Monday, December 22, 2008

The Weldon annual Christmas Letter

I did this last year and thought I would give you a glimpse of the reality that is my life. It's long but funny and since Beth thought it was funny she included one of my previous posts (the Costa Rica story)... Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! It's time to put on your reading glasses, pour yourself a glass of Christmas cheer & feel better about your life. First a disclaimer, my mind has finally failed & I can’t remember the stories I wanted to write for Polly & Mac (which were great but will now be mediocre). As a result of this, I have now acknowledged that I must write things down for next year & Alan was a large contributor this year so there are some “bodily function” & adult content stories. Consider yourselves forewarned! That said, Alan's folks & family are doing well as are mine except for my dad whose artificial hip got infected & had to be removed & can't be replaced until the diabetic ulcer on his foot heals. Sarah's best friend Dani is an addition to the family since the end of last December. Turns out she's the best behaved, most appreciative of the feral Weldon kids! She seems to ease some of the sibling bickering & create more camaraderie (an unexpected plus). We had fun family trips including skiing (we learned Sarah’s cautious, Murphy likes jumps, Polly hates her helmet, & Mac craves speed), Cumberland (the perennial favorite), a cruise, a trip to Washington University (Sarah's 1st choice for college), the beach, North Carolina, Costa Rica, & Halloween Horror nights. We had wonderful visits from & to family & friends in Jacksonville, St.Louis, Phoenix, & Chicago.
Alan hits the gym most mornings before work & is looking really buff! His philosophy of weight lifting is to increase his chest size, then regardless of how big his belly gets as long as his chest is bigger he will proportionally look okay. He is playing a lot of tennis & entered 2 doubles tournaments this year with his partner Elliot (our cruise ended up being 4 days instead of 7 for about the same price because Alan thought his tournament was a week early & we needed to get back!) He has hired another Associate & is only on call 1 out of 6 weekends, which is great (except the weekend he is on)! He is elated with the Gators & disgusted with the Jaguars. GO GATORS! I have switched jobs after over 17 years although I still work once monthly at my old practice. My new job is 3 days a week mostly doing surgery in a practice with 3 other veterinarians. I exercise 5-6 times weekly & yoga about 3 times. We average 4-5 sit down dinners a week although usually at least 1 kid is missing (not milk carton missing) for soccer, wrestling, or work at this time of year. Alan used to avoid the soccer games when the kids were peewees as he considers it "Commie ball". He would never let them play in holiday tournaments because he felt it ruined family time together. But to his credit, now that they are playing at Episcopal he won’t miss any sporting events, even soccer! Last week we were on our way back from a night at a bed and breakfast in St. Augustine when Greg called to ask Alan what he was doing that evening. Alan explained that Polly had a 4:00 soccer game, then Murph had a 5:30 soccer game, & finally Dani had a 7:20 soccer game. Greg started laughing & when Alan asked him what was so funny, Greg replied, "You know what you are don't you?" "What?" asked Alan innocently & then Greg blindsided him with " a SOCCER DAD!" Alan was horrified as the truth of this sunk in. We are still over run with Italian Greyhounds (IG’s) & though Alan was concerned when the roofer told him that he had seen a huge rat in the back yard running under the deck, he was delighted after he related the information to me and I pointed out that we had 6 dogs & 2 cats in the yard & I was sure that there were no rats only 3 gray IG’s that like to hide under the deck! He has been laughing about my "show rats" ever since. I should have had enough sense to keep my mouth shut, but he has enjoyed it so much it was probably worth it. While in a haunted house at Universal, a redneck ghoul asked me if I wanted to dance on the table (after hearing Alan suggest this to me) while he blocked my progress. I declined & then he offered me a spot behind the bar with him. “I’m with my husband” I responded apologetically. He replied, “Oh, he can watch” much to Polly & Dani’s horror! Thanks Alan!
Dani has been a superb addition although she complains about the midnight curfew. She is in the IB program at Stanton & plays Varsity soccer. She works as a hostess & a lifeguard, too many hours in my opinion but she likes her spending money. Her nickname is Thumbelina because she averages over 2000 text messages a month! Dani is a bit of a flirt & we like to tease her about her male harem. While we were in Costa Rica this summer doing the zip lines, at each stop an instructor would asked Dani how old she was with a big smile & ended up with a big frown after hearing"17". Apparently they are very strict about underage kids there. She can’t go out to the convenience store alone or even with a chaperone without attracting some male attention. Last week a guy driving by in a truck blaring loud music noticed her looking his direction (despite Sarah's warning to avoid any male eye contact) & made a u-turn to pull into the store parking lot & came inside just as Dani was commenting to Sarah about his lack of teeth. He didn't care. He still asked for her phone number! Dani is also the queen of lip-gloss & won’t even go to the bathroom at night without applying some. I thought she was crazy to put it on before going out to mow the yard, but when the mower broke down & 2 guys stopped to fix it & then finished mowing for her, I realized she was “crazy like the fox! “
Sarah is enjoying senior year & rubbing in at every opportunity that it is her "last time going to the fair, last Thanksgiving, last Christmas, last season of cross country" etc. She can't wait to leave home & I hope she will be as happy as she supposes. She got her braces off after 31/2 years. She runs cross country, rows crew, & works cleaning 30 cat litter boxes 3 days a week for an elderly woman for $240 a month. Last summer her coach assigned her the Head Counselor position when she worked at crew camp & wrote her a letter afterwards thanking her for being the best Head Counselor that she had ever had & asking her to return next year. Sarah is a sweet, confident, opinionated, judgmental, kind-hearted, responsible, inclusive young lady who is very ready to tackle the world in some ways & oh so not ready to be exposed to it in others. She was very excited this week when we went to the Dermatologist to have a rarely appearing mark on her forehead diagnosed & the Dermatologist admitted that he had never seen anything like it & had no idea what it was although he listed a barrage of diagnoses it was