Olympics. Peter Bowling, clinical director of the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, has been appointed as an equine veterinary advisor for the equestrian competitions.

More than 250 horses from over 35 nations will take part in the 2012 Games, which include dressage, show jumping and eventing, and a team of vets, will oversee the health and welfare of the horses competing and provide treatment and advice throughout the event.

at Greenwich Park, which will be home to digital x-ray and ultrasound machine as well as emergency treatment areas.

Peter will help LOCOG find state of the art facilities and assist with the design of an on-site veterinary clinic

Peter said: “Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912 and is the only Olympic

He will also be involved in developing the systems and protocols that need to be in place ahead of the games and the test events in 2011.

sport where men and women can compete on an equal basis. “Our first priority is the welfare of the horses and so we aim to provide the best veterinary care possible so that the horses have a safe and successful time at the Games.” The 2012 Equestrian events will take place between July and September at Greenwich Park in London.

A new equine joint supplement EQUINE Answers are a relatively new company specialising in the production of high quality equine supplements direct to the public and professional yards. Their product range boasts high specification supplements that take equine nutrition to a new level. Equine Answers have recently brought to the market Premier Flex Plus equine joint supplement. Premier Flex Plus is a very high specification equine joint supplement that surpasses current benchmarks.

Finalists unveiled

Not only does Premier Flex Plus include high levels of Glucosamine and MSM (well known joint supplement ingredients) but also included in the formulation is a high level of Chondroitin and Hyaluronic Acid. In fact, Premier Flex Plus contains the highest level of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in all of the equine joint supplements on the market today. In addition to these ingredients Premier Flex Plus includes a high level of Devils Claw (a natural anti-inflammatory) which makes it the perfect choice for arthritic horses. Many horse owners currently using Bute have found Premier Flex Plus to

PETPLAN Equine has announced the three finalists for its third annual Vet of the Year Award.

be the ideal replacement as not only will it actively help joint integrity but it also acts as an antiinflammatory which is unique in joint supplements.

For more information on Premier Flex please go to www.equineanswers.co.uk.

Nearly 200 nominations were received this year and the winner will be announced at the Animal Health Trust Equestrian Awards on 4 November 2010.

Judy Scrine, pictured above, who qualified from Cambridge in 1991, set up a specialist equine practice and also does charity work for the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust.

The finalists are:

Vincenzo Franco, who has worked exclusively on horses for nearly 20 years, the first 14 with racehorses, and set up his own Yorkshire practice in 2009.

David Denny, who has run his veterinary practice for over 40 years and is so committed to his job he even treated a horse on the day of his daughter’s wedding!

Alison Andrew, Petplan Equine marketing manager, said: “It was incredibly difficult choosing just three finalists - the nominees this year have again been genuinely outstanding.”


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feeding and nutrition

Highlights from the European workshop on Equine Nutrition By Dr Catherine Dunnett, Independent Equine Nutrition

THE European Workshop on Equine Nutrition recently took place in the UK for the first time in Cirencester. This conference provided an opportunity to hear presentations on research from many companies across the world in horse nutrition, including Litovet, Saracen Horse Feeds and Kemin Inc. Obesity:

Research presented by Dr Ray Geor of Michigan State University suggests that the negative effects of obesity go beyond the mere physical effects of excess weight on the skeleton. Dr Geor presented data to show that fat cells are metabolically active and produce a number of inflammatory type substances. Drawing on research carried out in horses and other species, Dr Geor reported that obesity induces a state of low grade inflammation in the body, which may contribute towards insulin resistance and laminitis. The bottom line being that it is not good for horses and ponies to be overweight and this should always be addressed with a carefully controlled weight reduction program. Body condition scoring:

Dr Pat Harris presented data to suggest

that although body condition scoring is very useful, it is not always apparently sensitive enough to pick up early weight loss during a weight loss program. She suggested that this may be due to ponies losing internal fat first and also because fat may initially be lost from different regions of the body in different individuals. Dr Harris stressed the importance therefore, to check actual bodyweight before restricting the diet any further. Hay steaming:

The growing popularity for steaming hay was perhaps the impetus for research presented by Dr Merriel Moore Colyer and her co-researchers R James and C Stockdale of the Royal Agricultural College. Their data showed that steaming hay for 50 minutes using the Haygain steamer appeared to be extremely effective at minimising the bacteria, mould and yeast content of hay and also for reducing the number of small particles (respirable particles) that could be inhaled. Further work may be required to assess the impact of any residual dead bacteria, mould or mycotoxins on respiratory hypersensitivity which is characteristic of respiratory disease in horses.

Standardbred Trotters were used in rosehip study Mycotoxin binders:

Mycotoxin analysis of grains and forages is routinely carried out by feed manufactures, but despite this some also use mycotoxin binders as added insurance against the negative effects of mycotoxins on horse health. Mycotoxin binders latch onto mycotoxins in the gut, allowing them to pass through the digestive tract and leave via the faeces thus preventing them from being absorbed and reducing their potentially negative effect on horse health. Researchers from Nottingham Trent University suggested an improved ability of a mycotoxin binder to bind the mycotoxin zearalenone. This was evidenced by the increased level of this mycotoxin in the faeces of horses fed a standardised diet plus the mycotoxin binder. Whilst this result was interesting, it was not considered scientifically significant and so more research needs to be done to show efficacy in horses. Hindgut buffer:

Dr Clarissa Brown Douglas of Kentucky Equine Research presented data on the technology behind encapsulated sodium bicarbonate. Being encapsulated the bicarbonate should reach the hindgut intact, where it can help to prevent the characteristic fall in hindgut pH observed in horses fed high starch meals. This is particularly apparent where a significant amount of cereal starch escapes digestion in the small intestine and undergoes fermentation in the hindgut. Dr Brown Douglas presented data from horses that had been fed a high starch feed, either with or without the protected bicarbonate supplement. The main finding of this study was that pH was found to be higher and faecal lactate was shown to be lower following feeding, which could suggest better conditions in the hindgut following the high starch meal. GOPO in rosehip ingredient:

Properties of rosehips were discussed

HORSE HEALTH I 9

Dr Kaj Winther a Danish medic presented some interesting results on a particular type of rosehip.

From the University of Copenhagen, Dr Winther discussed the significance of GOPO, the active ingredient in this particular sub-species of rosehip that is preserved during the manufacturing process. Dr Winther described beneficial effects in human osteoarthritis patients when supplemented with this high GOPO containing ingredient. He then went on to present data from a research study carried out in Standardbred Trotters showing that this ingredient is a very effective source of vitamin C, a beneficial antioxidant found in joint and lung lining fluid. However, the most significant finding of this study was the effect of this rosehip ingredient on a measure of inflammation known as leukocyte chemotaxis. In horses fed this, leukocyte chemotaxis was significantly reduced suggesting that it supports the horse’s antiinflammatory response. Gamma oryzanol no effects on testosterone:

A negative result is often a positive outcome when it helps to explode a myth such as that surrounding the effects of gamma oryzanol. German researchers from the Institute of Animal Nutrition in Hannover presented data during this conference that showed that supplementing with gamma oryzanol had no effect on testosterone levels in either blood or urine of mares or geldings. Rice bran is a natural source of gamma oryzanol, which has been whispered to be a ‘natural steroid’ in some equine sectors. This would obviously classify gamma oryzanol as a prohibited substance and so rice bran has been maligned by this assertion for years. This negative result will now hopefully mean that we can concentrate on the beneficial effects of rice bran, including its high energy, high oil and moderate starch content. Presentations from EWEN will shortly be available to view on the website www.EWEN.ed.ac.uk.


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HORSE HEALTH I

feeding and nutrition

Feeding strategies – a new solution By Dr Keith Foster of Fine Fettle Foods LIKE all animals, equines have developed to exploit an ecological niche which enables them to avoid competition from other species. Recent research shows that their chosen niche is the poorest quality vegetation, and they’ve developed a digestive system especially adapted to deal with this. Mammals’ digestive systems are incapable of breaking down the cellulose which is the complex sugar used by nature to form the structural skeleton of plants stems and leaves. Animals solve this problem by entering into a symbiotic relationship with microbial bacteria in their gut. These break down the cellulose into a form their own enzymes can then digest. This lengthy process requires a fermentation vat or chamber, which

can store large amounts of plant matter where the bacteria can do their job and break it down into useable form. The specialised digestive organ is the rumen in ruminants or the cecum in horses. The basic mechanism of the action of these two systems is the same but the speed of their operation is different. This difference enables the horse to live well on a much leaner diet. Rumination is a more efficient form of digestion which breaks down every last bit of cellulose taken in, but it is a slow process. It takes between 70 and 90 hours for food to pass through a cow, however, the horse, whose digestive system is the less efficient cecal digester, passes food through in no more than 48 hours. This means that a horse’s digestive

system is only 70 per cent as efficient as a cow’s, but it can push a lot more food through in a 24 hour period, therefore, a horse can get more energy out of a low quality diet, simply because it can eat more.

temperature steam.

