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 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.