Thursday, May 31, 2007

Worlds Oldest pony dies

The oldest pony "sugarpuff" has died at the age of.....get this....56 years old. The oldest I have ever seen was a 44 year old pony when I was working in Ocala Fl. I was always told there were 2 kinds of ponies, those that had foundered and those that were going to. That old one had foundered at 20 and was on 1 gram of bute daily for 24 years.
(Sugar Puff, a 10hh Shetland-Exmoor gelding was put down at home in West Sussex on 25 May following "complicated problems" with his health.

Owner Sally Botting told H&H: "His organs packed up. He had been fine in the morning but then just collapsed. The vet said no more could be done.")

There was a report several years ago of a Florida cracker-horse that was 55, it was a search done by Purina for their Equine Senior diet. Either way it shows that horses and ponies can live a really long time if you keep up with good health management.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"The Plague "in the News

This seems to happen every few years, an outbreak of plague. If you can remember it's always out west...Colorado, Arizona. ect. The Plague, Black Death, Bubonic Plague, is caused by a bacteria called Yersina Pestis ( primarily transmitted by fleas, hence-"pestis") . The Plague that ravaged Europe in the 1300's originated in the East( probably China...all diseases come from China) and arrived in Spain ( probably on infected rats on ships) and spread rapidly across Europe. Here's the daily history lesson ( I used to teach History during the summers while in College). The great European famine occurred from 1314-1317, then the Hundred years war started in 1337, then "ta-dah"....the Black Plague arrives in1347. Europe was primed for this, famine and war mean a lot of dead bodies and loss of sanitation and you guessed it.....rats. The Plague killed an estimated 25 million people in just 5 years. In 2000 I had the privilege of attending the Passion Play in Oberamergau Germany. The plague was said to have stopped spreading at this city when the citizens promised to perform a play remembering the passion of Christ if God would stop the advance of the plague. Oddly, the Plague led to an increase in antisemitism as Jews were blamed for the outbreak.
So why is there a plague outbreak at the Denver Zoo? Here's a little known secret....almost all Zoo's are infested guessed it ...rats. Over the years they build a complex maze of
tunnels underneath the zoo gaining access to all areas where there is feed on the ground. We all know how messy monkeys can be so there is a lot of feed on the ground. This explains how it can spread through an entire zoo. The staff works constantly to fight the vermin , but it's nearly an impossible task and control is the best you can hope for.
Yersinia Pestis infects it's victims and causes chills. fever, swollen lymph nodes( called buboes....hence the name) and ulcers. The resultant septicemia (bacteria in the blood) leads to DIC ( disseminated intravascular coagulation) and uncontrolled bleeding. With DIC you use up all of your clotting factors and then bleed out. You can imagine how bad this disease could be in a time prior to antibiotics. When you factor in a healthy dose of fear and mass hysteria you end up with people not touching or treating the ill. They would not even go into some homes where dead bodies were...but the rats would. With constant disease surveillance and antibiotics they will be able to get a handle on this outbreak just like in the past and it will disappear from the news....until next time.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mac does Thriller

Yesterday was my birthday, after a great night away with my wife we returned for a short work day and my youngest boys performance at school. Fishweir Elementary is a small public school near our house where my Mother in Law went to school as well as my wife and all our children.
They are a magnet school for the arts and do several performances a year. This year was their 90th anniversary and they celebrated each decade with music from that era. Mac represented the 90's doing Micheal Jacksons "Thriller". What a hambone. Here's the link to YouTube.
It was classic. If you scroll to the bottom of the page there is a link to the video.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Un-Bearable, Bears rescued from Florida-Ga Fires

A mother bear and her cub were rescued from the wildfire in North Florida. It's burning around and thru Bugaboo island in the Okefenokee swamp. It jumped a major Highway yesterday and is closing in on Lake City. To make things worse there is a water shortage in the area. The bears were spotted in a burned out area and the cub was up a tree. The Florida Fish and Wildlife commission were called in and darted the pair. They were then transfered to the University of Florida College of Vet Med. The Sow has burns on her feet and some lung damage but appears to be doing well. As with any wild animal in captivity the stress can be a killer. Here's to UF....Go Gators.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More photo's from the fires

I just received more photo's taken from the Waycross and Bugaboo fires. sure looks bad.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fires in North Florida

We are once again under a fire alert and smoke is in the air. While there is a large fire near lake City and one in Georgia burning through the Okefenokee swamp.....we haven't had many in Jacksonville ....YET. In 1998 we had a huge number around us requiring constant evacuation and shuffling of horses from barn to barn. What I have seen lately is an increase in respiratory cases seen in our practice. Depending on the location and wind direction , the smoke levels can vary drastically. What should you do? At this time it depends on your horse. If you have one with any respiratory compromise than you must be careful as there may not be enough lung reserve in your horse to handle the stress. One way to manage these compromised horses in to keep them in
during the worst parts of the day and let them out at night when the dampness in the air can reduce the smoke levels. If you have alot of smoke in your area and can't evacuate your horses you can also put A/C in the stall.....don't laugh. In 1998 I had an owner with a severe COPD horse that was having a very difficult time. She put plastic sheeting over the windows and put an A/C unit in the stall window and sealed it up during the day. This worked amazingly well during the rough month of fires. The use of inhalers can also help , such as albuterol and if inflammation is involved, triamcinolone. These are administered through an aerochamber, but this can be done using an old plastic milk jug with the bottom cut out. Place this end over the hoses nose and the inhaler in the small opening and give 5 metered doses.
We will have to watch the progression of the fires and hope for rain.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pergolide shortage over