not. For some reason she felt that made her unique (apparently she has been pining since Polly's orthopedic surgeon advised Polly that he had never seen bipartite patella’s that caused pain until Polly). Only Sarah would be pleased with a medical abnormality! While on the weird medical theme, on our annual Itchetucknee Springs tubing trip, Sarah elected to swim instead of floating on a tube. By the time we arrived at the end of our trip, Sarah had broken out with a severely itchy rash & welts over her whole body! As we went into the bathroom to change for the trip home, I noticed a sign on the door reading ”WARNING! If you develop a rash or unexplained skin condition, please report it to one of the Rangers to insure proper treatment & reporting of the reaction”. We sought out a Ranger & showed him the rash. He scratched his head & acted entirely ignorant of the WARNING on his bathroom door! Just as I decided that this whole thing was over blown another Ranger walked by & over heard us. He immediately reached into his pocket & handed me a slip of paper, which stated. “Please report this incident to the State Health Dept. of Hazardous Marine Life & Toxins at” a 1-800 number. It was a Sunday & the recording told me to call back during office hours. After Benedryl, a shower, & good nights sleep, Sarah was fine the next morning & went off to school. Being the conscientious mother that I am, I followed up with another call to the State Department. Once again, the person on the other end of the line had no idea what I was talking about. I read him the instructions & the phone number. He said his Department mostly dealt with Red Tide Reports & other toxins. When I asked if this rash posed any threat to my child, he said that he didn’t have a clue. This was not comforting, but it’s our government at work!
Murphy continues to play soccer, run cross country, & surprised an XBox 360 out of me by actually making the JV tennis team at Episcopal & playing at number one despite an obvious lack of practice preparation last spring. His academic efforts (& hence grades) continue to be less than stellar. Murph is perfectly happy to coast through life with the minimum effort required to stay out of trouble at home. Unfortunately, he sometimes does not titrate it perfectly & there is NO TV, NO computer, NO sleepovers, & NO car privileges. He has developed into a nice young man frequently taking up for me with the other Weldon rabble & even manages to make me proud without prodding occasionally. This summer as we were traveling & piled onto a bus headed for an airplane, I noticed from the other side of the bus that Murphy got up & offered his seat to an older woman on his own! He balances those moments with things like the infamous “sauna incident” in Costa Rica that Alan documented. Alan wrote “It's day 3 on the Adventura Costa Rica, we are at the Hacienda Guachipelin for another night. Today we were up at 7am & really stiff from the climb up & jump off the waterfall yesterday but this is kinda an ECO-hotel so the hot water is solar & if someone showers at night then there is no hot water in the morning.... like this morning. We had breakfast, more gallo pinto.... pronounced "Guy-yo peen-toe".... black beans and rice. We have it every day, for breakfast, lunch & dinner; it's typical Costa Rican food. At 8am we were at the stables for the horse back ride to the hot springs, mud baths, & volcano. I haven't been on a horse in many years & the ride, 90 minutes, meant serious butt pain all the way around. The trail was steep & incredibly rocky...the horses slipped constantly with one going down to his knees. Sarah’s horse we all renamed "El-Diablo" since it got into a kicking bout with Beth’s horse & bit Dani's knee... the lead Gaucho had to discipline him (needed Dr Dick to do some ass kickin). Sarah loved her feisty horse. When we went as far as the horses could go, we dismounted & then hiked 3-4 miles up the volcano, had to cross some suspect suspension bridges, a long tree over a gorge like Indiana Jones & cross a set of rapids going rock to rock... no BS here this river was the real deal. The waterfall at the top was awesome & very cold. Oddly only about a kilometer away we came to the bubbling pools of volcanic mud ...248 degrees...you don’t get in these. We went by so many you lose count & the kids were pissed at this point... the joy being sucked out of them by the shear work load of getting up this volcano. Beth & I were having a blast.... pays to be in shape. Horse back down the mountain in the rain to the Symbiosis Spa... a hot mud bath spa on the side of the volcano. Oh by the way...they forgot to bring the lunches...cranking the kids P.O.-meter into the redline area. We were told first to sit 10 minutes in the sauna (to open our pores)...we all dutifully piled in as they shut the door... jeez it's really hot in there. Serious squawking at this point... very concerned about breathing & how much time is left before they open the door. Every breath is an effort. Polly, Beth & Mac move down to the floor... where it is supposedly not as hot & there was a rumor that there was more air. I stayed on the middle bench with Murphy, Sarah & Dani on the top row. At the 5-minute mark it is deathly quiet as every one concentrates on breathing...then Murphy whispers in my ear "safety".... (Remember we have all been on a strict diet of gallo pinto) I blurt out " Oh God No Murphy.”. it was too late. The acrid sulfur smell made the volcanic mud pits smell like fresh laundry. I'm thinking about what the spa director said about opening your pores & what this is going to do to my skin. I'm certain the last molecule of oxygen is now gone. Murphy is howling. Deliverance, they open the door & lead us to the hot mud pit to cover ourselves with hot volcanic mud... again I'm rehashing the whole open pore thing. Dutifully we cover “every” square inch of skin with mud. Now you can't actually expect to put mud & the feral children together & not expect trouble... it wasn’t long in coming. It was sort of a Costa Rican mud-wrestling extravaganza. The British family at the mud bath at the same time were somewhat taken aback..."Oh Dear God!" To top things off...the showers quit working. What to do, naturally we hit the hot springs & to nobody's surprise instantly changed the color of the water from blue to a deep mud brown. That mud doesn’t come off very well either. We then, back in wet clothes with residual mud attached, got back on the horses for the ride back down...another hour. When we got back, Beth & I decided on a couples massage...we loaded up more Gallo pinto, some muscle relaxants (coconut rum), & headed to the massage. It was a man & a woman (who had striking witch-like features)...usually I get the dude because Beth is uncomfortable with guys giving massages, I am also uncomfortable with guys giving me massages, actually it ranks right up there with witches but guess what…I got the