Showing posts from 2006

EHV-1 Update Dec 26,2006

It now looks like the current outbreak in So. florida has been very well contained. The thoughts of the FAEP and the State veterinarian is that the Horse Show season will go forth in January. Here is an updated response from the recent meeting.
Wellington Equine Herpes Outbreak Update A meeting of all the area veterinarians was held last night chaired by Dr. Mike Short from the State of Florida Dept of Agriculture. Here is a synopsis of the current situation in the State of Florida according to his data:4 deaths associated with this outbreak9 cases with neurological symptoms8 confirmed positive cases 8 premises currently under quarantine Good feedback from all the veterinarians was shared regarding the criteria for dealing with some fevers of unknown origin and proper test sampling techniques. It is recommended that when testing we always sample both the nasal swabs and plasma buffy coat for PCR. Virus isolation is not recommended. We also now have access to testing labs at Michigan S…

EHV-1 Outbreak-----Update Dec 20, 2006

Here is the current update on the situation in Wellington from the FAEP (Florida Association of Equine Practioners ). The FAEP , Univ of Fla and the State Veterinarians have done an outstanding job.

A conference call was held last night between officials from the State of Florida and veterinarians from south, central and north central Florida.Wellington has had no new cases of neurological disease since the last update on 12.16.2006. There is one neurological horse in Jupiter farms which became symptomatic on 12.18.2006, and one neurologic horse in Ocala which is confirmed positive. The confirmed positive cases and neurological cases currently being treated (with lab tests still pending), totals eleven. Of those eleven are included one confirmed positive dead horse and four horses which had only fevers and no neurologic symptoms. Another dead horse which had symptoms consistent with the severe neurologic for…

Equine Herpes Virus Outbreak

For those who have not "herd" through the horseshow telegraph ....there has been an outbreak of neurologic herpes virus in South Florida (Wellington ). I have touched on this topic in the past but felt it was important to put up some current data and dispel some of the rumors. NeurologicEHV-1 virus (Rhinopneumonitis), the one that causes respiratory disease and abortions in mares, is the virus that causes the neurologic form. It is one of the typical vaccines we give ( flu/rhino). The respiratory tract is the natural portal of entry for EHV-1 and EHV-4, and the respiratory mucosal epithelium is the primary target tissue for infection [2,28,29]. Respiratory infection is acquired by close physical contact with another horse that is actively shedding infectious virus into its respiratory secretions. Virus-laden droplets generated by forced, high-velocity expirations through the airways (snorting) can produce infective aerosols capable of traveling over short distances (betwee…

A memorable Surfin Trip

This past Friday I set up a trip to Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World. Yes, they let you surf there. You can rent the park either before or after they close and jack up a performance wave that is about head high. I had 10 friends lined up for a 5pm start. Beth,myself and surf bud Thompy Taylor were going down in my truck with 3 longboards straped down on the back. Remember this was Friday....the coldest/windiest day so far this year. As we are going over the Buckman bridge we start getting some serious wind and the boards start bobbing up and down in the back. I started slowing down...but to late. The tip of my 9-5 McTavish surftech lifts up and the fact that I'm doing 70mph stands it on end and rips it off the rack sending it cartwheeling down I-295. I watch in horror as it tumbles end over end narrowly missing a doughnut truck and two buddies in the truck behind us. It eventually skids to a stop in the emergency lane so I pull over and run back up the bridge to pick up the pieces. …

The best Inventions of the past 50 years

Popular Mechanics online recently assembled a panel to decide the best inventions over the last 50 years. I was quite amazed with which ones they chose or didn't choose, as well as when they were invented. Here they are.....go to the link and see the full list.
It marks the official end of humanity's struggle for survival and the beginning of its quest for a really relaxing afternoon. The first wireless remote, designed by Zenith's Eugene Polley, is essentially a flashlight. When Zenith discovers that direct sunlight also can change channels on the remote-receptive TVs, the company comes out with a model that uses ultrasound; it lasts into the 1980s, to the chagrin of many a family dog. The industry then switches to infrared.1955--MICROWAVE OVEN
In 1945 Raytheon's Percy Spencer stands in front of a magnetron (the power tube of radar) and feels a candy bar start to melt in his pocket: He is intrigued. When he places popcorn kernels in front of the …

