Tuesday, December 26, 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 outbreak

9 cases with neurological symptoms

8 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 State and Cornell University.

All the veterinarians were comfortable with the fact that it appears this outbreak is contained to the areas currently under quarantine. They also were in favor of recommending to clients not yet here, that shipments of horses into Wellington should be safe after Christmas. The horse shows should be able to safely begin after the first of the year. These recommendations could change if new cases with a high or dangerous risk are found outside the quarantine areas.

There have been NO new confirmed positive cases of EHV-1 in Wellington outside of the current quarantine areas. A Positive test result has come back on one horse in the Palm Beach Equine Clinic quarantine area. This horse has been isolated since 12.14.06.

A horses at the Equine Sports Complex which first developed a fever on 12.16.2006, (associated with the positive case currently at Reid and Associates quarantine area), became acutely neurologic and died on 12.21 2006. The tests results are expected back for this horse in a day or two.

The S&L or Innisfree barn on Southfields road is now under State quarantine.

There are several horses with fevers of unknown origin which are being isolated and have been tested for the virus. We are waiting for these results and will inform everyone should any of these come back positive.

Everyone is doing a very good job of following the biosecurity measures previously discussed. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to call your veterinarian ASAP.

Keep in mind also that this virus requires a 35-45 foot area or distance to prevent its spread through the air. It cannot travel long distances on the wind!

I think we should continue to watch for any fever of unknown origin and report anything unusual, but we should be fine as long as we follow good management.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

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 form of this disease, yet was not tested, is also included in the eleven. One of the eleven horses is a positive neurologic horse from the Ocala area which is doing well as of 12.19.2006. This number also includes one neurologic case in Jupiter farms for which the test results are expected back from the Kentucky Diagnostic lab on 12.21.2006. This number does not include any cases outside the state of Florida.

Special thanks have to go out to all those veterinarians, both from Wellington and the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for all their help and guidance in the handling of this outbreak. Wellington would also like to thank the official veterinarians from the State of Florida who have been here also working to contain this outbreak.

All horse owners need also to be commended for their patience and compliance with the restrictions and protocols imposed on Wellington. We typically see fevers of unknown origin and also some post vaccination fevers. Most of these are scattered and, for horses that are have no link to EHV-1 confirmed horses are unlikely to be EHV-1 cases. As many of you already know, horses can have increased fevers for many other reasons. The key is link to confirmed cases. If your horse has not had contacted with cases of EHV-1, there is no reason to assume that it is EHV-1. Contact your respective veterinaian accordingly.

There are State quarantines now imposed on the following locations and isolation areas: JN and Company barn, the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex and exercise track, and the isolation areas at Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Reid and Associates and Dr. Haynes Stevens Equine Services facility.

Future updates will follow as new and relevant information becomes available

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

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 (between box stalls, fenced paddocks, etc). The efficiency of aerosol transmission and the consequent capacity for rapid spread of herpesvirus infections are generally less than those exhibited by equine influenza virus. EHV-1 is a herpes virus and like most herpes it can reside in the patients neural tissue for VERY long periods of time to recrudesce or come out during periods of stress. The latent carrier state is critically important to the maintenance and spread of EHV-1 and EHV-4 and to their success as widespread, deeply entrenched pathogens of the horse. Because herpesvirus latency is a reversible state, the latent virus genome may become reactivated to regain its full transcriptional activity with a consequent production of infectious virus. Periodic reactivation of latent EHV-1 and EHV-4 is associated with episodes of stress or corticosteroid administration [26,27]. The stimuli for herpesvirus reactivation are diverse and include surgery, boarding, parturition, prolonged transport, weaning, lactation, inclement weather, and social disruption. Reactivation of the latent herpesviruses may occur in the absence of concurrent clinical signs. Respiratory tract shedding from carrier horses in which latent virus has been reactivated has been documented, and shedding of reactivated virus into the respiratory mucus is often not accompanied by clinical signs [24]. Dr Long at the Univ of Fla recently posted some detailed info through the UF website with details for handling a suspected problem.You will find it and some links at the bottom of this post. The disease are probably a consequence of an infection of the endothelia of small blood vessels, which results in vasculitis and reactive thrombosis. The thrombosis in turn causes impaired microcirculation in affected areas, including oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) and finally neuronal death and neurologic disease. The big problem really,is should we vaccinate in the face of an infection or not. A study in Calif. found vaccinated horses were more likely to develop the neurologic form. However,one recent study from Cornell showed that the Modified live vaccine "Rhinomune" protected against the intra-nasal challenge ,whereas the killed vaccine did not. The vaccine was given in 2 doses 4 weeks prior to the challenge. Since you don't know when your horse might have been exposed this could pose a problem. My current thought on this is as follows. 1. vaccinate 2-3 times yearly with the Mod. Live vaccine. 2. practice good farm hygiene and isolation 3. avoid high risk areas. ( show grounds with a questionable history).
Since we haven't seen EHV-1 in this area this year and if none of your stablemates have been in South Florida, and your horse was appropriately vaccinated this summer,then we should be OK.
Watch for any nasal discharge or horses with a fever and isolate them accordingly and contact us. Read the following info closely and apply the information to your farm as best as possible.