So, occupying an ecological niche at the low end of the herbivore diet, it’s been necessary for horses to cover vast ranges in search of food.

The safest and most effective active charcoal that can be used to help horses (and all other mammals) is one which comes from a very pure source, and made active in an electro-magnetic process which transforms its fullerene structure into that of a molecular nano-tube, thus rendering it yet more bio-available.

This is probably the reason they grew in size and speed and are efficient in conserving energy, and is certainly a reason to carefully examine your own horses’ diet, which can often be too rich and may contribute to a spectrum of ailments. One solution is to provide a more natural diet (and habitat); another is to introduce a steady low dosage of active charcoal into the diet. I say active charcoal here since charcoal comes in many forms, some of these are created using an acid process and others using very high

None of these are good for feeding to horses as they can be too absorbent and may well take vitamins and minerals out of the system as well as all the nasties.

This adds much-needed oxygen to the horse's system removing those toxins that can give rise to gastric ulcers, laminitis, mud fever, colic and even sweet itch. A superb systemic filter, several scientific studies have shown that mammals on this diet live longer, are less prone to illness and perform better as a result.


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feeding and nutrition

HORSE HEALTH I 11

Feeding for a Healthy Immune System By Lizzie Drury, MSc Registered Nutritionist, Saracen Horse Feeds OBVIOUSLY, the starting point to keep any horse healthy is to ensure a well balanced diet that is suited to that individual horse and his needs, with forage most importantly forming the basis of the diet. The rest of diet needs to ensure suitable energy, quality protein, vitamin and mineral levels to keep the horse fit and healthy. Every horse needs a healthy immune system to fight of disease and it is also important in healing injuries and fighting infection. Good immune health results from a balanced diet that contains the correct amounts and proportions of antioxidants and nutrients and in particular vitamins E, A, C and B complexes, trace minerals such as zinc and selenium and quality proteins. Generally speaking, providing that horses are fed the recommended amounts of the most suitable feed for a particular situation then these requirements are more than adequately fulfilled and they will have a healthy immune system. It is only when certain factors come in to play that we may need more specific nutrition. For some horses the immune system can become under pressure, particularly if the horse is for example a performance horse that is working hard and is travelling frequently so being exposed to lots of new places and horses; it is known that equine immune function decreases with age (this decline is not the result of poor feeding practice) or horses that are sick or recovering from surgery or illness. These horses may require more aggressive nutrition to ‘feed’ and maintain a healthy immune system.

Hard work and travelling: Horses that are working hard have increased requirements for vitamins and minerals but we also need to consider that they will also be under a great deal of stress and this can impact on their ability to fight off disease. There are many different performance horse feed rations available on the market and the one thing that these will all generally have in common is that they will be formulated to contain higher levels of key ‘immune supporting’ nutrients. Vitamin E and selenium levels will be higher, as will the inclusion and level of B vitamins. Vitamin E and selenium are well known for their powerful antioxidant properties, which mean that they help to

prevent free radical damage to muscles etc. after heavy work. Selenium is required to maintain the correct functioning of vitamin E but is also a powerful antioxidant in itself. Recent research from Kentucky Equine Research has shown that the source of vitamin E is also important with regards to its effect. Natural vitamin E has been shown to be more effectively absorbed (two to three times more potent), utilised and retained in the tissues compared to traditional synthetic sources. Performance horses are susceptible to exercise induced muscle damage and research has shown decreased muscle enzyme activity and oxidative stress in performance horses supplemented with vitamin E. Vitamin B12 is particularly important in the functioning of the immune system and most horses get adequate levels of B vitamins from a good fibre and forage based diet and also from the manufacture in the hindgut. Performance horses are likely to have restricted access to pasture and may also have limited hay or haylage intake and certainly will have irregular meal times. These factors will compromise vitamin B production. Vitamin B supplementation is therefore particularly useful for these horses and may even be injected by a vet for those horses that may be struggling at the end of a busy competition to fight of a virus or infection.

Older horses: Older horses do have compromised digestive systems and actually absorbing and utilising some of the key dietary elements is not as effective as it once was. On top of this there is also a decrease in the functional capacity of the immune system and the number and function of lymphoid cells decreases (a group of infection fighting white blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow). The implications of this are many but the main concern is that older horses may not respond appropriately to vaccinations and so therefore may not be properly protected. This is an area of ongoing research of particular importance as our equine population gets ever older. Specific veteran diets ensure optimum provision of quality protein, chelated minerals, vitamins including natural sources and high levels of antioxidants, providing that they are fed at the recommended feeding levels. Additional B vitamins are very useful for older horses and these can often be topped up using supplements

that are sometimes marketed as ‘blood tonics’. They can also help with maintaining appetite and may even give your veteran a bit of an energy boost. The best way to keep your horse’s immune system healthy is to ensure that they have no vitamin or mineral deficiencies in their diet and that it contains quality sources of protein to provide essential amino acids (lysine and methionine). Ensure that you are feeding the correct amount of the correct feed and if in any doubt consult an equine nutritionist for advice.


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HORSE HEALTH I

feeding and nutrition

Latest obesity research By Clare Barfoot RNutr, Spillers WORRYINGLY, over 50 per cent of horses and ponies in the UK are now classed as overweight or obese and subsequently research into the area is becoming top priority for vets, nutritionists and welfare charities alike. Weight gain has always been thought of as a consequence of a simple imbalance between calories consumed and calories burnt, however what makes some animals more prone to weight gain and why they don’t seem to lose it remains a mystery. Many nutritionists quote that most horses and ponies given access to ad lib feed or pasture will consume approximately two to 2.5 per cent (dry weight) of their bodyweight on a daily basis. Therefore if you need to slim an animal down you simply drop intake down perhaps to 1.75 per cent of bodyweight, restrict grazing and increase exercise and in many cases this simple strategy will work. However, recent work at the University of Liverpool has shown that non-exercised obese ponies,

given ad lib access to forage, maintained or even increased their obese condition on a modest intake of around two per cent of their bodyweight. This raised the question how far can you safely restrict the diet whilst demonstrating effective weight loss in very overweight or obese animals

receiving limited or no exercise? In an attempt to answer this question the following trial was undertaken, the results of which have just been presented at EWEN (European Workshop in Equine Nutrition) in Cirencester. The study was conducted by the Department of Veterinary Clinical Science at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Spillers and the Waltham Equine Studies Group. The study, which was conducted over 16 weeks, involved 12 overweight/obese horses and ponies of mixed ages and breeds, with body condition scores of between seven and nine (one being emaciated and nine being obese). They were individually housed on wood-shavings and provided with a balanced fibre-based diet at 1.25 per cent of body weight. They were allowed daily access to a bare paddock but no structured exercise was given. Eight of the horses achieved a slow, gradual but consistent loss of body weight over the study period but weight loss was much slower in the remaining four. These four horses, described as weight loss resistant, were monitored for a further four weeks during which their diet was further reduced to one per cent of body weight daily. This significantly increased their rate of weekly weight loss, to a level comparable to the weight loss seen in the other eight horses in the original study. It is thought that genetics may account for such individual differences in sensitivity to weight loss as even individual differences in insulin sensitivity were not a reliable predictor of likely weight loss. In all cases the horses remained

healthy and no stereotypic behaviours were seen. Therefore it is important to understand that as the appetite of obese ponies will only often be around two per cent of their bodyweight, food intake must be quite severely limited if weight loss is to be stimulated, especially in cases where exercise cannot be undertaken or increased. However, in these extreme cases veterinary monitoring is imperative to avoid complications such as gastric ulcers, as is controlled balanced nutrition from an appropriately designed low calorie, high fibre feed, or suitable low calorie forage plus a balancer to supply protein, vitamins and minerals. Other interesting findings from this study backed up previous findings that the monitoring of body condition score in very overweight or obese animals is not an ideal way to pick up the subtle changes that occur in early weight loss. This may be because internal fat stores are mobilised first before significant subcutaneous fat is lost. This study also showed that belly girth measurements (taken at the widest point of the belly; approximately two thirds of the way between the point of the shoulder and the point of the hip) are more closely related to changes in bodyweight in early weight loss than the more commonly used heart girth measurements or even some ultrasound fat measurements. Researchers are still working on validating a more accurate body condition scoring system, based on these findings. In time they hope to be able to create a more effective weight loss assessment method for owners to use.


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wound care

HORSE HEALTH I 13

Managing bleeding wounds By Georgie Hollis, Independent Wound Technologist

Layers of sterile gauze bandaged over the wound.

