A total of 2,351 equine veterinarians--a record attendance--descended on Lexington for the 41st annual American Association of Equine Practitioners convention. Committee business dominated the day on Dec. 2, with 21 of the association's 40 committees meeting to discuss topics of concern and offer recommendations to the board of directors for action. A record number of exhibitors also were in attendance, with 1,069 registered. The 616 registered guests brought the convention total to 4,036.

On Sunday, veterinarians had a choice of attending concurrent sessions on either equine reproduction or joint disease in the athletic horse. In the reproduction section, Mary Scott, DVM, of the University of California, Davis, discussed sperm transport to the oviducts: abnormalities and their clinical implications (see The Horse of June 1994, page 8). This research, conducted with Irwin K. M. Liu, DVM, PhD, and J. W. Overstreet, MD, PhD, indicated that abnormal sperm transport patterns in subfertile mares and stallions might be due to a delay in sperm arrival in the oviducts. She noted that the caudal isthmus was the oviductal region with the most significant differences between normal and subfertile stallions and mares. This region, she noted, has been identified as a site of sperm storage prior to ovulation in other species. She found that mares susceptible to chronic uterine infection had fewer sperm in the caudal isthmus, and fewer of the sperm were motile. In looking at fertile and subfertile stallions, the research pointed out that motile sperm were recovered from 92% of the oviducts for fertile stallions, but for subfertile stallions, motile sperm were recovered from only 25% of the oviducts.

Juan Samper and his colleagues at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, reported on the use of sperm and oviduct cell coculture as a field test for stallion fertility. In normal breeding, sperm attach to the oviductal epithelial cells (OEC), where they can survive several days while undergoing capacitation (changes in the sperm membranes that allow it to fertilize an oocyte). Samper and his colleagues found that sperm can be placed in coculture containing bovine OEC and have the sperm attach, survive, and undergo high rates of capacitation outside the mare. The objectives of this study were to develop fertility tests for stallions and to see if field tests could be useful indicators of stallion fertility. They found that cooled shipped semen adapted well to the OEC coculture system, and a significant correlation was seen between the number of sperm that attached to the OEC and the 1994 seasonal pregnancy rates for the stallion. The length of time sperm survived in the coculture also correlated with the pregnancy rate.

An interesting point in the research presented by Mats H. T. Troedsson, DVM, PhD, of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, was that post-breeding uterine inflammation was induced by bacterial contamination, spermatozoa, and seminal fluid. In studying sperm only, he and his colleagues discovered that sperm create the same amount of inflammation as bacteria alone. He noted that mating-induced endometritis is a physiological uterine response to spermatozoa that can develop into a pathological condition if the mare has an impaired ability to clear the uterus physically from an accumulation of fluids and inflammatory products.

Rolf Embertson, DVM, discussed how he and his colleagues at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington handled hospital-referred dystocias. He noted that dystocias are a true emergency. "A couple of minutes can make a difference in survival of the foal," he stressed. "Time is of the essence." In a retrospective study of 80 mares with dystocias referred to the hospital from 1986 through 1994, he found that 64% yielded a dead foal. He said this points out the necessity of decreasing the time between rupture of the chorioallantoic membrane to the time when the mare is able to be assisted at a referral hospital.

Since experienced farm personnel or a veterinarian usually have already tried an assisted vaginal delivery before hospital arrival, Embertson said mares admitted with dystocias are immediately anesthetized for a 15-minute attempt at controlled vaginal delivery. This entails the mare's hind end being hoisted about three feet above the floor to allow gravity to help the veterinarian in repositioning the foal. If the foal can be repositioned, the mare is lowered and the foal is pulled out. However, during this "mare in the air" process, the mare's abdomen is being clipped and partially prepped for a possible Caesarean-section. Embertson said a C-section is preferred to a fetotomy because he feels it is less traumatic to the mare's reproductive tract. He also noted that it is sometimes difficult to determine if an anesthetized foal is still alive. A team to handle recovery of the delivered foal stands by to assist. The mean time from arrival at the hospital to delivery was 21 minutes (range nine-55 minutes) for a controlled vaginal delivery, and 40 minutes (range 25-70 minutes) for a C-section.

Embertson noted that client education with colic cases has improved survival rate for horses with colic. Those animals are brought into a referral hospital earlier in the colic process, and more can be done to save those critical horses. He feels that as time is minimized from onset of a dystocia until the mare arrives at a referral hospital, more foals will survive.

