Tony here – recovering slowly but surely.  The foot is feeling better, but the folks at the office think it’s a great idea to have me on a diet so I lose some weight – I couldn’t disagree more.  There has been a lot of talk about all the conferences the Doctors and staff have been going to.  Last week I shared what I’ve heard discussed about the Laminitis Symposium.  This week, I decided to focus on all of the exciting things Dr. King brought home from the AAEP Convention in San Antonio, Texas!

One of the hot topics of discussion in the office, in preparation for foaling/breeding season coming up quickly, is the new guidelines published by AAEP for Control of Venereal Diseases.  A new (to the United States) strain of CEM, or Contagious Equine Metritis, was found in a 4 year old stallion in Arizona this year.  CEM is caused by a bacteria called Taylorella equigenitalis that can be spread by normal-appearing stallions, and can cause infection and inflammation in the uterus.  Springhill Equine will be working to adhere to their recommendations during the coming breeding season.

Other exciting reproductive developments include the first equine embryo biopsy.  By sampling DNA from the embryo, the researchers were able to correctly determine the sex, as well as test the embryo for diseases such as HERDA and HYPP.  Springhill is excited to see these signs guiding our pathway to the future of equine medicine!  Another case described a mare, who had previously given birth to three healthy foals, experience early embryonic death, and was found to have developed a genetic abnormality.  Researchers at the Gluck Center in Lexington, KY quote that 35-40% of samples are positive for a DNA abnormality.  Tests run from $200 for a basic karyotype to $450 for an advanced DNA analysis – please contact us if you think your horse may have this type of problem!  In addition, Dr. King plans to start using what are called buffered chelator solutions, such as Tricide, to help break up biofilm and potentiate antibiotics in the uterus of ‘problem mares.’

Another important reproductive point that was made was regarding EVA vaccination.  EVA, or Equine Viral Arteritis, is a venereal disease that can cause abortion.  Vaccines are very tightly regulated by the U.S. Government, so that stallions that are vaccinated can be kept track of.  This way, if a horse ends up testing positive, they know if it is because they are truly infected or if they have just been vaccinated for the disease.  If your horse is vaccinated for EVA (you know who you are), it is recommended that semen be withheld for 14 days post-vaccination.  A study with 10 stallions vaccinated for EVA resulted in transient low levels of the virus in one stallion’s semen on day 2 and 4 post-vaccination.  The study also showed that none of the 10 horses transmitted the virus to horses in the next stalls, there were no adverse effects of the vaccine, and all successfully showed an acceptable immune response to the vaccine.

Other important points – colic recurrence is higher than previously thought (37% medical, 50% surgical), medical management of bladder rupture is possible in foals, and a BRIX Alcohol Refractometer is a quick and cost-effective way to decide if foal colostrum supplementation is necessary. The doctors would be happy to discuss this option with you if you are interested! Another important point I heard them say is DO NOT give foals cow milk replacers if there is any nursing issue, should they need plasma in the future the transfusion reaction can kill them! There was also the official launch of the new, FDA-approved pergolide.  Please contact the office if you want to switch to this new product and/or need to get a prescription.  Or even better, stop by the office and give me some pets on your way!!  Thanks for reading, may your litter box be clean and your food bowl full!