Category Archives: Equine professionals

Practical Biosecurity Tips to Protect Your Horses – The Horse

Learn equine biosecurity basics for the farm, horse show, and breeding shed to protect your horses from infectious diseases.
— Read on thehorse.com/features/practical-biosecurity-tips-to-protect-your-horse/

Don’t Bury an Animal with Botulism

The facts of life and death – correct carcass disposal an essential part of biosecurity plans

By Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson, Livestock Biosecurity Network Northern Regional Manager

Death, unfortunately, is one of the most inescapable elements of life and one that, when it occurs within the livestock production chain, raises a litany of biosecurity issues.

Animal carcasses can pose a serious risk to both human and animal health, can jeopardise biosecurity and impose a range of environmental impacts if not properly disposed of.  These risks can include polluting water courses, spreading disease and interfering with community amenity.

The old practice of simply leaving a carcass anywhere in the paddock to rot simply does not stack up in a modern livestock industry where the implications of incorrect carcass management are better understood.

In fact, depending on where you live, there may be local, state or national regulatory requirements that relate to your on-farm waste management procedures and I encourage you to make yourself familiar with these obligations.

We strongly recommend carcass disposal is integrated into your on-farm biosecurity plan and that you consider the methods available to dispose of animal carcasses or animal waste products including hide, gut or bones after home slaughter or wool that is not suitable for baling.  Another important consideration is the equipment you may need to assist in this disposal.

If you live on a small farm, your best alternative may be to engage a specialist disposal service as opposed to burial or on-site burning.  Again, there may be some regulatory requirements for producers in higher density areas and I encourage you to seek the advice of your local council or departmental staff to ensure you adhere to any applicable guidelines. Generally speaking burial is often the most practical and preferred method of disposal on a small farm if you do not have access to a disposal service.

For all producers, your geographic location and common endemic diseases should be taken into consideration. For example, if you live in a botulism affected area, burning is the recommended and preferred method.  Botulism spores can live in the soil for many years, so simply burying the carcass will not suffice.

If you have multiple sudden deaths in your herd or flock, and/or do not know the cause of death, then it is best practice to investigate. Your local veterinarian or animal health/biosecurity officer may be able to provide further information. If you suspect an emergency or unusual disease, you should report this as soon as possible to your local animal health authority.

For more information, the NSW Environmental Protection Agency and the Tasmanian Environmental Protection Agency provide some good advice, as do most of the other applicable state departments, on how to effectively and responsibly dispose of the livestock carcasses on your property.

Top tips

Choosing a site (Source: NSW EPA)

If the carcasses must be disposed of on-site, it is preferable to have:

  • A burial area at least 100m away from houses or watercourses
  • The pit base at least 1m above the level of the watertable
  • Heavy soil of low permeability and good stability
  • Good access to the site for earthmoving machinery and stock transport unless the stock are to be walked in for slaughter.

Other pit considerations (Source: Tas EPA)

  • Sawdust can be added to the bottom of pits to reduce risk of leachate generation
  • It is not recommended that lime be added to pits unless there is a biosecurity reason for doing so as this will reduce the decomposition rate of the carcasses
  • Surface drainage should be directed away from the pit location by setting up diversion drains up slope of the pit location
  • When full, the pit must be covered with a minimum of 1m soil. The soil should be mounded over the pit to prevent rain collecting and it should be remembered the pit cover will subside as the carcasses break down.

If you need to burn (Source: NSW EPA)

  • To reduce swelling during decomposition, the abdomens and paunches of all the carcasses should be opened to allow gases to escape.
  • The carcasses should be sprayed with sump oil if immediate burial or burning is impractical.
  • They should be heaped in a secluded spot away from watercourses and sump oil should be spread liberally over the heap. The oil discourages flies and scavenger and the heap can then be burned later.

Planning ahead for what to do with a carcass or, multiple carcasses in the event of a natural disaster, can substantially reduce the stress of the moment. It can also make a dramatic contribution to the biosecurity soundness of your property and our greater livestock industries.

Here at LBN we’ve designed a small template to assist producers in thinking through the options that best work for them.  This can be found at: http://www.lbn.org.au/farm-biosecurity-tools/on-farm-biosecurity-planning-tools/.

  • Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson is the Livestock Biosecurity Network’s regional officer for Northern Australia. She can be contacted or 0437 725 877 or email sjwilson@lbn.org.au.

Ends

Spotting Lameness: The Game Plan

Spotting Lameness: The Game Plan
— Read on horsenetwork.com/2018/10/spotting-lameness-game-plan/

Core Vaccination: Protecting Horses From 5 Deadly Diseases – The Horse

Learn about the diseases veterinarians recommend protecting your horse against and how vaccination could save your horse’s life.
— Read on thehorse.com/features/core-vaccination-protecting-horses-from-5-deadly-diseases/

Wobbler Syndrome: Proof At Last!

CT Scans Allows Quantitative Wobbler Syndrome Evaluation | TheHorse.com

Ice Packs & Horseshoes

When it’s hot outside and you are getting your feet done, it’s imperative to have an ice pack on your head. 

Study Finds ‘Horse Bug’ in People is Caused by Actual Virus

Being obsessed with horses isn’t ‘a passion’ reveal researchers.

