The Horse

NOV 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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Inquiries to: 859/276-6726 E-Mail: ERICA LARSON, News Editor @TH_EricaLarson 10 November 2018 The Horse | "The development of surgical site infection is multifactorial and not just as simple as a direct link to the bacteria present around the time of surgery," said Cajsa Isgren, BVetMed, Dipl. ECVS MRCVS, an equine surgeon at the Uni- versity of Liverpool Equine Hospital. Isgren and colleagues collected samples from the belly's midline in 31 horses undergoing colic surgery. They washed and prepped the horses according to standard sterilization proto- col. Then, they swabbed the incision area to determine the type and amount of bacteria present after prep- ping. They also sampled for bacterial presence at the in- cision site during and after surgery. Then they waited to find out which horses devel- oped an infection and what bacteria were involved. Ultimately, they found no correlation between the amount or type of bacteria at any stage of the sampling and infection development, Isgren said. Generally, the team found more bacteria at the inci- sion site as time progressed post-surgery, reaching a maximum about 10 days after the operation. Seven of the 31 horses developed SSIs, but those were caused by bacteria not present on the incision line at the time of surgery, Isgren said. Also surprising, she said, was the fact SSI develop- ment wasn't linked to bacteria reputed for being challenging to treat. After surgery one of the horses cultured positive for methi- cillin-resistant Staphylococ- cus aureus (better known as MRSA) and four were positive for bacteria that produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (enzymes that are resistant to many antibiotics), but none of these horses developed SSI, she said. "Our study just highlights the fact that … other fac- tors may also contribute to infection," said Isgren. These findings don't mean sterilization before surgery is useless. "Sterility is obviously very important, but it is also important to bear in mind that sterility doesn't stop at the end of surgery," she said. "The skin flora next to the incision can act as a source of infection, for example, in the postoperative period if the incision is not fully sealed or if there is separa- tion of tissues present." Learn more at TheHorse. com/160852. —Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA H orses undergoing colic surgery run the risk of developing incisional infections. But while one might think the amount or type of bacteria present at the incision site would dictate postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) risk, researchers in the U.K. recently found that's not necessarily the case. New Insights on Colic Surgery Incisional Infections COURTESY DR. TINA HOLBERG PHIL NEWSFRONT Tendon Problems in Old Horses: What Goes Wrong? Old tendons injure more easily. That we know. What we didn't know—but do now, thanks to recent study results—is what part of the aging tendon weak- ens. Tendons are a bit like a rope, with lots of separate strong strands called fascicles, which are held together by a surrounding soft, sticky interfascicular matrix, said Hazel Screen, CEng, MIMechE, MIPEM, of Queen Mary University of London, in the U.K. This matrix supports the fascicles to allow them to slide alongside each other and coil back after a "load"—an energetic use of the tendon—is removed. "We have discovered that many of the problems we see in old tendons are not associated with the strong fascicle strands, but with sur- rounding interfascicular matrix," she said. It becomes less elastic with age, which "stops the tendon from being able to stretch and recoil so effectively, meaning it gets injured more easily." Further research based on these findings could lead to more targeted imaging of the matrix for better diagnostics and follow-up. Parasite Causes Reversible Blindness Setaria digitata parasites usually infect cattle—gener- ally showing up in the abdomen. But sometimes they settle in other organs, including the eyes, especially when larvae infect animals besides their normal bovine hosts, including horses, said SungShik Shin, DVM, PhD, of Chon- nam National University's College of Veterinary Medicine, in South Korea. Shin and colleagues recently released the first report on blindness in 15 Korean horses caused by S. digitata. Veterinarians could see the worms in horses' eyes, and the animals developed cloudy corneas, some of which became completely opaque. Treatment was suc- cessful in most cases, Shin said: They removed the worms using local anesthesia, corticosteroid therapy removed most of the cloudiness, and the eye recovered function. STUDY SHORTS

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