AHC Testifies Before House Committee on Soring Bill

AHC Testifies Before House Committee on Soring Bill

Submitted by admin on Thu, 11/14/2013 – 15:46

On November 13, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, held a hearing regarding the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2013 (H.R. 1518) or PAST Act.   American Horse Council (AHC) President Jay Hickey testified in support of the bill.  Continue reading

National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Equine study

NAHMS Equine Study Survey Open until End of January

Earlier the AHC sent to its members a notification concerning the 2015 National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Equine study. This is a study conducted every 10 years by the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal, Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS). The short 5-minute survey will help establish parameters for the 2015 study.
It is important for NAHMS to reach as many horse owners as possible, which is why the deadline for filling out the survey has been extended through the end of January. The survey can be taken at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NAHMS_Equine2015_I.

Please share this email with others in the horse community. We would like as many people to complete the survey as possible.
If you have any questions concerning the survey, or would like more information about NAHMS or their prior equine studies, please do not hesitate to contact the AHC.


American Horse Council Briefs Congressional Staff on Soring Bill

On October 28, 2013, the American Horse Council briefed a large number of House and Senate Congressional Staff on the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2013 (H.R. 1518/S.1406) (PAST  Act) that would strengthen the forty year old Horse Protection Act to prevent horse soring

 Soring is an abusive practice used by some in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse, and Racking Horse industry. It usually involves the use of action devices, chemicals, pads, wedges or other practices to cause pain in the horse’s forelegs and produce an accentuated show gait for competition.  Despite the existence of a federal ban on soring for over forty years, this cruel practice continues in some segments of the walking horse industry.

 The PAST act would amend the HPA to prohibit a Tennessee Walking Horse, a Racking Horse, or a Spotted Saddle Horse from being shown, exhibited, or auctioned with an “action device,” or “a weighted shoe, pad, wedge, hoof band or other device or material” if it is constructed to artificially alter the gait of the horse and is not strictly protective or therapeutic.  These new prohibitions would not apply to other breeds that do not have a history of soring. Continue reading

The Horse- Processing Controversy

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By Andie Guess, horse owner

In the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, the scene is set to play out the fate of United States Equids. “There has been a flurry of filings in the Front Range Equine Rescue et al vs.USDA court case. Most of the filings have been from those seeking to intervene in the case, including the state of New Mexico (for the plaintiffs) and the Confederated Yakima Tribes (for the defendants). Continue reading

