“Differential Virulence and Pathogenesis of West Nile Viruses.”

Pathogenesis of West Nile Viruses.
pubmed: pubmed horse / by Donadieu E, Bahuon C, Lowenski S, Zientara S, Coulpier M, Lecollinet S / 18 hours ago
Differential Virulence and Pathogenesis of West Nile Viruses.

Viruses. 2013;5(11):2856-2880

Authors: Donadieu E, Bahuon C, Lowenski S, Zientara S, Coulpier M, Lecollinet S

West Nile virus (WNV) is a neurotropic flavivirus that cycles between mosquitoes and birds but that can also infect humans, horses, and other vertebrate animals. In most humans, WNV infection remains subclinical. However, 20%-40% of those infected may develop WNV disease, with symptoms ranging from fever to meningoencephalitis. A large variety of WNV strains have been described worldwide. Based on their genetic differences, they have been classified into eight lineages; the pathogenic strains belong to lineages 1 and 2. Ten years ago, Beasley et al. (2002) found that dramatic differences exist in the virulence and neuroinvasion properties of lineage 1 and lineage 2 WNV strains. Further insights on how WNV interacts with its hosts have recently been gained; the virus acts either at the periphery or on the central nervous system (CNS), and these observed differences could help explain the differential virulence and neurovirulence of WNV strains. This review aims to summarize the current state of knowledge on factors that trigger WNV dissemination and CNS invasion as well as on the inflammatory response and CNS damage induced by WNV. Moreover, we will discuss how WNV strains differentially interact with the innate immune system and CNS cells, thus influencing WNV pathogenesis.
PMID: 24284878 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

The Aged Horse: Immune System and Nutrition

From the Equine Disease Quarterly, University of KY

The Importance of Nutrition in Enhancing Immunity in the Aging Horse

Over the past century, improvements in health care and advancements in biology, chemistry and medicine have extended the average lifespan of humans and companion animals, including horses. However, we are now facing new challenges with the paradox of an older population with increased longevity, while confronted with the potential for many years of poor health. A better understanding of the mechanisms leading to a decline in physiologic function with age would provide new predictive biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets.It has been well-documented that the aged, including horses, have increased susceptibility to and prolonged recovery from infectious diseases, poor responses to vaccination, and increased incidence of various cancers. Furthermore, it is now accepted that chronic inflammation (inflamm-aging) is a major underlying condition of many age-related diseases, such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, vascular diseases, obesity and metabolic syndrome.In anti-aging research, much attention is focused on nutritional interventions as practical, cost-effective approaches to mitigating this agerelated breakdown in immune function. These natural dietary compounds found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are promising candidates in helping to combat the effects of aging. They possess broad biological activities: anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, detoxification, regulating signaling pathway, and modulation of enzyme activities (see Table 1).Since aged horses (>20 years) have increased levels of inflammation, and treatment with longterm use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as flunixin meglumine and phenylbutazone can pose health problems, we are interested in nutritional interventions to counteract this inflamm-aging process.Flavonoid (quercetin) and polyphenolic compounds (curcuminoids, resveratrol, pterostilbene and hydroxypterostilbene) were compared to phenylbutazone and flunixin meglumine to determine differences in equine cytokine production in cell culture. White blood cells from aged horses were isolated and incubated overnight with each compound or NSAID at multiple concentrations. Inflammation production was measured when cells were stimulated.At varying doses (measured in micromolar units [μM]), each of the compounds and NSAIDs significantly reduced cellular inflammation: curcuminoids (20 μM), hydroxypterostilbene (40 μM), pterostilbene (80 μM), quercetin (160 μM), resveratrol (160 μM), flunixin meglumine (40 μM) and phenylbutazone (>320 μM). Interestingly, curcuminoids at a concentration of 20 μM reduced inflammation to the same level as higher doses of flunixin meglumine (40 μM) and phenylbutazone (>320 μM). All natural compounds outperformed phenylbutazone by being effective at lower doses.This preliminary research has led into two studies using aged horses to determine: 1) if a relationship exists between circulating vitamin and fatty acid levels to systemic inflammation and muscle mass, and 2) if anti-inflammatory supplementation affects immune responses to vaccination. These are preliminary steps to identify effective nutritional intervention regimens to improve function of the immune system in the aged horse.