Neurological EHV-1

Outbreak Information

Biosecurity Guidelines

THESE GUIDELINES are adopted from


Ask your veterinarian to download instructions in Spanish from this website!


Remember that an important rule out for neurological disease is rabies; consider neurological horses as rabies suspects

  1. Assign specific individuals to care for affected horses
  2. If this is not possible, work on healthy, exposed, then sick horses last
  3. Use personal protection equipment: gloves, booties, tyvek suit (http://www.galeton.com/tyveksuit.asp)
  4. After handling sick horse: dispose of covering or clothing in lidded trash receptacle. If not disposable, place in container and wash daily with laundry detergent, fully dry.
  5. Wash hands under running water with soap for 15 seconds. Follow up with 62% ethyl alcohol hand gel or foam disinfectant. The latter can be used in place of hand washing.
  6. Caretakers should ideally be provided a changing area so clothing are not worn elsewhere if tyvek suits are not available.

Management Practices:

1. Post restricted access signs in English and Spanish at all perimeter access points.

2. Footbaths and hand sanitizers should be placed at all primary perimeter access points. Separate footwear to isolation barns is highly recommended.

3. Prevent all contact between horses. Cover all mesh with solid barriers consisting of plywood/plastic.

4. Do not allow horses to share water sources; clean buckets daily. Do not submerge hoses in water buckets.

5. Manure and bedding should not be placed in open air. Carts and wheelbarrows should be decontaminated between stalls or separate containers should be used. Do not spread manure on pastures.

6. Do not share equipment. Any shared equipment should be scrubbed and disinfected between use.

7. Any cloth materials should be laundered and dried completely.

8. Do not share medications between horses. Each horses has separate equipment for oral medications. ALWAYS use new needles and syringes for injectables. Wash hands after treating each horse.

Facilities and Trucks

1. Non-porous buildings are highly desirable for quarantine and management.

2. For cleaning wet down all surfaces without spraying. Scrub with brush and powdered laundry detergent or Dawn dish detergent. Let stand under soap for 10 minutes. Rinse with running water-no spray. Squeegee, allow to dry. Clean all aisles and common areas twice daily.

3. Perform same cleaning in wooded barns, however spend extra time removing debris and allow wood to completely dry. Painting wood is a good alternative for sealing wood surfaces.

4. Clean all trailers in same fashion between all loads.

Neurological EHV-1

Outbreak Information

Clinical Signs/Testing

Websites for Information





Contact Information:

Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services; Dr. Michael Short 850-410-0900

Veterinarians with suspect cases of EHV-1 must report to FDACS immediately

Incubation Period: 1 to 10 days, primarily 1-3 days

Viral Shedding: 7-10 days, can be up to 28 days from onset of signs in some instances

Transmission: 1) nose to nose contact 2) people through contamination of hands and equipment 3) inanimate objects such as water buckets, bits, clippers, etc, 4) aborted placenta and fetal tissues.

Neurological horses are capable of shedding high amounts of virus

Environmental Contamination: Herpesviruses are easily inactivated with quaternary ammonium compounds (http://www.answers.com/topic/quaternary-ammonium-compound) or bleach (10%). Hand washing and soap/water washing of equipment will minimize contamination. However, without this, herpesviruses can persist in the environment for a week and sometimes for up to 30 days.

