Omega Fields

  • Ticks and horses: what diseases affect my horse?

    Written By: Julie Wilson, DVM, University of Minnesota

    Ticks can transmit a number of disease-causing organisms to horses. Two of the most common diseases which horse owners in Minnesota should be aware of are anaplasmosis and Lyme disease.


    Anaplasmosis is the tick-transmitted disease that most commonly causes illness in horses. The causative organism, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, is a bacterium that was previously called Ehrlichia equi, hence the persistent older disease name, equine ehrlichiosis. Ticks can also transmit this organism to humans and other animal species, including dogs and livestock, resulting in similar clinical illness.

    Most commonly, the bacteria are transmitted from small mammals such as deer mice and wood rats via deer ticks, which may also be infected with the bacterium causing Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. In horses, clinical signs of anaplasmosis usually appear 10-45 days after infection. Fever is typically accompanied by limb swelling, and the appearance of small hemorrhages on the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, eyes and/or vulva. Much less commonly, signs of incoordination, muscle inflammation or digestive tract pain may be observed.

    Diagnosis is based on clinical signs in a horse with possible tick exposure during warm weather. The veterinarian attending the horse may confirm the diagnosis by drawing blood to assess the platelet count (cells responsible for clotting) which are usually low, and to look for the organism in white blood cells, particularly neutrophils. At the time the horse shows signs of illness, a raspberry-like structure called a morula may be observed in some of these white blood cells of an infected horse. Blood can also be sent off to a lab for molecular tests for the organism or looking for antibody, but this is seldom necessary.

    The disease can be fatal if not treated. Antibiotic treatment is usually very effective if the horse is treated soon after the signs of illness begin. The antibiotic of choice is oxytetracycline, which is administered intravenously at least once a day for 5-10 days. Oral doxycycline may be recommended either following initial oxytetracycline treatment, or in settings where daily veterinary visits are not feasible. Both antibiotics carry a slight risk of causing diarrhea. Relapses may occur if antibiotic treatment is too short. Other supportive care, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID, eg. Banamine), and leg support wraps, are often employed.

    Ticks should be removed and destroyed. Other horses on the same farm should also be checked for both ticks and early signs of illness. There is no vaccine for this disease, so a horse owner's best defense is to minimize tick habitat in their horse's environment, use topical insecticides that include a label claim for ticks, and to remove any ticks found on the horse as promptly as possible.

    Lyme disease

    Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is much less frequently a source of illness in horses. Many horses are exposed to this organism through tick bites and very few develop clinical illness, usually months post tick bite.

    Research to experimentally recreate the disease in horses has so far failed to demonstrate significant clinical problems. As in dogs and people, the possible diagnosis of Lyme disease often arises when more common causes of lameness, joint swelling, kidney disease, moon blindness or incoordination have been ruled out.

    Typically, two blood samples are taken 2 to 3 weeks apart to see if anti-Borrelia antibody levels have changed significantly to indicate active infection. The two samples are important because many normal horses may carry high antibody levels. The disease can also be diagnosed by finding the organism in tissue taken by biopsy from an affected joint or lymph node. The SNAP test kits utilized for testing dogs for Lyme disease, likely are valid for use in the horse, but so far are not licensed for that purpose.

    If evidence of Lyme disease is found, the veterinarian may try a course of the same antibiotics as for anaplasmosis, to see if this will improve the horse's clinical abnormalities. There are currently no Lyme vaccines approved for use in the horse.

    Horse owners need to be tick-vigilant and manage their horses' environment to reduce tick habitat. Clearing brush out of pastures and along both sides of fence lines is recommended. Keeping pastures mowed may also be helpful. Before riding through long grass or brush, use of topical insecticides is highly recommended.

    Permission granted for reprint of article from University of MN Extension. To read more articles from U of M Extension please visit their A to Z library >>>

  • Founder

    Written By: Darrell Zehrer, DVM

    Founder, also known as laminitis, is an inflammation of the laminae or tissues that connects the hoof wall to the coffin bone. Because the laminae are between a rock and a hard place (hoof wall and coffin bone) they have nowhere to expand to accommodate the swelling. This causes pressure on the blood vessels in the laminae, and if it persists, will cause the laminae to die.

    The laminae in the front of the hoof, which carry most of the weight, will stretch and tear allowing the front part of the coffin bone to pull away from the hoof wall. This is called "rotation". In severe cases, all laminae die allowing the coffin bone to drop through the bottom of the hoof. This is called vertical displacement or sinking.

    Most vets say a horse has "foundered" when either rotation or sinking has occurred. Accurate diagnosis of laminitis is done by a veterinarian exam, and x-rays are helpful in determining the degree and severity of laminitis. Prompt treatment is critical and is aimed at controlling pain and inflammation. Limiting inflammation to the laminae is important as well as stabilizing the foot and coffin bone.