Further research by Sue McDonnell, PhD, of the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania pointed out that housing arrangements and social environment need to be considered as a primary therapeutic approach for stallions with chronically low libido and associated low testosterone concentrations (see The Horse of December 1994, page 41). She said testosterone concentrations and sexual behavior of stallions clearly increase with sexual activity and exposure to mares. In studying a herd of ponies, she found that harem stallions--those with a band of mares--had higher levels of circulating testosterone than bachelor stallions--those stallions which did not have a band of mares and which lived in an all-male group. She noted that with a change in status from a bachelor to harem stallion, within 24 hours the testosterone levels increase. Conversely, if a harem stallion is displaced, his testosterone levels go down to mare or gelding levels almost immediately, then gradually rise to the level consistent with a bachelor stallion. She found that testes size and accessory gland size and character also were affected by status of the stallion. Harem stallions had larger total testicular volume.

In looking at the typical stabling environment of Thoroughbred and Standardbred stallions, McDonnell found that the testosterone levels of these stallions was less than with harem stallions, and in many months was less than the typical bachelor stallion. If a stallion was stabled in a barn with only mares, she found he had higher testosterone levels than stallions stabled with other stallions, and the behavior of that lone stallion was more sexually aggressive with mares. This points to the use of manipulating social facilities to increase libido and fertility of some problem stallions.

General Equine Medicine

Exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) is of significant importance to the racing and performance horse industries. The disease is characterized by increased blood pressure in the lungs, increased fluid in lung tissues, and rupture of pulmonary capillaries with subsequent bleeding into the airways. Horses affected by this disease are commonly known as "bleeders." Howard Erickson, DVM, PhD, of Kansas State University presented findings of an extensive study on the normal physiology of pulmonary blood flow in the resting and exercising horse.

Horses were examined at rest and through stages of exercise from a walk to gallop. Pulmonary blood flow increased to the dorsal and caudal regions (areas closest to the back and diaphragm) of the lung with exercise, areas of the lung most affected by EIPH and other respiratory diseases. Of particular interest is that the increased blood flow occurred primarily when horses were walking and trotting versus galloping.

Respiratory disease is a common cause of lost training time for racehorses. Insuring adequate rest of horses following EIPH or any other respiratory disease is critical. The amount of time is dependent on the individual animal and the disease present, but it is not uncommon for two to four weeks of rest to be recommended.

What is the cause of infectious upper respiratory disease among Thoroughbred racehorses?

For the answer, Paul Morley, DVM, at the University of Saskatchewan in Western Canada studied Thoroughbreds at one Western Canadian racetrack. More than 1,200 horses were monitored in the study, which took place in 1991-92. Of 227 horses with upper respiratory disease evidenced by a thick nasal discharge or acute persistent cough, 57% were caused by influenza virus, 18% by equine herpesvirus EHV-4, 11% by Streptococcus equi, and 14% were of unknown causes.

In further analysis of influenza outbreaks on the racetrack, it was shown that horses with frequent horse-to-horse contact were most likely to contract the disease. Exercise ponies were 19 times more likely than racehorses to get sick from influenza during epidemics. Based on vaccination history and antibody titers, previous exposure to the influenza virus was associated with higher antibody titers and therefore protection against disease. Horses less than four years of age were more at risk to become ill from influenza because those horses responded poorly to vaccine and were not old enough to have been naturally exposed. Horses which became sick during an influenza epidemic did not show significant responses to vaccination until after exposure to the virus. (Note: This is only one study of one group of racehorses evaluating one vaccine. Further studies need to be considered before deciding on the vaccination program that works best in an individual horse's circumstances.)

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a neurologic disease of horses, humans, and exotic birds such as emus and ostriches. This vector-transmitted viral disease is found primarily in the eastern half of the United States and Central and South America. In the United States, EEE primarily causes deaths of horses which are unvaccinated, although in one study 22% of horses which died had been vaccinated. A majority of deaths occur in Florida, where the vector is active year-round. Julie Wilson, DVM, now at the University of Minnesota, reported on a University of Florida study regarding the efficacy of repeatedly vaccinating young foals to protect them against EEE when their maternal antibodies waned.

As has been experienced with other research on equine influenza and herpesvirus vaccination of foals, the ideal time to vaccinate for EEE is not well understood. The mechanism of protection from maternal antibody versus the foal's "homemade" antibody is complex. Recommendations are: 1) give booster vaccinations to mares prepartum; 2) insure that foals receive adequate colostrum; 3) vaccinate foals monthly from two months to six months of age; 4) do not vaccinate foals at birth; 5) avoid pasturing horses near mosquito habitat; 6) keep horses inside during prime mosquito hours of dawn and dusk; and 7) apply appropriate insect repellents.

Owners who are shipping horses to areas known for EEE, even for a very brief stay, should contact their veterinarian for vaccination information.

With the cooperative effort of 82 equine veterinarians throughout Texas, data was collected and analyzed to determine management factors associated with equine colic. Noah Cohen, VMD, PhD, of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, presented the results of this study. Changes in diet, stabling conditions, and activity level were risk factors associated with colic cases (see The Horse of May 1995, page 22). These factors are within the range of human control. Out of our control is the history of previous colic and previous abdominal surgery which were highly associated with colic. Although past health conditions cannot be changed, this information is important in recognizing an increased possibility of colic in an individual horse. This study also further emphasizes the importance of a consistent diet and environment to a horse's well-being.