witch. Lights dimmed & under a towel she began working on me...at this point in time... so did the gallo pinto. I was rumbling audibly & I think she thought she could help by working diligently on my AB's. Bad idea. I was able to somehow hold back the tide but it was like someone squeezing an unopened bag of chips...the kind made with Olestra. She then started lighting candles...I’m not sure if this is some wicken behavior or if she thought striking matches was going to help. Next she applies some liquid to my face & returns to the massage...rumblings now under control. After about 15 minutes she wipes the stuff off my face...with a warm wet cloth...I now realize that this is some kind of skin exfoliation treatment. Sort of a cross between the gelatinous rust remover used at paint & body shops & a hoof rasp. I felt like Ben Stiller in Mystery Men as Captain Furious..." heart rate rising...blood pressure increasing...skin temperature approaching the surface of the sun". OMG...WTF...this @#% burns. If I have any skin cancer it is now gone...along with every wrinkle...blemish & any distinguishing scars. The rumbling starts again...now Beth can hear it...I think about saying "safety". My mind is rapidly working on the physics...the open flame...how far from my ass to the candle & back to the volatile liquid on my face. This is going to be really bad. My mind is replaying video clips from those disaster movies where the fireball blows out all the windows. I think Cruella figures this out & they both bolt for the door...the concentration on my face evident…the sphincter gives up… the volcano erupts...how do you say "safety” in Spanish? Beth is convulsing under her towel (laughter or convulsions from toxic gas?) & in the distance there is snickering on the other side of the door with a Spanish accent. I have Beth check my face...not sure if she will recognize me...I feel like a burn victim. We get dressed & they are waiting for us on the other side of the door. They are very concerned when we go to walk back to the room " you are very hot...perhaps sick" (I’m sure my face looks like a tomato) they wrap us in towels ...I want to tell him that Dr Mengela just deep fried my face, of course I'm hot... he wants to come with us & use an umbrella so we don't get wet...but we wave him off welcoming the cool rain on my face as we return to our room, where the numbing anesthetic qualities of coconut rum awaits. Tonight for dinner...you guessed it...gallo pinto!” Another example of Murphy’s sense of humor was operation devil cat. We have 1 very strange cat that Dani feels has taken to stalking her. I don't know if Dani started it by expressing this concern or Murphy started the anxiety by putting the cat in Dani's room every time she left it even for a minute or 2. She kept complaining that she was shutting her door & it would remain shut but still the cat was getting in. Murphy kept telling her about the air-ducts in her closet & the space under the door & she would diligently check these sources of entry & try to rule them out. But still every time she went into her room that cat was sitting on her pillow staring at her. Amazingly enough Murphy who has never kept a secret in his life pulled this one off for 2 months before telling Alan & letting the proverbial cat out of the bag!
Polly runs cross-country, plays soccer, & runs track. She was diagnosed with painful bipartite patellas but the good news was that it wouldn’t cause further damage to run through the pain & so she does (ignoring my suggestion that a weekend warrior lifestyle might be better for her than the intense 7 days a week of training required in high school sports). Last fall, after winning the Celeste Hampton award for Outstanding Character in cross country (reported last year), she won it again for soccer in January & so got 2 Celeste Hamptons in 1 school year which is a huge accomplishment & quite unusual according to my sister Catherine (whose daughter Katie did it the year before!) Polly is a diligent student & hopes to follow her folk’s footsteps to & through vet school. She is off to a good start & so far this year has nursed a baby turtle attacked by birds, the minnows she caught to feed the turtle so it could be released into the wild knowing how to forage for itself (the turtle has refused to eat the minnows & they are now named & additional pets), a crow missing some feathers so it can't fly, 4 squirrels, & a flying squirrel as well as Fou & Momo (her dogs), Feisty (her Leopard Gecko), & Todd (her hamster). Alan says she’s Polly Mae hanging out by the cement pond with all her critters. Polly works Saturdays at Parkway bathing animals, cleaning cages, walking dogs, sweeping, mopping, & (her favorite) poop patrol! She loves it & was tickled pink when she reported to me 2 weeks ago that she got a raise (no longer paid by the pile)!
Mac played football this year & is wrestling now. He loves both but I cringe every time I watch him wrestle. I am much happier when we have a schedule conflict & Alan watches the wrestling & I attend whatever soccer game is in progress. Last year Mac was the smallest wrestler on the middle school team & the biggest wrestler was also a redhead named Mac. The larger Mac was called Big Mac & my Mac was dubbed Happy Meal! Mac got into the end of a football game this fall & had the longest run from scrimmage against archrival Bolles (probably because no one could see him until he broke into the open because he is also the shortest player on the football team). After the play I heard over the loud speaker “and there goes Mac ‘Happy Meal’ Weldon with a nice 15 yard run!” Turns out Big Macs’ dad was announcing the game. Mac is an avid reader (all except Murphy are) & a great student (when he hands his homework in). He says he wants to go to MIT but I explained that might be a problem since they require you to turn in assignments there. While helping Alan clean out mom’s office as a new years resolution (untouched for over 20 years) Alan found a box and (for some reason) showed it to Mac. It contained a pneumatic “male enhancer” in his best Austin Powers voice Mac said “ honestly, baby…it’s not mine!” Mom claims dads brother gave it to him! Mac continues to observe the world in his unique manner. He was selected with 2 classmates to be on the cover of the Episcopal magazine & complained because his teacher insisted that he comb his hair before the photo was taken. He objected on the grounds that it was not “his style” to comb his hair and that his Dad says, “it doesn’t matter how it looks as long as it sticks to your head”. Fortunately the teacher prevailed! As always, God has truly smiled on the Weldon’s…. Have a Happy New Year & God Bless! Alan, Beth, Sarah, Dani, Murphy, Polly, and Happy Meal!
P.S. Sarah just got into Washington University and is ecstatic! Alan said I should point out that is why the font is so small as we are trying to save on postage for tuition!



