UF Large Animal Hospital

Fall 2011; Third Edition


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UF Large Animal Medicine Team

UF Large Animal Medicine Faculty

From left to right: Medicine Technician Heather Wells, Drs. Chris Sanchez, Rob MacKay, Amanda House, Sarah Reuss, Martha Mallicote and Louise Husted




 Welcome to The Equine Ledger


News for Horse Lovers from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine 





Articles, Introductions and News
Fat Horse? There may be underlying issues...
Horse Owner's Guide to Colic
Latest News on Colic from UF
Understanding Equine Strangles
News & Events



Amanda M. House, DVM DACVIMWelcome to our third edition of the Equine Ledger!  This brief newsletter is from the UF Equine Veterinary Extension Service and Large Animal Hospital, and will provide you with helpful information about equine health care and upcoming educational events at our college.  In this issue, we have included information about our new large animal hospital intern and residents, and a featured piece about endocrine diseases in the horse from Dr. Sarah Reuss.  You may notice that our format has changed!  We have migrated into an electronic newsletter format and we hope you like it!


As a fall reminder, don't forget about booster vaccinations!  Call your veterinarian and be sure your horse is protected against Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.  The end of September is also a great time for a fecal exam to monitor for parasites.  Florida horse owners generally do not need to de-worm in the summer months because the heat is not conducive to egg survival and transmission, but October 1st is the perfect time to be sure you are on an appropriate parasite control program. 


We also want to announce our 5th Annual Healthy Horses Conference on Saturday, April 28, 2012!  Please save the date!  Healthy Horses is an educational day with a focus on successful equine health care.  The day includes lectures, lunch and live equine demonstrations.  The presenters will predominantly be the board certified faculty of UF's Large Animal Hospital, and a brief summary folder of the lectures will be provided to all attendees.  We hope to have some of the same fantastic sponsors as this year's event, with door prizes as well!  The University of Florida is dedicated to improving owner education and hope you will make this an annual event.  It is a wonderful opportunity to see our hospital facility and meet veterinarians from all of our services.  Please be sure to also visit our Web site for additional equine event information at www.vetmed.ufl.edu/extension/equine.  We hope to see you at an upcoming event soon.  And remember, we're here when you need us!




Amanda M. House


Amanda M. House, DVM, DACVIM (Large Animal) 

Assistant Professor

Large Animal Clinical Sciences 




Is My Horse Just Fat, Or Does He Have a Metabolic Disease? 

By Sarah Reuss, VMD, DACVIM

University of Florida 


Fat brown horseObesity is becoming a more well-recognized disease in all of our domestic animal species. It can be either a cause or effect of other disease conditions or problems. Obesity can worsen orthopedic conditions such as arthritis and may predispose horses to laminitis. It may be due to simple overfeeding for the amount of exercise being performed, or it may be due to an actual disease condition.  The two diseases that can cause abnormal weight gain or distribution in horses are Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS, also referred to as insulin resistance) and Equine Cushing's Disease (also known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, PPID)...click here to read entire article.





Horse Owner's Guide to Colic
By Amanda House, DVM, DACVIM

University of Florida 


What is Colic?
White Horse Competing

Colic is the number one cause of death in horses when you exclude old age. The good news is that the vast majority of cases are mild and resolve with medical treatment. Although most horse owners hope to never have to think about it, understanding what colic is and strategies for management and prevention of colic are critical for responsible horse ownership and management. The USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System published results of a 1998 study on equine colic. They determined that the incidence of colic was 4.2 events for every 100 horses per year. They also determined that 1.2% of colic cases will require surgery and 11% will be fatal. The cost of colic was estimated to be $115 million in 1998, and that has certainly increased in the last 10 years. So what is colic? Click to find out!





Latest News on Colic from UF

By David Freeman, DVM, DACVIM

University of Florida 


Drs. David Freeman, Ali Morton, Chris Sanchez, Astrid Grosche, Abel Ekiri and Johanna Jumping horse with riderElfenbein shared the following findings from several studies related to colic during the 2011 Equine Colic Research Symposium, held July 26-28 in Indianapolis.


