Latest News Bulletins
Cribbing and Dental Wear
If you’ve been around the horse world long enough then you are probably familiar with cribbing, an undesirable, compulsory behavior. Though there are varying degrees of the behavior, it generally involves the horse using her front teeth (incisors) to grip onto surfaces such as stall doors, fences, etc and then arching her neck to suck in air. While the practice reportedly causes a release of endorphins to give the horse a feeling of pleasure, it can also be linked to colic, stomach ulcers, and dental wear.
The amount of abnormal dental wear that a cribber possesses is highly variable depending on the surfaces used, aggressiveness of cribbing, and length of time that the horse has been cribbing. However, an experienced equine dentist can almost always identify a cribber just by opening the lips and examining the incisors.
My experience has been that heaviest wear will most often occur on the upper incisors, starting in the center and moving outwards. Depending on the horse’s movements while cribbing, the bottom incisors are also affected, but generally less heavily. Surprisingly, the cheek teeth (premolars/molars) are often hardly affected by cribbing, with the exception of extreme cases when the incisors are worn down to the point they are causing an overbite or underbite. Uneven bites like these will cause the jaw to be misaligned from front to back, and cheek teeth will wear accordingly, but generally these issues are correctable.
In summary, cribbing is not only a nuisance, but an unhealthy habit that should be stopped whenever possible. While it can cause unflattering cosmetic changes to the incisors, it generally does not affect eating habits, and routine dental care can usually resolve any unusual cheek teeth wear that has occurred. Prevention of further cribbing is the best course of action, but this article will not breach that subject.
Michael Marshall, DVM
Century Mills Equestrian Team - National Finals Results
Sarah Baker- 5th Future Beginner Flat Team
Morgan Maher- 7th Future Novice Fences Team
Sarah Baker- 6th Future Beginner Flat Individual
Morgan, Rebekah, Michela, and Sarah all had stellar rides at Nationals! The competition was fierce, but the girls held their own and came home with great ribbons. We had a big crew of supporting teammates and parents, which made the whole trip a ton of fun. Let's do it again next year!
Jean Sheptoff and Ami Des Gemmes win the $25,000 Fieldstone Spring Festival Grand Prix
Congratulations to Jean Sheptoff and Ami Des Gemmes on their win in the $25,000 Fieldstone Spring Festival Grand Prix.
Jean, manager of Newbury Farm in Littleton, MA made her Grand Prix debute two years ago, winning the the $35,000 Fieldstone Summer Showcase Grand Prix on Peaches.
Three horses dead after traffic accident
Three eventing horses, VDL Ulando H, Icarus and Jude's Law, of the Pollard Eventing Training Center in Georgia were euthanized this past Memorial Day weekend after a tragic accident that injured several of their horses.
Ruth Armstrong's stallion, VDL Ulando H, died at the scene as a result of head and neck trauma.
"He was the love of my life, an athlete and a gentleman and deserves a good send off," said Ruth.
Michael & Nathalie Pollard's 14 year old grey Thoroughbred gelding Icarus (Fly), was euthanized on Saturday, May 26th 2012 at Rood & Riddle Veterinary Clinic in Lexington, KY. The horse sustained serious injuries as a result of a traffic accident on May 25, 2012 resulting in a severed ligament and deep lacerations surrounding his right hind fetlock joint. Following intensive treatment at the Pollard Eventing Training Center in Dalton, GA, Icarus was shipped to Rood & Riddle for surgery. Despite every effort by Dr. Chris Newton and his team the extent of injuries presented no other option but to save the horse from further pain. Michael Pollard was with Icarus having driven the horse to Lexington.
Michael commented: "He was the best horse in the world who just never quite made it - mostly my fault, and certainly not his. He brought me out of relative obscurity. He was just a special soul and everyone that worked with him felt the same. He was a family member and it will not be the same without him in the barn"
Nathalie added, "My heart is really broken. I have loved this horse since the day I laid eyes on him 8 years ago at the Kentucky Horse Park. He was stunning, and radiated beauty from the inside out. He was an exceptional athlete who never once quit or let us down. He was a good man with a heart of gold. He was my friend, and his absence will be felt painfully for some time."
