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Monday, November 8, 2010

EPM Update: New Treatment and Prevention

New EPM medication and proposed prevention regime

A medication similar to Marquis (the only approved medication to treat EPM), but in a top dress pellet form will be introduced in early December. Both Marquis and this new medication(generic name diclazuril), prevent the EPM protozoa from growing and replicating. Neither actually seem to kill the EPM organism. However, the body’s own immune system can kill the protozoa once it stops multiplying. Dr. Tom Divers, of Cornell Veterinary School, presented the information at a recent seminar. Dr. Divers explained that diclazuril more easily crosses the blood brain barrier than ponazuril, the active ingredient in Marquis. Both medications have a wide margin of safety. Diclazuril has been used to treat coccidial infections in other animals. The other class of medication used to treat EPM is pyrimethamine which actually kills the EPM organism. However, there are cases where the horse gets worse when treated with the pryimethamine as the protozoa die off and there is an inflammatory response.

One of the proposals to prevent EPM disease in the horse is to kill the EPM protozoa after it enters the horse’s body but before it makes it’s way into the nervous system. It takes about 4 days from ingestion of the infective stage of EPM organism to the transformation to the stage that enters of spinal cord and brain. If treatment is given every 4 days then the organism shouldn’t be able to cause damage to the nervous system. Since the horse is a dead end host for the EPM organism (i.e. the horse can’t pass the disease on to any other animal) this treatment should not lead to resistance.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trailering Tips

Below are 2 check lists. The first list is things to check before trailering, the second is a how to respond to an accident involving a horse trailer.

Before Trailering

· Wheel bearings serviced? (service every 12 mos./ 12,000 miles, carry spare bearing)
· Tires in good condition? (look for dry rot, replace every 3-5 years regardless of mileage)
· Check tire pressure (including spares and inside tire on dual wheels).
· Hitch locked on the ball? Correct size ball?
· Safety cables/chains connected?
· Plug and secure electrical connection.
· Connect emergency breakaway system.
· Emergency breakaway battery charged?
· Test trailer lighting (brakes, turn signals, running, perimeter).
· Check/test brake controller (calibrate/adjust per manufacturer’s directions).
· Adjust trailer brakes a few times a year. (You can find instructions for adjusting the brakes on the internet. http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Adjust-RV-Trailer-Brakes&id=450898. This needs to be done from under the trailer.)
· Be sure all the brakes are working. (With long periods of not being used one or more can easily rust in the free wheeling position.)
· Check trailer flooring for cracks, rot, rust, or damage, especially under mats.
· Prior to loading horse(s), check trailer for hazards (sharp edges, loose metal or wood, insect nests, etc.)
· Leg wraps, head bumper on horse(s)?
· If tying horse to trailer, include a breakaway link on trailer end (i.e., bailing twine).
· Secure and lock all trailer doors (use snap or carabineer to prevent accidental opening).
· Headlights on? For greater safety – get noticed.
· Drive safely – allow greater braking distance, and travel at generally slower speeds.

An accident happened
· Step 1.
Stay calm. If you are hauling horses and there is an accident, the first thing you must do is to remain calm. Whether it is just a minor fender-bender or a major accident that involves a flipped truck and trailer, you must take a deep breath and think clearly.
· Step 2
Call for help. If you are injured, you need someone to help you as well as anyone else in the vehicle. Take care of yourself and any others by calling 911. If someone is injured, begin emergency procedures by assessing their vital signs, injuries and securing them so there is no further damage. If you can, move accident victims away from the truck and horse trailer. Do not move anyone who might have spinal cord injuries unless there is risk of fire or explosion.

· Step 3
Take the truck keys. Never leave the truck keys in the ignition. As soon as you exit the vehicle, take the keys with you and keep them in your pocket.
· Step 4
Check the horses. If it is a minor accident and the trailer is secured to the truck, you can easily assess the horses. More than likely they are alright, but very frightened. If the trailer is viable and the horses are not injured, leave them in the trailer. Offer hay and open all windows so they have fresh air. This is the safest thing to do until help arrives.
· Step 5
Call a veterinarian. If a horse is injured, wedged in the trailer or somehow stuck, call a vet for help. Do not attempt to unload the horse until medical help arrives, as this may exacerbate the horse's injuries. Only attempt to unload the horse if you can do so safely and there is immediate danger of fire or other unusual harm.
· Step 6
Work with authorities. As police and emergency personnel come to your aid, work with them for the best possible outcome. If they ask you to do something, do your best to comply. You can tell them about a horse's personality or give your judgment, but in the end, it is up to the authorities to take care of the situation. They are there to help, so work with them and do as they say.
· Step 7
Unload the horses. Remove the horses from the trailer to a safe area where they can graze, if possible. Now each horse can receive a medical evaluation and treatment, if necessary.