The Horse

DEC 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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TheHorse.com | The Horse December 2018 21 SHELLEY PAULSON noses M urphy's Law lives strong in the horse world. If there's one nail in a 40-acre pas- ture, unseen forces seem to inevitably draw your horse to it, resulting in a nasty gash. The one time you leave the feed room door unlatched, your horse escapes his stall and gorges on grain, resulting in a painful case of laminitis or colic. And if there's a disease-causing organism within 50 miles, it's as if it must hone in on your horse. Some types of cases appear on your veterinarian's call list almost daily: palpations, lacerations, lameness. But less-common diseases—including some that might manifest as more common ones—can come as out-of- the-blue surprises. Knowing the realm of diseases your horse's clinical signs might indicate could impact the information and urgency you convey when you call your veterinarian. To help you build your knowledge arsenal, read on as veterinarians walk us through actual cases of three tough-to-diagnose equine diseases: botulism, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, and Potomac horse fever. Familiarity with their signs could one day help save your horse's life. Botulism Treating veterinarian: Amy Johnson, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, assistant professor of large animal medicine and neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Vet- erinary Medicine's New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square Frequency Five to 10 cases per year at the hospital. Etiology Botulism due to Clostridium botulinum bac- terial toxicity occurs when: ■ Adult horses ingest preformed toxin with food; ■ Any-age horses' wounds become contaminated with C. botulinum, which releases toxin; and ■ When foals ingest C. botulinum spores, which germinate in the gastrointestinal tract and ?release? toxin (once mature, a foal's gastrointestinal tract isn't vulnerable). Prevention Vaccinate adult horses in C. botulinum- affected (-endemic) areas and all broodmares to protect their foals. Note, however, that the vaccine is only effective against botulism Type B—one of three major serotypes (A, B, and C) that exist in the U.S. Type A is associated with soil and most common in the Western states. Type B, typically found in soil, accounts for about 85% of U.S. equine cases and is most common east of the Mississippi River, particularly in the mid-Atlantic states and Kentucky. Type C is seen sporadically across the U.S. and is associated with carrion. Although the botulism vaccine falls into the risk- based category, Johnson considers it a core vaccine in her endemic area of Pennsylvania. DIANE RICE

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