Horses can be clinically normal and still shed virus!

Clinical Signs:

Respiratory signs may be minimal and of short duration.

Increased rectal temperature may be the only clinical sign

Horses can have two fever spikes

The initial rise in rectal temperature is usually mild-101.5 to 102.5°F

After the initial temperature rise, which may be missed, the horse can either be clinical normal, develop respiratory signs of nasal discharge, increased temperature (> 102.5), minimal coughing, can abort if pregnant, or, in a small number of cases develop neurological signs.

Neurological signs: Horses become ataxic (incoordination), inability to empty bladder, and weakness of the tail. Some horses will become completely paralyzed; the prognosis for these horses is poor. In a small number of cases, horses can show abnormal mentation and develop cranial nerve signs. Most horses become mildly to moderately neurologic and stabilize rapidly. The neurologic signs can persist but most horses are normal by 3 to 6 months after onset of clinical signs.

Abortion: pregnant horses can experience spontaneous abortion between 7 days and several months after exposure. The mare will exhibit limited initial signs.


UPON onset of clinical signs (temperature), a nasal swab and a blood sample (purple top tube) should be performed. Nasal shedding can be of short duration.

At this time, the most rapid testing is by PCR.


The test is EHV-1/EHV-4 PCR

Send samples on ice packs (no wet ice!) to:

Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center 859-253-0571

1490 Bull Lea Road

P.O. Box 141125

Lexington, KY 40512-4125

Sunday, December 10, 2006

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. Remember this is the Buckman bridge....a certified NASCAR training site. I get to the board and pick up the board bag and shake it...no rattle, thats a good sign I'm thinking. The wind has to be 30mph up on the top of the span and I have to carry the board back down the bridge next to the concrete retaining wall so the wind doesn't lift us both up and over the the edge into the river. Did I mention just how high up that bridge is . We muscle the board back into the truck and exit the pits at full speed to merge into traffic. I don't have time to go back and get my other board so we just drive on. When we get to the Goon in Orlando my brother-in-law Robert video's the opening of the really beat upboard bag. Amazingly , there is not a scratch or ding on the board, just a ground flat edge on the cutaway fin. I can't believe it. We meet up with Doug Dumont the head guy at the Goon and he set us up. The pool was heated to about 80 degrees and they put a 600,000,000 btu heater blowing on us. We had 100 wave in 3 hours, doing the center peak wave we had 2 guys on each wave so we didn't have to wait to long between rides. Beth was shooting the video from the point and was the real star because she about froze in the wind.
All in all it was a great trip, even with such a rough start. I'm now completely sold on surftechs (epoxy/not fiberglass) my Yater spoon fiberglass board would have been a box of cracker jacks after that trip.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

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.

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 magnetron, the kernels explode all over the lab. Ten years later Spencer patents a "radar range" that cooks with high-frequency radio waves; that same year, the Tappan Stove Co. introduces the first home microwave model.

Enovid, a drug the FDA approves for menstrual disorders, comes with a warning: The mixture of synthetic progesterone and estrogen also prevents ovulation. Two years later, more than half a million American women are taking Enovid--and not all of them have cramps. In 1960 the FDA approves Enovid for use as the first oral contraceptive.

The Boeing 707-120 debuts as the world's first successful commercial jet airliner, ushering in the era of accessible mass air travel. The four-engine plane carries 181 passengers and cruises at 600 mph for up to 5280 miles on a full tank. The first commercial jet flight takes off from New York and lands in Paris; domestic service soon connects New York and Los Angeles.

There's a reason old windowpanes distort everything: They were made by rapidly squeezing a sheet of red-hot glass between two hot rollers, which produced a cheap but uneven pane. British engineer Alastair Pilkington revolutionizes the process by floating molten glass on a bath of molten tin--by nature, completely flat. The first factory to produce usable float glass opens in 1959; an estimated 90 percent of plate glass is still produced this way.

Black and Decker releases its first cordless drill, but designers can't coax more than 20 watts from its NiCd batteries. Instead, they strive for efficiency, modifying gear ratios and using better materials. The revolutionary result puts new power in the hands of DIYers and--thanks to a NASA contract--the gloves of astronauts.

