D O U B L E T H R E AT S

EQUUS - - Eq Tack & Gear -

• Vac­ci­nate. The vac­cine against PHF is rec­om­mended by the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Equine Prac­ti­tion­ers (AAEP) for horses likely to be ex­posed to the dis­ease. “The vac­cine is typ­i­cally ad­min­is­tered twice yearly, in spring pring and fall, but this sched­ule varies ge­ogra­phieo­graph­i­cally and is de­pen­dent upon recommenec­om­men­da­tions of the vet­eri­nar­ian,” saysys Gilse­nan. “In re­gions with a long hot sea­son, it might be ap­pro­pri­ate to vac­ci­nate more fre­quently.”

• Re­duce ex­po­sure to species that carry Turn off barn and out­door lights that may at­tract mayflies and cad­dis­flies, which are known to fly for miles to swarm un­der street­lights and other light sources. Re­search shows that horses sta­bled at the ends of aisles, near open doors and night-lights, are at a much higher risk of con­tract­ing PHF.

“There was one re­port of a show barn that was hav­ing prob­lems with PHF even though it was miles from a river,” says Gre­nager. “They had a lot of big safety lights on at night and a num­ber of the horses got PHF. Af­ter they turned off the lights at night, the PHF cases dropped off sig­nif­i­cantly. Many peo­ple like to have a se­cu­rity light left on at the barn, but you have to weigh in the risks for PHF.” If se­cu­rity is a con­cern, con­sider in­stalling mo­tion de­tec­tors on your ex­te­rior barn lights, so they will come on only when some­one is present.

• Store hay in­doors or un­der a cover.

• Keep horses at some dis­tance from wa­ter sources. If your pas­tures con­tain nat­u­ral ponds or streams, con­sider fenc­ing them off; horses graz­ing too close to the wa­ter’s edge may pick

Two pathogens found in wa­ter may do more harm to you than to your horse: cryp­tosporid­ium and gi­a­r­dia.

Cryp­tosporid­io­sis, which is seen mainly in calves, lambs, foals and other young an­i­mals, is an in­testi­nal dis­ease caused by Cryp­tosporid­ium spp. pro­to­zoans, es­pe­cially C. parvum. “It’s gen­er­ally not an adult dis­ease un­less it’s an in­di­vid­ual with a com­pro­mised im­mune sys­tem,” says Michelle Abra­ham Lin­ton, BSc, BVMS, DACVIM (LAIM), of the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia. “The­o­ret­i­cally, older horses or those with un­reg­u­lated Cush­ing’s could be at risk, or a horse that has been on chemo­ther­apy.”

This pathogen, which causes se­vere di­ar­rhea, is passed out with the fe­ces, mean­ing that hy­giene is a pri­mary con­cern. “Crypto is highly in­fec­tive,” Lin­ton says. “You don’t have to in­gest very much of the pathogen to have a se­ri­ous prob­lem.”

Crypto can in­fect many species of an­i­mals, and ma­ture horses may carry the par­a­sites and pass them on with­out show­ing signs of ill­ness. “Many horses have been ex­posed to crypto. One study looking at blood tests showed that about 90 per­cent of the horses sam­pled had an­ti­bod­ies to C. parvum,” says Nora Gre­nager, VMD, of Gre­nager Equine Con­sult­ing. “This means it is in their en­vi­ron­ment, but when the re­searchers in an­other study took fe­cal sam­ples from nor­mal horses only about 8 per­cent of them were shed­ding it.”

Giar­dia­sis is an­other dis­ease caused by a pro­to­zoan, Gi­a­r­dia spp., that peo­ple can get by drink­ing wa­ter con­tam­i­nated by wildlife fe­ces. As with crypto, the cysts shed by gi­a­r­dia or­gan­isms can per­sist for many months in wet en­vi­ron­ments.

Horses don’t get sick from gi­a­r­dia, but they may carry the par­a­site and shed the cysts in their ma­nure. “This dis­ease is present in the en­vi­ron­ment, and horses are po­ten­tially shed­ding gi­a­r­dia, but it doesn’t seem to be as­so­ci­ated with di­ar­rhea very of­ten,” says Gre­nager. “There have been stud­ies and tests try­ing to de­ter­mine the preva­lence in horses, and how of­ten nor­mal horses have gi­a­r­dia cysts in their fe­ces. Re­cent stud­ies showed 10 to 20 per­cent of foals in some Euro­pean coun­tries were pos­i­tive when check­ing fe­ces.”

scan­ning elec­tron mi­cro­graph of a tropho­zoite, the free-swim­ming form of the pro­to­zoan T The pro­to­zoan par­a­site cr the par­a­sitic in­fec­tion cryp­tosporid­io­sis.

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