It’s going to be a bit of a bullet-point bonanza This Week in Horse Health News, presented by our friends at MediVet Equine, because we have two big, multifaceted topics to cover this week!
First up, since summer isn’t quite over yet all those nasty mosquito- and fly-borne diseases are still running amok. That means cases of infectious diseases are still popping up around the country and it’s our due diligence to keep tabs on them. Here is your quick-and-dirty update on what’s happening:
- Louisiana has had a wet summer and is subsequently seeing an increase in mosquitos and mosquito-borne diseases. Since June, 18 horses in Louisiana have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). One horse also tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). None of the affected horses were vaccinated. [Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry]
- Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) has been confirmed in 7 states since late June: Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, and most recently, Utah. Texas and Colorado have been the hardest hit, but fortunately the number of new cases seems to be winding down and the number of facilities being released from quarantine is going up. [USDA Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) Situation Report – August 19, 2019]
- A horse and a mule on the same property in Wisconsin recently tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). These are first cases of EIA in Wisconsin in the last 15 years. [The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection]
Next up, the 15th Conference of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) took place at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada earlier this week and The Horse was on hand to bring readers some tidbits from the latest research discussed. Here are some of the most interesting highlights of of the conference proceedings that pertain to sport horses:
- A researcher from Aarhus University in Denmark studied how increased rider weight affects horses during a dressage test. She found that adding up to 25% more weight to the rider’s bodies, so that the rider-to-horse weight ratio reached up to 23%, did not increase stress indicators in the horse. The study only looked at the acute effects of weight increase, not long term effects. More detail about the data collection can be found here.
- Also out of Denmark, a veterinarian found an easy way to check your balance in the saddle — take two bathroom scaled and stand with one foot on each. Is there more weight on one side? Using a pressure mat placed under the saddle, the study found that riders who stood crooked on scales also sat crooked in the saddle and the average difference between side was 7 lbs.
- A horse’s body weight is just one of many other factors that affects how footing surfaces act on the body. A researcher from the University of Guelph found that softer footing might put more stress on a heavier horse’s musculoskeletal system than firm footing during the mid-point of the horse’s stride.
- Another researcher from the University of Guelph is investigating how strain on a horse’s leading limb varies depending on whether the horse is galloping on a straight line or a curve. Most catastrophic injuries to North American racehorses occur to the left forelimb — could this be because North American races are run counterclockwise? We’ll have to wait until the research is finished to find out.