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There is no such thing as West Nile Virus...What an IDIOT


Here is an interesting ....wrong word....idiotic article that was recently published called "There is no such thing as West Nile Virus" . The AAEP sage Dr David Ramey found this and posted it on the AAEP list serve. The author" Ramiel Nagel is an alternative medicine author devoting his time towards helping free the world of disease consciousness." It seems Mr Nagel is a full on member of the Tin foil hat society and black helicopter conspiracy group equating West Nile Virus with the easter bunny and santa Claus.....and all caused by evil drug/pesticide companies. "Pesticide manufacturers, pharmaceutical giants, the U.S. government, industry scientists, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), State and County government agencies believe in their own fairy tales. But they find those children's stories too boring and too happy. They wanted something dark and sinister. So they rewrote the fairytale and thought of some scary name that evokes fear of the unknown: "West Nile Virus". As Dr ramey points out.....just what was it that was killing all of those horses. Nagel is of the opinion that all disease is cause by environmental sources and not by "germs". While there are diseases caused by environment toxins to be sure, but to say that bacteria and viruses are not pathogenic is positively medieval in thinking. He even thinks that viruses have not been identified "West Nile Virus is not the only virus to never have been truly isolated. HIV, the virus believed to cause AIDS, also does not exist." There have been many electron microscopic images taken of pathogenic viruses over the years...here are two photos. His argument is that these bugs just show up after the body has been damaged by diet or environmental sources.....what a coincidence. If you can inject WNV into an animal and the animal develops the disease...well.....I guess to us stupid scientists that would be a clue. Here I go again...being a heretic and blasphemer.....I can't wait to hear from all of those Holistic, 3rd world medicine, flat earth society types...I can hear it now..."Burn him, Liar..unbeliever". As I have said over and over...it have to be evidence based and follow the scientific method. Oh and for Mr Nagel's daughter...brush your teeth, it's the Strep that's causing your cavities. Tell this guy there is no West Nile Virus

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Horses on the Beach



I was listening to Bill Bennett this morning and he said he didn't think horses would just walk on the beach......YES they do on Cumberland Island Ga.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Parasites and "Dewormers"....something new



Treating horses for parasites has been a staple of barn management since...oh I guess, forever. People have put just about any toxic substance into their horse to "git rid of worms". Virtually all of my clients use some form of rotational system whereby they use different products every 4-8 weeks thinking they are preventing drug resistance. "Unfortunately , parasites have risen to the chemical challenge. Anthelmintic resistant cyathostomes (small strongles) now are highly prevalent and even where drugs still are effective , the egg reappearance rate ERP following treatment has become significantly shorter"." Today horse owners continue to follow recommendations that are based on knowledge that is 30-40 years old and frequently use anthelmintics that have become totally ineffective due to the presence of drug-resistant parasites" It has been know for a long time that most of the parasites on a farm are actually in the ground as eggs and larvae (about 90-95%) and only a small percentage
are really in the horse at one time , but what if most are in only 1 or 2 horses that are shedding most of the eggs. A new approach has been published recently and it really isn't that new , it's just looking at the horse population as individuals instead of the herd. This has been published by Dr Ray Kaplan at the Univ. of Georgia. What Dr Kaplan suggests is to treat each horse as an individual and do fecal egg counts on each. You then can identify which horses are the ones that are responsible for most of the egg shedding.
Once these are targeted you can concentrate more of your treatment on those that are the main problem instead of treating the entire herd as one. This study showed that on 40% of farms there was small strongyle drug resistance to fenbendazole(Panacur), oxibendazole(Anthelcide) and pyrantel pamoate (Strongid) meaning that on almost half of farms only one drug class is effective (avermectin/milbemycin) which has been around for 25 years. This is a very disturbing trend that should scare every horse owner. What the current plan is now is to treat the right horse with the right drug at the right time. The key to this is the FEC (fecal egg count) and the fact that not all horse are as susceptible to parasites as others. About 20-30% of horses harbor about 80% of the worms and shed almost all of the eggs. We have to identify these horses to be successful. The current protocol in North Florida is as follows

SEPT 1 Fecal Egg Count
Treat all horses
Start treatment on all horses( regardless of FEC)
Ivermectin or Moxidectin with praziquantel for tapeworms
based on FEC you can categorize your horse as
Low<200>500 epg

NOV 1
Only if treated with ivermectin. If Moxidectin then wait until December to treat again
FEC on all horse >150epg

DEC 1
treat all horses regardless of FEC
ivermectin or Moxidectin plus praziquantel
FEC on all horses

FEB 1
Based on FEC,Treat if Ivermectin used in DEC, if moxidectin used then wait until

MAR 1
Based on FEC, only treat horses with FEC >150 epg or has been a high shedder.
treat if using Moxidectin , treat horses as for FEB with FEC >150 epg

APR 1
based on FEC, only horses with >150 epg

MAY-SEPT
No need to treat during the summer months unless obvious parasite issue presents on a case by case basis.
To hot for transmission, most worm eggs will not survive and develop L3 form and these will die rapidly.

As you can see the real key is doing fecal exams on the horses regularly to see which horses need treatment instead of just treating every month or so and actually promoting resistance. Not to mention the money wasted on dewormers that either are not needed or not effective. I really think this is the way to go and will be sending out info to every owner in the practice. I think we can cut down on the incidence of colic substantially by just monitoring the parasite loads these horses carry.

Friday, October 24, 2008

He wants the White House Now....the video

My brother Doug must have way to much time on his hands. He put together a political video take off of Brother where art thou. I think it's really funny.....good voice to.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Asteroid tracking...accurately.