Oldest Scotch Whisky for sale-Glenavon

For those that don't understand the intricacies of single malt whiskys this probably won't make much sense, but the is a bottle of scotch that will go on auction this month that is 150 years old. This bottle is from the distillery "Glenavon" which closed in 1858 and is projected to sell for at least $20,000 ( thats about $600 a dram).
"Bonhams is maintaining client confidentiality, but said the woman remembers the bottle being in her grandmother's home in the 1920s. The bottle is slightly smaller than the familiar 75cl and made from olive-green glass. The liquid appears to be pale gold and the level is surprisingly high for such an old bottle - almost to the neck - said Bonhams. The Glenavon Distillery was situated at Ballindalloch in Speyside where the River Avon meets the River Spey. It was recorded as operating in 1851 and licensed to a John G Smith in 1852. John Gordon Smith was the son of George Smith, founder of the nearby Glenlivet Distillery, and he …


This is one disease that causes a great deal of fear and confusion among horse owners and veterinarians. This Neurologic disease is causes by a protozoan parasite that migrates from the intestinal tract to the brain or spinal cord. It is normally found in the feces of possums and armadillos and when they defecate on pastures where horses graze ....they can become exposed.
A very high number of horses are seropositive in the US (about 60% in Florida) but few develop clinical disease. EPM typically has three characteristics 1. Ataxia 2. Atrophy 3. Asymmetry. In other words 1.they stumble 2. have muscle wasting 3. uneven distribution. As the organism replicates in the neural tissue more nerve cells and fibers are damaged causing the neurologic signs.
A complete neurologic exam by a skilled Internist is needed to arrive at a neuroanatomic diagnosis. Once the location of the injury is found then you can better determine the cause. Many neurologic diseases can look like EPM and vice versa so…

Gallium nitrate and Tildren

I've had some response to a post about 3rd world medicine and Holistics. Leave it to me to torque everybody off. It appears that there are quite a few "believers" in Gallium as a treatment for navicular disease. Gallium and a related compound Tildren work be reducing blood calcium levels.
With tildren there have been some nasty side effects discussed on the ACVIM (internal medicine) list serve. Hypercalcemia is a frequent complication associated with certain cancers and gallium has been shown to be an effective treatment for these patients, however, hypercalcemia has never been assciated with navicular syndrome. Why advise the use of a medication for a condition that does not occur. The main proponent for gallium use in the horse is Dr Eby who promotes through his website . He also is big on the use of zinc lozenges for treating colds and also thinks that the condition is brought on by aluminum toxicity. With the aluminum being absorbed through the foot from the shoe. …

KMARTO and other Fine Wines

Well it appears that there are others that have actually seen "KMARTO" the fine aperitif brought to you by your local K-Mart vintner. I wrote some time ago about finding 2 bottles in a center isle
display of a K-mart in Gainesville Fla. in the 1970's. My plan was to send them to Johnny Carson since he was hitting them pretty hard at the time. Lost to time, these valuable pieces of history were found stored in the attic of the old homestead ( just imagine the temperature variations, I'm sure it aged well.....NOT). So here is a photo of the one surviving bottle, the Lambrusco. The Bianco didn't fair so well. I wonder if Target has a vineyard.