Introducing Fosse range MEASOM Freer have added a brand new bottle shape to their stock bottles range. The ‘Fosse’ range will launch with both 125 and 250ml options and is manufactured in house from natural MDPE, other polythenes and clarified and natural polypropylene with colours to order. The bottles come with their own flip top closure giving them a unique look to help with product identity and shelf prominence. The tottle option, meaning it can stand on its cap, makes this versatile bottle ideal for the equine market where every drop counts. With a minimum of ten per cent post consumer regrind used throughout their stock bottle ranges, Measom Freer are tackling the recycling issue

head on. In fact they are so committed to reducing plastic waste that they are about to be audited for the British Standard 8555 Certified Environmental Management System. Measom Freer also manufacture an extensive plastic packaging range, from jars and boxes to measuring scoops and fasteners with all their products designed and manufactured in-house. Stock packaging also has a flexible minimum order quantity of just a single box which means minimal lead-times.

Measom Freer – Tel: +44 (0)116 2881588, Fax: +44 (0)116 2813000, e-mail: sales@measomfreer.co.uk or visit: www.measomfreer.co.uk

WITH horses prone to mishap it is essential that we know how to interpret and manage blood loss safely, while preserving healthy tissue. The initial observations and management by those first on the scene could be critical. Any break in the integrity of the skin will damage blood vessels resulting in bleeding in varying degrees. Although the most impressive bleeding wounds in terms of surface area are seen on the body of the horse, these can heal well when dealt with quickly by a veterinary professional. In reality the most serious wounds affect the limbs of horses. The lower limb of the horse lacks any insulating muscle or fatty layer. The vital vertical structures of tendons, nerves, veins and arteries are closely aligned, and relatively close to the surface of the skin. The palmar digital artery for example, lies behind the pastern next to the digital flexor tendons in the angle above the heel bulb. Vulnerable to traumatic injury from wire wounds, and over reach injury, this artery if damaged, constricted or

severed will mean that the tissue it feeds may become unviable. Leaving a traumatic bleed at this point to heal on its own, or worse still applying a tourniquet or tight bandage to stem blood flow could starve the foot of its main blood supply. Blood from different vessels: Before applying any type of bandaging or dressing identify the type of bleeding. Capillary bleeds are slow and in relatively low volume. Blood colour varies from dark to brighter red; natural haemostasis should clot the blood within a few minutes after injury and compression is not required. Once bleeding has stopped there is significant advantage and reduction in infection risk by flushing copious amounts of warm saline through the wound. If saline is not available clean water from a hose is acceptable. A wound hydrogel generously applied to the entire wound area covered by a sterile dressing and bandaged in place will keep the tissues in the wound moist and healthy until the vet arrives. as tissue that dries out is less salvageable. Continued on Page 15


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Topical cover for damaged skin areas Cuts, broken or damaged skin areas require cover protection as soon as possible after the damage has occurred. The application of a cream or ointment is normally the first available line of protection. Ointments have a basic structure quiet different from a cream. The application of an ointment onto the skin will seal the area making it waterproof and unable to transpire. Creams as water based, will combine with blood, serum from the area and are normally difficult to maintain in place on the damaged area. If the creams structure is formulated with adhesive components to form a binding film, then the cream will cover and protect the damaged area allowing the covered area to transpire as a normal skin. The barrier cover cream needs to be formulated as a non aggressive antibacterial wound protection. This will initially minimize bacterial invasion to the area and the cover film must stay in place, absorbing serum and reasonable amounts of blood. The marginal cells of a cut must be covered and remain cover to prevent dehydration and marginal cells dying. The barrier cream must prevent external dirt, mud and foreign matter from entering the damaged area. The cream must contain sufficient anti-mould, yeast and bacterial ingredients to maintain the barrier film free

of microbes. Extra application of the barrier cream should be able to be applied without removing the original cover so preventing unnecessary disturbance of the protected damaged tissue and not locking in invasive bacteria or antigens. Aniwell FiltaBac and FiltaClear will achieve the properties of the barrier cover cream forming a natural second skin. FiltaBac Cream was developed in 1970 to minimize the effects of Photosensitivity reaction created by the secondary skin damage of Facial Eczema in Dairy Cows. Facial Eczema is caused by the ingestion of spore toxins formed on dry grass in warm humid conditions prevalent in many areas of New Zealand pastures in the spring, summer and into autumn. The liver is the prime organ that is damaged by the toxins and secondary external photosensitivity occurs in non pigmented skin areas, mainly the teats and udders of dairy cows. FiltaBac was used as a total screen to stop the Photo reaction. It was found to be instantly soothing and protective for the badly damaged teats and udders. This was attributed to the complete sun block afforded by FiltaBac and it was not until sometime later that it was found that the cover formation of FiltaBac creating a natural second skin was what allowed the damaged teats to be milked within 8 hours of application. This totally second natural skin application is used in Australia, New Zealand and now UK for horses and domestic animals and of course is a complete sun block. FiltaClear has similar properties to

FiltaBac and is useful for applications that may be prohibited where a white film is showing. Also will prevents rub off that FiltaBac may have on furniture. FiltaClear also has Bitrex速 added to minimize licking in cats and dogs. Image courtesy of The Royal Armouries.

14 Aniwell


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wound care

Flushing with hose Continued from Page 13

Venous blood is dark red in colour due to the low oxygen content, and can flow heavily in large quantities. Not under sufficient pressure to squirt from the wound, it will usually clot within ten to 15 minutes. Arterial blood – even small arteries can produce significant blood loss. A pressure bandage or powerful haemostatic agent will be required to manage blood flow. Being close to nerves and tendons in the limbs arterial bleeding may be coupled with significant tissue damage. Veterinary intervention is essential at the earliest opportunity.

First aid for bleeding wounds: Contact the vet as soon as possible and do not be tempted to ‘tidy up’ the tissue around the wound; some vital structures may be salvageable even in the most apparently horrendous wounds. Do not attempt to apply a tourniquet, as this can threaten healthy tissue by cutting off the blood supply. Stem heavy bleeding by applying moderate pressure directly to the wound to encourage clotting. Folded layers of sterile gauze are ideal

and should be bandaged firmly over the entire wound. If bleeding continues through the bandage, just apply another absorbent layer over the top and more bandages. Do not attempt to remove the initial bandage as bleeding may restart and within ten to 15 minutes it should be relatively under control. Make sure your vet is aware a pressure bandage has been applied. Some powerful new haemostats are now available to horse owners in the form of granules or gauze. Capable of stemming even the most severe arterial bleeding and effective even in hypothermic blood, open vessels can be temporarily sealed until veterinary assistance is available. Relatively inexpensive and with a long shelf life, they can be a vital addition to the first aid kit, being simply washed out with saline once the horse is stabilised and ready for veterinary surgery or treatment. For any wound it is recommended that a vet is called while remembering that heavy blood flow is not an indicator of severity of injury. In fact, wounds that bleed lightly if at all, such as a puncture wound close to a joint, can be considered the most serious.

HORSE HEALTH I 15


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wound care

HORSE HEALTH I 17

Manuka honey on wounds By Georgie Hollis, Independent Wound Technologist THE ancient Egyptians were among the first to document the beneficial properties of honey on almost all types of wounds. Prized for its healing properties, it was so highly rated that honey, still fit for eating, was recently found inside pyramids ready for use in the afterlife. Anecdotal references support honey having an antimicrobial and cleansing effect, although when antibiotics became popular it was largely ignored. Antibiotic resistance however, and the problems of managing patients with MRSA, motivated research into old methods and comprehensive trials confirmed that honey has significant beneficial properties for advanced wound care. Providing a potent broad spectrum anti-microbial action, antiinflammatory and a helpful debriding effect, honey, particularly Manuka derived honey, is becoming an increasingly routine dressing for dirty, contaminated and infected wounds. The supersaturated sugar solution of glucose and fructose not only stops microbes proliferating during storage, but when placed in a wound becomes actively antimicrobial due to the action of glucose oxidase. Glucose oxidase is an enzyme passed into the honey as bees process nectar which converts glucose to gluconic acid, releasing low levels of antiseptic hydrogen peroxide in the process. At a pH of around 3.5 the honey creates a wound environment too acidic for even antibiotic resistant species of bacteria. The high sugar content of honey

Honey impregnated dressings are available in a variety of forms creates an osmotic effect drawing exudate and lymph through the wound onto the secondary dressing. This action encourages gentle removal of debris and devitalised tissue. This tissue can be flushed away with saline between dressing changes and contributes significantly to reduction in bacterial load and infection risk. Despite ordinary honey being antimicrobial, relatively recent research headed by Professor Peter Molan, OBE at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, has found that honey derived from nectar from the Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium) offers superior and prolonged antimicrobial action. Found to be ideally suited to use in wounds the unique antimicrobial manuka factor (UMF) is present even when the honey is diluted by its own osmotic action in wounds Lasting longer and with a broader spectrum of activity than standard honey, Manuka honey is now regarded as the honey of choice for wound management.