It appears that we have gotten much better at predicting when and where asteroids will impact on the Earth. A fairly large one just exploded over the Sudan recently and it was tracked and the impact was predicted by experts and several amateurs as well. From the Honolulu Star Bulletin
"

Asteroids routinely hit the Earth's atmosphere but the impact by one over northern Africa Monday was the first time astronomers saw one coming and accurately predicted the time and place it would hit, a University of Hawaii astronomer said yesterday.

That successful prediction bodes well for a Maui-based system in development to warn against potentially hazardous space rocks, David Tholen said.

The impact occurred at 4:46 p.m. Hawaii time Monday over northern Sudan. A colleague compared the asteroid, called 2008 TC3, with the size of a Volkswagen, he said."


These hit the upper atmosphere all the time but there is always the possibility that a really big one could be coming our way and it's good to know when and where. It doesn't chjange the fact that there isn't much we can do about it but tracking them is a good start.


Tholen said more than 500 observations were made of the asteroid approaching Earth by astronomers all over the world, primarily in Europe and western Asia.

"It was the first opportunity to really test the whole impact-prediction software system on a real object," he said, adding that it was 100 percent accurate.

There was one report of a visual sighting by a KLM Airlines pilot, but it was far from the impact location and merely saw "a streak of light," he said."

"These things happen every month or two and most of the time just go unnoticed, except people on the ground who see the fireball," Tholen said. "This time, astronomers saw it first and could predict the fireball. It was unique."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Suspensory Ligament injury-Treatment with PRP





In the past, an injury to your horses suspensory ligament frequently meant the end to their athletic career. Treatment consisted of enforced rest and anti-inflammatory medications, sometimes for a year with inconsistent results. In the last few years several newer treatment modalities have been developed to treat tendon/ligament injuries in the horse. Extra corporeal shock wave treatment and Stem-cell implantation have been the most popular. Recently a newer
treatment called PRP for Platelet Rich Plasma has been developed. PRP has been found to contain the following growth factors promoting tissue healing-
  • transforming growth factor beta (TGF-b)
  • platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)
  • insulin-like growth factor (IGF)
  • vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF)
  • epidermal growth factor (EGF)
  • fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2)
Many of these factors have been shown to enhance one or more phases of osteogenesis. PDGF, EGF, and FGF-2 have been shown to stimulate proliferation of osteoblastic progenitors. TGF-b increases matrix synthesis (eg, type I collagen) in vitro and in vivo. Angiogenic factors, including VEGF and FGF-2, can potentially enhance early angiogenesis and revascularization, as suggested by a recent study examining blood vessel formation in large segmental defects in the tibias of rats treated with platelet-rich plasma (PRP).(from the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons)
Using a sterile kit supplied by Vetcell Laboratories you use the horses own blood to harvest
platelets through a filter yielding about 8ml of PRP which can then be injected into the damaged
ligament. We also combine this treatment with several other modalities such as shock wave therapy to improve our outcome. It has yet to determined which if any of these treatments will be the best but thus far the PRP treated ones have shown a much improved sonographic appearance
Here are some clips of a sonogram showing needle placement and PRP injection in a suspensory
ligament high in the origin


video video

Saturday, September 13, 2008

John McCain,Obama and emails

While I don't shy away from politic on this blog it is far from my primary focus as many blogs are. During an election year...and it seems every year is an election year, the venom spit out on the blogosphere gets
worse with each passing day. Now political campaigns use the web and blogs like pamphlets and buttons of years gone by. I have been bothered by the incredibly sharp edge to these ads this year and by the focus of the mainstream press in particular. I saw a recent poll showing that a majority of Americans now view all Journalists as partisan and actually have to much influence in our political process...unfortunate.
To be clear here I am good friends with John McCains son Andy and his family. They grew up in Jacksonville and we still see them even though they now live out of state. Yesterday the Obama campaign released an add attacking John McCain for being out of touch because he can't even send an email. Here is the add

What I find amazing is that there is nobody at the Obama campaign that can do a Google search prior to putting out one of the gaffs....ooops ads. Heres why John McCain can't send emails from Powerline.com

McCain "can't send an email?" That's true, actually, as Jonah Goldberg explains:

The reason he doesn't send email is that he can't use a keyboard because of the relentless beatings he received from the Viet Cong in service to our country. From the Boston Globe (March 4, 2000):
McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He's an avid fan - Ted Williams is his hero - but he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.

Obama's attack has unleashed a torrent of outrage; Glenn Reynolds has a roundup here. This excerpt from a 2000 Forbes article about McCain's pioneering web-based campaign is noteworthy:

In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate's savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. "She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious," McCain admits.

I guess now we'll find out whether Barack Obama is capable of shame.

After repeated gaffes and missteps I seriously wonder how Obama got to this point in history....granted I think it is says a great deal about where America is that we can now nominate a black American for President and a woman for Vice President ..... but I hope he doesn't get any further. McCain...for all his faults.....got his ASS kicked daily and wouldn't take early release from a prison camp because it would dishonor our country. If he can do that I'm pretty confident that he won't do anything to dishonor it now.



Sunday, September 07, 2008

Funny Capoeira Video

My kids did Capoeira in school . It is a type of Martial arts dancing that my boys thought was really fun. This video is hilarious and shows why you should never show off.
video

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Florida Panther up close




I was at the Zoo this morning to do an echocardiogram on a 16 year old Florida panther. This is the 1st that I've been able to work on up close and personal. They are really remarkable animals.


It compares in size to the Jaguar I did last week. Big feet and really big teeth. While the panther has soon health issues it was still the highlight of the day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A day in Costa Rica


We just got back from a week long trip to Costa Rica. I heard from a friend that American airlines was going to change their reward miles program so I should use them now. We wanted to go back to Costa and take all the kids and allow me to surf during the BIG season. We flew into San Jose and rented a 7 passenger SUV and headed into the mountains. We went up to the Arenal volcano and went to hot springs at "Baldi ". The kids said it was one of the highlights of the trip with many pools throughout the lush gardens that averaged 104 degrees from the volcanic heat. We then headed up to the Hacienda Guachipelin , a hotel/ranch up on the side of another volcano.
Here is one of my emails back during the trip that i was asked to post....remember that I did these at night after dinner and several Imperial's (local beer).

