Rabies Still a Menace

COLLEGE STATION, (TAMU) – World Rabies Day is September 28, 2012.It is a day to raise awareness about the impact of human and animal rabies. More than 55,000 people die from rabies worldwide every year, a rate of one person every 10 minutes. This is an astonishing number, especially because rabies in humans in 100 per cent preventable. Most of these cases are transmitted to humans by dogs.

World Rabies Day events have been held in 150 countries, and have vaccinated 7.7 million dogs to date. World Rabies Day was created in 2006 by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control. The Alliance consisted of researchers and professionals involved with human and animal healthcare, including Dr. Leon Russell, professor in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).

Russell explained that the goal of World Rabies Day is to reduce the amount of rabies cases throughout the world by ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, educating people who may be at risk, and increasing access to appropriate medical care for those bitten by rabies infected animals.  For more information about getting animals vaccinated on World Rabies Day in your area, please contact your local veterinarian.

While there are various strains of rabies, dogs are the primary source for transmission to humans across the globe. However, canine rabies virus strain has been eradicated in the United States because of proper and complete vaccination procedures.

“Our hope is to eliminate canine rabies across the globe,” Russell said. “Rabies is completely preventable. We want people to understand the importance of vaccinating against the disease. But while canine rabies has been eliminated, there are still treats to humans and pets in the United States, so people, particularly pet owners need to take precautions.”

Dogs and cats contract rabies primarily from skunks, raccoons, and bats in the United States. These canine and feline pets serve as “bridge animals” or carriers of rabies between wildlife hosts and people. Russell explained that if you suspect your dog or cat has been exposed to a rabid animal, you should take your pet to a veterinarian immediately.

While Russell says that it is good to be aware of potentially rabid bats, skunks, and raccoons, nothing is as effective in preventing rabies as vaccination of your canine and feline pets.

“There are two types of vaccines. One protects pets for one year, the other for three years,” Russell said. “They are both great vaccines, and sometimes local ordinances or price dictates which one pet owners choose – but regardless, pets should always be routinely vaccinated against rabies.”

In addition to dogs and cats, Russell recommends vaccinating cattle and equines as well. While dogs and cats predominantly contract rabies from various wildlife species (skunks, raccoons, bats), horses and cattle most often contract rabies from skunks.

“Horses that are stalled, particularly at night, should be vaccinated,” Russell said. “We’ve seen cases of horses that contract rabies from a skunk that gets into the stall; it isn’t common, but it does happen. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to rabies. Vaccinating your animals is the best prevention.”

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Concurrent Ivermectin and Solanum spp. Toxicosis in a Herd of Horses.

J Vet Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;

Authors: Norman TE, Chaffin MK, Norton PL, Coleman MC, Stoughton WB, Mays T

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Representatives from a herd of horses with acute onset of neurologic signs after administration of ivermectin presented for evaluation and treatment. OBJECTIVES: Describe clinical signs of horses intoxicated by ingestion of Solanum sp. and administered ivermectin. ANIMALS: Six of 11 affected unrelated horses presented for evaluation and treatment. The remaining 5 affected horses were treated at the farm. Four additional horses, housed separately, were unaffected. METHODS: Case series is presented. Serum ivermectin concentrations were evaluated in the 6 hospitalized horses. The remnants of the tubes of ivermectin paste were analyzed for ivermectin concentration. The hay fed to the affected horses was analyzed for the presence of toxic plants. RESULTS: Serum ivermectin concentrations were higher than expected, given the dosage of ivermectin administered. The ivermectin concentration remaining in the administration tubes did not exceed specifications. The hay was heavily contaminated by 2 Solanum species. All horses returned to normal neurologic function with supportive care. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Horses might exhibit signs of ivermectin toxicity after appropriate dosing of the drug if they concurrently consume toxic plants of the Solanum family.
PMID: 22947027 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Comment by Rogue Equine Hospital:  Solanum, the nightshades, horsenettles and relatives, are a large and diverse genus of annual and perennial plants. They grow as forbs, vines, subshrubs, shrubs, and small trees, and often have attractive fruit and flowers.

