Equine Science!

Equines and science!
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This is Samson, and Samson is an 8 year old ottb and he has been through hell only being 8. I bought him 8 months ago and his story is incredible. I bought him as horse to build my confidence once he came home I immediatly noticed his back leg was weird. he looked lame, and his hock looked swollen. the vet came out and said he has a catching stifle and a capped hock. he said I could never show him because of how awkward he moved, but he said I could still do everything else with him like learning to jump and learn dressage. but I was okay with that I bonded with him. we both clicked and we still jumped and did trails and I also taught him to go brideless. sadly samsons stifle got really bad one day and we move him to flat pasture like the vet said. there, his injury got looked better and he was a happy horse and rehabbing. ofcourse I know he will never be sound because when he got injured the person left him there and didn’t take care of the stifle injury. so he has a mechanical gate, meaning he learned to adapt to the injury himself. one day I was visiting him at his pasture home. I was feeding him treats when I noticed a huge red bump in his mouth, I asked the someone what it is and they said it looks like a tumor, and to call the vet out immediately. the vet came out and confirmed it was cancer but we should still do a biopsy. on my birthday we got the biopsy report back and they confirmed it was a rare cancer called ameloblastoma of the mandible it’s a rare cancerous tumor and he got it in his mouth. the vet said he needed to be put down immediately because the cancer was acting very quickly and that it would go into his lungs and he would suffer and die. but our other option was go have the tumor and the part of the bone removed. but he couldn’t be put down, so we called so many equine cancer specialists and all of them said how rare it was and basically it scared us even more. finally we found a vet that was willing to do the surgery luckily it was only a few thousand dollars all together. we brought him to the vet once we made the appointment. he immediately went into surgery. I watched the removal of the bone. the vet chiseled the piece of bone out so he got all the cells of the cancer out. that also ment he had 3 teeth taken out. in the pictures above that’s the bone with the teeth that was removed. a few hours later Samson came out of surgery and he coliced from all the stress, the feed change, and just the medicines didn’t agree with his tummy. so that ment tubing and icu unit. luckily a day later he stopped colicing and was okay. we were also told that Samson would have a deformity due to the jaw being taken out. he looks perfectly normal! just his tounge hangs out a bit like in the picture above, and it makes him unique and we all love his slight deformity. samson finally was able to be brought home and he was so happy to be home he could run again and see his friends, and most importantly I could see my best friend and know for now on I didn’t have to fear of losing him to this terrible cancer. He is now in pasture being a happy and healthy horse. I wanted to share his story because he is the 6th horse in the world to have this cancer. and we got a lab report yesterday from the vet and the vet removed all the cancer from Samson and it shouldn’t come back so he is cancer free!

(via mievzar-equus)

What people think I do. What I really do…


Every few years a new buzzword begins circulating in the horse health industry. And recently, a biomarker called SAA has become such a word, garnering attention from the equine veterinary community for its ability to indicate inflammation. So just what is SAA and why are so many veterinarians and researchers starting to analyze it?

TheHorse.com caught up with two veterinarians well-versed on the topic—Luis Castro, DVM, a racehorse practitioner with Teigland, Franklin & Brokken in Boynton Beach, Florida, Saratoga Springs, New York; and David Levine, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, staff surgeon at New Bolton Center, the large-animal hospital of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania—to find out more about this important biomarker.

TheHorse.com: First, the burning question: What is SAA?

Dr. Luis Castro:Serum amyloid A. It’s a biomarker protein produced in the liver in the face of inflammation caused by infection.

Dr. David Levine:SAA has several roles in inflammatory processes, but most importantly for us it serves as a marker for inflammation that increases and decreases quickly so it can give us real-time information using a blood test.

TH.com: Is SAA found in healthy horses’ blood?

Levine:SAA is found in very low quantities in normal horses. It is not secreted until inflammation occurs.