It's day 3 on the Adventura Costa Rica. We are at the Haciedna Guachipelin for another nite. Today we were up at 7am and really stiff from the climb up and jump off the waterfall yesterday but this is kinda an ECO-hotel so the hot water is solar and if someone showers at night then there is no hot water in the morning....like this morning. We had breakfast , more gallo pinto....pronounced "Guy-yo peen-toe"....black beans and rice. We have it every day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's typical costa rican food. At 8am we were at the stables for the horse back ride to the hot springs,mud baths and volcano. I haven't been on a horse in many years and todays ride ,1 1/2 hours meant serious butt pain all the way around. The trail was steep and incredibly rocky...the horses slipped constantly with one going down to his knees. Sarahs horse we all renamed "El-Diablo" since it got into a kicking bout with Beths horse and bit Dani's ....the lead Gaucho had to discipline him( needed Dr Dick to do some ass kickin). When we went as far as the horses could go we dismounted and and then hiked 3-4 miles up the volcano , had to cross some suspect suspension bridges, a long tree over a gorge like Indiana Jones and cross a set of rapids going rock to rock....no BS here this river was the real deal. The water fall at the top was awesome and very cold..oddly only about a kilometer away we came to the bubbling pools of volcanic mud ...248 degrees.....you dont get in these. We went by so many you lose count and the kids were pissed at this point....the joy being sucked out of them by the shear work load of getting up this volcano.
Beth and I were having a blast....it pays to be in shape. Horse back down part of the mountain in the rain to the Symbiosis Spa....a hot mud bath spa on the side of the volcano. Oh by the way...they forgot to bring the lunches.....cranking the kids P.O.-meter into the redline area. We first were told to spend 10 minutes in the sauna (to open our pores)...we all dutifully piled in as they shut the door....jeez it's really hot in there. Serious squawking at this point....very concerned about breathing and how much time is left before they open the door. Every breath is an effort. Polly , Beth and Mac move down to the floor... where it is supposedly not as hot and there was a rumor that there was more air . I stayed on the middle bench with Murphy, Sarah and Dani on the top row.
At the 5 minute mark it is deathly quite as every one concentrates on breathing.....then Murphy quietly says "saftey"....(remember we have all been on a constant diet of gallo pinto) Sarah blurts out " Oh God No Murphy...but it was to late. The acrid sulfur smell made the volcanic mud pits smell like fresh laundry. I'm thinking about what the spa director said about opening your pores and what this is going to do to my skin. I'm certain the last molecules of oxygen are now gone. Once out of the sauna we were marched over to the hot mud pit to cover ourselves with hot volcanic mud....again I'm rehashing the whole open pore thing. Dutifully we cover every square inch of skin with mud.....and wait another 10 minutes. Now you can't actually expect to put mud and the feral children together and not expect trouble....it wasnt long in coming. It was sort of a Coasta Rican mud wrestling extravaganza. The British family at the mud bath at the same time were somewhat taken aback...."Oh Dear God". To top things off ....the showers quit working. What to do....naturally we hit the hot springs and to nobody's surprise instantly changed the color of the water to a deep mud brown. That mud doesnt come off very well either. We then ...back in our wet clothes....with residual mud attached..... got back on the horses for the ride back down...another hour. When we got back ...after all this Beth and I decided on a couples massage.....we loaded up on lunch (more gallo pinto) and some muscle relaxants ( coconut rum) and headed to the massage. It was a man and a woman ( who had striking witch-like features)...usually I get the dude because beth is uncomfortable with guys giving massages, I am also uncomfortable with guys giving me massages and actually it ranks right up there with witches. Well, I got the witch. Lights dimmed and under a towel she began working on me.....at this point in time..... so did the gallo pinto. I was rumbling audibly and I think she thought she could help and started working diligently on my ab's. Bad idea. I was able to somehow hold back the tide but it was like someone squeezing an unopened bag of chips....the kind made with Olestra. She then started lighting candles....I'm not sure if this is some wicken behaviour or if she thinks striking matches is going to help. Next she applies some liquid to my face and returns to the massage....rumblings now under control. After about 15 minutes she wipes the stuff off my face....with a warm wet cloth....I now realize that this is some kind of skin ex foliation treatment.
Sort of a cross between the gelatinous rust remover used at paint and body shops and a hoof rasp. I felt like Ben Stiller in Mystery Men as Captain Furious...." heart rate rising...blood pressure increasing....skin temperature approaching the surface of the sun". OMG.....WTF.....this @#%& burns. If I have any skin cancer it is now gone....along with every wrinkle...blemish and any distinguishing scars. The rumbling starts again...........now Beth hears it....I think about saying "safety" . My mind is rapidly working on the physics... the open flame....how far from my ass to the candle and back to the volatile liquid on my face. This is going to be really bad. I think Cruella figures this out and they both leave...the concentration on my face evident ......the volcano erupts...how do you say "safety in spanish........Beth is convulsing under her towel and in the distance there is snickering on the other side of the door with a Spanish accent. I have Beth check my face....not sure if she will recognize me....I feel like a burn victim. We get dressed and they are waiting for us on the other side of the door.
They are very concerned when we go to walk back to the room " you are very hot....perhaps sick" they wrap us in towels ...I want to tell him that Dr Mengela just deep fried my face..of course I'm hot... he wants to come with us and use an umbrella
so we don't get worse...but we wave him off and return to our room, where the numbing anesthetic qualities of coconut rum awaits.
Tonight for dinner....you guessed it...gallo pinto

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Piroplasmosis in Florida


There has been a report of piroplasmosis at an Ocala area Hospital. Here is an excerpt from the FAEP report.
"

Equine Piroplasmosis (EP) is a blood-borne parasitic disease which is caused by two

organisms, Theileria equi (formerly Babesia equi) and Babesia caballi. It is primarily

transmitted to horses by ticks; however, the disease can be spread mechanically from

animal to animal by contaminated needles. The disease was eradicated from Florida in the 1980's and the tick species generally believed to transmit this disease in other countries have not been identified in Florida in many years. This disease is not directly contagious from one horse to another but requires direct blood transfer. Human infection with equine piroplasmosis is extremely rare. Acutely affected horses can have depression, fever, anemia, jaundiced mucous membranes and low platelet counts. Equine Piroplasmosis can also cause horses to have roughened hair coats, constipation, and colic.