Cloning Horses----it was bound to happen

I posted some time back about the potential for cloning in the Horse industry. I think there is alot of risk for abuse if we don't proceed with caution. There is now a report of another equine clone....this one commercial. Barrel racer Charmayne James who became the first "million dollar" cowgirl riding "Scamper" to an unprecedented 10 world championships had him cloned. While equine cloning has been done successfully at Texas A&M this is the first done by a private corporation.
She paid the Austin based ViaGen Inc. $150,000 to clone Scamper. In the cloning process genetic material is extracted from the donor cell and place in a recipient egg that has had it's genetic material removed. the egg is then implanted in a fertile mare which carries it to term. In this case , it took only four attempts to achieve conception. Having spent many years working with broodmares I find this remarkable. The foal was born Aug 8th and was named "Clayton". The…


There was an unusual and tragic case in Indiana this month. A young girl bitten by a bat in "July" died from rabies 3 months later. While most of the animal cases of rabies are Raccoon rabies, most human cases are bat rabies . (there are 5 rabies variants, raccoon,bat, skunk, fox and dog) .
In virtually all cases rabies is fatal with only a few patients surviving. I have personally been exposed to 2 rabies cases in horses while a resident and had to be re-vaccinated at that time.
There was a serious outbreak of rabies in Iran of all places awhile back ( that would be a hard diagnosis....a rabid Iranian, how could you tell) Anyway...there was a bus where a rabid dog got on board and bit almost everybody. In that case they treated half of the people with gammaglobulin and vaccine and the other half with just wound washing. The result....nobody got rabies. Would I still get a booster if exposed bet I would. It's just to bad a bug to take lightly. With the horses…

A New West Nile Vaccine

Intervet has just released a new vaccine for West Nile Virus called "Prevenile". This is unique in that it uses a chimera technology . A recent article is available in "the Horse". (PreveNile is based on ChimeriVax technology from Acambis, a leading biotechnology company specializing in the discovery, development and manufacturing of human vaccines to prevent and treat infectious diseases such as WNV, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and smallpox. "This is the same technology being tested for the first-ever human WNV vaccine, which is currently in Phase II research trials," says Jahde. "The ChimeriVax technology combines two similar flaviviruses (yellow fever--YF, and WNV) into one, creating a chimera vaccine." PreveNile is a WN-YF chimera vaccine created by replacing the structural genes of the attenuated human yellow fever (YF-17D) vaccine with the structural genes of WNV. The YF-17D human vaccine is a safe, highly effective, well-tolerated, a…

Whats causing those stings?

Over the last several years there have been reports of serious jellyfish stings here in North Florida. Many have assumed that these were due to Portugese Man-o-War even though these easily identifiable jellyfish were not seen. It is highly likely that these were the result of a species of "Box Jellyfish"(cubozoan) which cause a severe sting that frequently leaves blisters and oozing wounds that take a long time to heal (you know if it's happened to you). These have been found in the caribbean , indo-pacific and recently South Florida but now appear to be in North Florida as well. I saw one of these filthy buggers last year ( and thats hard to do). They are small, about 2-4 cm wide, and clear with a slight brown peppering visible within. They look like a crystal clear cellophane box. They have 4 tenticles that can reach 150 cm and usually move about a meter off the bottom trailing their tenticles over the sand. The truely unique feature of the cubozoan jellyfish is that…

My Class Reunion

Well, it's that time of year again......class reunion time. Our Vet School class (1986) has every 5 years done a reunion cruise. We went this year on The Sovereign of the Seas to the Bahamas. (Photo link)The home of white sandy beaches, the Straw market and way to many sweaty people trying to braid any hair on your body. Needless to say ...I was a challenge. We had quite a few members from our class come back from all over the U.S. . It always amazes me how little people change, or to be more realistic how bad my memory is. Most people dred reunions, except this group. We had a truely close class that worked well together and played REALLY hard. Volleyball at the Ag pavillion, Block seating at the Gator games, Beer fests at "The Red Lion, "the Purple Porpoise and Nichols alley. From all we did in the islands it was obvious that nothing has changed. Theres one thing to know about Nassau....get out of there, take a cab or boat to another part of the island and your trip w…