TH.com: When does the horse’s body produce excess SAA, and what would elevated SAA levels indicate to a veterinarian?

Castro:In the face of infection SAA levels begin to rise almost immediately. The response is faster than (other abnormal values we’d look for on) most complete blood counts1and fibrinogen (a biomarker we have been using for decades) levels. It is extremely sensitive to onset, duration, and the end of the disease process.

Levine: There is still much to be learned about SAA, but we do know that it increases in response to inflammation and veterinarians can test for this increase using a simple blood test. It can be followed to see response to treatment, as SAA changes rapidly in the bloodstream and can indicate whether a particular treatment is effective.

TH.com: Why should veterinarians, horse owners, and trainers be familiar with SAA?

Castro:It is extremely useful in determining the presence of infection at a very early stage. It would allow not only earlier treatment but can monitor whether the treatment is working and when the proper time to end treatment would be. All this can be determined immediately, and stall-side.

Levine:SAA is more timely compared to fibrinogen, which is our current gold standard test for inflammation. When you look at fibrinogen you are often looking at the inflammatory picture with a 3-day lag period. That is less helpful when trying to determine if you treatment is effective and whether your horse is responding appropriately.

(Follow the link above to read the full article. )


For those in the US that are actively showing:

Lexington, Ky. - In 2014 a new category of rules, GR 414 Prohibited Practices,  was introduced to the USEF Rule Book with an effective date of December 1, 2013. Implementation of this rule affected changes to the administration of the following quantitatively restricted therapeutic medications in competition:

* Dexamethasone (Azium®)*  - maximum 24 hour dose has been decreased from 20milligrams/1000lb horse to 10milligrams/1000lb horse and must be administered in accordance with GR414.

* Ketoprofen (Ketofen®) - maximum 24 hour dose 1.0 gram/1000lb horse remains the same, however it must NOT be administered within 12 hours prior to competition.

* Methocarbamol (Robaxin®) - maximum 24 hour dose 5.0 grams/1000lb horse remains the same, however must NOT be administered within 12 hours prior to competition.
In the first half of 2014, to facilitate a compliance transition and to educate competitors regarding the appropriate therapeutic use of these medications in competition, the Chair of the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Committee (with the approval of the USEF Hearing Committee) issued a warning to the trainer if excessive levels of methocarbamol or dexamethasone were detected.

However, please be advised that going forward, any sample taken on July 1, 2014 or after that results in a positive finding for excessive methocarbamol or dexamethasone  will be adjudicated through the normal regulatory process which may result in issuing a penalty.

The full article can be read at the link above.


Blake’s incisions (neurectomy)


Oblivious seagull comes in second in horse race. [bbc]


Oblivious seagull comes in second in horse race. [bbc]

(via hebrideansky)


Horse Howl




A new genetic test for a form of dwarfism in miniature horses is now available from the University of Kentucky’s Animal Genetic Testing and Research Laboratory.

The test identifies carriers of four mutations in the aggrecan gene, which contains proteins critical to the development of cartilage structures. The mutations may result in a range of physical issues, including respiratory problems, oral malformations and abnormal bone growth. 

Researchers say carriers of the mutated gene may not exhibit any outwards signs, but when two carriers are mated, the result can be a foal affected with any combination of the genes, some of which are lethal.

The new test does not identify all forms of dwarfism in Miniature Horses or forms found in other breeds. For more information about the test, visit the laboratory’s website or call 859-218-1193.

Article from Equus magazine

If people refuse to stop breeding horses with the gene there is no excuse not to have your breeding stock tested so dwarf foals won’t be produced. Horses with the gene should never be bred, but realistically there are people who don’t care, and at least this test might make people more aware of what’s in their stock so crossing of two carriers can be avoided. 

This article on TheHorse.com has some interesting info and it was written with info provided by Kathryn Graves, PhD, assistant clinical professor and director of the University of Kentucky A Genetic Testing and Research Laboratory, in case you want confirmation of that info.