Annual Horse Care Budget

This article may be reprinted provided the statement “Article reprinted with permission from the Kentucky Horse Council” and a link to www.kentuckyhorse.org are included.
There is no cookbook or step by step system which horse owners can follow to guide their major decision making processes.  julia020Instead we all seem to muddle along, trying to make the best decisions for our horses, until finally we are faced with the inevitable.
In college I took a personal finance course and boy do I wish I had paid better attention!  There is one thing that I vividly recall from that particular course: the professor, who cooked “cigar butt chili” annually for his business students, swore by the adage, “Never let your car know when you have extra money!”  Countless vehicle breakdowns later, I am convinced that he was right.  I also firmly believe the same can be said about horses.
Occasionally I hear about horse owners who have tried to do right by their horses to the point that they are overwhelmed with veterinary bills and cannot afford the normal expense of basic horse care and preventative practices.  I wonder, what happened?  How did they get in this situation?  And, how can I protect my own personal finances, while still providing for the care of my animals?Loren Price 3
I think the first step in developing a strategy for managing equine expenses is to start with a clear budget.  What are your annual horse ownership expenses?  How much should you plan to spend on emergency/unplanned veterinary medical care annually?  What is your financial limit?  What is your plan for handling the euthanasia of a horse?
Annual Horse Care Budget
My veterinarian recently asked me how expensive it is for me to provide for my horses care at home rather than at a boarding facility.  In all honesty, I couldn’t answer his question very well, since my greatest expense in horse keeping over the past twelve months has been veterinary care.  My regular feeding and preventative care costs are fairly stable with the only variable really being the price of hay on any given year.  My horses live outside with access to run-in sheds, so I don’t have the added expense of bedding.  Over the past summer, I was exceptionally lucky and purchased decent quality hay at a real bargain, so my annual cost of horse care (including vaccinations, dental care, hoof care, and parasite control) for 2010/2011 is roughly $1650-$1750 per horse, whereas in 2009/2010 my per head cost of horse ownership was closer to $1850 annually.
So let’s say I spend $1850 per horse per year on feed and basic care.  Presumably the normal, healthy horse will have on average one incident a year that requires veterinary attention (colic, cut requiring sutures, infection, etc.) at perhaps an estimated cost of $500.  Thus an annual horse ownership budget for me might be $2350 per horse.
Take a few minutes and figure your annual per horse cost of ownership.  Items to factor into the equation should include at a minimum:
  • Cost of hay
  • Cost of grain
  • Supplements
  • Bedding (if applicable)
  • Board (if applicable)
  • Parasite control (internal and external)
  • Vaccinations
  • Dental care
  • Hoof care
  • Other preventative care (i.e. chiropractic, therapeutic massage, etc.)
  • Regular veterinary needs (does your horse have a condition that requires regular veterinary care?)
  • Additional expenses (i.e. does your horse get a new blanket, halter, etc annually?)
  • Examine your veterinary bills from the last year or two.  Total those invoices and divide by the number of horses and the number of years.  This should provide you a good estimate of your normal “expected” veterinary bills per horse per year.
Expect the Unexpected
Now that you know what you spend on each horse annually, you need to develop a plan for managing unexpected expenses (which typically come in the form of vet bills!).  You might choose to set a per horse limit which would mean that you would only consider veterinary care less than or equal to that set cost.
Another option is to develop a horse care fund, which would operate much like a health care fund.  You could set aside money each week, month, or year into a separate horse savings account, from which you could draw in the event your horse required care in excess of his normal expenses.  In healthy years the fund would grow and likewise if your horse had a spike in medical needs it would decline.
Another increasingly popular option is to purchase health insurance for your horse.  There are a number of companies specializing in equine insurance (the expense varies greatly dependent upon the types of coverage purchased) and they should be able to tailor an insurance plan for your horses.
The Thing No One Wants to Talk About
As animal owners and caregivers we are faced with life and death decision making often when we least expect it.  Make sure you have a plan in place that includes your financial limitations and expectations for your horse’s quality of life.  Talk with your veterinarian now, in advance of the onset of illness about what you are able to manage, so that there are no surprises.
Euthanasia and burial or disposal may cost up to $500 dependent upon where you live and the options available.  More information about that type of advanced planning can be found at http://www.kentuckyhorse.org/en/art/1817/.

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There’s no question that owning a horse is expensive.  By developing a clear budget and planning ahead horse owners can develop a roadmap for negotiating unexpected costs.

Handling Equine Disease Outbreaks, By Christa Lesté-Lasserre

You hear the raspy cough coming from the third stall, and you wince. Even if you’ve been careful about preventing infectious diseases on your farm, you know you can’t stop them all. Unfortunately, disease outbreaks do happen. But what you do next is what can make the difference in the outcome of that outbreak.

First things first: consider the risk of the symptom. Certain clinical signs should always raise red flags with owners and barn managers, as they could be early indicators of infectious disease, said Roberta M. Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM, professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Veterinary Science. Continue reading

Equine infectious anemia

No horse may enter or leave the Val Verde County [Texas] Fairgrounds because a horse brought to the fairgrounds earlier this month [June 2013] has tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA), state and county officials said.

On 10 Jun 2013, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) issued an “Order to Hold Animals on Premises” to county officials responsible for the operation of the fairgrounds, meaning no horse may enter or leave the facility until the order is lifted.

[Byline: Karen Gleason]

Communicated by:

[The state of Texas can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/r/7neZ>. Val Verde County in west central Texas can be seen on the map at http://geology.com/county-map/texas.shtml>.

