The Horse

FEB 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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9 February 2018 THE HORSE TheHorse.com For additional news items, see TheHorse.com/News Time: The Best Treatment for Some Equine Sarcoids? Sarcoids are unsightly but benign skin tumors that present a real treatment challenge for owners and veterinarians. Despite years of research and a wide variety of therapies, few methods have proven successful in eliminating sarcoids. But what if we just leave them alone? "The good news is that we found that 62% of the cases in our study had resolved within five years and, actually, most of those had resolved spontaneously, without any treatment at all," said Fanny Berruex, DrMedVet, of the Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine, Agroscope, and the University of Bern Veterinary School. Berruex and colleagues followed up on Franche-Montagne horses included in a sar- coid study conducted five years prior. Sixty-one horses in that study had sarcoids at the time; Berruex found that only 23 of the horses still had sarcoids. Six of those 23 had received treatment (surgical or medical). Two of the treated horses showed partial regression, while four had larger, more aggressively growing tumors, she said. Among the 17 untreated horses, six had experienced a partial regression, eight were worse, and three stayed the same. Meanwhile, of 38 now-sarcoid-free horses, six had been treated and 29 had not been treated. (For three horses, the researchers could not obtain information about whether they had been treated.) The researchers determined that 83% of the 35 resolved cases with a known treatment history had resolved spontaneously. "This contradicts the idea that spontaneous resolution of sarcoids is rare," she said. "It actually may be more common then we thought, particularly when dealing with small sarcoids representing mild manifestations of disease in young horses." Depending upon the sarcoid's location, however, it might not be practical to leave it be. Work with your veterinar- ian to determine the best treatment option for your horse's sarcoids. Read more at TheHorse.com/39975. —Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA Donkeys Need Added Protection in Cold Climates Many people think of donkeys as hardy and easy to care for. If they have one weakness, however, it's their lack of an insulating winter coat. Researchers have learned that donkeys' hair coats hardly change across the seasons, meaning they aren't as well-equipped to deal with cold weather as people might believe. "The initial idea (for the study) came from the Donkey Sanctuary," noted researcher Britta Osthaus, PhD, of Canterbury Christ Church University, in the U.K. "This study is part of a larger project that also collected data on the use of shelters in correlation with tempera- ture, wind, insect density, and precipitation. "It is a saying amongst donkey owners that donkeys aren't waterproof, but nobody had tested the hair properties in a systematic way," she added. The research team collected hair samples from 18 donkeys, 16 U.K.-native coldblood horses and ponies, and eight mules (all of varied ages) during the months of June, Sep- tember, December, and March, from 2015 to 2016. After drying the samples, the research- ers weighed and measured them. They found significant differences in the hair coat properties between species, with donkeys' hair being significantly shorter, lighter, and thinner than horses' both in winter and spring. They observed substantial sea- sonal changes in hair weight and length for both horses and mules, but not for donkeys. Measurements related to insulation revealed that donkeys do not appear to grow a winter coat. Mules' hair coat properties were more like horses' than donkeys'. "Our data clearly suggest that the native horses studied are better adapted to the temperate climate of the U.K., where there are distinct seasonal changes in climate and cool winters," the researchers said. "Based on (this) published study, donkeys need access to a warm and dry place when they want it," Osthaus said. "They are desert animals, and their coats show this clearly. Don't be deceived by the fluff, it's not as insulating as the winter coat of a horse." Learn more at TheHorse.com/40057. —Casie Bazay, NBCAAM Diagnosing Poor Performance: A Case Report History: An owner reported that a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding would stop intermittently while working under saddle. While he displayed no colic signs, his owner noticed occasional episodes of dark- brown urine. He had no fever, and his appetite was normal. Examination: The veterinarian deemed the horse's physical examination unremarkable. He did not resent pressure over his back and showed no lameness. Ancillary Diagnostics: The practitioner then turned to urinalysis and urine bacterial culture, which revealed blood but no evidence of infection. The horse's complete blood count and serum chemistry panel were normal. A subsequent videoendoscopic examination of his urinary bladder (called cystoscopy, pictured at right) revealed multiple abrasions of the bladder's mucosal lining, caused by a rough-surfaced stone. Read about the ultimate diagnosis and how veteri- narians treated the horse at TheHorse.com/40109. —Harry Werner, VMD, WEVA Board Member weva Donkeys' hair coats changed very little across seasons, researchers found. ISTOCK.COM 62% of small sarcoids resolved within five years, many of which were left untreated. ALEXANDRA BECKSTETT/THE HORSE COURTESY DR. HARRY WERNER

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