Selenium Status in Horses: A review on supplementation

From Equine Disease Quarterly – University of KY.

Selenium Status in Horses

Selenium (Se) plays a role in the antioxidant mechanism of the body, and has also been shown to affect the immune system in many species. Additionally, Se is incorporated into at least 25 different selenoproteins. The synthesis of these selenoproteins depends on the availability of Se within the body. Herbivores rely on plants to meet their Se requirements, while plants obtain Se from the soil. However, soil Se concentration varies geographically, resulting in inconsistent dietary Se intakes across regions in grazing animals.Areas that tend to be low or marginal in Se include parts of the Eastern United States, New Zealand, Northeastern China, Europe, Egypt and South Africa. Horses kept in low Se areas, or exclusively fed forage and unsupplemented grains produced in low Se areas, may become Se deficient over time.Central Kentucky is known to be marginal in Se. Therefore, the long term effects of dietary Se intake on the Se status, immune function and exercise response of the horse was studied at the University of Kentucky in collaboration with the Alltech–UK Nutrigenomics Alliance.Horses grazing low Se pastures were fed a Se-free supplement for 28 weeks. Then, over the next 28 weeks, a third of these horses was supplemented with 0.3 mg Se/kg dry matter and a third received the same amount of Se, but as sodium selenite. The remaining horses stayed on the unsupplemented diet. Throughout the study a fourth group of horses was given a supplement providing the National Research Council’s recommended Se intake of 1 mg Se/day for a 500 kg horse (approximately 0.1 mg Se/kg dry matter).The study results demonstrated that the Se status of horses kept in a low Se area, without additional Se supplementation, declined over time. At the end of the initial 28 week depletion, blood Se concentration was 165 ng/mL and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity was 43.1 enzymatic units/g hemoglobin (EU/g hb), compared to reference values for horses of adequate Se status of 180- 240 ng Se/mL and 40-160 EU/g hb, respectively. A selenoprotein, GPx is regarded as a hallmark indicator of Se status.Following Se supplementation, low Se status was corrected within 60 days. In unsupplemented horses, both blood Se and GPx continued to decrease to 125 ng Se/mL and 33.8 EU/g hb, respectively. Immune function assessment of the horses indicated that low Se status was detrimental to the immune system.Also, following exercise the horses of low Se status experienced a decrease in GPx activity which did not recover within 24 h post-exercise. This decrease occurred even though the exercise was mild, designed with the recreational riding horse in mind. GPx activity increased post-exercise in horses supplemented with Se-yeast, but decreased in the inorganic Se group. Because of its antioxidant role, a decrease in GPx post-exercise could leave horses vulnerable to oxidative stress.Overall, dietary Se intake should receive special consideration for horses kept in low Se areas, especially if they are kept on pasture with minimal supplementation. Commercial feeds and supplements often contain additional Se, so all feeds (pasture, hay, concentrates and supplements) should be considered when estimating dietary Se. Although Se deficiency may pose risks for horses, Se toxicity can also occur, so over-supplementation should be avoided.

Potomac Horse Fever – A Review

From Equine Disease Quarterly – University of KY.

