Monday, January 21, 2008

Laryngeal Paralysis

We seem to have had a run on laryngeal disease over the last month so I thought i would post a quick tutorial. Horses can get a variety of Laryngeal diseases, including arytenoid paralysis, ulcers,
neoplasia, epiglottic displacement, epiglottic entrapment and sub-epiglottic cysts.
Image 1-
This is a normal view through a fiber optic endoscope. What you see is epiglottis in the foreground that looks like a pointed tongue. behind this are the arytenoids that work like curtains covering the opening to the trachea.
Image 2-
In this horse you can see the left arytenoid is hanging down into the airway. This is an example of Laryngeal paralysis. Frequently this is caused by damage to the left recurrent laryngeal nerve. It can also be related to damage to the arytenoid itself such as infection of the cartilage.
This is what typically is known as roaring, when the horse makes a respiratory noise (usually on inspiration) while working.

Image 3-
This is a picture of an arytenoid ulcer.
It is actually one that is healing after having had a draining tract for several weeks.
In this case the left arytenoid was so
thick and edematous that it caused it
to hang into the airway causing a respiratory noise. It eventually led to a left laryngeal paralysis.

The treatment for this condition is the surgical tie-back where the left arytenoid is sutured back out of the airway. This will allow for adequate inflow of air during exercise and lets the horse perform at near normal levels. the down side to having this done is that the airway is now 50% open ALL the time. This means that they are more prone to tracheal and pulmonary infections and irritations from dust and debris. Another point to be made is that this will NOT eliminate the noise , which means that certain show horses will still be knocked back for respiratory noise.
Should you have a horse that makes a noise or has a performance issue that could be respiratory in origin then you should have an endoscopy done on your horse. It is simple and relatively non-invasive and can give you a wealth of information.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ditch Surfin'

While I confess to being a proud southerner with all rights and privileges thereto appertaining.....I really get aggravated by commercials or TV shows that make us look stupid. I also don't like those that make guys in general look stupid or those that make surfers look stupid. Now as a member of all three categories I have to complain about the antics of some of my fellow brethren...."Fellas this ain't helpin the cause" .....but it sure looks like fun.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The higher costs of Horse care.

I'm sure everyone knows that the price of keeping a horse has gone up substantially over the last year. If you look at rising fuel costs, increased feed costs and a poor hay harvest this year you can see the problem. Now you must add the increased cost of shavings. According to a report from " The Horse .com" the downturn in the housing market has caused a subsequent shortage in shavings and increased the cost. "The cost of shavings has increased by 70% in the past two years," noted halter horse trainer Ted Turner of Turner Ranch in Aubrey, Texas. He said he has been forced to pass the increased cost on to his clients. Since shavings are bulky they are expensive to ship so you need to live close to where the lumber industry is. Other things impacting the cost of keeping a horse are also going up. With the increased interest in ethanol fuel a lot of the corn production has been shifted to that use causing a large increase in feed costs. The rise in gas prices has also increased shipping costs. The rise in property values has increased the property taxes. From the Veterinary end ,fuel costs have impacted us hard. With the three of us driving over 5 counties the fuel bill each month is staggering. All of these factors must to be having an impact but I must say that as of now we have not seen a reduction in the number of horses or cases we are seeing. Perhaps (and I think this is the case) the economy as a whole is much stronger than the press is saying, allowing us to absorb higher costs than you think. We will have to watch these aspects of the economy and the horse industry for any trends that develop.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A fresh sounding Presidential Candidate? Fred Thompson?

American politics and our News Media have really turned me off as of late. To say they spend money like drunken sailors is an insult to drunken sailors. I read a great deal of history and I really wish we had statesmen like those that sacrificed everything in the founding of this country.
With a Presidential campaign in full swing I can't tell the TV anchors from the candidates. That is why I was surprised to see this video on you tube. Is Fred just an actor or is he for real? He's definitely not great looking and how long has it been since we elected a bald President? (Not that theres anything wrong with that). It's a bit long, about 15 minutes but it was really refreshing, made me feel good about a politician...I can't believe I wrote that. How it all works out...I don't know, but I think I'll give him a close look.
If you plan on voting or even if you can't stomach it any might be worth you're time.

Students sniff odors for science

I think I could really increase my "gross" income if I can get into this project.
This from Purdue University "here".
Some college students will do anything for extra cash, even if it means sniffing livestock excrement.Students at Purdue University in Indiana can earn $30 per session to inhale and then rate whiffs of air collected from barns filled with hogs, cows and chickens. It's a science experiment conducted by a professor of agricultural and biological engineering.He's searching for ways to improve methods for estimating a given livestock farm's odor emissions."
They are going to sniff different barns trying to determine how far away you need to be so you don't smell it. It is supposed to help determine how far away you should build housing developments. I think I can lend some expertise here.....don't Mooooooove to where the cows are, simple enough. It's like the people that buy a house next to the airport and wake up one morning and have that moment of clarity and realize planes make alot of noise. Well, guess what.....cows make alot of crap.....a really large amount of it....24/7.....365 and there gas too. The way they build houses so close together now you can pass gas and your neighbor giggles. I bet if you look close enough there is Federal funding for this project. Thats what really smells.

Listeria outbreak in Massachusetts

This week the Dept of Health in Massachusetts reported that 4 human cases (including 2 deaths and 1 miscarriage) of Listeria infection over the last 6 mos. were linked by 'DNA fingerprinting' to retail milk samples obtained from a local dairy farm (Whittier Farms, Sutton MA). Listeria Monocytogenes is a gram positive bacteria that can cause septicemia GI disease and spread to the Nervous system. Listeria is a common soil organism that can cause disease when ingested, especially in pregnant women, children and people with weakened immune systems. I have seen several cases of menengitis/encephalitis in animals and I can only imagine how devastating this can be in people. From the Milford Daily News " The Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued a warning to consumers not to drink any milk products from Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury because of listeria bacteria contamination, which has contributed to the death of two people.

Four cases of listeriosis infection have been identified by DPH, according to a statement released by the state department late this afternoon. The cases occurred in June, October and two in November. The four cases involved three elderly residents and a pregnant woman from Worcester county. Two of the people have died. They have not been identified.

DNA fingerprinting conducted by the State Laboratory Institute showed that the bacteria causing these infections came from a common source. Samples collected showed product contamination.

The troubling thing is that the milk was apparently pasteurized. Either there was a defect in the system or this strain of Listeria is more resistant to temperature and pressure. That could mean a increased risk for everyone and needs to be watched closely.