    Recovery of laminitis depends on the amount of damage done to the laminae. Severe cases may require corrective trimming and shoeing and/or surgery. Management of a foundered horse is best accomplished through cooperation of the horse owner, vet and farrier. Prevention is dependent on identifying and correcting an underlying cause, as laminitis can be triggered by diverse events including grain overload, retained placenta, colic, or insulin resistance.

    Permission granted for reprint of article from University of MN Extension. To read more articles from U of M Extension please visit their A to Z library >>>

  • Bone Scans

    Written By: Florien Jenner, DVM, University of Minnesota

    A bone scan uses radioactive tracers to detect areas of bone injury. Evidence of abnormalities shows up either as darker "hot spots" with greater tracer uptake or as lighter, "cold spots" with little or no tracer uptake. Hot spots represent increased bone metabolism while cold spots indicate decreased bone metabolism.

    The radioactivity generated in the body by the tracers is less than that of a chest x-ray and generally disappears within one to three days. The radionuclide used in horses is the same as tracers used for people, therefore they have been extensively tested for safety. Bone scan is used in subtle lameness, for horses who are lame in more than one leg or in horses whose lameness is located in the upper leg and could not be localized using nerve and joint blocks to help pinpoint areas of bone injury.

    While x-rays can detect changes in bone, bone scans can detect changes in bone smaller than one billionth of a milligram, and can therefore show problems before they are visible by x-ray. Also, because the tracers are given intravenously, it is consequently distributed throughout the entire body and it is much easier and cost effective to perform a bone scan of a full body than to take x-rays of all body parts in horses who have multiple limb lameness or very subtle problems.

    Permission granted for reprint of article from University of MN Extension. To read more articles from U of M Extension please visit their A to Z library >>>

  • Shelly Temple and students have success at Southern Pines Combined Driving Event

    Shelly Temple, Windsor, SC, returned to the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event at Carolina Horse Park after time away from driving while concentrating on ridden dressage with her Morgan gelding LR Ami B-Line (“Cooper”). However, this past weekend she was back in the carriage competed “Danny” for the second time this spring. “I have had a great time competing Judy Portmann’s lovely Morgan, Danny,” remarks Shelly; “he is a willing horse with great movement; my goal was to make the CDE a positive, successful event for Danny so that we can continue to build a solid foundation.”
    Shelly and Danny won the first phase of the CDE, dressage, with a score of 38.18, the third best score of the entire show (note: unlike ridden dressage, the lower the driven dressage score, the better). Shelly and her husband/navigator, Fran Doto, guided Danny to a smooth, safe marathon. By Sunday afternoon, Team Catalyst had earned a third place ribbon overall. Regarding the event, Shelly exclaimed, “It's a wonderful show with excellent facility, organizers, officials and volunteers, and we even had perfect weather! Thanks to all involved. Special thanks to top course designer Richard Nicoll for a course with lots of options for all levels, it drove great!”
    In addition, one of Shelly’s students also enjoyed particular success. Doris Leacy and her mare, Katydid Baroness, were crowned the American Driving Society North American Single Pony Intermediate Champion 2015 at Southern Pines. In addition to thanking year husband, Alan, for his dedication and sacrifice to compete, Doris was also complimentary of Shelly for “always looking out for Nessie and me” and “…for taking such great care of Nessie when we have to head back home {Arizona].”
    Shelly is sponsored by various companies on whose products she relies upon and trusts to maintain the health and safety of her clients’ as well as her own horses. Shelly is proud to represent Kentucky Equine Research, Omega Fields, Purina, Kombat Boots, ThinLine, Back on Track, and Charles Owen.
    Catalyst Driving Center is an equestrian driving facility in Windsor, South Carolina specializing in the training of all levels of drivers and horses. Please feel free to contact Shelly to learn more about her, the products she trusts, her horses, and what Catalyst Driving can offer the driving enthusiast.

  • Elk Creek CDE

    Omega Fields Spokesperson Event Shelly Temple
    Elkton, MD
    Training to Intermediate II
    June 6-7, 2015

  • IEA Nationals OK

    Omega Fields Spokesperson Chad Crosby Event
    June 23-27, 2015

  • PSJ Aiken

    Omega Fields Spokesperson Chad Crosby Event
    June 20-21, 2015

  • PSJ Mullet Hall

    Omega Fields Spokesperson Chad Crosby Event
    June 5-7, 2015

  • Dash N Dance

    Omega Fields Spokesperson Hallie Hanssen Event
    Spearfish, SD
    June 5-7, 2015

  • Great Lakes Nationals

    Omega Fields Spokesperson Maren Luedemann Event
    Gifford, IL
    May 22-24, 2015

Items 1 to 10 of 328 total

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. ...
  7. 33