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Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Swamp Cancer" is also called Equine Pythiosis.

It's also called "Florida Leeches."

Maybe some of you already knew about this and don't need the info here. Me, I only found out about it today. So, for all of you that don't know about it, here is what I have found out.

Fungal-like infection causing cutaneous or subcutaneous, gastrointestinal, respiratory or multisystemic disease in many species of animals including humans. Horses are most commonly infected.

The extremely rapid rate of growth of these lesions and the generally fatal outcome in these cases makes remembering this disease crucial for equine practitioners since early recognition and appropriate treatment are the only hope for survival for infected horses.

Florida is responsible for 60 percent of recorded infections. "Ninety-nine percent of the cases in horses are dermal infections that start with a break in the skin."

Typically begins as a small irritated area usually on the distal limb of a horse. This may be initially thought to be a sting, bite or small puncture, and the mild-looking lesion usually is not a cause of concern. Owners will generally begin cleaning the area and treating it with various topical antibiotic or anti-inflammatory creams. But within a few days, the lesion is markedly larger, red and irritated. It may also begin to be pruritic with the horse rubbing or even biting at the lesion. Veterinary attention is sought at this point.

Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapy is initiated at this stage, but the lesion continues to grow. It is tumor-like now, and serum freely leaks from the raw, irritated surface. Aggregates of necrotic cells form in the lesion, producing yellow to grey, pea-sized, gritty, coral-like bodies called kunkers. Although these structures are not specific to pythiosis, their presence is evidence enough to make one highly suspicious of fungal infection.

The lesion will continue to grow and eventually erode ligaments, tendons and bone and lead to death in 95 percent of cases within six months. This rapid tissue destruction is solely the result of a massive allergic response to the presence of fungal hypheal elements on the part of the horse. T2 helper cells drive this reaction, and mast cells and eosinophils dominate the cellular population. Some horses (about 5 percent) are able to switch to a T1 helper cell response that effectively kills the organism and switches to a lymphocyte and monocyte population that promotes healing.

Pan American Veterinary Labs has developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that is specific for the presence of pythiosis fungal elements and has greatly helped in the recognition of these cases. A simple blood sample is evaluated, and the disease can be confirmed. This testing can also recognize the presence of Lagenidium (three cases in horses have been confirmed so far.

"We have developed a 'vaccine' to pythiosis that can be used in confirmed cases, and this immunotherapeutic product works by helping the horse modulate the change from T2 helper to T1 helper cell response.

This product has been shown to have an almost 100 percent cure rate for acute cases (< 15 days) but is less effective in chronic cases (> 60 days). The overall rate of cure is 75 percent for all cases, strongly suggesting that early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to success.

Information from:
Kenneth Macella, DVM (Canton, GA)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Poisonous Pasture Weeds for your Horse





You can E-Mail me at and I will e-mail you a copy in PDF format.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Way to Make Your Life Easier - AZZ Cardfile

Between your personal life and owning a business keeping up with everything can get to be a real pain in the rear.
I found this AWESOME program yesterday that is a FREE download that you will love.

Everyone that owns horses knows how much trouble it is keeping up with each individual horse and their info. It's okay if you only have one or two. If you have 20 of them paperwork can drive you crazy.

In 24 hours with this program I created a perfect way to keep us with it all. The program is sort of like the old cardfile program that came with windows. But it offers so much more in the way of using it.

I am still working on it but it will have emergency numbers for anyone I need if a horse is sick or hurt. Each horse will be listed with photo, and all info on the horse. I made a template so I don't have to add everything each time, just use the template.

This is what it looked like when I first started.

You can see on the left panel that I also have a template so I don't have to type everything each time. There is a card with my vet, farrier, dentist, chiropractor and other important numbers on it. I also made a card with all the medicines and medical supplies I keep on hand for the horses. And, the BEST, is each horse has it's own card.

Here is what the template looks like, although I may add to it as I think of what I want on it.

Here is what the horse card looks like for Cash.

I've also made one for my business contacts that come to me over and over again. I don't have to ask them all the usual questions because I already have the info at my fingertips and don't have to go through a years worth of appointments to find it.

Go visit their website and see all the ideas they give you for keeping up with anything and everything. They give you free downloads to get started on recipes, crafts, home, entertainment, educational and more. Once you see all the things you can do to make life easier you will be downloading the program. I love it. You will to. Free Sample Cards

Go to the home page to Download the program FREE AZZ Cardfile

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Equine COPD

On September 29, 2014 the vet diagnosed "Cash" with COPD.  I didn't know much about it except it was not curable and every year your horse got worse and eventually you had to put them down so they didn't suffer.  I could not imagine having this happen to my baby so I started some serious research on it.

COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, also known as "heaves" and RAO, Recurrent Airway Obstruction. 

Equine lung disease similar to human asthma.   It's caused by an allergic response to the particles in hay dust.   Four to six hours after a COPD horse is exposed to hay dust the airways become inflamed. It causes the small airways to constrict (get smaller in diameter) making it harder for the horse to breathe.   There is also a summer form of COPD which is more difficult to treat as it is thought that horses are allergic to airborne pollens.  This is known as Summer Pasture Associated Pulmonary Disease.

What Happens
Obstruction of airflow in both the large and, especially, small airways. This is due to spasm of the smooth muscle (bronchospasm) in the larger airways, and bronchospasm, inflammation and the accumulation of mucus in the small airways. 
1.  reduced exercise tolerance
2.  dry cough
3.  flared notrils
4.  increased respiratory rate
5.  "heave line" abdominal muscles becomes overdeveloped 

When mold spores, pollens, mites, or other particles are inhaled, the respiratory lining cells secrete mucus to try to lift and discharge the particles, thus stimulating the horse to blow them out (snort) or cough.   The mucous hardens and shrinks the airway even more if the horse's cough doesn't bring it up and out.

There are 3 broad types of medications for treatment:
1.  anti-inflammatories - used to suppress the inflammation
2.  bronchodilators - opens up constricted airways (short term)
3.  expectorant - helps unplug the airways, loosening up the mucous

None of these are cures.  They only help with the symptoms by relaxing the airway muscle, so that breathing is easier and helping to reduce the inflammation.

Because the drugs have to be given long term there are horrible side effects from most of them. Laminitis, colic, increased heart rate and they suppress the immune system making the horse susceptible to viruses and other diseases.   

Free radicals and oxidative stress 
A free radical is a molecule or atom that has one or more unpaired electrons. It is unstable and tries to attract electrons from other molecules to pair up with these. This can start a chain reaction with increasing amounts of free radicals being released.  If the production and removal of these is not controlled, tissue damage may occur leading to inflammation. This is known as ‘oxidative stress’ and may be an important factor in the development of RAO. In a normal horse, the production of free radicals is controlled and those produced are ‘neutralised’ by well-developed antioxidant defence mechanisms. Experimental work has shown that the major antioxidant in the fluid lining of the lungs is ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and horses suffering from RAO or airway inflammation often have reduced levels.

What You Can Do & Products You Can Try

Antioxidant supplementation
Antioxidants are sometimes known as ‘free radical scavengers’ and they are able to neutralize free radicals.  Horses and ponies suffering from RAO often have low natural antioxidant defences. Dietary supplementation with a balanced antioxidant mix has been shown to improve lung function and reduce inflammation in horses with RAO. Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant in the fluid lining of the lungs.

 1.  Potties Cough Mixture - expectorant action, expels excess mucous, relieves inflamed mucous    membranes, relieves dry cough.
 2.  Organic Iodine Dextrose - Iodine is an anti-inflammatory and expectorant that assists in loosening phelgm, making it easier for the horse to cough.  Adding 1 tablespoon of iodine to the horse’s evening grain for 21 days will make the cough go away.  
 3.  MSMGround Flax Seed and Bentonite Clay together work wonders! This great formula is what many are calling the ‘Big 3’ for COPD and other related respiratory problems.
 4.  Equistro Secreta Pro Max - Contains 20 selected herbs as well as vitamins A, C and E. Can be used long term.
 5.  Sputolysin Powder -

Natural Herb Remedies
1.  Chickweed - soothing inflamed tissue and organs, good for soothing both the gastrointestinal tract and the pulmonary organs, lungs, bronchials.
2.  Meadowsweet - a brilliant anti-inflammatory.
3.  Parsley - contains three times the potency of C than citrus juices.

I can at this point tell you that my vet ordered me the Sputolysin.  You get enough for 7 days for $115.  It says that you can give it for up to 3 weeks. It works on some horses and not others.  After 3 days of giving it to my horse he had his energy back, was not coughing and no longer had the flared nostrils.  He was on the product from November 19th to November 25, 2014.  Today is January 13, 2015 and there is still no coughing or flared nostrils.

I hope this helps so that you are not giving your horse all the drugs with side effects.  Anyone that has other information please leave comments.  I think everyone who has a horse with COPD is trying to find answers that will actually help the horse.