For those of you with a horse suffering from "Cushings disease" and have been treating it with Pergolide, there is some good news. It appears that Pergolide may remain available for use in horses.Cushings disease is caused by an adenoma on the pituitary gland that causes the increased production of POMC or proopiomelanocortin and cortisol precursors. This leads to hirsutism(long hair coat) laminitis, hoof abscesses and chronic infections.
Pergolide has been the best treatment we have had for this condition and recently it has become unavailable for humans where it is used as a treatment for Parkinsons disease due to cardiac health concerns. Here is a link to a blog set up for the issue and a petition if you are interested. Fran Jurga has also posted about it.Here is a copy of a recent letter that should give us hope that the FDA will make it available for Veterinary use.

The AAEP has, for the past several years, been working closely with the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration to understand the policies governing compounding as it relates to equine practice. As a result of the recent withdrawal of pergolide from the market due to human health concerns, the AAEP contacted the FDA in an effort to educate and emphasize the importance of this drug to equine practitioners and their clientele. The AAEP received the communication below from the FDA and with it we feel that there will not be a crisis due to a pergolide shortage. The FDA recognizes the importance of these drugs and because of a healthy alliance with the AAEP, the Agency learned of the situation quickly and made its decision to apply regulatory discretion to the compounding of pergolide from bulk sources. Compounding pharmacies should not experience any shortage of the bulk product.


From: The Office of the Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration

To: The American Association of Equine Practitioners

Dear Dr. Morehead and Mr. Foley:

Thank you for contacting us on behalf of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) regarding pergolide. FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has also gotten a number of inquiries from horse owners who are very concerned about the issuance of an FDA Public Health Advisory (PHA) detailing the removal of pergolide products from the market. The PHA is available at Pergolide is being removed from the market due to concerns about cardiac side effects in humans. As you are aware, pergolide is currently not approved for use in animals.

CVM recognizes that veterinarians prescribe pergolide for the treatment of Cushings Syndrome under the provisions of the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act which allows veterinary practitioners to prescribe approved human drugs for “extralabel” use in animals.

FDA continues to work with the sponsor of the approved product and all other interested parties to ensure pergolide remains available to treat Cushings Syndrome in horses until a New Animal Drug Application (NADA) is approved for that use. This includes trying to make the approved product available through veterinary distribution channels and exercising enforcement discretion as appropriate over the pharmacy compounding of pergolide, including from a bulk substance labeled for “animal use only,” under a valid veterinary prescription to treat an affected horse.

CVM will also work with sponsors who are interested in seeking approval of a NADA for the use of pergolide to treat Cushings Syndrome in horses.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with you on this matter.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's a small world.....some perspective

Someone just sent me some very interesting photos showing the size of the Earth compared to other planets , the Sun and other known stars. Sometimes we really think that we are the center of the Universe and that the Earth is soooooo BIG. When looked at this way it puts things into the proper perspective. In the 1970's we worried that there would be a new ice age, Global cooling. Now it's Global warming and how we are heating up the planet with CO2. We really are an arrogant species.When you look at how large the sun is you can see just how much of an impact even a small change in solar output can have on our climate. Looking at the images from the Hubble telescope really can make one feel small and just how awesome our creator is. This shot is from one of the darkest regions that was seen. Some of the Hubble images are incredibly dense and bright, packed with stars like Antares and Betelgeuse that dwarf our precious Sun. When looked at this small we become.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Huge Surf in South Florida

There is a new tropical depression forming off the Carolina's that is pushing HUGE surf our way. The down side for North Florida surfers is that alot of the swell is swinging past us and pounding South Florida ( Satellite Beach). The Morning report says
May 7 , 8am: Well overhead and bombing!!!! Forget the family, the job .... only thing that matters today is how fast you can get off the computer, get your board and get to the beach. Go surf NOW. btw ... sorry the sites been down ... my computer caught an infection in the panhandle .... get some for me ...Shrimp sucks!!! "

Report from 2nd light

Report Date: 05/08/2007
Location: Satellite Beach
Report Time: 7 a.m.
Size: 10-12 (ft)
Conditions: Glass
Comments: Epic
The forecast for Jax is for the wind to shift offshore in the morning with4-6 foot swells. The St Augustine bouy is reading 15 feet with a 14 sec could be really Goooooood. I'll give it a shot at dawn.
Mike Bowers emailed me to say that
"work is for those people that don't surf" 1st appointment isn't until 9:30 am.