Fly' came to the team as a Preliminary horse and successfully ascended to Advanced with Nathalie. Michael took on the ride in 2009. Some of his many notable achievements include winning the 2009 Jersey Fresh CCI***, the Zeppa International Trophy as well a 19th place finish at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, and a Land Rover High Performance Grant to compete at 2011 Burghley. Fly competed at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event just last month.
Michael Pollard & John Bryant's 11 year old Irish Sport Horse gelding Jude's Law (Jude), was euthanized on Sunday May 27th 2012 at Rood & Riddle Veterinary Clinic in Lexington, KY. Initially, Jude was thought to only have some cuts, but surgery revealed that he had a ruptured secum.
"This is a nightmare that I can't seem to wake up from. This horse was so special to me and yet at the moment I just feel numb. He looked like he was going to be fine in a few weeks. I am absolutely crushed," said Michael.
Jude joined the Pollard Eventing Team in July 2011. He competed Advanced with his previous rider, Beth Temkin, including Rebecca Farm CIC***, under the ownership of Hilary Bates who rode him at Training Level. With Michael he was runner up at the Richland Park CIC 2* in 2011. This season he won the Pine Top Spring Advanced Horse Trials and the Southern Pines Advanced Horse Trials before going to Jersey Fresh earlier this month to finish runner up in the CCI3*. He was one of twenty horses still in contention for the 2012 Olympic Games and was the third ranked USEA horse through the first half of the year.
Other injured horses include:
Schoensgreen Hanni (Hanni), 9 year old German Warmblood mare owned by Nathalie Pollard, suffered some superficial cuts but is not expected to miss any work in her preparation for Bromont CCI3* June 8-10th in Canada.
Carl Bouckaert's Raphael, who won the Chatt Hills Open Preliminary division last week, survived with just some bruising and will be given time to recover from the shock before returning to work.
Little Star, a brood mare, suffered cuts to her hind legs and is expected to make a full recovery.
A spokesman for Pollard said the accident occurred when a vehicle pulled out in front of the vehicle carrying the horses, and did not see the trailer. A groom for Pollard was driving the trailer, and the other staff in the trailer were not injured.
The spokesman said police at the scene said there was “nothing that could have been done to avoid the oncoming vehicle”. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured.
Pollard Eventing Team's reactions to the accident can be heard here: http://soundcloud.com/
Routine vaccinations, optional vaccines and possible reactions to consider when vaccinating your horse.
The decision to vaccinate your horse should be multifactorial and an understanding about the specific diseases you are vaccinating against help establish a relationship with your veterinarian as well as lead you as an owner to play an active role in the overall health of your herd. The decision to vaccinate should be based on risk of disease, consequences of the disease, effectiveness of the vaccination protocol and potential for adverse effects. It is important to remember that just like in human medicine, no vaccination is 100% effective, vaccination without proper management will not prevent spread of infectious diseases and after vaccinations are given they are not immediately protective and require additional immunizations at appropriate intervals.
The core vaccinations given in the New England area (usually in the spring time) are Tetanus toxoid, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile virus and Rabies.
Tetanus Toxoid: usually given 2 times initially 3-4 weeks apart, then continued to be boostered annually. Just like in human medicine, if the horse sustains a wound or is admitted for surgery they should have a booster within 6 months. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani that affects the nervous system. Spores of the bacteria live in the soil and are found around the world. Infection begins when the spores enter the body through an injury or wound.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis/Western Equine Encephalitis: similar routine to tetanus, EEE/WEE is initially given 2 times (4-6 weeks apart) and then boostered annually prior to the vector season. The vector for EEE/WEE is the mosquito. It is a mosquito-borne viral infection that can cause severe encephalitis in horses and humans by direct contact with an infected mosquito only. There is no specific treatment and supportive care is the only therapy. Due to vaccination protocol, these 2 diseases no longer occur regularly although small outbreaks are still seen.
West Nile Virus: an initial 2 dose series (3-6 week intervals) with a yearly booster before the vector season. The vaccination may be given more frequently in areas with year round vectors. Vectors are mosquitoes but with help from birds as an amplifying host the virus is spread globally.
