In this section, you'll find topics of interest in relation to Equine Health
Failure of Passive Transfer or FPT
Foals are born without protective immunity against infectious disease organisms and require “passive transfer” of infection-fighting proteins called antibodies that are found in the mare’s first milk, or colostrum. If a foal does not obtain enough quality colostrum, they will not be protected from viruses and bacteria. This is referred to as failure of passive transfer (F.P.T.) of immunity and approximately 5-20% of newborn foals are diagnosed with F.P.T. and are at risk for developing serious medical conditions.
Why vaccination remains an important part of herd health protection
Infectious diseases are a major cause of concern in both human and veterinary medicine. Both the Covid-19 pandemic in human populations worldwide and the recent EHV-1 (Equine Herpes Virus – 1) neurological outbreak which originated in Valencia, Spain February 2021 have dramatically demonstrated that the introduction of an infectious agent into a susceptible population can have devastating consequences. A good immunisation program is essential to responsible equine ownership.
Endocrine Metabolic Disorder (EMS)- early diagnosis is important
Identifying EMS, and taking steps to manage the disorder can allow a horse/pony to live a healthy and productive life. Early diagnosis is important as the prognosis for those horses or ponies who have suffered multiple previous bouts of laminitis and major structural damage to hoof laminae is less favourable. Vets diagnose EMS on the basis of history, clinical examination and the results of blood tests and radiograph/x-ray evidence of subclinical laminitis.
Autumn Equine Internal Parasite Control
The aim of a parasite control programme is not to eradicate or kill all worms but rather to prevent clinical disease, reduce contamination of pasture, and preserve the effectiveness of the anthelmintics which are currently available. There is a growing population of drug-resistant parasites with widespread resistance in small strongyle populations to Fenbendazoles, and Pyrantels, while resistance in ascarid (roundworm) populations to Ivermectin and Moxidectin is common. So we simply must enact effective strategies to control parasites without stimulating more parasites to become resistant or evolve to become resistant.
Stay alert for Sycamore Seed Poisoning
Equine atypical myopathy, also known as atypical myogloninuria or seasonal pasture myopathy (SPM), a highly fatal muscle disease, is a condition which can affect grazing horses in the spring or autumn caused by consumption of sycamore tree seeds. Each year in Ireland there have been from 6-12 cases diagnosed with perhaps many more occurring, but not identified. A typical story is of a horse demonstrating initially stiffness and a reluctance to move. The muscles suddenly become weak to the point the horse can no longer remain standing. Then, as quickly as clinical signs set in, the horse dies. Just 48 hours earlier the horse grazed happily at pasture—an overgrazed field full of seed heads and dead leaves.
Subfertility can be complex
Subfertility can be complex, multifaceted and affect either or both mare and stallion. For successful conception many different parameters must be met for example adequate hormone production, a healthy uterus, adequate number of progressively motile sperm cells, a healthy oocyte (egg), and the meeting of sperm and oocyte in the correct window of time is required.
What is Strangles?
Strangles is a disease caused by Streptococcus equi, a bacteria. The infection can range greatly in its signs and symptoms from no symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms, to severe and even fatal consequences.
The disease doesn’t discriminate – no matter whether your yard is large / small, or if you are experienced or a relatively new owner. It transmits through direct contact between animals or indirectly via equipment, people hands and clothing and can affect any age, sex, or breed of horse/pony.
Some Simple Autumn Checks
Autumn is a good time to make sure that housing is ready to receive animals for the winter ahead if not already completed during the summer months. It is also a time to plan some routine health checks, when foals are weaned, and when nutrition should be reassessed ahead of the winter period.