The Unimate, the first programmable industrial robot, is installed on a General Motors assembly line in New Jersey. Conceived by George C. Devol Jr. to move and fetch things, the invention gets a lukewarm reception in the United States. Japanese manufacturers love it and, after licensing the design in 1968, go on to dominate the global market for industrial robots.

Telstar is launched as the first "active" communications satellite--active as in amplifying and retransmitting incoming signals, rather than passively bouncing them back to Earth. Telstar makes real a 1945 concept by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, who envisioned a global communications network based on geosynchronous satellites. Two weeks after Telstar's debut, President Kennedy holds a press conference in Washington, D.C., that is broadcast live across the Atlantic.

Working as a consultant for General Electric, Nick Holonyak develops the light-emitting diode (LED), which provides a simple and inexpensive way for computers to convey information. From their humble beginnings in portable calculators, LEDs spread from the red light that indicates coffee is brewing to the 290-ft.-tall Reuters billboard in Times Square.

Widespread use of remotely piloted aircraft begins during the Vietnam War with deployment of 1000 AQM-34 Ryan Firebees. The first model of these 29-ft.-long planes was developed in just 90 days in 1962. AQM-34s go on to fly more than 34,000 surveillance missions. Their success leads to the eventual development of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles widely used today.

Robert Moog develops the first electronic synthesizer to make the leap from machine to musical instrument. Moog's device not only generates better sounds than other synthesizers, it can be controlled by a keyboard rather than by punch cards. The subsequent acceptance of electronic music is a crucial step in developing audio technology for computers, cellphones and stereos.

The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines releases a semi-dwarf, high-yield Indica variety that, in conjunction with high-yield wheat, ushers in the Green Revolution. Indica rice thrives in tropical regions of Asia and South America, raising worldwide production more than 20 percent by 1970.

Randolph Smith and Kenneth House patent a battery-powered smoke detector for home use. Later models rely on perhaps the cheapest nuclear technology you can own: a chunk of americium-241. The element's radioactive particles generate a small electric current. If smoke enters the chamber it disrupts the current, triggering an alarm.

Bell Labs' George Smith and Willard Boyle invent a charge-coupled device (CCD) that can measure light arriving at a rate of just one photon per minute. Smith and Boyle's apparatus allows extremely faint images to be recorded, which is very useful in astronomy. Today, its most noticeable impact is in digital cameras, which rely on CCD arrays containing millions of pixels.

James Russell, a scientist with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, invents the first digital-to-optical recording and playback system, in which sounds are represented by a string of 0s and 1s and a laser reads the binary patterns etched on a photosensitive platter. Russell isn't able to convince the music industry to adopt his invention, but 20 years later, Time Warner and other CD manufacturers pay a $30 million patent infringement settlement to Russell's former employer, the Optical Recording Co.

Bill Bowerman, the track coach at the University of Oregon, sacrifices breakfast for peak performance when he pours rubber into his wife's waffle iron, forming lightweight soles for his athletes' running shoes. Three years later, Bowerman's company, Nike, introduces the Waffle Trainer, which is an instant hit.

Chrysler paves the way for the era of electronic--rather than mechanical--advances in automobiles with the electronic ignition. It leads to electronic control of ignition timing and fuel metering, harbingers of more sophisticated systems to come. Today, these include electronic control transmission shift points, antilock brakes, traction control systems, steering and airbag deployment.

Everyone agrees that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a brilliant invention--but no one agrees on who invented it. The physical effect that MRIs rely on--nuclear magnetic resonance--earns various scientists Nobel Prizes for physics in 1944 and 1952. Many believe that Raymond Damadian establishes the machine's medical merit in 1973, when he first uses magnetic resonance to discern healthy tissue from cancer. Yet, in 2003, the Nobel Prize for medicine goes to Peter Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield for their "seminal discoveries." The topic of who is the worthiest candidate remains hotly debated.

The first satellite in the modern Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS) is launched. (The GPS's precursor, TRANSIT, was developed in the early 1960s to guide nuclear subs.) It is not until the year 2000, though, that President Clinton grants nonmilitary users access to an unscrambled GPS signal. Now, cheap, handheld GPS units can determine a person's location to within 3 yards.

