The Equine ‘flu outbreak continues to be closely monitored by the Animal Health Trust, and despite a dramatic spike in the number of cases in June (62, compared to 35 in February) August returned the lowest number (9) of confirmed outbreaks recorded in any month since January 2019.
It was thought that the increased movement of horses attending shows and events at the start of the summer season was in part responsible for the rapid increase in cases throughout June; not only the movement of unvaccinated horses but those who were vaccinated mixing at events and returning home to infect their unvaccinated counterparts.
Dr. Richard Newton, Director of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance at the Animal Health Trust has stated: “It is difficult to predict exactly what equine influenza will do, but we are hopeful that we have now seen the worst. We believe it is through the actions of responsible horse owners who have heeded the advice to vaccinate their animals in light of the increased infectious risk that has contributed
to the decline in a number of outbreaks we are seeing now. We would also commend event organisers who took difficult decisions to cancel their events in the latter part of the summer, rather than allowing gatherings of unvaccinated horses to take place and which would have certainly contributed to further transmission and clinical disease.”
Whilst numbers appear to finally be dropping, we have reached over 220 confirmed cases this year compared to only
two reported cases in 2018, demonstrating the need to remain vigilant and maintain sensible yard biosecurity protocols.
The Animal Health Trust continues to advise owners to boost their horses’ vaccinations if they were given more than six months ago. For many of the BEF’s member bodies such as British Eventing and British Dressage, this remains mandatory if you wish to compete.
If you have any cause for concern over the health of your horse, or would like some advice from our vets, please do not hesitate to give our team a call on 01271 879516.
For more information about the current outbreaks, please visit aht.org.uk
IS THE END IN SIGHT FOR ROUTINE WORM TREATMENTS?
Exciting advances in the testing and diagnosis of small redworm (Cyathostome) infections in horses have led to the launch of a new blood testing service that could see the future eradication of the use of routine wormers for many equines.
A new highly sensitive blood test has been developed which can detect all stages of the small redworm life cycle. This includes the encysted larval stage which is not detectable by worm egg count.
We have always recommended a routine winter worm treatment to cover this larval stage as untreated infections can lead to severe illness. This new test can allow further targeting of appropriate worm treatments which can then help to protect the equine population from the increasing risk of wormer resistance.
We are pleased to be able to offer this test to our clients – keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information. Or you may like to have a read about it at www.austindavis.co.uk/small-redworm-blood-test.
WINGING THEIR WAY TO YOU…
As we go to press those of you taking advantage of the savings available on both the Equine Total Health Care Plan and Targeted Worming Programme will soon be receiving the next batch of worm egg count packs in the post.
Don’t forget to get your samples back to us for analysis and results in the coming weeks.
If you would like more information on joining either programme and the savings you can make throughout the year, take a look at our website: www.torchequinevets.com
CASE STUDY: MOLLY’S HEAD INJURY
This lovely mare had a fall whilst out riding and managed to scrape her head along the ground, leaving a large triangular wound of the whole forehead which was down to the bone. Amazingly there were no fractures to the skull just a very contaminated wound to deal with!
Our vet clipped, cleaned, debrided and sutured the area under local anaesthetic and a drain on the wound was applied to remove the pockets of fluid that were already building up.
Left armed with antibiotics and pain relief the client was made aware it could well break down due to the amount of contamination.
The owner did a great job of cleaning the wound daily with saline solution, with frequent re-examinations by the vet. As feared, the wound began to break down 10 days into the healing process. The drain was removed as well as the stitches and a large head bandage was applied to keep it clean and protected whilst the wound was left to heal. This bandage was changed frequently and the wound cleaned daily.
Two and a half weeks later the triangular wound was healing nicely and the exposed bone was now completely covered. There was a small area of proud flesh at the top of the wound which was trimmed and a small pocket below the wound which continued to drain. The owner was advised to continue flushing the area daily and to use Manuka honey on the wound. At this point the bandage could stay off and the mare was able to enjoy getting outside for some mouthfuls of grass again.
Luckily for Molly, the mare has made a fantastic recovery with the wound now almost completely healed. She will be left with very minimal scarring to tell her tale!
TORCH TEAM NEWS – MEET OUR NEW VET BECKY
Becky comes to us after completing an Equine Internship in Kent. She graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest in 2018. During her studies she carried out many externships in equine hospitals and facilities in the UK, Australia, Ireland and Argentina.
Before vet school she completed a BSc (Hons) in Equine Science and then worked for several years in a large equine reproduction centre in Gloucestershire spending her winters at a reproduction centre in Argentina.
Becky enjoys all aspects of equine work with a particular interest in internal medicine and all things reproduction!
Becky loves travelling and exploring the great outdoors be it walking, biking, riding swimming or spectating at point to points and is looking forward to exploring Devon.
A THANK YOU FROM MARTIN
Martin wishes to thank everyone for the really kind messages following his cycling accident at the beginning of August. He underwent successful operations on his leg and elbow and is now recovering very well at home and raring to get going again.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the chance to win a pair of tickets to the Westcountry Equine Fair coming up on 7 & 8 December.
More will be revealed soon but if you haven’t already done so, like our page facebook.com/torchequinevets to stay up to date with practice news and giveaways!