Monday, February 20, 2006

Prions...now this is a scary bug.




While so much attention these days is on Bird Flu...and rightly so. There is another that bugs me. While I'm more into upland game birds, I have alot of friends and clients that deer hunt. After a recent advisory from the Fla. Dept of Agriculture....I worry about eating venison these days. For those that dont know there is a disease called CWD (chronic wasting disease) of deer and elk that is seen out in the west and mid -west that is caused by an organism called a "Prion". This is actually a sub-viral particle that you cannot eliminate , sterilize or kill. You can't cook it out of or irradiate from the meat. These buggers are bad news. It is similar to the organism that causes mad-cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) ,a progressive dementia that is fatal.
We know that CWD can be transmitted intra species and the potential for humans to develop a dementia after consuming venison is high. The good news is that we have not seen it here in Florida....but that doesn't mean it's not a possibility or that meat from other states should not be viewed with caution.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Equine Herpes Outbreak


There is currently an outbreak of EHV-1 at the Pimlico Race track in Maryland and transport restrictions into Kentucky. We saw several cases of Neurologic Rhino (EHV-1) here last summer , all in the Mandarin part of Jacksonville. The typical clinical signs consist of posterior paresis(weakness) ataxia (incoordination) and sometimes facial or cranial nerve involvement.
The bad thing about this is that it can look like so many other neurologic conditions in the horse, most notably , CSM (cervical Stenotic Myelopathy-Wobblers syndrome) , West Nile Virus, EPM
(Equine Protozoal Myelitis) or even trauma. We vaccinate against this disease using a combination EHV 1& 4 vaccine but even this may not be completely effective since there is significant antigenic shift and drift from year to year. The most current vaccine strains are from 2001 and only provide protection for about 90 days. Due to this you should vaccinate your horses reguarly. We vaccinate a minimun of twice yearly . Should you notice any abnormal gait or stumbling in your horse you should call your Veterinarian at once.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Tasmanian Devil Tumor Disease


Recent research done at the University of Tasmania has shown that a facial tumor found in Tasmanian Devils since the 1990's is transmissible. There have been several tumor found in other animals that are as well, such as Equine Sarcoids and TVT (Transmissible Veneral Tumors) in dogs . The odd thing in this one is that the tumor has 13 chromosome pairs whereas the Devil has 14.
The jounal Nature reports that the population of devils on Tasmania has dropped from 140,000 to 80,000 since it was first discovered over 10 years ago. DFTDA (devil facial tumor disease) is thought to be spread by the biting activity of devils which pick up tumor cells on the teeth and transplant them into the next devil they bite. This suggests several things about this tumor, one , that it is fairly hearty and two, that it can bypass the bodies initial immune response to the bite wound. Normally there is a large number of white cells and components of an immune cascade that swarm to an infected area to clean up the mess,why do these cells survive? Nature postulates that it is related to the fairly homogeneous genetic make up of the devils that limits the adaptation of other species, perhaps, but it doesn't explain the lack of effectiveness of the common defense mechanisms. It will be interesting to track this one and see what the body can do in this case. I suspect that there will be an immune adaptation of simply the population will decrease to a point where bite transmission is less likely.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The real precursor to the "shoe bomber"


For those that are paying attention there is a World-wide violent protest by peace loving Muslims over the publication of cartoons by a Danish newspaper. (Forgive me but I don't recall world-wide violent protests over the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit of a crucifix in a jar of urine.) The one that is causing most of the fuss is one of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Michelle Malkin has the rest of the photo's. It appears this is particularly offensive since nobody can produce pictures of Muhammad as they might be worshipped and that would be idolatry. Note that they aren't upset with the bomb in the turban idea " Allah akbar, Mustaffa ,we should have thought of that, instead of that stupid shoe bomb idea, now we look like that foolish infidel Maxwell Smart".
Now we have Muslim clerics calling for the beheading of Europeans ( I wonder if they include the French in that),
this could pose a unique problem since 25% of Europe is now Muslim. Come to think of it that hasn't stopped them in the past. Some of these photos are very revealing and can be found at Michelle Malkin.com ,
the one that gets me is the one that says "prepare for the real holocaust". I guess we will now see world-wide violent Jewish protests.....somehow I doubt it. The picture below is a photo-shopped version of one on MM's site, you really don't have to photo-shop them to get the point...."you're 9-11 is on the way" really says it all.

Gettin' dressed up for Wal-Mart


From the "I don't think I would have said that" department comes this jewel. If you get "dressed up for Wal-Mart (and I've been to Wal-Mart, America's tackle box) then I sure don't want to see you in a Dollar store. I can only guess what you wear to the 7-11. I guess Ms. Jackson could be a slave to fashion and actually gets her nails done before she hits the big "W" but somehow I doubt it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Rex the Dog



Gone this weekend to NY and was unable to update this blog , had to put in some culture time with the Horse Daughter for her 15th birthday.
For those that missed the State of the Union address last night, there was a memorable site and story. Laura Bush had a Dog seated with her ( and NO it wasn't a Marine). It was Rex, a 5 year old German Shepperd bomb sniffer and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His owner, Air Force Tech Sgt. Jamie Dana was injured by an IED (Improvised explosive device....AKA-road side bomb) and awoke in the Hospital crying for her dog. She was told the dog had been killed in the blast. After surgery she was informed that Rex actually survived but since she was being reassigned she couldn't take Rex with her. The Government had $18,000 invested in training and Rex would have to remain and serve 5 more years. However, an act of Congress by Dana's congressman, Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa. slipped into a Defence bill transfered Rex to Sgt. Dana and they are now in her home state of pennsylvania.
This is a great story and I wish all the best for them both.