Equine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis: Kentucky Case Series, January 2008-August 2013

Equine monocytic ehrlichiosis (EME) is also known as Potomac Horse Fever (PHF) and equine ehrlichial colitis. The disease has since been reported in most states in the US, at least three Canadian provinces and also in parts of South America, Europe and India. The disease usually occurs near rivers, lakes and wet pastures from mid- to late-summer.The cause of EME is Neorickettsia risticii, formerly Ehrlichia risticii. The reservoir for the causal agent is not clear but it has been isolated from ticks, aquatic insects, flukes and other helminths. Snails act as an intermediate host in the fluke cycle. Horses are thought to be infected through the ingestion of insects, often mayflies, which may land in drinking water. Experimentally, the incubation period ranged from 1-3 weeks in horses.In the early stage of the infection, horses may become anorexic, depressed, pyrexic and have decreased gut sounds. This is usually followed by loose stools or watery diarrhea and colic. In the late stages of the disease, affected animals may have severe dehydration, ventral abdominal edema, and laminitis. Death is the consequence of cardiovascular compromise and toxemia. Case fatality rates range from 5-30%. Transplacental transmission is reported often leading to fetal resorption, abortion, or weak foals. Horse-to-horse transmission is not thought to occur.Horses that recover from the disease may have protective immunity for up to two years. Available vaccines appear to have variable efficacy. Limiting proximity of horses to rivers, ponds, lakes and low-lying pastures during the peak EME season and eliminating lighting at night in horse stables to minimize attraction of insects may reduce the risk of infection.A provisional clinical diagnosis of EME needs to be confirmed by a veterinary laboratory competent in diagnosing the disease. A single positive indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test result for EME on serum only indicates exposure to the agent. Paired blood samples collected two weeks apart demonstrating a four-fold or greater rise in titer is evidence of an active infection. In clinical cases, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay should be performed on an EDTA blood sample as well as on a fecal sample, as presence of the causal organism in blood and feces may not temporally coincide. At necropsy, a scraping of the colonic mucosa is the specimen of choice for PCR testing for EME.From January 2008 through August 2013, the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory had 123 equine samples submitted that tested positive for EME by PCR. Included in this number were 26 horses submitted for necropsy that were diagnosed with EME. Of the necropsy cases, the sex distribution was 53% female and 47% male. The mean age distribution was 8.7 years (range 0.3-34 years). The breeds involved were mostly Thoroughbred.


AUSTIN, (Rodeo Austin) – Holding steady in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s (PRCA) 2013 world standings is Oregon born and raised, Austin Foss. This Bareback Bronc Riding cowboy recently joined the PRCA and is busy climbing the rankings. After a stellar 2012 that earned him the 21st spot in the world rankings, Foss is focused on 2013 and ready for whatever the upcoming rodeo season has on tap.

When asked why he chose to ride bareback, Foss says it’s because it was just always there and available to him. He loved it from the first time he tried the sport and began competing as a junior in high school. Although he attempted riding bulls, he really enjoyed bareback more – even though it was more challenging for him.

Foss spent those early years of his rodeo career with success as he took home a win in both 2009 and 2010 at the Oregon High School Rodeo Championships; from there he went on to place third in the National High School Finals during his senior year. In college he competed at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming and placed sixth in 2011 and fifth in 2012. In addition to these accomplishments, he also took home the NIRA Northwest Regional title both years.

Although Foss may be new to the PRCA, he is certainly making a name for himself. “I got my card late in April and didn’t really do much during college. The last three-and-a-half months of the season I really started doing well and it paid off,” said Foss. All this hard work wasn’t overlooked as he was named the 2012 Resistol PRCA Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year.

This year, Foss competed at Rodeo Austin riding bareback on 4 First Class.  “I’m just going to do my best and hope to come out on top,” said Foss in a pre-rodeo interview.

After his ride Saturday night, Foss was pleased with his score of 77, which put him in fifth place, but hopes to do pull a higher score during tonight’s performance. “I did pretty good; hope to get it done right tomorrow night,” said Foss.

For anyone out there who wants to get into rodeo, Foss has a few words of encouragement. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A lot of kids are shy and won’t ask for help or for the right equipment. Pursue what you want to do, don’t stop until you reach your goals and then make new ones.” Foss will also be competing in the Super Shootout on Saturday, March 23rd on Team Pendleton.