It’s a disease.

©Umberto Salvagnin/Flickr CC

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore have found that a heightened interest in horses and the compulsion to be around them at all times, is linked to the virus Ecus solidamentum.

“We’ve nicknamed the disease the ‘horse bug’,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Ivan Toride. “But all joking aside, it seems to be a serious affliction that has real repercussions for sufferers.”

The study reports that people infected with Ecus solidamentum lose all rational thought processes when exposed to equines. Sufferers will ignore physical injuries, strained personal relationships and financial troubles just to spend more time with horses. Dr. Toride admits it’s a startling discovery to find a physical cause behind what was once thought to be only a mental affliction.

People generally become infected through mosquito bites, which is why those who already spend time in barns and outdoors with horses seem to be more susceptible. Interestingly, the researchers found infection rates are higher among middle-age women and that they are the most symptomatic when infected. Teenage girls also have a high susceptibility to the virus, but the disease seems to resolve itself in many by the time the girls reach their 20s.

“It’s a multi-faceted disease that will require much more investigation,” says Dr. Toride. “We still don’t understand the exact viral mechanism that affects the brain’s functioning, or why women in particular seem to be more susceptible.”

Anita Notherpony, who was infected with Ecus solidamentum last year, participated in Dr. Toride’s study. In the last 12 months, her behaviour around horses has become more erratic as the virus has spread through her body. “I lost my job because I couldn’t stay away from the barn. When I did go to work, all I did was read articles about horses or look at horses for sale,” she says.

“It started slowly, I thought it was just a new interest at first. But when I spent my entire pay check at the tack store, I began to suspect there was something deeper was at play.”

When Notherpony read about Dr. Toride’s research in an article in a horse magazine, a lightbulb went off. “I just said, ‘this is me.’”

Notherpony immediately contacted the research team for help. “Dr. Toride diagnosed me. At least I now have an explanation for what is happening. I know this disease is ruining my life, but it’s a compulsion I can’t control. I just hope they find a cure.”

Recently, Notherpony secretly sold her husband’s car for a third horse. At the time of this writing, it was unclear if her husband would be able to continue his employment without a way to get to work, leaving them both in a precarious financial situation.

Betraying the seriousness of her disease, a rapidly deteriorating Notherpony didn’t seem to be able to grasp the severity of the situation during an interview with Horse Network. “He’ll just have to find some other way to get to work. I need to buy another saddle next week,” she said.

It’s situations like these that are pushing Dr. Toride and his team to work overtime to find a cure for Ecus solidamentum. “It’s frightening to see how this disease can affect a mind. We can only hope we stumble across a cure soon,” he says.

 

Home is Whereever You Are 

Recently, I had to move to a new farm. And, if you are anything like me you loathe not only moving but moving your horse. The what-ifs running though my head- what if he won’t load? What if he hits his head? What if he freaks out? (Or to be completely transparent, what if I do?). What if he falls? Etc.  Personally, when I am faced with a anxiety provoking situation, I need to have a sense of control however small it is. So, I did what I do best and planned and organized. Everything.  

Chance had a bad prior experience with being trailered. Plus, with his age (31) and past health issues my anxiety was at an all time high. It was recommended that I plan to meet him at the new farm instead of being there for loading. Made sense. I scheduled the vet to be there in case medications were needed. And they scheduled a therapeutic trailering service with a large trailer that had an forward unloading ramp. The horse communicator was also scheduled as she knew of Chance’s past experience and did energy work. 

The day arrived. I went to the farm early and wrapped Chance’s legs, brought he and Lucky inside, packed up all my stuff, and met with the horse communicator. She did some grounding exercises with Chance and myself.  I left when everyone arrived and went to the new farm and unloaded our stuff. About 1 hour later the phone rang and of course, I thought the worse. Chance refused to load even after 2 rounds of medications. Lucky was on the trailer. They requested I come and try. I drove the 30 minutes back to the farm- praying to everyone and anything- that Chance would load. I read some tips on Google (yes, I’m ashamed to admit, while driving). One article suggested doing groundwork to get the horse to pay attention. For example, stop him, make him stand, back up, etc. Once he was listening that is when you try to load. The article went on to say that anger and frustration would not work. Because a horse is in sync with our emotions. And that physically, a horse has stamina that we as humans do not share. However, mentally the horse will give up quicker. Patience. Kindness. Persistence. 

I arrived. I followed the advice of the article. I walked him and gave commands. I was cool, collected, firm, and kind. We tried once. He walked part way up the ramp, stopped, and backed up. Again, I did the commands. Tried once more. Same thing. The third time the lady who was there to Trailer him lightly smacked his butt with a crop and suddenly, he was on the trailer! I couldn’t believe it. We quickly shut the doors and off we went. 

The trip was about 45 minutes. And, thankfully, uneventful. The trailering company was amazing and patient. I’m beyond grateful for everyone’s help! 

Below is information for trailering issues, how-tos, and professionals that can make the transition 10000% easier and, almost, stress free.

Resources:

1. True North Equine in Marshall, Virginia

2. Trailering service: Always There Horsecare: 703-915-6255 or http://www.alwaystherehorsecare.com

3. Article: Think like a horse

4. Article: The hard to load horse

5. ArticleLets Get Loaded