Partners in Practice

ISS2 2012

Partners in Practice is a quarterly newsletter designed specifically for the equine veterinarian and their staff. Merck Animal Health brings veterinarians the latest information in equine research and practice management in each issue.

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Testing In February 2012 the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) began offering a genetic panel test whereby a lab tests Quarter Horses for HYPP, PSSM1, MH, GBED, and HERDA for a flat fee and records results on the horse's registration. There are also several laboratories licensed to offer individual genetic tests. The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), performs HYPP and GBED testing, and Monica Aleman, MVZ, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, at UC Davis performs MH testing. The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory provides PSSM1 and MH testing. Vetgen, Animal Genetics, and Progressive Molecular Diagnostics Inc. perform GBED testing. Researchers suspect several additional muscle disorders in horses, Aquatic biting flies Larvae develop in standing water (mosquitoes), flowing water (black flies), wetland mud (horse/deer flies), or moist, organically rich areas (biting midges). Filth flies Larvae develop in damp, decaying organic debris (house fly, stable fly) or in fresh cattle dung pats (horn fly, face fly). There are many ways to reduce aquatic biting fly breeding grounds to eliminate larval production, whereas chemical options for reducing these grounds are limited. For instance, change stock tank water weekly; remove or drain standing water sources (such as wheelbarrows and buckets); and promote good drainage on your property so rain puddles do not persist. Control weeds around buildings and bodies of water. Add fish that consume mosquito larvae to stock tanks. You might also place an insect growth regulator (IGR) product to control larvae in stock tanks. Treat water sources not used by horses with mosquito dunks containing bacteria toxic to mosquitoes. Effective filth fly control begins with source reduction through managing manure properly. Remove Researchers suspect several additional muscle disorders in horses, but have not confirmed them to have a heritable basis. — Dr. Stephanie Valberg but they have not confirmed them to have a heritable basis. These include recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) in Thoroughbreds, type 2 PSSM in Quarter Horses and Warmbloods, and immune-mediated myositis in Quarter Horses. Researchers recently identified chromosomal regions associated with RER, but they have yet to identify a specific gene and mutation. For now, veterinarians identify these muscle disorders by interpreting the history, physical exam findings, serum muscle enzyme activity, and muscle biopsy findings. manure from equine quarters daily, and spread it thinly over an unoccupied pasture or arena to dry. You can also treat manure with diatomaceous earth, which kills insects by dehydrating them. In addition, releasing parasitic wasps can be a very effective biological control method. These tiny, stingless wasps parasitize and eventually kill filth fly pupae found in manure, soiled bedding, old hay, etc. Veterinarians might choose instead to use feed-through fly control. Manufacturers design these supplements, which contain an IGR, to pass through the horse in his manure and prevent fly larval development in the treated manure. Controlling adult flies is usually necessary as well, especially by midsummer. Before you reach for a pyrethroid insecticide-based fly repellent or premises spray, consider these nonchemical options: Install fans in horse barns; some fly species do not fly well against moving air. The initial development of the muscle biopsy technique for horses and its subsequent use in equine practice has helped researchers uncover new muscle disorders and facilitated the development of readily available genetic tests. Grants from the AQHA, Morris Animal Foundation, University of Minnesota Equine Center, and Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation made these discoveries possible. Stephanie Valberg, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVSMR, is a professor of large animal medicine and director of the University of Minnesota's Equine Center. Adjust turnout schedules to keep horses inside during times when flies are active. Equip horses with protective sheets and masks. Install traps that target most adult fly species. Trap location is very important; locate baited traps a distance away from your clinic to avoid attracting more flies to your property. To summarize, customize your fly management program to the specific fly problems at your facility, and utilize IPM strategies to minimize health risks to you and your staff, clients, equine patients, and the environment. For more information, go to www.extension.umn. edu/distribution/livestocksystems/ DI8537.pdf. Holly Ferguson, PhD, is an extension integrated pest management coordinator specialist with Washington State University's Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center.

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