NYC Carriage Trade Invites Public to See for Themselves in Open House Event

NYC Carriage Industry Open House To Feature More Stables, More Attendees

NEW YORK, (HCANYC) – Horse enthusiasts from across the country are again coming to the Big Apple to spend a weekend with New York City’s iconic carriage horses, at the 2nd annual ClipClopNYC – Weekend with the Carriage Horses, March 22-24.

“We’ve been impressed with the interest we’ve had again this year in coming to our stables and seeing how we operate,” said Christina Hansen of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City, which hosts the ClipClop event. ClipClop is sponsored by Mane ‘N’ Tail and supported by the Carriage Operators of North America and Teamsters Local 553. “Last year, the ‘carriage horse issue’ had been in the media and all over the internet, so it was unsurprising that at our first event we had a big and enthusiastic crowd, but this year, despite things being quieter and less eventful, we’re going to have even more people in attendance. It just demonstrates the interest people have in what we do in this iconic business,” says Hansen. When all is said and done, there could be close to 200 visitors at the stables on Saturday, March 23.

This year’s event will feature stable tours of both Clinton Park Stable and West Side Livery.  Last year’s event was limited to only Clinton Park Stable. “We added West Side Livery, the second largest carriage stable – and one of the oldest – because we want people to see the similarities in the way horses live across the industry, regardless of which stable they’re housed in,” Hansen says. “Between the two stables, ClipCloppers will see where three-quarters of the carriage horses live; and how they live is consistent across all four carriage stables.”

Tours of the stables are free, and lunch will be provided. Registration is required, however.

Saturday night at ClipClop will feature a gala fundraiser at the famous Rosie O’Grady’s in Midtown to benefit Blue Star Equiculture, a 501c3 non-profit draft horse sanctuary and working-horse advocacy organization in Palmer, MA.  Blue Star was honored last year at the inaugural ClipClopNYC with a fundraiser at the Ritz Carlton, which kicked off Blue Star Equiculture’s carriage horse retirement program in partnership with the Horse and Carriage Association. This year’s Gala Fundraiser is a four-hour cocktail reception, with a silent auction.  Tickets are $150, with $75 going directly to Blue Star Equiculture.

“We have this really first-rate partnership with Blue Star Equiculture,” says Hansen. “Blue Star Equiculture understands the industry and the challenges it faces from people who don’t understand the industry. Because Blue Star has a very strong educational mission, in training the next generation of teamsters for working with equine partners on the farm or in the city, we couldn’t think of a better organization to support as we bring in horse people to our city to educate them about our business.”

Last year at ClipClop, Horse and Carriage Association President, Stephen Malone, retired Paddy, his co-worker for 12 years, to Blue Star Equiculture. Paddy was the first official retiree of the NYC carriage horse retirement program. Since then, several more NYC carriage horses have retired to Blue Star Equiculture and have found adoptive homes. Paddy continues to serve as an ambassador for carriage horses and working horses everywhere; he keeps active in retirement teaching beginners how to harness and drive a horse.

“People are always saying they want to ‘help’ the NYC carriage horses,” says Hansen. “Well, our horses don’t need help while they’re working in New York! They have 24-hour-a-day stablemen and amenities most horses never get! But they have our help when they’re ready to retire, and we do need help counteracting the misinformation that the animal-liberationists have put out about our industry. So ClipClop is a great opportunity for people who actually want to help the carriage horses in a meaningful way. You can take a stable tour and become a voice for the truth about how the horses live, so their homes aren’t taken away by people who don’t know what a good home is for a horse.  You can come to the Gala and support carriage horses in retirement and the good work that Blue Star Equiculture does advocating for the continued and expanded use of horses in our communities. That’s helping carriage horses.”

One group of people the Horse and Carriage Association would like to truly help horses? New York’s City Council.  “They’ve been invited,” says Hansen. “In fact, our doors are always open, but we would love for city councilmembers to come tour the stables and meet and mingle with the folks that are coming out to see our horses – the Pony Clubbers, the representatives from CONA, the horse people from across the country, and our local neighbors who just want to know more about the carriage horses they know and love.”