 

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Variation in fecal egg counts in horses managed for conservation purposes: individual egg shedding consistency, age effects and seasonal variation.

Parasitology. 2012 Aug 16;:1-14

Authors: Wood EL, Matthews JB, Stephenson S, Slote M, Nussey DH

Abstract

SUMMARY Cyathostomins are the most prevalent equine intestinal parasites and resistance has been reported in these nematodes against all 3 licensed anthelmintic classes. Strategies need to be developed that are less dependent upon drugs and more reliant on management-based control. To develop these we need to understand natural transmission patterns better. Here, we analysed longitudinal fecal egg count (FEC) data from 5 pony populations used for conservation purposes. We tested how egg excretion varied amongst populations and individuals, and how this was affected by age and climate. There was evidence for consistency in FECs over time at the individual level; this was generally weak and accounted for <10% of the total variance. Animals <5 years old had higher FECs and there was profound seasonal variation in FECs, with highest levels recorded in spring/summer. Effects of monthly temperature and rainfall explained most, but not all, of the observed seasonal variation and associations between climate measures and FECs were stronger in younger versus adult animals. One population was occasionally treated with anthelmintics and analysi

Rogue Equine Comment:  This abstract underscores the importance of individually performed Fecal Egg Counts and the variations of age, climate and external factors.  Patterns of resistance to virtually all major anthelmentics by cyathostomes (small strongyles) continue to increase, highlighting the importance of management.

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Hendra virus: an emerging paramyxovirus in Australia.

Lancet Infect Dis. 2012 Aug 23;

Authors: Mahalingam S, Herrero LJ, Playford EG, Spann K, Herring B, Rolph MS, Middleton D, McCall B, Field H, Wang LF

Abstract

Hendra virus, first identified in 1994 in Queensland, is an emerging zoonotic pathogen gaining importance in Australia because a growing number of infections are reported in horses and people. The virus, a member of the family Paramyxoviridae (genus Henipavirus), is transmitted to horses by pteropid bats (fruit bats or flying foxes), with human infection a result of direct contact with infected horses. Case-fatality rate is high in both horses and people, and so far, more than 60 horses and four people have died from Hendra virus infection in Australia. Human infection is characterised by an acute encephalitic syndrome or relapsing encephalitis, for which no effective treatment is currently available. Recent identification1 of Hendra virus infection in a domestic animal outside the laboratory setting, and the large range of pteropid bats in Australia, underpins the potential of this virus to cause greater morbidity and mortality in both rural and urban populations and its importance to both veterinary and human health. Attempts at treatment with ribavirin and chloroquine have been unsuccessful. Education, hygiene, and infection control measures have hitherto been the mainstay of prevention, while access to monoclonal antibody treatment and development of an animal vaccine offer further opportunities for disease prevention and control.

PMID: 22921953 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Rogue Equine Comment:  We are fortunate in the US that no known virus exists which is similar to Hendra.

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Do horses expect humans to solve their problems?

Do horses expect humans to solve their problems?from pubmed: horse by Lesimple C, Sankey C, Richard MA, Hausberger M Related Articles

Do horses expect humans to solve their problems?

Front Psychol. 2012;3:306

Authors: Lesimple C, Sankey C, Richard MA, Hausberger M

Abstract

Domestic animals are highly capable of detecting human cues, while wild relatives tend to perform less well (e.g., responding to pointing gestures). It is suggested that domestication may have led to the development of such cognitive skills. Here, we hypothesized that because domestic animals are so attentive and dependant to humans’ actions for resources, the counter effect may be a decline of self sufficiency, such as individual task solving. Here we show a negative correlation between the performance in a learning task (opening a chest) and the interest shown by horses toward humans, despite high motivation expressed by investigative behaviors directed at the chest. If human-directed attention reflects the development of particular skills in domestic animals, this is to our knowledge the first study highlighting a link between human-directed behaviors and impaired individual solving task skills (ability to solve a task by themselves) in horses.

PMID: 22936923 [PubMed – in process]

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