In its milder form, Equine Piroplasmosis causes horses to
appear weak and show lack of appetite. Some horses become chronic carriers of the disease. As EP is considered a foreign animal disease and is reportable in Florida, we are asking veterinarians to report any horses suspect for the disease. Reporting can be done Monday- Friday 8:00am-5:00pm by calling (850) 410-0900 or faxing to (850) 410-0915. After hours reporting may be done by calling (800) 342-5869 or via email to rad@doacs.state.fl.us.


Thus far none of the ticks tested have been found to be positive ...so that is a good thing. The BIG question is ...where did it come from". Did the infected tick somehow make it into Florida from outside the country or is it possible that the organism was not fully eradicated 20 years ago like we thought.

As Veterinarians we must constantly be on the look-out for potential diseases such as this. It is possible that cases have gone undiagnosed that were thought to be something else. The case in Ocala presented as a Hemolytic crisis which could be caused by several diseases, fortunately someone was looking and spotted characteristic changes on a blood smear.

Since EP can look like something benign like a rough hair coat and weight loss it is important to point out changes that you see and look for the cause....don't just let it go.

Heres what you need to do.


Recommendations for Your Equine Clients: Monitor your horse for the presence of ticks. Use commercially available topical products labeled for ticks if your horse is in an area where tick infestation is a problem. Most of these products are synthetic pyrethrins. Include an avermectin product in your deworming program to provide systemic treatment for ticks. Ask your veterinarian if you are unsure.


If you find large numbers of ticks or suspect piroplasmosis, please contact your

veterinarian. Do not share needles between animals during the administration of any medication mor vaccinations. EP and other diseases can be spread by the introduction of blood cells from an infected animal into an uninfected animal during routine administration of injectable medications. Continue your normal equine activities.

Additional updates and information will be posted to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry web site at:

http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/ai/.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in horses


I had an interesting call this week about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in horses. I know there is much debate about the issue in people and actually a lot of research that is still remarkably inconclusive. When you do a google search for chronic fatigue syndrome, horses , you come up with
432,000 hits. Almost every page references reports from Dr. Walter Tarello in Italy.
If you have read anything I have written then you know I'm a skeptic and with this one my bullshit-ometer is redlining. I have read his publications and have some serious questions as to scientific method and the conclusions made ( much less how it even got published). I do not doubt that these cases are sick, they have fever, weight loss and lethargy. What I do doubt is the diagnosis and the way it was arrived at.
"After staining
with the Wright technique, slides were microscopically examined (x100) showing the presence of
micrococci-like organisms on 5-6% of Red Blood Cells, and the absence of alternative causes of
chronic fatigue in horses (Babesia and Ehrlichia spp.) Taken together these observations led to a
diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."
Excuse Me! That is really weak and doesn't stand up to the bright light of scientific rigor. The presence of "micrococci-like organisms" on red blood cells is a real stretch without concurrent hemolysis and positive blood cultures. They look a lot like Howell-Jolly bodies to me but they could also be contamination or stain precipatate.....who knows. Another paper did state there was a positive blood culture for Staph Intermedius in 2 of 5 birds showing vague symptoms. Thats only 40% of cases and different bacteria was found. I have to question contamination . If you suspect septicemia from Staph then appropriate antibiotic treatment dictated by sensitivity testing would be the standard course in any hospital. Instead Dr Tarello choses to treat these with an Arsenical (thiacetarsamide sodium (Caparsolate) the drug that years ago was used to treat heart worm disease in dogs. If I tried to pass that diagnosis by my Chief of Service or the ACVIM I would have been laughed out of the Hospital. There obviously needs to be more science here....how bout starting here. If you suspect Staph spp adherence to RBCs then why not do IFA (immuno florescent antibody) testing and see if that is what it is ....instead of guessing. You then have to prove that this sepsis is actually causing the symptoms you are seeing and be able to reproduce it. Before I get on this band wagon I will have to see some REAL science and not ...since I don't know what else it could be so it has to be this.....kind of pseudo-science.
Now I'm sure I stirred the pudden on this one and everyone will now call me a heretic and a blasphemer...but when I went to scientist school the hand book sez.....don't guess.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in horses....I don't buy


Gasoline prices.......Politicians won't drill even if Gas hits $10

I came across this video that is absolutely shocking from C-SPAN. I'm sure the high gas prices are hurting everyone, but I can tell you first hand that it is brutal for Equine Veterinarians. With four Vets driving into 5 counties the fuel costs are staggering and forcing us to increase our trip charges.
I find it odd that we are virtually the only country that so restricts the amount of domestic energy production. We complain about electrical shortages in California, yet they have not built a new power plant in over 20 years. We complain about high gas prices but haven't built a new refinery in over 30 years and currently are at maximum production. Each year we import more of our energy and transfer more and more of our wealth to other countries. I don't know if the final answer is increased coal production (we have 27% of the worlds coal deposits), nuclear, wind,solar, hydrogen
our geothermal....but I think we need an "ALL OF THE ABOVE " approach for now. Over the next decades the correct technology will emerge the winner, but we can't wait around for it and we sure can't have some politician try to pick the correct one. Start drilling NOW and watch as the price comes down from decreased speculation.....it's down $25 /barrel since the presidential veto on off shore drilling was lifted. Congress needs to do the same.
Watch this video and you will see how deeply entrenched the Democrat party is in their opposition to new oil exploration. It will really piss you off.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stem Cell Therapy