Anti-inflammatory effect: Inflammation is a normal part of wound healing, but, in the presence of heavy contamination and debris, this process can be prolonged and reduce the rate of wound closure. Honey plays a large part in reducing inflammation, simply by aiding physical removal and reducing the volume of bacteria, and there is evidence to support a complex anti-inflammatory effect at cellular level.

Dressing wounds with honey: Medical grade Manuka honey is produced in a range of ‘wound ready’ forms. Prepared and packaged under strict standards particles of debris and wax are removed and the products sterilised. The method of sterilisation is critical. Gamma radiation (rather than food standard pasteurisation) ensures the natural enzymes that assist the antimicrobial effect are preserved. Furthermore, potentially dangerous Clostridium botulinum spores that

can be present in ordinary honey are denatured. The first thing to be noticed on removing a dressing is the osmotic action of honey. Larger wounds will be most dramatic having exuded more. The dressing is likely to look sloughy and there may be honey left on the surface of the wound, which should be washed thoroughly using warm saline to remove any residual honey. Although some loose debris may come away with the dressing, scrubbing of the wound should be avoided. The dressing should be reapplied until the wound appears clean at dressing change. At this point a hydrogel and good secondary dressing is all that is required. It must be remembered that any traumatic wound, however small, can mask deep tissue injury, tendon or joint involvement, so veterinary advice should be sought. As a topical treatment, honey will not substitute the need for systemic antibiotics in horses and protection against tetanus is a must.


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worming

HORSE HEALTH I 19

Adapting worms, adapting strategies By Claire Willcocks, BAHons DipM AMTRA Qual technical manager for Intelligent Worming WORMING has always been a confusing area, and as time goes by, not only do the products change but so do the worms our horses are at risk from. Resistance is a very real and dangerous problem, especially with small redworms and the high levels of resistance to many of the wormers on the market. However, over recent years there have also been changes to the parasite species that we see in our horses. Small redworms remain the most problematic parasite; however we are also seeing higher instances of ascarids and pinworm infections. The reason for this is unclear but it could be the result of increasing resistance to commonly used worming drugs, which although good at treating most roundworm species and the larval stages, they may not always be the most appropriate treatment. This appears to be a global phenomenon, with parasitologists all over the world trying to find out more. Some have suggested that using wormers with longer dosing intervals is not enough to suppress the populations and egg output of these species. Historically, we wormed our horses more frequently with drugs such as pyrantel and fenbendazole which may have kept these species under control. With manufacturers seeming to contradict each other, new brands appearing on the market and the continual feed of scary stories, worming is only getting more confusing. Worming horses is supposed to be complicated; it is the medicinal treatment of disease after all. In order to provide accurate, prescriptive advice on the treatment,

it is important to have all of the latest technical information and details of the horse’s parasite risk. It is untrue to believe that worming horses will definitely prevent infection. Using a wormer ‘controls’ the infection; prevention comes from pasture management. Using wormers in all horses at the same time, also known as ‘blanket worming’ has contributed to the increase in resistance. Current veterinary recommendations are now to assess each horse individually for the risk of worms, and their susceptibility. This can be done through the analysis of pasture management, worming history and the scientific analysis of worm egg counts. It can take two years to control all of the worms inside your horse, which needs to be tackled through the use of specific, timely treatments: not through the use of one wormer alone. Treatment must be a three pronged approach, including: Pasture management: Removing dung removes the main source of reinfection as well as removing resistant strains of worms. Along with regular dung collection, cross grazing the pasture with sheep and resting if possible will help lower the burden on the grass and therefore reduce the reliance of chemical wormers. Monitoring egg output: Using regular worm egg counts throughout the grazing season will provide data on the adult worm activity inside the horse as well as information on the susceptibility of worms to drugs i.e. resistance. Responsible use of chemical wormers: Treatment should only be when there is a suspected worm burden and with a wormer that does not have resistance. Chemical wormers should not be used without an understanding of what is going on inside the horse and on the pasture.

Analysing pasture management can help to assess every horse individually for risk of worms


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wound care

HORSE HEALTH I

Laser therapy proves effective

Advertiser’s announcement

Understanding wound management ... By Greg McGarrell, chief operating officer, V-Care Biomedical

inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) at an adequate level to control the activity of MMPs.

THE primary objective of wound management should be to encourage rapid progression from acute inflammation to repair without intervention of chronic inflammation.

These events prevent the formation of the scaffold needed for cell migration and ultimately prevent the formation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and granulation tissue.

Understanding what happens during the inflammatory phase of a wound can greatly increase the outcome as the person or clinician treating the wound can moderate and modify their treatment regime accordingly. During the inflammatory phase macrophages and other cells migrate to the wound site; these cells clear the wound of contaminating bacteria and nonviable tissue. Macrophages additionally release biologically active substances, which are essential for the recruitment of inflammatory and stem cells which start the healing process. It has been shown that in horses, when compared to ponies, leucocyte influx to the wound is slower and a weaker inflammatory response is seen, furthermore leucocytes of horses produce less reactive oxygen species, which are necessary for bacterial killing. They also produce lower levels of other biologically active substances (TNF-alpha, Interleukin-1 and chemotactic attractant) which are essential for the reinforcement of the inflammatory response and for the induction of tissue formation and wound contraction. The inflammatory response is a prerequisite for starting up healing; it should therefore not be inhibited. Wounds fail to heal or heal slowly because there is disruption of the normal delicate balance of growth factors and inflammatory mediators. Due to a number of potential stimuli (local tissue ischemia, bioburden, necrotic tissue, repeated trauma), wounds can stall in the inflammatory phase increasing the chronicity of the wound. One key component of chronic wounds is an elevated level of matrix metalloproteinase’s (MMPs) stimulated by TNF-alpha and interleukin-1. At elevated levels, MMPs degrade both nonviable collagen and viable collagen. In addition, fibroblasts in a chronic wound may not secrete tissue

Therefore, the use of corticosteroids is not advisable, nor is none steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the first phase of wound healing as they will disrupt the recruitment of more inflammatory and stem (mesenchymal) cells, which start up the healing process. Factors that increase inflammation, such as certain chemical detergents, ointments or dressings should be avoided as they may stimulate further macrophages to the wound increasing TNF-alpha, Interleukin-1 leading to increased MMP activity creating a more catabolic environment. The formation of granulation tissue is also directed by the inflammatory response and mediators released, as well as being stimulated by an oxygen gradient and low pH, meaning bandages and casts enhance this phase. This often results in formation of exuberant granulation tissue. During the treatment of wounds, it is necessary to stimulate the formation of granulation tissue initially until the wound is filled in. A product called VetColl is uniquely suited to address the issue of elevated levels of MMPs by acting as a ‘sacrificial substrate’ in the wound adding in the granulation phase. It has also been demonstrated that collagen breakdown products are chemotactic for a variety of cell types required for the formation of granulation tissue. In addition, collagen based dressings like VetColl have the ability to absorb wound exudate and maintain a moist wound healing environment. Getting the balance of controlling the inflammatory phase and stimulating the granulation phase is key to successful wound management.

For more information contact Kate Middleton at V-Care Biomedical on 0207 7305612.

By Janet Lloyd-Jones LOW level laser therapy is proving to be an effective and useful adjunct, both as a stand alone tissue repair therapy and in place of needles for symptomatic and/or constitutional laser acupuncture. LLLT works through the principle that every cell in the body responds to light – different cells react to light photons of different wavelengths and/or different pulsing frequencies. Put in simple terms, mitochondria, found in every single cell, are light sensitive and are responsible for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the basic ‘energy packets’ on which all cellular functions rely. Cells that are working sub-optimally, as a result of injury or stress, produce less ATP and consequently the healing process may slow down. The basics behind LLLT are to produce photons of light which can be delivered directly to ‘flagging’ mitochondria.

These stimulate the production of more ATP which in turn is used to power the cell to do whatever that particular cell does. Therapeutic lasers, therefore, do not take the cell’s ‘job’ away, nor are they used to mask a symptom, they merely facilitate the production of a cell’s own energy, enabling it to function to its optimum level. Other ways LLLT has been proved to help is in modulating cytokine levels – responsible for inter-cellular communication; stimulating growth factors – which speed up the rate of cell division; activating inflammatory mediators – which control capillary action and the release of enzymes and increasing tissue oxygenation – vital if tissue is to remain viable. Treatment protocols are therefore determined by what kind of wound is to be treated, how deep and at what stage of healing it is and by any other factors, such as infection, that need to be considered.