By moving the needle of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) across a surface and monitoring the electric current that flows through it, scientists can map a surface to the level of single atoms. The STM is so precise that it not only looks at atoms--it also can manipulate them into structures. The microscope's development earns IBM researchers Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer a Nobel Prize and helps launch the emerging era of nanotechnology.

Molecular biologist Alec Jeffreys devises a way to make the analysis of more than 3 billion units in the human DNA sequence much more manageable by comparing only the parts of the sequence that show the greatest variation among people. His method quickly finds its way into the courts, where it is used to exonerate people wrongly accused of crimes and to finger the true culprits.

Biochemist Kary Mullis invents a technique that exploits enzymes in order to make millions of copies of a tiny scrap of DNA quickly and cheaply. No matter how small or dried-out a bloodstain is, forensic scientists can now gather enough genetic material to do DNA fingerprinting. With PCR, doctors also can search for trace amounts of HIV genetic code to diagnose infection much sooner than by conventional methods.

Prozac becomes the first in a new class of FDA-approved antidepressants called "selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors," which block the reabsorption of the mood-elevating neurotransmitter serotonin, thereby prolonging its effects. Though at times controversial, Prozac helps patients cope with clinical depression, reshaping our understanding of how personality and emotion can be chemically controlled. Within five years, 4.5 million Americans are taking Prozac--making it the most widely accepted psychiatric drug ever.

Scientist Craig Venter announces that his company will sequence the entire human genome in just three years and for only $300 million--12 years and $2 billion less than a federally funded project established to do the same thing. Venter uses a method called "shotgun sequencing" to make automated gene sequencers, instead of relying on the laborious approach used by the government program. The result is an acrimonious race to the finish, which ends in a tie. Both groups announce the completion of the human genome sequence in papers published in 2001.

1998--MP3 PLAYER
Depending on who you ask, the MP3 is either the end of civilization (record companies) or the dawn of a new world (everyone else). The Korean company Saehan introduces its MPMan in 1998, long before Apple asks, "Which iPod are you?" When the Diamond Rio hits the shelves a few months later, the Recording Industry Association of America sues--providing massive publicity and a boost to digital technology.

2002--IEEE 802.16
The geniuses at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers publish a wireless metropolitan area network standard that functions like Wi-Fi on steroids. An 802.16 antenna can transmit Internet access up to a 30-mile radius at speeds comparable to DSL and cable broadband. When it all shakes out, 802.16 could end up launching developing nations into the digital age by eliminating the need for wired telecommunications infrastructure.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

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 joined his father in the business in 1846, helping to establish a small distillery at Delnabo in 1849." It is really amazing that it has remained intact for that long and sealed to the point of so little evaporation. It will be quite an event when it is opened.

Prices for Scotch malt whisky have risen. In September last year an anonymous Asian collector paid 70 million South Korean won ($75,100) for the last bottle of 1926 Macallan malt whisky, a record for a public auction. A bottle of 60-year-old Macallan fetched a then-record 20,150 pounds in 2002.

The bottle of Glenavon is described in the Bonhams catalogue as ``2-part moulded olive-green glass with lettering on base, of around 14 fl ozs capacity white lead capsule embossed 'Glenavon' on sides and Special Liqueur' on top; white paper label in good condition but with some smoke staining. Level: very top shoulder.''

Spirits such as whisky don't deteriorate once they are bottled, said Harvey. The price bidders are prepared to pay may be limited by the fact that the precise date of bottling isn't known and it's only a half bottle, said Harvey. With Macallan being my personal favorite.....I wonder what a glass of this old whisky would taste like. At that price I'll never know.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


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 other tests are frequently employed. The main test in use today is a CSF/Spinal tap where a special needle is inserted into the spinal canal and some of the fluid is removed for testing. Specifically we test the fluid for an increase in antibody production to the organism Sarcocystis neurona. If this is positive and the neurologic signs are consistent with EPM , you should begin treatment. If there is blood contamination of the sample then the results can be skewed due to high antibody levels in the serum. The treatment today consists of using a drug called ponazuril or Marquis. This is a 28 day course of treatment that to date has been quite successful. If your horse is stumbling or has focal areas of muscle loss then you should alert your Veterinarian right away so treatment can begin.Technorati Profile