The St. Louis Zoo

I was in St louis this past weekend for my wifes cousin Tim's wedding. I had the chance to tour the St Louis Zoo. It is actually a good comparison with our own Zoo here in Jacksonville . The Veterinary Hospital compares well with our own, the biggest difference is the amount of space devoted to study and Residents. I actually think the equipment is better in the Jax Zoo. The St Louis Zoo is situated on 90 acres and they do a great job of utilizing that space. The Jax Zoo has more areas that use the modern planning methods so you will see more open spaces in Jacksonville. The St Louis Zoo has been voted the # 1 Zoo in America by Zagats and I think it's close between St, Louis, San Diego and Philidelphia......with Jacksonville closing fast.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding for Iraq veterans

As you know if you've read my posts over the last year , I have a special place in my heart for those that work with Therapeutic Horseback riding. Now the "old guard" thats the 3rd Infantry Regiment from Arlington National Cemetary , are using the caisson horses to help injured soldiers
with their rehab. What a great idea. Having visited Arlington many times, I really respect the dedication of those soldiers and it must be much more uplifting to help those guys ride than to watch them be carried up that long road. MSNBC had a report on the program "The soldiers and the horses from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, are part of a pilot program at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in nearby Washington to see if troops with prosthetic legs can regain some mobility through horseback riding. The Army hospital has also experimented with other sports, such as skiing, to help amputees regain balance needed to walk again." If you have ever wo…

Hurricane Check List

The Hurricane/Disaster Preparation Seminar this past weekend was a real success with almost 100 people registered. Chris and Dale Dunn did a wonderful job organizing the event and the array of speakers was exceptional. I wanted to post the Hurricane check-list so you can use it or modify it to your needs. It was pointed out that we need to think about all potential needs for evacuation and not just Hurricane, such as wild fires, train derailments , earthquakes and get ready.
Hurricane Check ListqCheck and repair fencesqClear trees and limbsqRemove debrisqStore jumps/tables/chairsqExamine barn for loose shingles/debrisqMove trucks and trailers into large pastureqSpare fuel, store in trailer or stall, four 5 gallon cansqGet tie downs for trucks and trailersqStore feed-7 day supply-in water proof containersqStore hay under tarps in a stall off the groundqWater-15-20 gal/horse/day (fill up boats and troughs) Bleach –8 drops/gallonqHand pump for wellqGenerator 4 hp or higher (50…

A Hurricane Primer

For those that are interested there will be a Hurricane preparedness siminar on July the 8th at the Mandarin Community Center. Since the tropics are getting active I thought it would be wise to give a small self test I recently came across so you can see if you're truely ready. Get your #2 pencils out....and no cheating.

You turn on the TV or radio and hear the following warning"
“A Hurricane Warning has been issued for the coast, including the Jacksonville beaches. At 12 Noon, the center of Hurricane "Chris" was located 360 miles southeast of the first coast, and is moving toward the northwest at 15 mph. Highest sustained winds are about 100 mph. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 180 miles. On its present course, the center of the hurricane will be nea…

Mac fishin'

I was on call this weekend and had to go to Harmony Stables to treat a colic. The plus is that there is a nice pond on the farm and I could take my youngest son with some fishing gear.
After treating the sick horse...who is doing fine by the way ....Mac and I were able to spend a little time fishing. Mac was able to bring in three bass which he released.....I personally am a filet and release kinda fisherman....Mac's more of the sportsman. When you look at life through the proper lens you see little moments like this are really the main events.

ACVIM Update

I recently returned from the ACVIM (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine) meeting in Louisville Ky. One of the special aspects of this meeting are the research Abstracts. These are 15 min. presentations given back to back for several days. Each of these is a synopsis of an ongoing research project and allows us as clinicians the ability to obtain information that won't be published for almost two years. There was a great deal of information concerning EHV myeloencephalopathy
(Neurologic Rhinopneumonitis). This is the same virus that we routinely vaccinate against for viral abortion and respiratory disease. EHV (Equine Herpes Virus) has the ability , like all Herpes viruses, to move into nerve tissue and become dormant, only to show up again during times of stress( ie. horse shows, illness, when treated with steroids). It has also been determined as of late that there may be a mutated form of this virus that has a higher propensity for neural tissue. The virus has also…