Rabies: vaccine administered annually. Rabies is a viral disease spread by direct contact with an infected subject. This disease causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and is highly fatal. There are many vectors of this disease and any mammal may spread it. Vaccination is protective.
The following vaccinations are considered “optional” to the owner and should be considered based on geography, herd population and travel or between individual horses in a population. These vaccines include Anthrax, Botulism, Equine Herpes Virus 1&4, Equine Viral Arteritis, Equine Influenza, Rotavirus (diarrhea in foals), Lyme disease, Potomac horse fever and Strangles. Each of these vaccinations works differently and their efficacy changes depending on which one you choose. Ask your veterinarian if you are considering additional vaccinations.
Along with vaccinations are the inherent risk of vaccines causing adverse reactions. Because foreign material is being injected into the body, there are risks associated with each vaccine. Each individual horse responds differently to injections and it is important to know what signs to look for after your horse receives his/her annual vaccinations. Vaccines given are routinely administered as a 3 or 4 way, this means there are multiple vaccines in one injection, limiting the amount of times your horse in injected, thereby limiting reactions and makes vaccinating more friendly to your horse.
Most vaccinations are given intramuscularly and reactions range from mild to severe. Mild reactions include swelling at the site of injection and muscle soreness, sometimes a fever may result with going off feed and becoming slightly depressed for 24-48 hours. Severe reactions include abscesses at the injection site or anaphylaxis. Vaccines should always be administered by a veterinarian or under direct veterinary supervision. Some vaccines come in an intranasal (IN) form (Influenza, Strangles) which means that live organisms are placed in the horse's nasal passages to cause a local immune reaction. Similar adverse reactions are possible and the decision to administer IN vaccines is based on a particular horse's need.
When considering vaccinating your horse, remember to allow sufficient time to generate a protective response to each vaccination (usually 2-4 weeks, however it depends on each vaccination). Vaccines should be administered well before shipment or prior to a horse show. To decrease the potential for a reaction, veterinarian or owner may elect to stagger the vaccination protocol.
We recommend discussing the proper vaccination protocols for your horse with your veterinarian so that the best plan for your individual horse is instituted. Please discuss any questions regarding vaccinations with your veterinarian or any of the veterinarians at New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center.
Katy Rayner, DVM
Jacqueline Bartol, DVM, DACVIM
- WWW.AAEP.ORG, AAEP 2012. Copyright © 1996-2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners.
- Equine Infectious Diseases. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier.
Where did the first domestic horses come from?
New research indicates that domestic horses originated in the steppes of modern-day Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan, mixing with local wild herds as they spread throughout Europe and Asia.
The research was funded by the BBSRC, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Leverhulme Trust and published 07 May, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Originally, due to archeological evidence, it was believed that horse domestication originated in the western part of the Eurasian Steppe (Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan), but a single origin in a geographically restricted area appeared at odds with the large number of female lineages in the domestic horse gene pool, commonly thought to reflect multiple domestication "events" across a wide geographic area.
To solve this mystery, scientists from the University of Cambridge used a genetic database of more than 300 horses sampled from across the Eurasian Steppe to run a number of different modelling scenarios.Their research shows that the extinct wild ancestor of domestic horses, Equus ferus, expanded out of East Asia approximately 160,000 years ago. They were also able to demonstrate that Equus ferus was domesticated in the western Eurasian Steppe, and that herds were repeatedly restocked with wild horses as they spread across Eurasia.
Dr. Vera Warmuth, from the University of Cambridge's Department of Zoology, said: "Our research clearly shows that the original founder population of domestic horses was established in the western Eurasian Steppe, an area where the earliest archaeological evidence for domesticated horses has been found. The spread of horse domestication differed from that of many other domestic animal species, in that spreading herds were augmented with local wild horses on an unprecedented scale. If these restocking events involved mainly wild mares, we can explain the large number of female lineages in the domestic horse gene pool without having to invoke multiple domestication origins."
This is the first genetic evidence for a geographically restricted domestication origin in the Eurasian Steppe, as suggested by archaeology, and shows that the female diversity is the result of later infusions of wild mares, thus reconciling evidence which had previously given rise to conflicting scenarios.