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Friday, July 27, 2012
The image above was from a 10 year old gelding that presented for a history of coughing and mild nasal discharge. The cough was intermittent and would vary from day to day. Recently, the cough had worsened as had the summer heat! Based on the history, the most likely cause was predicted to be heaves (AKA: COPD). However, when the endoscope was introduced into the gelding's upper airway it was clear that we were dealing with something quite different. There was evidence of pharyngeal scarring (cicatrix) and active pharyngeal ulceration in a 360 degree (red circle below) range. These findings were consistent with active inflammation and chronic changes. In addition, there was chronic, active inflammation of the arytenoids (green arrow).
The cause of pharyngeal inflammation/ulceration varies and is often never determined. In some cases, it may be complicated by bacterial infection. In some cases, the inciting cause is presumed to be an environmental irritant that the horse is chronically exposed to. The chronic inflammation results in scarring or cicatrix formation that can result in narrowing of the pharynx. Pharyngeal cicatrix formation is a serious complication that has no reliable remedy! As such, a chronic couch (>2 weeks) should be evaluated via endoscopy prior to the development of scarring. Pharyngeal inflammation is typically treated with forced rest and topical antibiotics/steroids in the form of a nasal flush.
Friday, July 20, 2012
|Yearling paint with EEE (non-vaccinate)|
The gelding died within 2 days of showing clinical signs!
This year has been a record year for many parts of Florida with regards to rain fall. Although this has been a great thing for our over-all drought conditions, it has created a situation that may result in the awakening of a sleeping monster, also known as equine encephalitis. Depending on the virus, horses in the southeastern United States may be afflicted with the virus that causes Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) or West Nile Encephalitis. Sadly, the mortality rate for EEE in non-vaccinate horses is nearly 100% and approximately 30% in non-vaccinate horses with West Nile virus. These viruses are transmitted via the mosquito and tend to be most prevalent during the warmer months of the year. Due to the excessive rain in Florida, there are many areas with various amounts of flooding and sitting water. These are ideal conditions for an explosion in the mosquito population! Already in Alachua county, a sentinel chicken tested positive for the virus that causes EEE.
The good news is that these diseases are nearly 100% preventable through proper vaccination. At a minimum, horses should be vaccinated 2x per year for these dreaded diseases. However, with the explosion of the mosquito population this year, I recommend vaccinating 3x per year and vaccinating your horse within the the next 30 days if it has been more than 3 months since the their last vaccination.
Please contact your veterinarian today and make plans to protect your horses!!
You can read more about these conditions at the following site
Friday, July 13, 2012