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

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. One response that is posted here states "what is a horse owner to do? Not try something new or unconventional that could possibly work? It seems to me that a navicular horse owner has nothing to lose by trying gallium nitrate." Nothing to lose? How bout time, resources and effort. I tell clients that the most expensive treatment is the one that doesn't work. You just lost money and time. "I would urge Dr. Weldon to not disuade navicular horse owners from trying gallium Nitrate until he has proven with proper research that it is as useless as isoxoprene or as damaging as bute." The burden of proof in the scientific community lays squarely on the researcher to document the how's and why's of the proposed treatment and then withstand the interrogation of other researchers as they try to duplicate the same research independently.
At this time there is simply no scientific proof that gallium works or that aluminum is in any way associated with navicular syndrome. There seems to be from time to time the thought that aluminum from cans, pots and I guess horse shoes are responsible for all kinds of illnesses from cancer to MS. There is just no....I repeat no evidence to support these claims. I'm a scientist and quite frankly testimonials just don't cut it for me. As they say in Missouri......SHOW-ME.

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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

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 owner says the foal has all of the characteristics of Scamper. The strange point of this story is the following quote " The foal is almost identical to the older model, except for white markings between Clayton's eyes". It's my understanding that a clone is like an identical twin....the same in every way. The genetic material should be identical, so how does one have a star and the other not. Could there be some "extra DNA" in the woodpile? So who would spend $150,000 on a horse that cannot be registered by the AQHA. The plan is to breed Clayton . Another question has to be ....can you register the offspring. There are philosophical,moral and scientific questions to be asked before we go very far down this road. Lets make sure we tread slowly.

Friday, November 03, 2006


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 again...you bet I would. It's just to bad a bug to take lightly. With the horses we treat I suggest vaccinating once a year so if your horse develops neurologic disease ( encephalitis, west nile, EPM, herpes virus ect) you can feel better about your personal risk from exposure to your own horse.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

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, attenuated vaccine that has been used for more than 60 years in more than 400 million people.)

Dr Maureen Long at the Univ. of Florida did alot of work on this project and found it far better at providing protective immunity. She did a study where she innoculated infective virus directly into the spinal fluid of horses that were vaccinated with the Chimera vaccine and found it to provide 100% survivability.

"PreveNile is proven 95% effective and shown to significantly reduce clinical signs of WNV in horses vaccinated with a single dose as compared to unvaccinated horses," says Long. "Vaccination resulted in 100% survivorship and resulted in a statistically significant reduction in clinical signs of WNV disease. In addition, the vaccine was shown to provide full 12 month protective immunity against WNV disease in unvaccinated yearlings.

"This type of protection is particularly important for na├║ve and previously unvaccinated horses, providing added assurance in the face of an outbreak," Long adds.

We usually let things settle out and start using new vaccines after about 6 months of being on the market, however the research is so compelling that we are switching over this month and will start vaccinating with it right away.

Friday, September 15, 2006

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 they may be able to see and are capable of locomotion. While they possess complex eyes they have no obvious brain but use a neural network that courses over the surface. It's important to remember that jellyfish "stings" are actually microscopic injections by specailized organs called "nematocysts"along their tenticles. Once they come into contact with what they consider food/prey, these nematocysts attach and begin injecting venom. Getting the nematocysts off should be your primary goal without stimulating them further. Many techniques are out there such as 1. shaving the area 2. rubbing alcohol 3. vinagar (acid) 4. ammonia (base) 5. meat tenderizer (papain- de-natures protein).
My view is to be aware and if bad stings are being reported wear cover (long sleave rash guard and lycra pants or panty hose) the milimeter of protection prevents the nematocyst from attaching. There is also an ointment called "SeaSafe" that is said to be helpful in preventing and treating stings.If you get burned by one, then keep a first aid kit in your car including those items listed above and a disposable razor . Additionally, I have found hydrocortizone ointment to be very helpful in treating the aftermath of these stings and should be used for several days then followed by antibiotic ointment until the lesion heals.With severe wounds or if you experience cramping or nausea you should seek medical help.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

