The Horse

JAN 2019

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 January 2019 11 Horses are experts at selecting the most delicious feedstuffs and weeding out the bits and pieces they'd rather not eat with their prehensile lips. But some are also no- torious for consuming things they shouldn't, including wire. Once ingested, wire can puncture the horse's mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach as it moves through the diges- tive tract. This can cause deadly infection, abscesses, and peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining), along with fever and other signs of discomfort. So researchers recently set out to determine if they could help affected horses survive. Eileen S. Hackett, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, AVCECC, of Colorado State University's Col- lege of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in Fort Collins, and colleagues described the clinical features, diagnostic methods, treatments, and outcomes of 16 client-owned horses ultimately diagnosed with ingested wire in their abdomens. Some of their key findings included: ■ The median clinical sign duration before hospital admission was 5.5 days, but it ranged from a half-day to three years; ■ Only four horses survived to hospital discharge, all of which underwent sur- gery to identify and/or remove the wire; ■ Survivors had significantly lower median white blood cell and neutrophil (which fight disease-causing agents) counts and plasma total protein concentrations than nonsurvivors; ■ Peritoneal (abdominal) fluid analyses revealed suppurative or septic peritoni- tis in all eight horses tested; ■ Vets identified wire (median length of more than 2 inches) in the gut via abdominal radiography (six cases), exploratory laparotomy (abdominal surgery, two cases), and necropsy (eight cases); and ■ Wire perforated intestines and other organs in 13 horses, 10 of which subsequently developed abdominal abscesses. "Abdominal perforation by wire should be considered a differential diagnosis for horses with peritonitis and abdominal abscesses," the team said in the study. For the best chance of survival, Hackett said veterinarians should conduct physi- cal and radiographic and/or ultrasono- graphic exams to try to see if wire could be causing a horse's clinical signs. "If the disorder is caught early and treated surgically, good outcomes are possible," she said. Read more at TheHorse.com/162876. —Katie Navarra Deslorelin Misses Mark for Temporarily Sterilizing Stallions Sterilizing stallions temporarily can help with feral population control, manag- ing some equine venereal diseases, and behavior issues. But the traditional ap- proach using anti-GnRH injections is risky business—sometimes sterilization becomes permanent. So researchers tested a new approach: GnRH receptor downregulation. Christine Aurich, DVM, PhD, head of the Graf Lehndorff Institute, in Neustadt, Ger- many, and professor of artificial insemina- tion and embryo transfer in the Vetmeduni veterinary school, in Vienna, Austria, said both the old and new approaches modify the body's use of GnRH—gonadotropin- releasing hormone—which signals the reproductive organs to function. The anti-GnRH vaccine stimulates antibodies to overact against GnRH, rendering it ineffec- tive. With GnRH receptor downregulation, receptors become resistant to the hormone and, therefore, don't activate the organs. Aurich et al. tested the synthetic GnRH deslorelin (which has been shown to work well in dogs) in Shetland pony stallions over an 11-week period to see how it affected reproductive parameters. However, they found that it didn't have the desired effects. The stallions had good-quality sperm and healthy libido throughout the experiment, regardless of dose. As such, the team concluded that des- lorelin is not "useful for reduction of sexual behavior and gonadal function in stallions." The team is now looking at how deslore- lin implants might affect ovarian function in mares, she said. Read more at TheHorse.com/162005. —Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA High-Fat, High-Fiber 'Muesli' for Ponies Most ponies seem to gain weight by simply looking at a grassy pasture, but some of the highly active ones need more energy than what forage alone sup- plies. But how do you keep these insulin-resistance-prone equids in good body condition without risking metabolic issues? German researchers found that a low-starch, high-fat and -fiber muesli mix gave sport ponies enough energy to perform well and maintain body condition, while reducing blood glucose levels after meals. The mix included apples, grass and alfalfa chaff, wheat straw chaff, sunflower seeds, vegetable oil, carob fruit, carrots, desiccated coconut, beetroot chips, linseed, pea, and a vitamin/mineral feed supplemented with the amino acids L-lysine and L-threonine. Mandy Bochnia, DrMedVet, of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg's Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences, said such a mix might also be a good choice for insulin-resistant or laminitic ponies with higher basal insulin levels, but more research is needed. For additional news items, see TheHorse.com/News Stem Cell Injection Site Reactions Horses are at risk of adverse effects anytime they receive injections. However, researchers recently determined that allogenic (from another horse) stem cell injection site reactions in horses were uncommon. In their recent study of 230 injections of stem cells proliferated from a single "uni- versal" donor horse, only 10 (4.35%) were associated with adverse reactions in joint structures (three injections) and soft tissues (seven injections). "Several horses in our study received up to 10 doses in their lifetime for various injuries," said Tena Ursini, DVM, CERP, of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, in Knoxville. "None of these horses reacted, and the cells did not seem to be less effec- tive at healing the tissue." Gastrointestinal tract injury from inad- vertently eating wire is no longer a death sentence for horses, researchers say. STUDY Surgery Can Save Horses That Ingest Wire ISTOCK.COM

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