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worming

HORSE HEALTH I

Ways to worm ... By Ben Gaskell, Pfizer’s Veterinary Advisor FAECAL worm egg counts are a key element of any worming programme but it is important to recognise that they have limitations and must not be regarded as the complete solution for worm control. During the autumn and early winter the focus of any responsible and sustainable worming programme should be on the management of tapeworm and encysted small redworm – neither of which show up in a standard FWEC.

The truth about tapeworms: Tapeworms are very common in UK horses but their definitive life cycle is still not completely understood. What we do know is that tapeworm infection can be linked to potentially serious colic. We also know that a faecal worm egg count won’t definitively identify a tapeworm burden and that not all wormers are effective against this parasite. It is important for the horse owner to be aware that a test for tapeworm burden should be carried out by a vet who will take a blood sample, from which the level of exposure to the worm will be measured. This test is limited when it comes to identifying between non-infected horses and low grade infections and it also can’t accurately reflect the effects of a recent treatment. However the information is still useful in building a picture of overall tapeworm infection in the horses and the potential challenge from pasture. Tapeworms can be blamed for a number of health-related problems in horses, ranging from loss of condition to diarrhoea and colic. Research has shown that a horse infected with tapeworm is 26 times

more likely to develop ileal impaction colic than a non-infected horse and eight times more likely to experience spasmodic colic. Although tapeworm infection shows no strong seasonality, exposure is greater during periods of prolonged grazing. Consequently, treatment should be undertaken in the autumn following summer turnout on pasture, with repeat treatments usually recommended every six months. The treatment for tapeworm in horses involves either a double-dose of a pyrantel-based wormer or a wormer containing praziquantel. The latter is now regarded as offering an effective and single dose treatment for the control of equine tapeworms.

The time-bomb effect of encysted small redworm: Encysted small redworm larvae can account for up to 90 per cent of the redworm burden in a horse. Even if the horse has shown a negative or low count it could still be harbouring several million of these hidden, dormant parasites, hidden within the gut wall. Encysted small redworm are a potential time bomb, with the ability to survive inside a horse for up to two years. They usually ‘wake-up’ in the late winter or early spring, developing and emerging from the gut wall all at the same time. Such a sudden mass emergence can cause a disease syndrome known as ‘larval cyathostominosis’, causing diarrhoea and colic with up to a 50 per cent mortality rate. Treating encysted small redworm successfully in the late autumn or early winter is important in order to minimise this serious risk. Moxidectin is recognised as the only

Pictured, top: Tapeworm and, above: Encysted small redworm single dose treatment for encysted small redworm. It has been shown to kill the larvae in-situ, without resulting in severe inflammation of the gut wall that other multi-dose treatments may cause.

Natural parasite control for horses and ponies VERM-X natural parasite control for horses and ponies is available in powder, pellet and liquid formulations. All forms are equally effective, offering three different application options depending on your parasite control programme. In this issue, we have ten promotional horse packs of Verm-X to give away - each containing:  Two 250g sachets of Verm-X Pellets for horses and ponies.  Free double worm count packs (two tests) from Westgate Laboratories Ltd.  A voucher code entitling you to £1.50 off

your next purchase of any Verm-X product.  A free mane comb  A free any-year calendar

To be in with a chance to win a Verm-X promotional pack, please send your name, address and a contact telephone number to: Verm-X Giveaway, Horse Health Magazine, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire S70 2AS. Entries must be received by 13 December 2010 and the winners’ names will appear on the Horse Health website at: www.horsehealthmagazine.co.uk

In addition, Moxidectin is licensed for persistent activity against small redworms, killing larvae ingested as the horse grazes for up to two weeks after treatment. Research references available at: www.horsehealthmagazine.co.uk.


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22

B l o o d s t o c k m a tter s

Standing MRI evaluation of the fetlock joint of racehorses: a role for prevention of catastrophic fracture? By Sarah E Powell, MRCVS, Rossdale and Partners, Newmarket FETLOCK injuries are a major cause of lameness in Thoroughbred racehorses worldwide. The high incidence of fetlock problems is related to the repetitive loading of immature bone during training and racing. The bones response to loading, called ‘bone modelling’, is essential to condition the fetlock joint, and other areas, to tolerate the continued stress of high impact loading during exercise. However, in some cases the architecture of the bone changes so much that it becomes damaged and lameness occurs. The major site of bone damage is the lower end of the cannon bone within the fetlock joint (called the fetlock ‘condyles’) and it is here that the two main injuries occur. In some horses condylar fractures develop, which may require the horse to be euthanased. In others the bone ‘collapses’ at focal pressure points on the condyle, a condition known as palmar osteochondral disease or ‘POD’. Horses with POD don’t often go on to complete fracture, but POD can cause ongoing lameness and may prevent the horse from reaching it’s full potential. These injuries are extremely important to horses, owners, trainers and vets alike and a great body of

research at many centres worldwide is ongoing to establish exactly why and how they occur and what can be done to reduce the incidence of this debilitating disease.

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging lends itself very well to evaluating fetlock lameness in racehorses.

One focus of research is how to detect overload injuries earlier, before catastrophic fractures or endstage POD lesions occur.

MRI gives us information about the bone and the soft tissues supporting the joint and not just regarding the bone structure but also changes in bone chemistry.

The traditional way to evaluate fetlock lameness in racehorses is by taking radiographs (x-rays) or doing a ‘bone scan’.

The latter is very important in detection of injury before it can be seen on x-rays, in the earlier stages of the disease.

Bone damage is generally quite advanced by the time it is visible on x-rays and injuries can be missed (or, conversely, overestimated) if this technique is used alone. If a bone scan is required an injection of a radioactive substance is given into the vein of the horse, which binds to damaged bone over several hours and, later, images are acquired on a bone scan camera or ‘detector’. The horse has to stay overnight at the clinic, as it is radioactive for 24 hours. Bone scans are good at showing areas of damaged bone, but the images are not specific for the type of pathology involved. For example POD lesions and incipient condylar fractures would appear similar on a bone scan image of a fetlock. For these reasons decision making in racehorses with fetlock pain is often a judgement made by the vet based on the x-rays and/or bone scan images – but is often not definitive.

The development of MRI systems for imaging horses under standing sedation – without the need for general anaesthesia, is particularly desirable in racehorses in training.

X-ray of the front fetlock of a mildly lame racehorse

Racehorse trainers are not keen to anaesthetise horses for diagnostic imaging, particularly during the racing season, due to the risk of injury during recovery from anaesthesia. The obvious advantage of imaging horses under standing sedation is that those animals which arguably need it most may be imaged earlier in the disease process with the ultimate goal of preventing some horses progressing to end-stage disease, or worse, catastrophic fracture. MRI scanning of the fetlock region in Thoroughbred racehorses is most useful when used as a method of further evaluating suspected bone-related injury or where further information may aid treatment or help form management protocols. Knowledge of the horse’s lameness and medication history is essential when decisions are to be made regarding management and communication between the veterinary surgeon requesting the MRI examination and the veterinary surgeon acquiring and interpreting the images will maximise the likelihood of a successful examination. Standing MRI is not suitable as a general screening technique for lameness and does not preclude the need for a comprehensive x-ray assessment. Not all horses are amenable to standing examinations as they have to stand extremely still for around 45 minutes per joint. Very light sedation levels are required

A corresponding MRI which shows the early stages of condylar fracture to prevent the horse swaying under sedation, and some anxious horses may not tolerate the procedure. However, a high proportion of examinations are successful and, have revealed a number of injury patterns relating to the pathologic processes mentioned above. There are certain trade offs regarding image quality and resolution when compared to the images acquired under general anaesthesia, and it is currently not possible to be definitive as to whether a horse is safe to continue in full race training or if rest is necessary. However, our work so far suggests it is possible to detect lesions before they are visible on x-rays and this allows us to achieve a more definitive diagnosis over conventional imaging techniques such as x-rays and bone scans.