For several years we have had the ability to use stem cell therapy in our patients. We harvest fat cells from the Gluteal region of the patient and ship them to a company Vet-Stem that concentrates the adult stem cells and ships them back to us for injection into damaged tendons and ligaments. There are now many new uses being developed such as intra-articular injection for treating arthritis or OCD lesions.
Stem cells are the precursor cells for all cells in the body. They are called pleurepotent stem cells and are the first cells that appear during embryonic development. They then mature into the various
organs and tissues of the body from brain and bone to skin and hair. It is really quite amazing and the signaling process has yet to be fully understood. What we do know is that adult stem cells are present is significant numbers in adipose tissue and bone marrow and behave in similar ways to embryonic stem cells. When these cells are injected into tissue they develop into cells that surround them, obviously receiving a signal from those cells.
There is a very interesting article published on Technology Review ( the MIT website), I really do have to get a life and start reading fiction or watching TV or something. Anyway, this article notes the GSK Glasco Smith Klein is partnering with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to develop additional uses for stem cells. ""GSK believes stem cell science has great potential to aid the discovery of new medicines by improving the screening, identification, and development of new compounds," said Patrick Vallance, head of drug discovery at GSK, in a statement released by the company. There appears to be a way of developing stem cells that mimick damaged or diseased cells and allow drug developers to test treatment on actual diseased cells outside the body......thats way cool.
"

Big Pharma has mostly shied away from investing in stem-cell research. But drug screening, which some scientists say is likely to be one of the biggest near-term benefits of stem cells, is a growing area of interest.

Because stem cells can be differentiated into any type of cell in the body, they present an ideal source for screening. For example, scientists can determine how a candidate heart-disease drug affects heart cells and also look for potential side effects in liver or other cell types.

The time appears ripe for investing, because scientists can now use new reprogramming techniques to develop stem cells from patients with specific diseases. (While no one has yet reported this, word among stem-cell researchers is that it has been done.) That means they can make nerve cells from stem cells derived from an Alzheimer's patient and then examine how candidate Alzheimer's drugs affect the diseased cells.

If this works out then we can expect a rapid increase in drug development targeting many diseases that to date have been unrewarding.



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hurricane preparation for your farm

The Forum today was a big success and very well attended. I thought I would post the work sheet
here for those that are interested. It's a simple list to help you set up a disaster preparedness plan for your farm.

Disaster Preparation Work Sheet

Jacksonville Equine Associates LLC

Store forms in a secure waterproof folder or on a CD or Thumb Drive and take it with you.

1.Farm location- Flood zone. www.msc.fema.gov __________________________

print map and attach to plan

2. Follow storm progress

-Internet- www.wunderground.com/tropical/

-TV- local stations

-Radio- local stations, have extra batteries should power go out

3.Evacuation Plan- Locations- http://www.sshc.org/evac/search.htm

Destination

________________________________________________________________

Destination

________________________________________________________________

Evacuation route
________________________________________________________________

Alternate route
________________________________________________________________

4. Horses- Information, name, age, photos, Microchip ID #. Attach copies of Coggins test and health certificate (event permit good for 6 months) http://jaxequine.com/EXTENSIONFORM.PDF

1._________________________________________________________________

2._________________________________________________________________

3._________________________________________________________________

4._________________________________________________________________

5. Secure structures

a. Move loose objects indoors from aisle way and paddocks. Store in stall.

b. Tie jumps and poles together or store indoors.

c. Move trailers to high ground in field away from trees. Park in center of field.

d. Check barn doors and shutters.

6. Store drinking water- 7-day supply

a. # (Of horses) x 20(gal.) x 7(days)= total water needed

b. ________x 20 x 7=____________gallons

7. Store feed-7 day supply

a. Grain/sweet feed (approx. 1lb per 100lbs body wt.)

b. Hay – stored indoors, don’t rely on round bales

c. All feed stored securely off the ground and under waterproof tarps.

8. Bed all stalls and aisle ways for pastured horses.

(Note- horses left in open pastures with no trees or debris survive best)

Away from weak structures and trees that have shown prior damage.

Remove all debris from the field.

9. Clear fence lines- trees and limbs that will damage fence. Store temporary fencing materials; white PVC fence wire, yellow hazard tape, spare posts nails and staples.Tools.

10. Secure a GENERATOR

- To run pump for water and any power equipment needed after the storm

- 4HP or higher

11. First aid Kit

Bandage material, sheet cotton, gauze, tape (vet wrap, duct tape), scissors, leg wraps.

Wound ointment- Nolvasan, Triple antibiotic

Analgesics- Banamine, Phenylbutazone

Syringes and needles

Clean towels

Fresh water to clean wounds (1-2 gallons)

Soap- hand soap, shampoo, and betadine scrub

Insect repellent

Flash lights and batteries (head lamps are good while working on the horse)

Spare halters and lead ropes.

Tranquilizers- Acepromazine

12. Emergency contact numbers:

1.

2.

3.



PUT THESE IN PLASTIC STORAGE BINS AND SECURE WITH DUCK TAPE

_________________________________________________________________

CHECK LIST

Check and repair fences

Clear trees and limbs

Remove debris

Store jumps/tables/chairs

Examine barn for loose shingles/debris

Move trucks and trailers into large pasture

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

Get tie downs for trucks and trailers

Store feed-7 day supply-in water proof containers

Store hay under tarps in a stall off the ground

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

Hand pump for well-fairly cheap and your well wont work with power

Generator 4 hp or higher (5000 watt)

Extension cords

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

Extra halters and lead ropes (in plastic storage bin)

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 (4hp 5000 W )

-Gas grill

-Small cheap A/C unit ($ 100) store in closet( this was a life saver for us)

-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