The Horse

SEP 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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Page 26 of 59

27 September 2018 THE HORSE Therefore, it might be a lot less hassle for WEG-bound nations to use the supply service offered by Kentucky Equine Re- search (KER), the official feed consultant for the Olympic Games since 1996 and official equine nutritionist of the 2018 WEG. Hay, for instance, cannot be im- ported into the U.S. National federations can preorder foreign and domestic brands of feed (and even carrots and apples) and bedding and choose from four kinds of hay, haylage, or chaff, according to a "menu" KER sent the national equestrian federations in the spring. And just as at a fancy restaurant, there's a prix fixe option and an a la carte menu. A bonus to choosing the "all- inclusive" option is that KER will handle the necessary import documentation. If you think we've jumped a lot of hurdles already just getting the horses to Tryon, that's not the half of it. Nations have varying rules about which feedstuffs can and cannot be imported; for the 2016 Rio Olympics, KER COO Eileen Phethean distributed a list of "1,200-plus supplements that met the requirements to be allowed into Brazil and weren't obvi- ously prohibited, plus 450 feeds," she told an audience at the 2017 U.S. Dressage Federation convention. Looming even larger than the import regulations is the issue of contamination. FEI rules regarding banned and con- trolled substances are so strict—and mod- ern blood and urine tests so sensitive— that the contamination of substances ingested, inhaled, or used topically is "a huge risk that can lead to a positive drug test," Phethean says. "Most positive (equine) drug tests are from contamina- tion from some other source." That source can be almost anything—a feed bucket shared by a horse receiving medication or a supplement containing unlisted (and banned) ingredients; a play- ful lick of a caffeinated-soft-drink can; a topical liniment containing a banned substance. And there are many, many banned substances. Horses at FEI competitions such as WEG undergo drug testing, and the penalties for testing positive are severe. Olympic medals have been forfeited for it. It's no wonder the competitors, grooms, and national federations sweat the details in documenting every supple- ment and morsel they pack, and they presumably utter a fervent prayer when they see the blood samples being whisked to the lab. Creature Comforts With 1,200 permanent 10-by-12-foot stalls on its 1,600-acre property, TIEC has ample room to accommodate the WEG's equine competitors—no doubt part of the reason its owner and developer, the Mark Bellissimo-led Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), got the nod from the FEI when Bromont backed out. Originally, the WEG had been sched- uled for August, but organizers shifted the dates to September when the Games moved to Tryon—an effort to avoid the worst of the North Carolina heat, humid- ity, and precipitation, all of which tend to peak in July and August, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Tryon's average high temperature in September is 78.5 degrees, and the Tryon Tourism Board claims the village's location in a "thermal belt" on the first rise of the Blue Ridge Mountains has a moderating effect on summer and winter temperatures. But September is still summertime, after all, and so ice will be available in the stables and at competition finish areas to help cool horses, notes the WEG's 2018 Veteri- nary and Farriery Services Guide. Mobile cooling teams will be stationed on the endurance, eventing cross-country, and driving marathon courses, and misting fans will be set up at the cross-country and marathon finish lines. Veterinarians and staff have made preparations for the possibility of heat and humidity during WEG, but "fortu- nately, the Tryon area in September … is generally cooler than the Atlanta area in August," says Baskett, referring to the site and timing of the 1996 Olympics. The anticipated climatic conditions at that event sparked the first large-scale studies on how to mitigate heat stress in horses. In addition to providing ice, cooling teams, and misting stations, "the venue has multiple shade and fan areas on the horse paths throughout the show grounds," Baskett says. "And the WEG veterinary treatment facility and the quar- antine barns will have air-conditioning systems in place for cooling, if needed." Health Care From Head to Hoof While TIEC does not have a perma- nent on-site veterinary facility, a tempo- rary clinic will be erected for use during the WEG. With 24-hour emergency service available, the clinic will feature a fully stocked veterinary pharmacy and will offer clinical pathology, endoscopy, radiography, and ultrasonography, along with stocks and a weight scale. "The WEG veterinary treatment center will be staffed by specialists in imaging, surgery and lameness, and internal medi- cine, as well as a physiotherapy team," says Baskett. The WEG clinic, however, will not be equipped for surgery. An equine am- bulance will be on hand to transport potential surgical cases to one of three external referral clinics. The closest is Tryon Equine Hospital PLLC, in Colum- bus, North Carolina, about 15 minutes from TIEC. Here veterinarians can also perform additional diagnostic modalities, such as standing MRI. The two other referral clinics are the University of Georgia Veterinary Hospital, in Athens (about 2.5 hours from TIEC), and North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine Equine Defending Against Foreign Diseases American horse owners are well-acquainted with Lyme disease and other tick-borne ailments. One that's problematic elsewhere in the world but not considered endemic in the U.S. is equine piroplasmosis (EP). The USDA, which has had to quash occasional EP outbreaks, requires that horses be tested for the disease before entering the States. An EP-positive horse ordinarily would be refused entry but, for a championship like the World Equestrian Games (WEG), the USDA grants a waiver, with strict biosecurity conditions. At the WEG in Tryon, EP-positive horses will wear "unique color identification" and will be stabled apart from EP-negative horses. Officials will monitor their movements throughout the venue. The other nonendemic disease that requires a USDA waiver for import is contagious equine metritis (CEM), a venereal disease prevalent throughout the European Union and some other countries. Although CEM-positive horses will be permitted to stable with others from their discipline at the WEG, they will be separated from uninfected horses. Similar to the EP protocols, CEM carriers will be flagged with color identification and their movements at TIEC will be monitored. —Jennifer O. Bryant

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