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 will be much more enjoyable. We went to Cable beach ( where the 1st trans-atlantic cable crossed) and while it's still over developed we were able to rent a boat ($25/person) and go out to the reef for a really good snorkling trip. I've been diving all over the planet and this was way better than I expected. As an aside...there are really good pina-coladas
at the casino pool bar ( the twin Brothers lounge is the best but I couldn't find it this trip). While Beth and the kids shopped at the straw market I had a few cold ones with one of my old Professors Dr. Gary Ellison at Senor Frogs. A great view of Nassau harbor , good music, cool breezes and a pretty fair....counterfeit cuban cigar. Not a bad day in all. We spent most nights somewhere on the back of the boat catching up on friends we haven't seen in along time....those ones that you were sure you would stay in touch with. Looking at photo's and talking about the "Anal Sac" ( an underground newspaper from the Vet School that nearly got some "un-named" students kicked out). What a great time to be in school.....I was told recently that theres no place in academics for people like me any more. Maybe thats not a bad thing....and maybe it is. It is hard to get my head around the fact that I've been out of school for 20 years, but as my partner "Dr. Dick" Nancarrow is fond of saying...."life's like a roll of toilet paper....the closer you get to the end, the faster it spins". Amen brother!
(Mac rock climbing or falling)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

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.

Friday, July 28, 2006

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 worked with or watched a program such as this you can really appreciate this comment "“It gives me the confidence to know that I lost an arm and a leg but not the ability to do certain things,” 1st Lt. Ryan Kules, 25, a Tempe, Ariz., native who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq in November, said Friday. The walking action of the horse helps the rider use hip,leg and back muscles that can weaken after injury helping shorten recovery time. “The way the horse walks, you have got to let your pelvis get into the rhythm of the horse,” said Ramsey, 36. Before they rode, a physical therapist tested the reaction times of Ramsey, Kules, and Sgt. Christian Valle, who lost most of both legs, to simple tasks. They were asked to get out of a chair, walk a few feet, then return to sit down. They also stood on one leg to see how long they could balance. Kules, who has done therapeutic riding three times, said he has seen his times improve in both tests. When he first began a few weeks ago, it took him 20 seconds to get out of the chair and sit back down. He did it in 13 seconds Friday morning.
Lets hope programs such as this ( like our local program) continue to expand around the country. Get involved (here)

Monday, July 10, 2006

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 floods...so get ready.

Hurricane Check List

q Check and repair fences

q Clear trees and limbs

q Remove debris

q Store jumps/tables/chairs

q Examine barn for loose shingles/debris

q Move trucks and trailers into large pasture

q Spare fuel, store in trailer or stall, four 5 gallon cans

q Get tie downs for trucks and trailers

q Store feed-7 day supply-in water proof containers

q Store hay under tarps in a stall off the ground

q Water-15-20 gal/horse/day (fill up boats and troughs) Bleach –8 drops/gallon

q Hand pump for well

q Generator 4 hp or higher (5000 watt)

q Extension cords

q Tools- hammers/nails

- Fencing materials –field fence (no barbed wire) and posts

- Chainsaw-extra chain

- Ropes and tow cable

- Ladder

- Wire cutters and pry bar

- Rolls of black plastic and staple gun

- Flood lights- work light and car plug in type (1 million candle power)

- Waders or snake boots

q Extra halters and lead ropes (in plastic storage bin)

q Medical supplies

- Bandage materials (sheet cotton, gauze, telfa pads, vet wrap, duct tape)

- Wound medications (betadine scrub, nolvasan ointment, triple antibiotic)

- Anti-inflammatory meds- Banamine, Bute

- Sedatives- Acepromazine, rompun

- Antibiotics- SMZ tablets

- Insect repellant

- Syringes and needles

Personal supplies

-Canned food or MRE’s

-Water-freeze 2 liter bottles (can use to keep your fridge cool)

-Generator and extension cords

-Gas grill

-Small cheap A/C unit ($ 100) store in closet

-Cash- with power out ATM’s and banks won’t be open

-Fire arms (if you have a generator everyone will know) significant looting after Andrew and Katrina

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

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 near the Jacksonville beaches by noon tomorrow.”

Given the above information, which of the following do you think are true?