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winter months

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Minimising winter problems By Myf Sargeant of Barrier Health Care SOME horses seem to be more prone to winter-related problems than others, especially lighter coloured, thinner-skinned and white legged animals. It seems that if a horse or pony has suffered with problems in the past, they seem to be prone to recurrent attacks. Although most of these problems can’t be passed from one horse to another, those standing in the same muddy, dirty environment are just as likely to encounter problems, as the bacteria is in the soil where it can survive for years. Good hygiene: Stables and shelters should be regularly cleaned out, disinfected with a virucidal disinfectant and restocked with clean bedding. Prevention: Make daily checks of vulnerable areas, such as the backs of the heels, pasterns, legs, along the spine and over the hindquarters for signs of hair loss, pink, irritated, sore and cracked skin. Once skin is affected it takes more time and effort to repair damaged tissue. If scabs have already formed, never be tempted to pick them off. This is intensely painful to the animal and may cause further infection to develop. Use an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal spray to gently soften and loosen the scabs naturally, allowing them to fall away.

preferably morning and night. Maintain rugs well with regular washing and re-proofing and regularly check your rugs for mites, leaks and damage. A good anti-fungal, anti-bacterial barrier cream can be applied daily prior to turn out, to clean, dry skin which will help to protect exposed areas, such as the backs of the heels, pasterns and legs, from moisture and dirt penetrating the skin. Watch for signs of lice: They are grey/brown in colour and the size of a pinhead. It is just possible to see adult lice with the naked eye. Check regularly by carefully parting the hair, where movement can normally be seen at the base of the hair. Biting lice are by far the most common, they feed on debris on the surface of the skin and their scavenging produces intense irritation causing crusty scurfy areas that the animal will bite and scratch in an effort to alleviate their discomfort. Sucking Lice can cause severe anaemia and infested animals can rapidly lose weight and become prone to other illnesses. These small wingless insects are present all year round and especially noticeable amongst housed animals. Because of its contagious nature, louse infestation spreads most rapidly when animals are in close contact.

A well-fitting turnout rug will help to protect most of the body.

It is important to remember to treat all bedding, rugs and housing at the same time and repeat treatment to prevent re-infestation regularly.

Always remove the rug, check your horse or pony under the rug, before grooming and then replacing it,

If unsure or in any doubt what so ever, always seek the advice of your veterinary surgeon.

Protect vulnerable areas from water, sharp grit, mud and dirt.

‘Absorbing over four times its own weight in water’ WHAT, in the main, is the owner/manager/ horse carer looking for in a bedding? Easy to use – minimum fuss, minimum time to muck out. Healthy – dust-free, spore-free and nonreactionary to horse. Unpalatable – must not encourage horse to eat. Green – in the stable (natural materials) and out in the muck heap. As small a muck heap as possible, with minimal disposal costs. Low daily usage, to keep running costs down. Minimal bedding and disposal costs all the year round. There are a number of beddings which fulfil most of these criteria but none so fully as Equisorb Flax bedding which absorbs over four times its own weight in water. Because it comes from a natural vegetable crop it is bio-degradable

and thereby rots down very rapidly in the muck heap. Packed by only state-of-the-art plants, it is also consistently dust free and packaged to a consistent standard. Why not talk to Equisorb Supplies and/or request a quote for Equisorb – either way, you might be very surprised by how much your bedding solution can be improved for this coming winter.

For more information call: 01476 585973, fax: 01476 855699, e-mail: rgh@equisorb.co.uk or visit: www.equisorb.co.uk.


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security

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Protect your property By Christine Keate EQUESTRIAN crime is a ‘growing industry’, according to Garry Porter of the Horsewatch Alliance, with increasingly sophisticated car alarms and immobilisers leading thieves to find other markets - and the equestrian sector provides an easy target. Horsewatch recommends keeping good records, writing down an accurate description of all horses and ponies, photographing them from both sides, front and rear, and keeping images updated during summer and winter. Freezemarking is a good deterrent. It is law that all horses born after 1 July 2009 are microchipped – it is now possible to have a small freezemark indicating a horse has a microchip. Display signs stating horses are microchipped. Visit the National Equine Database and associate yourself with your horse’s details. Security mark all rugs, tack and equipment - if you don’t want visible markings then use one of the new technological options that are

available, and display posters to advertise that property is protected. Horsewatch groups regularly arrange tack-marking sessions. They recommend marking everything with your postcode. Keep an inventory of all tack and

equipment. Immobilise trailers and lorries, and indelibly mark roofs with your postcode. In cases of break-ins or theft, preserve the scene of the crime and do not touch anything until cleared to by the police. Keep all records secure – you must be able to prove property is yours before the police will return it. Alison Andrew, marketing manager, of Petplan Equine offers the following advice: “Make sure you keep alert to any strange sightings around the yard or unexpected visits and where possible record descriptions of people and any vehicles.

A proven security deterrent SMARTWATER is a crime prevention solution independently proven to deter crime. With over a million users, SmartWater is protecting in excess of 20 million items of property in the UK alone.

whether it has been stolen. Independently tested to withstand direct exposure to sunlight, UV and household chemicals.

“To protect your property and keep within the terms of most insurance policies, tack rooms (or any other building containing equestrian equipment that you do not live in) should be locked with a 5-level mortice deadlock (one that is fitted into the door and frame) and any windows should have steel grids on them.

The police routinely scan criminals and recovered property for SmartWater and use it in undercover operations, so criminals know about it and its power to forensically link them with the scene of a crime. SmartWater maintains a 100 per cent conviction rate when used as evidence in court.

“When you’re out and about, make sure you keep tack and saddles out of sight.

“Insurance companies will not normally pay if you have items stolen from an unlocked vehicle.

It cannot be easily seen by the naked eye and is almost impossible to remove.

So by coding your valuables and displaying the SmartWater deterrent signs, you are sending out a powerful warning to any thieves in the area that they risk being caught and convicted.

The liquid glows under ultraviolet light - allowing the police to identify the true owner of the property and

For more details call: 0800 521 669 quoting: Horse Health or visit www.smartwater.com

SmartWater is a colourless forensic liquid that can be used on all your valuables including your horse tack; saddles, stirrups, headgear, harnesses, breastplates and your trailer. Each bottle carries a unique chemical ‘code’ registered to your address.

“If you have to keep tack and equipment in a vehicle, make sure it is locked away in the boot or covered luggage area - if it’s visible it may not be covered by insurance.

“It is important if you are intending to insure against theft that you have your items valued and provide valuations to your insurance company in advance – keep receipts and invoices.

“Although at Petplan Equine we offer new for old cover, which means we pay the cost of replacing your tack with new equivalents, some insurers may only pay what they believe your tack was worth taking into account depreciation/wear and tear in which case accurate records will be vital. “The best way to reduce equestrian crime is to take the profit out of it by making stolen goods very difficult to sell. “It only requires one reported stolen item to be identified, for a prosecution to proceed. “The police recommend that second hand items should not be purchased unless the seller is known; if it is post-coded find out where it has come from. “Thieves will often allow six to nine months for their victims to restock before returning to the scene of a successful theft and repeating the crime. “This further fuels the second hand market as insurance companies are less likely to be sympathetic a second time, so people are driven to find cheap replacements.” The National Equestrian Crime Database recently launched to provide an on line means of registering and recording individual equestrian property and horses. Their Check-it and Text-it service enables horse owners, police forces, ports and auction houses to check the legal status of a registered item. For a discounted initial membership of the NECD visit their website: www.necd.org.uk and use the following code NECDHHMAG. For more information on equestrian security visit: www.ukhorsewatch.org.uk.


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tried and tested

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The Magloc Tester: Lizzie Parkin Horse: Otto, five year old 17.2hh Clydesdale Company: Magloc Product tested: The Magloc Reason for trying The Magloc: Otto is not always good when tied up. The Magloc is easy to attach and will hold him if he moves around, but if he panics the catch releases. This is a very versatile piece of equipment and is ideal to use when travelling and also to hang haynets.

MAH Liquid Calmer Tester: Emma O’Gorman, Bloodstock Agent Activity: Breaking and preparing thoroughbreds for breeze-ups Product tested: MAH Liquid Calmer Company: Nupafeed UK Reason for testing: Breeze-up preparation is a very stressful time and I tried the MAH Liquid Calmer for the first time about four years ago on a particularly highly strung filly that bolted everywhere. Results: It takes about seven to ten days to work, and the change in that particular filly was unbelievable.

I now use it on all my youngstock and they handle well and stay relaxed during what can be a very difficult period. User friendly: Very easy to use. Availability: Purchase on line or by telephone. Customer support: Excellent, good advice over the telephone. Value for money: Around £64 for three litres – I consider this to be very good value as the results are outstanding. For sales or advice call: 01438 861900, e-mail: info@nupafeed.net or visit: www.nupafeed-uk.co.uk

Embers Heated Clothing Company: Embers Heated Clothing Product tested: Stormwalker Waistcoat Product details: The waistcoat heats the back and pockets. It is windproof, waterproof and breathable, and is machine washable.

User friendly: Plug in the battery and switch on. Battery life is around three hours, for someone who is out all day it would probably be a good idea to carry a spare battery, but as the waistcoat warms up very quickly and is easy to switch on and off it would not be necessary to keep it on all the time. Results: A warm comfortable body.