Equine infectious anemia (EIA) is a contagious, viral disease affecting all members of the equine species, including horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. Once animals become infected, they are life-long carriers of the virus.

There are 3 clinical forms of EIA: acute, chronic, and inapparent. The majority of the clinical signs of the disease are related to the reaction of the animal’s immune system to the viral infection.

Clinical signs of the acute form include high fever, depression, loss of appetite, small areas of hemorrhaging on the mucous membranes, stocking up (swelling of the legs), and edema (collection of fluid) along the ventral abdomen. Clinical signs of the acute form of the virus usually appear 7 to 30 days after exposure to (or infection
with) the virus.

Clinical signs of the chronic form of EIA include reoccurring intermittent fever, depression, lack or loss of appetite, weight loss, anemia, weakness, and incoordination of the hind legs. The severity and frequency of the reoccurring episodes decrease over time. Animals that are infected without showing detectable clinical signs are “inapparent carriers” of EIA. Mares that are infected with EIA typically fail to conceive or abort if they are pregnant.

EIA is found in the blood of all infected animals even if they are inapparent carriers. Typically, equines with the acute form of the disease are more infectious than others carrying the virus because of the high levels of virus circulating in the blood. The primary method of transmission is through blood sucking insects, including horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, and gnats. Less common modes of transmission are virally contaminated instruments such as needles, syringes, and dental and teeth floating equipment. Transmission may also occur between infected pregnant mares and unborn foals. About 10 percent of foals born to infected mares are infected with the virus.
The virus may also be transmitted through natural service or breeding.

There are several preventive management measures equine owners can take to decrease the risk of their animals contacting the disease. One important measure is the establishment of an effective fly control program. Blood sucking insects are the primary transmitters of EIA, so decreasing the presence of these pests can decrease the risk of equine animals getting the disease. Effective fly control programs can include foggers, fly repellants, and electronic or automatic fly control systems in barns. Perhaps the easiest and most cost effective method of fly control is the removal and spreading of manure and generally keeping barns and other areas clean.

Another preventive measure is sterilizing and disinfecting all animal health equipment. Use syringes and needles on only one animal. Follow the rule of thumb: “One horse, one syringe, one needle.” Be sure that surgical, dental, and tattooing equipment is sterilized and disinfected after each use.

Require all equines entering the premises to have a negative EIA test within the past 12 months and test all horses annually for EIA.

It is imperative to remember that infected animals are lifelong carriers of EIA. Currently, there are no effective treatments for the disease. Likewise, there are no vaccines available in North America for prevention or protection from EIA.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has thoughtfully provided educational material to owners, to state authorities, and to all of us. There is an educational brochure on EIA at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/eia/downloads/eia-1996.pdf>.

Information regarding additional resources may be found in ProMED-mail post 20100415.1226.

Portions of this comment have been extracted from http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/horse/v1195>. – Mod.TG]


Digesting Different Hay Forms

Digesting Different Hay Forms

Many horse owners have their hay-buying ritual down to a science. But from time to time, owners might find themselves rethinking their ritual, possibly due to drought, floods, or other factors that limit the forage supply in their area.

Fortunately, bales aren’t the only hay option. Owners might need to “think outside the bale” and pursue a different form of forage for their charges. Here’s some information about different hay forms owners can consider: Continue reading

EQUINE STRANGLES – extracted from The Merck Veterinary Manual (…with interpretation and comments by M Simunich, DVM)

Strangles is an infectious, contagious disease of Equidae characterized by abscessation of the lymphoid tissue of the upper respiratory tract. The causative organism, Streptococcus equi equi (often simply called Strep. equi –MSimunich) is a highly host-adapted bacterium and produces clinical disease only in horses, donkeys, and mules. It is a gram-positive, capsulated β-hemolytic Lancefield group C coccus, which is an obligate parasite (it eventually dies outside its preferred host –MSimunich) and a primary pathogen. Continue reading