  1. Even if the storm strikes the First Coast directly, the strongest winds I can expect would be 100 mph.
  2. Since the storm is only traveling 15 mph, and the center is 360 miles away, I have a full 24 hours to complete my preparations.
  3. I will be safe if I evacuate to my friend’s house 25 miles inland (Orange Park), since hurricane warnings only apply to coastal areas.
  4. I will be safe if I evacuate to another place that’s at least 50 miles up or down the coast from where the hurricane is expected to strike.
  5. None of the above.

    A. False

    “Sustained wind” is an average of the wind speeds registered over one minute’s time. Hurricane "Chris's sustained winds are currently 100 mph. Hurricane gusts, which are sudden, brief increases in wind speed, can be considerably higher. For example, this 100 mph hurricane would very likely contain gusts of at least 135 mph. These speeds are a full two categories higher on the Saffir Simpson scale which measures hurricane damage potential! Winds that strong are even more dangerous since most codes only require buildings to be able to withstand winds up to about 120 mph. Most mobile homes couldn’t even take that much.

    And think about it…this weather report tells about the strength of the winds now. Just because the highest sustained winds are 100 mph now, doesn’t mean they might not be considerably stronger by the time it reaches the coast!

    B. Sorry, wrong again

    The winds will become dangerous well before the center reaches the coast. Once winds increase to more than about 40 mph (tropical storm force), it becomes very difficult to do things like putting up storm shutters, bringing in lawn furniture, or even traveling over bridges. At the storm’s current forward speed, 40 mph winds could start affecting the coast as early as midnight… a full 12 hours before the center arrives! So, even if the forecast of the hurricane’s motion is completely accurate, your preparations must be done well before midday tomorrow.

    Also, remember that it gets dark by about 8 PM during the peak of hurricane season. This means that even if you started getting ready right now, you’d only have about 8 hours of daylight to complete all your preparations… and that’s assuming the storm doesn’t start moving any faster as it approaches!

    C. Nope, not this one either

    While the strongest hurricane winds usually do occur along the coast, damaging winds can reach well inland. In 1896, a hurricane that made landfall on the Gulf coast near Cedar Key blew down buildings in Nassau County ( thats Yulee , and it's along way from Cedar Key) In 1995, Atlanta, Georgia experienced hurricane force winds from Hurricane Opal which made landfall on the Florida panhandle over a hundred miles away.

    So… moving 20 miles inland might get you away from the strongest winds, and probably out of the storm surge area. But, your friends should have their house prepared for the hurricane as well! You might be safe there, but only if you are prepared.

    D. Yet another bad choice

    There are two big problems here. First of all, remember that hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center. In some storms it can be even farther. This means, if you move up or down the coast a bit you’ll still get 75 mph sustained winds. Gusts could be even stronger than that. Still pretty dangerous!

    Then, there’s the question of forecast accuracy. The average forecast of where a hurricane will be 24 hours from now is incorrect by about 90 miles! So, there’s still a good possibility that the center of the storm, where the worst conditions are, could move inland at exactly the place you’ve chosen. Of course, since that error works in all directions, the center might actually land even farther away from you rather than closer… but are you really willing to bet your life on it?

    E. Right, congratulations!

    You are smart enough to recognize some of the common mistaken beliefs that many folks have about hurricanes. Odds are, if you live in Florida very long, you will experience a hurricane. When that time comes, you will probably be “stormwise” enough to make the right decisions to protect yourself and your property. You will have a Disaster Kit prepared, and you will prepare your home, too. You will use your NOAA weather radio to monitor the storm’s progress. You will listen, and if there is a call for evacuation, you will know the correct route to do so. Remember, to Prepare and Stay Aware, and you can be safe if and when a hurricane comes your way.

Friday, June 23, 2006

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 me.....plus 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.

Monday, June 19, 2006

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 been shown to infect horses for years or possibly for life and can be shed by carriers without any outward signs. Therefore the most likely source of infection on the farm is from "hidden" carriers already there. Detecting the carriers is virtually impossible to boot. Our best course for now is to vaccinate frequently with a good EHV 1&4 vaccine and watch for any clinical signs. If an outbreak occurs then it is advised that you not booster at that time as it can cause more of the neurologic cases ( I know that doesn't make sense but the data is pretty conclusive). Furthermore no horses should be allowed to leave the farm for at least 28 days. I have to say that we have seen more of these cases over the last few years so you should be on the look out for horses that show an incoordination in the hind limbs and call at once.