Good for horses that are not easy to catch as it is not necessary to clip the leadrope to the headcollar. Availability: Purchase online. Customer support:Easy to get advice over the telephone. Value for money: Retails at around £24.99. For sales or information visit: www.magloc.co.uk, call: 01457 857754 or e-mail: sales@magloc.co.uk.

The Pure Feed Company

Tester: Christine Keate, Horse Health Editor

Each product in the range comes with a charger and battery, with spares/replacements readily available.

User friendly: Very easy to use with one hand. One part attaches to the headcollar the other to the lead rope. As you present the two parts to each other they attach.

Availability: Online from stockists. Customer Support: Excellent, it is easy to speak to someone. Value for money: At around £150 the waistcoat is not a cheap item, however, for anyone out in the cold weather, particularly if teaching or out for long periods of time, the benefits are well worth the outlay.

For sales or advice call: 01394 389440 or visit: www.embersheated-clothing.com

Tester: Clare Shepherd Horse: Maverick 16.2hh 13 year old Belgian Warmblood Activity: Eventing Company: The Pure Feed Company Product tested: Pure Working Reason for testing: Maverick was not a good doer; he suffered from gastric ulcers and was hard to keep condition on, he was not always willing to work, and at events he was generally crazy. Results: I noticed a difference after three weeks on Pure Working feed. Maverick put on weight and was much more willing to work. Now after four months he has settled down and is well behaved at competitions. User friendly: This is a complete feed so it is very easy to use. Availability: Stocked by many feed merchants, or purchase on line. Customer Support: Excellent, it is very easy to speak to someone, and e-mails

are responded to quickly with very good advice. Value for money: At around £12 per 15kg bag, although slightly more expensive than an average bag of feed, this is well worth the money to me as the results were so good. For sales or advice call The Pure Feed Company on 0117 230 0027 or visit: www.thepurefeedcompany.com


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HORSE HEALTH I

forge

Painful hoof abscesses By Andrew Poynton FWCF of Poynton Ltd

distortion followed by the inevitable abscess.

enclosing the sole.

FOOT abscesses are an all too common problem to the horse owner; apart from causing pain and distress to the patient they put the horse out of action and can be a significant financial drain.

Hoof conformation more akin to the well conformed Arab, is more upright, stronger, somewhat tighter and the vaulted sole has more protection and is just that little further from sharp rocks, hence this is one of the reasons for the popularity of the Arab for endurance riding.

Diseased hooves:

So being aware of how to prevent occurrence or at least reduce the likelihood is beneficial. There are a number of factors which either reduce or increase the odds of infection in the hoof, so let’s look at these first.

Hoof type and environment: The thin walled and shallow hoof always comes high on the list for injury of many kinds. The flat footed thoroughbred broodmare epitomises this conformation; the soles lack concavity, are relatively thin and in contact with the ground. The hoof wall being at a low angle is inclined to spread, causing separation at the sole margin and cracks in the quarters and toes. These are high maintenance feet that need monthly attention, which is careful trimming, to prevent serious

Arid conditions are generally better for maintaining hoof integrity as the hoof will reflect the environment being hard and dry, conversely wet ground will soften the hooves which tend to spread and become more vulnerable to either puncture wounds or sole bruising which then can lead to an abscess. When stabled, deep litter bedding is likely to be the most destructive; high humidity, urine and faeces equates to a compost heap, so prolonged standing in this will have the same effect on the organic biodegradable hoof which will be attacked and digested by the bacteria. Clean straw bedding allows air to circulate more around the underside of the foot whereas finer bedding, such as small wood shavings ball up

Poor horn quality subjects the foot to higher likelihood of injury leading to abscesses, as do bacterial and fungal infections particularly in the white line and frog regions. The chronic laminitic foot has a spread white line zone which is very porous and susceptible to toe and sub-solar abscesses, and compounded by the relative instability of the pedal bone within the foot is liable to bruising in the sole around the toe.

irritation and sole bruising. Poor foot balance both on the medio-lateral and dorso-palmer planes will also contribute to the risk, for example, a low medial heel is liable to a corn which left untreated may become septic. Less common is infection of the collateral cartilage known as a ‘quittor’ which breaks out at or above the coronary band. A ‘keratoma’ or horn tumour and pedal bone fracture are also conditions which may become septic.

Diagnosis: Shod versus unshod: The healthy unshod foot in the ideal environment is preferable, however not always possible when the horse needs to perform on inhospitable terrain. Equally, poor shoeing can contribute to the problem; a misplaced nail can cause an abscess, shoes left on too long and short shoes are likely to cause corns which may become infected. Common causes of abscesses are penetration injuries that become infected, a foreign body such as grit migrating up the white line causing

The horse will typically display some or all the following symptoms: Lameness, pointing of the affected limb, unwillingness to weight bear, heightened digital pulse, sensitivity to pressure in the affected area or the whole foot, localised swelling and sensitivity at the coronary border, weeping pus from an injury site, a bad odour. It is not uncommon for the owner to assume the horse has a fractured limb. Whether in the white line, sole, frog or seat of corn, all need locating and drainage. Continued on Page 27


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HORSE HEALTH I 27

Continued from Page 26 Both vet and farrier work closely on such cases; this is one area where the roles of both blend.

Left: Undermined sole Below: Shoe in place complete with hospital plate

Either the vet or an experienced farrier will have the skills and with all parties consenting carry out the search and draining of the abscess. The excavation should be adequate for free drainage whilst not removing more horn than necessary, making the foot vulnerable for longer. If the abscess is not drained as it develops pressure builds up within the hoof and it will travel in the direction of least resistance usually up the laminae, breaking out at the coronary border or the bulb of the heel depending on its origination point.

preparation are applied.

The trouble with this is that it leaves a tract in its wake that has damaged the structures in its path; this can cause further complications at a later date, so location and drainage as close to its origin as possible is desirable.

Depending on the size, position and severity of the infection a shoe with either a removable hospital plate to gain daily access for wound dressing, or some form of protective sole pad would be fitted until the sole has healed.

Treatment:

Particularly in the early stages of recovery the wound site should be kept scrupulously clean, avoiding wet and dirty conditions.

Sometimes the foot needs poulticing to soften the horn and draw the abscess to facilitate locating and draining, other times it is advanced enough to drain immediately, then hot poulticing and possibly ‘tubbing’. Whether antibiotics are administered will be advised by the vet; with smaller infections they are not needed unless there are complications. Once the infection has cleared up dry dressings along with an antibacterial

Once the sole pad is dispensed with the sole will harden more left open to the air. In a stud situation where mares are without shoes this procedure is often carried out without the need of either a shoe or sole pad; once the infection is drained and dry, the tract is plugged with antiseptic soaked cotton wool or similar, to good effect.

‘If the abscess is not drained as it develops pressure builds up within the hoof and it will travel in the direction of least resistance usually up the laminae, breaking out at the coronary border or the bulb of the heel depending on its origination point’

Innovation in horseshoe loss prevention SHOESECURES are a new innovation in horseshoe loss prevention, designed to protect the heels of the horse's front shoes from being struck by its hind feet. The product has been developed, in consultation with leading vets and farriers, to maximise protection without impacting on the horse's gait. Made from an extremely strong thermoplastic polymer, ShoeSecures are lightweight, durable, are quick

and easy to fit to the shoe and, used correctly, will last for months. The product is already receiving positive feedback from existing customers who were frustrated with horses losing shoes on a weekly basis. They come in a choice of colours and sizes, can be modified to fit most remedial shoes and detailed fitting instructions are included in every pack.


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Winter hoofcare ... By Claire Brown of Farriers’ Pages THE changeable British climate can be unpredictable and the different seasons bring with them their own considerations for the horse owner – and winter is no exception. A decrease in daylight along with colder temperatures adds to the pressure of managing horses and ponies throughout the winter months. Generally speaking hooves grow less during colder periods but regular hoof care and monitoring, is still essential. Hooves and legs should be checked daily despite this being more difficult when they are wet and covered in mud. A balanced diet is vital to provide the building blocks for quality and consistent horn growth - inevitably a change in season and/or routine has a direct impact on the nutrients provided and it is always worth evaluating your equine’s diet at this time.