One study examined long-term survival after small intestinal surgery, which is usually regarded as the type of colic surgery with the highest complication rate and poorest prognosis for survival. This focused only on surgery for colic from a "twisted" small intestine, also called small intestinal strangulation. The results showed that long-term survival is far better than previously reported, with many horses living a full and normal life after surgery. They also showed that long-term recovery after surgery for small intestinal strangulation is affected by the type of disease that causes the strangulation. Horses with a specific strangulation called epiploic foramen entrapment, or EFE, did not fare as well as horses with other strangulating diseases. The cause of this is under study.


Two studies looked at the effects of various drugs used for pain management in healing of the large intestine after ischemia and in critically ill, hospitalized horses. Researchers concluded that flunixin meglumine (known as Banamine), which relieves pain and inflammation, does not inhibit healing of the large intestine after a brief loss of blood supply. This finding is important because it is the opposite of what has been found in similar studies in the small intestine. Other studies found that drugs used to provide pain relief in horses with colic, N-butylscopolammonium bromide (known as Buscopan), xylazine (known as Rompum), and ketamine can affect, alone or together, the horse's heart rate, blood pressure, and intestinal motility. These effects should be considered when examining and treating horses with colic, because they could complicate diagnosis or treatment.


In a study on the relationship between Salmonella infection and colic, a group of UF Yellows flowers on fenceresearchers found abnormalities in blood of affected horses that could help predict which horses are will be affected with life-threatening diarrhea from these bacteria. This information can help veterinarians follow necessary precautions to prevent outbreaks of this disease in hospitalized horses.

Anyone seeking more information about the Island Whirl Colic Research Laboratory at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, or seeking to make an appointment for a horse should contact the UF Large Animal Hospital at 352-392-2229. For more information, visit us online at http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/veterinary-hospitals/large-animal-hospital/.





Understanding Equine Strangles: Signs of Disease, Management and Prevention
By Amanda House, DVM, DACVIM

University of Florida 


Brown horse in pastureStrangles is caused by bacterial infection with Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (referred to as S. equi). The bacteria typically infect the upper airway and lymph nodes of the head and neck. The disease has been in the equine population for centuries, and was first reported in 1251. The infection is highly contagious in horse populations and can recur on

farms with previous outbreaks of the disease. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed contagious diseases of the horse worldwide. The persistence of this infection on farms is multi-factorial. The bacteria can survive on water sources (buckets and troughs) for over a month, but the primary source of recurrent infections is most likely asymptomatic carrier horses, that can shed the bacteria to other horses for months to years...

click here to read more.





Dr. Louise HustedDr. Louise Husted


Dr. Husted is a 1st-year resident and began working with the University of Florida in July 2011.  She graduated from the University of Copenhagen in 2004. After graduation she worked for one year in an ambulatory mixed practice in Denmark, after which she completed a PhD in Equine gastric ulceration at the University of Copenhagen in collaboration with the University of Florida. She finished an internal medicine fellowship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Lexington, Kentucky in 2010. Her clinical interests include gastroenterology, neonatology and critical care of the large animal species.



Dr. Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith, DVMDr. Smith was raised in Virginia, riding and training cutting horses. He received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech University in 2005 and his veterinary degree in 2009 from North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine where he also completed an internship in large animal surgery. Before joining the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Smith completed an internship with New England Equine Practice, in Patterson, NY for large animal surgery. Dr. Smith has joined UF for a 3-year, large animal surgery residency. Outside of UF, Dr. Smith enjoys mountain biking, fishing and spending time with loved ones including his German Shorthaired pointer, Fancy.


Dr. Laura Axiak

 Dr. Laura Axiak

Dr. Axiak grew up in Michigan, just south of Detroit, taking riding lessons at a nearby Arabian Farm.  She received her undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College, and then her veterinary degree from Ross University.  Dr. Axiak joined the UF Large Animal Hospital in July 2011 to complete a 1-year equine lameness and imaging internship.  Her professional interests include lameness, surgery and dentistry.  Next year she plans to pursue a residency in large animal surgery. When she is not treating animals, Dr. Axiak is quite the outdoors enthusiast, enjoying hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, kayaking and rock climbing.


Click here for more information about the large animal faculty and staff.




News & EventsMare and foal


Keep an eye on our Web site over the next few months as we upgrade!


Mark your calendars! April 28, 2012 is the Healthy Horses Conference.


 Click here to take a survey about a free, evening equine seminar.



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