ClipClopNYC grew as response to the rampant misinformation put forth by animal-rights anti-carriage-horse groups. Equestrians, notably those on the Chronicle of the Horse forums, wanted to do something to 1) verify for themselves that the carriage horses of New York City receive excellent care and 2) serve as expert ambassadors to the rest of the public to educate them about New York’s amazing working horses.

Horse people of all disciplines are invited to attend and get an opportunity to tour the carriage stables and find out what it really takes to work with a horse in Central Park.  Hansen explains, “We figure that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then being here and meeting our drivers, our vets, our farriers, our stable managers, and of course our horses is worth a million!”

For more information, to register for stable tours, or to purchase gala tickets to support carriage horse retirement at Blue Star Equiculture, please visit www.clipclopnyc.com

To learn more about the fine work Blue Star Equiculture does, visit www.equiculture.org

Morphometric analyses of the body and the branches of the normal third interosseous muscle (suspensory ligament) in Standardbreds.

Morphometric analyses of the body and the branches of the normal third interosseous muscle (suspensory ligament) in Standardbreds.

Anat Histol Embryol. 2013 Mar 7;

Authors: Shikh Alsook MK, Antoine N, Piret J, Moula N, Busoni V, Denoix JM, Gabriel A

The third interosseous muscle (suspensory ligament, TIOM) is composed of connective tissue (CT) with a variable proportion of muscle (MT) and adipose tissue (AT). The aim of our study is to quantify the CT, MT and AT within the body and the branches of right thoracic and pelvic limbs TIOM in sound horses to determine whether there are differences in CT, MT and AT between age, sex, limbs and levels. Right limbs from 11 sound horses were collected. Samples from 6 levels of the TIOM were embedded in paraffin or in Tissue-Tek® . Most of the paraffin sections were shredded. Using the cryosection, some artefacts appeared. Cryoprotection was carried out, which produced the best results. Hematoxylin-phloxine-saffron and Hematoxylin-eosin gave a good contrast of colours between the tissues observed allowing the use of an image analysis programme to calculate percentage of each tissue within the TIOM. The percentage of MT and AT decreased significantly (P < 0.0001), whereas the percentage of CT increased significantly (P < 0.0001) with age and when descending from the proximal to the distal level of the TIOM. The percentage of MT was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in females than males, while the percentage of CT was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in males than females. The percentage of AT was significantly higher (P = 0.0278) in pelvic limbs than in thoracic limbs. These results confirm the variation in tissue composition within the TIOM of sound horses.

PMID: 23464541 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

racing horoughbred Racehorse Fatal Injury Rate Steady in 2012

    According to a March 8 Jockey Club release based on information collected in the Equine Injury Database, fatal injuries in North American Thoroughbred races stayed about the same in 2012 at just under two per 1,000 starts.

Protect Mustangs Calls for Fund for Wyoming Wild Horses

RAWLINS, WY  (Protect Mustangs) – We are calling for extractive industry responsibility and environmental mitigation through the creation of a 50 million dollar Protect Wyoming Mustangs Fund.
Native wild horses in Wyoming should not loose their habitat, their freedom and their families to pump more profit into BP American Production, Anadarko Petroleum, Devon Energy and other energy dynasties. These energy giants must become responsible players on public land.

It’s wrong to allow drilling in critical native habitat. Their water must not be poisoned by toxic drilling.

The BLM needs to stop the maddness on the range. They are charged to protect the wild horse herds but clearly they are in the pocket of the extractive industry. This is the wild horses’ legal range. Environmental mitigation is essential. The oil dynasties must be held accountable. Native wild horses must be protected to create biodiversity and for future generations to enjoy.

Where will all the removed wild horses go? The warehousing facilities are stockpiled. Alleged kill buyers are getting busted for buying truckloads of native wild horses. They need to all be returned to their native range.

Anne Novak