In ice and snow horses may experience a loss of traction

Poor or slow hoof growth may be due to a dietary imbalance or deficiency and supplementation (general or ‘hoof-specific’) may be

necessary. Throughout winter horses can be more prone to bacterial infections and diseases of the whiteline, such as thrush. Identified by a foul odour and a dark coloured discharge from around the frog, thrush can travel deep into the sensitive tissue within the frog causing pain and lameness. Warm, moist stables and/or an accumulation of mud and dirt within the crevices of the feet encourage the growth of bacteria that thrive in these conditions. Picking the feet out daily will help to prevent infection and, should infection occur, there are many topical applications available on the market containing antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties – commonly being iodine and copper sulphate based solutions. These applications can also be used weekly as a preventative measure in horses and ponies prone to such infections. Roads can be slippery throughout the year but perhaps this is more noticeable during winter when surfaces tend to be damp and even more so when conditions involve ice and snow. Continued on Page 29

Recommended by farriers A NATURAL anti bacterial liquid based on eucalyptus oil, Anti Bac is one of the most popular hoof disinfectants recommended by farriers. Poor hoof quality is the most common problems facing farriers on a daily basis and the effects of dietary supplements can vary between horses. There is often improved growth and quality around the coronary band, but little apparent improvement in the hoof when the shoes are removed. This has led to the theory that while good hoof is produced at the coronary band the horn on the bottom of the hoof is constantly under attack from bacteria which finds easy access into the insensitive hoof through old nail holes and, being compacted between the shoe and the hoof penetrating the white line. Picking out the feet and keeping them clean and dry is very basic stable management but is still one of the most important steps in maintaining healthy hooves. Twice a week in between shoeing Anti Bac can be applied under the shoe and into the old nail holes. The farrier will be able to give correct advice to meet each individual

horse’s requirements.

Anti Bac is available from Stromsholm, the UK’s leading farrier supplies. For more information call: 01908 233909, e-mail: sales@stromsholm.co.uk or visit: www.stromsholm.co.uk.


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Legs and hooves should be checked daily.

Continued from Page 28 Similarly horses being worked in fields and across country may experience an increased loss of traction when conditions are muddy. Shod horses will gain from shoes being in good condition - the fullering in concave shoes assists with traction, but you may find extra grip is necessary to remain safe and to help avoid any unnecessary risk of injury from slipping. Increased traction may be gained from the addition of studs or pins and talking to your farrier will help to decide which may offer the best solution.

Studs, pins and plugs: Studs come in all shapes and sizes and are either permanently in the shoe or can be screwed in when required. Permanent: These are put in the shoe during shoeing and stay in for the duration of the shoeing cycle. The majority of the time they are made from a tungsten pin which is a pin itself or embedded into a stud or nail. Stud nails are quick to use for the farrier but can only be placed in shoes where a nail is used and you can only use the size of nail that can be used in the hoof wall e.g. small nail, small pin. Pins are tapered and a hole is drilled in the shoes and the pin is tapped into the hole. These have a large piece of tungsten giving maximum grip and can be placed anywhere in the shoe from toe to heel.

Plugs are tungsten pins encased in a stud. These can be put into a hole that has been punched into the shoe which can be flush with the shoe or protruding. Non-permanent: Screw-in studs allow the horse owner to screw in a stud of their choice as a hole is punched into the shoe which is ‘tapped’ e.g. the hole has threads put in. Screw-in studs can be changed as ground conditions change. It is important to note though that thorough advice should be sought the inappropriate selection of studs has been suggested to cause foot/limb injury. Maintenance of the stud hole is also required; threads may become damaged making it difficult to screw the stud in. Hard ground from frost and increased exercise on roads, particularly if horses or ponies are not used to it, also carry the risk of increased bruising to the foot and concussive forces on the limb. Horses and ponies turned out on frozen pasture are also susceptible so do be aware. Severe bruising of the sole can have prolonged recovery times and will affect performance (refusing jumps, unwillingness to collect and engage) even if lameness is not present. A vet or farrier should be able to confirm the diagnosis and treatment may involve rest, poulticing and perhaps using padding on the sole of the foot.

HORSE HEALTH I 29


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charity corner

HORSE HEALTH I

Alleviating suffering THE Brooke is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to alleviating the suffering of horses, donkeys and mules working in the poorest parts of the world, and improving the livelihoods of the people who depend on them. Millions of animals toil in some of the world’s toughest environments, often suffering pain, exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition, however much of their suffering is preventable. The Brooke’s mobile vet teams, field clinics and community animal health workers provide care and treatment in conjunction with education and training for owners. The Brooke will reach 800,000 horses and donkeys in need this year and its goal – by 2016 – is to increase the number of animals it

helps to two million every year. You can support the Brooke this Christmas by purchasing a virtual gift, like ‘care for a foal’ or ‘a well fitting harness’, from www.thebrookeshop.org.

For more information please visit www.thebrooke.org, call 0203 012 3456 or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ thebrookecharity

Supporting health projects THE Horse Trust supports projects that increase the understanding of equine diseases, improving diagnosis and treatment for horse ailments such as colic, laminitis and strangles. In October 2009, the Animal Health Trust succeeded in creating a safe and effective vaccine for Strangles, a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that can be fatal to horses. The Horse Trust funded the genome sequencing of the bacteria that causes Strangles, which was a vital stage in the development of this new vaccine. The vaccine is expected to be commercially available in the near future and has the potential to prevent thousands of horses from needlessly suffering. In January 2010, we announced that

Horse Trust funded research had made a major breakthrough in the treatment of equine cancer. The researchers, based at the University of Glasgow, have succeeded in killing equine sarcoid cells in vitro by silencing a gene in the virus that causes sarcoids. This could result in a more effective, non-toxic treatment for sarcoids, the most common type of tumour found in horses.

For more information please visit: www.horsetrust.org.uk, e-mail: info@horsetrust.org.uk or call: 01494 488464

Christmas star

On-loan horse saves foal

BOO, a gentle giant of a horse who was left blind by heartless thugs, is now starring on a Christmas card to raise money for Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

A HORSE on loan from The Blue Cross animal charity has come to the rescue of a seriously ill foal by donating three litres of blood for a life-saving blood transfusion.

Clydesdale Boo, already blind in one eye from cancer, was shot in his good eye by unknown attackers.

When vets at Pool House Equine Clinic in Lichfield were called to the poorly four-day-old warmblood colt named Conker they immediately recognised that it was suffering from a fatal foal disease known as neonatal isoerythrolysis and urgently required a blood transfusion.

The pellet was so far embedded it was likely that the shotgun was held up against his eye. Boo’s owner was advised to put him to sleep, as at 16.1hh he was potentially dangerous to care for. Redwings agreed to take him in as they could offer Boo specialist care and the charity is already home to 25 other visually impaired horses. Boo’s sighted friend Oliver (who also features on the card) has unobtrusive bells in his mane so Boo can hear

where he is, wind chimes act as a compass for where to find the water trough and Boo’s paddock is located so the staff can cast an eye over Boo regularly.

‘Boo and Friend’ is available as a pack of ten Christmas cards for £2.99, visit: www.redwings.co.uk or call 01508 481010.

Luckily, Blue Cross horse Harold, a 15-year-old gelding, was on standby at the veterinary clinic after being placed on loan by the charity to practice vet Richard Stephenson, who treats the homeless horses at The Blue Cross equine centre in nearby Rolleston-on-Dove. Blood tests after the procedure

confirmed that the foal’s red blood cell count had doubled to a safe level. He was closely monitored over the next ten days and went on to make a full recovery. The Blue Cross receives no government funding so it relies on the public to support its vital work.

To find out more or make a donation, please visit www.bluecross.org.uk

Passionate about helping animals ‘Keep Your Horse Healthy’ THE Animal Health Trust is passionate about the health and welfare of animals and nearly all the horses, dogs and cats in the UK will have benefited in some way by their work. It has two referral clinics; one for horses, the other for dogs and cats, where problems are diagnosed and treatment plans formed. In its research laboratories the scientists, working closely with the vets, look for ways to diagnose problems, stop them from happening and, where possible, develop cures. In many parts of the world disease and injury are far bigger threats to animals than abuse and neglect; the

THE increasing popularity of riding means that more horses are being moved throughout the UK and Europe and therefore being exposed to the threat of disease. AHT’s vets and scientists work tirelessly to combat these. The AHT is committed to education. The knowledge it gains it shares internationally to benefit horses, dogs and cats all around the world. All the funds raised through the treatment of animals in its clinics, go straight back into developing new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to help thousands more animals.

For further information contact the AHT on 01638 555648 or info@aht.org.uk

Although the UK is currently free from serious notifiable diseases, the fact that Strangles and Equine Influenza are endemic, not to mention the recent cases of Equine Infectious Anaemia, means as owners and carers of horses we can no longer ignore this threat. World Horse Welfare has taken the initiative in raising awareness of disease and how horses can be protected by creating a disease prevention pack. ‘Keep Your Horse Healthy’ gives useful information, advice and solutions on how to protect horses and yards from the threat of disease.

Veterinarian Jenny Fog of Scott Mitchell Associates, Hexham said: “I will recommend the packs. “They provide very good advice, especially on isolation, which I think is probably the most important yet most under-used control we have.”

Request your pack by calling: 01953 497232 or e-mail: campaigns@worldhorsewelfare.org For more about the charity, visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org.


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Horse Health (November/December 2010)