Endotoxemia In-Depth Seminar

Your veterinarian states that your critically ill horse has endotoxemia and a poor prognosis. What is endotoxemia?

James Moore, DVM, PhD, and Michelle Barton, DVM, PhD (University of Georgia), Chrysann Collatos, VMD, PhD (University of Prince Edward Island), and Malcolm Roberts, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS (North Carolina State University) presented excellent information on the disease process, treatment, and state-of-the-art research in a full morning session. Since endotoxemia is the No. 1 killer of horses, understanding the basics of this complex disease is of great importance to the horse industry, as one speaker summarized by saying that the horse's gut is an endotoxemic time bomb just waiting to detonate!

The term endotoxemia literally means endotoxin in the blood (-emia). Understanding endotoxemia requires understanding the horse's gut and associated bacteria. Gram negative bacteria such as E. coli, Klebsiella, and Salmonella are commonly found in the normal horse's gut and environment and generally cause few problems. Endotoxin is in the outer cell envelope of Gram negative bacteria. When the bacteria or the endotoxin enters the bloodstream, a cascade of events begins which can rapidly lead to death.

Typical kinds of illnesses directly linked to endotoxemia are inflammation of the colon (salmonellosis, colitis X, Potomac horse fever, and enteritis), inflammation of the intestines, strangulation of gastrointestinal organs, pleuropneumonia involving Gram negative bacteria, retained placenta, and neonatal septicemia. It is important to remember that not all these illnesses inevitably lead to life-threatening endotoxemia, but it is a potential complication. Nor does successful treatment of the underlying cause always eliminate the risk of endotoxemia.

Severe colic due to a twisted intestine needs surgical intervention and might require removal of compromised or dead loops of intestine, but this does not eliminate the endotoxins which have been produced and are already in the bloodstream. Inflammation of the intestines or uterus can cause chronic sublethal endotoxemia. A possible sequela (complication) of any endotoxemia is laminitis.

In the normal horse, Gram negative bacteria are contained within the gut wall by a healthy, intact intestine. Any small amount of endotoxin produced is carried by the blood to the liver, where it is detoxified.

With even a partial disruption of blood flow or disease affecting the intestine, large amounts of endotoxin can go directly into the bloodstream and overwhelm the liver's capabilities, or can be released into the abdominal cavity where it is again absorbed into the bloodstream. In other areas of the body, such as the uterus (retained placenta) or lung (pleuropneumonia), the bacteria or endotoxins directly enter the bloodstream. Endotoxin binds directly to certain white blood cells activating the white cells to produce many different chemicals associated with inflammation. These chemicals produce profound effects throughout the entire body. The cells which line blood vessels are damaged and allow fluids and proteins to leak into surrounding tissues. Blood clotting mechanisms are activated. Horses often initially show clinical signs of shock. Examples of specific body system effects are: gastrointestinal (distension, colic, diarrhea, pain, liver toxicity); cardiac (irregularities in heartbeat, sometimes life-threatening); kidney (decreased blood flow leading to decreased urine production and increased waste in the blood, altered excretion of drugs such as gentamicin); reproductive (abortion); and skeletal (founder).

What clinical signs are you likely to detect in your horse? Most common are pain, colic, increased heart and respiratory rates, depression, fever, and decreased intestinal motility. Early in endotoxemia mucous membranes will appear pale with a fast capillary refill time; as blood starts to sludge due to the leaking of fluids and increased thickness of blood, the mucous membranes will appear dark brick red or bluish and have an extended capillary refill time, reflecting low blood pressure.

Clinical signs are both time- and endotoxin-dose dependent. Within three to five hours, the horse will spike a fever, often the first clinical sign. Endotoxin is an extremely potent toxin. As little as 0.03micrograms/kg can produce clinical signs, translating into a mere 13 mg of endotoxin per 1,000-pound horse. The longer the time from endotoxin release to the implementation of treatment, the poorer the prognosis. Once in the bloodstream, endotoxin rapidly begins the disease cascade which affects the entire body.

What treatments are available?

With the current understanding of the disease process, research has identified several approaches to mediate endotoxin damage. Of primary importance, of course, is for the horse owner to notify a veterinarian of the sick horse, then for the veterinarian to identify and treat the underlying problem whether it is an illness (i.e. Potomac horse fever), or a condition requiring surgery (i.e. twisted intestine). Possibilites for treating the accompanying endotoxemia include neutralizing the toxin itself, keeping the toxin from binding to cells, and short-circuiting the cascade effect.

To neutralize the endotoxin in the bloodstream before it can bind to white blood cells, anti-endotoxin antibodies would be ideal. Serum, plasma, and antibodies against E. coli or Salmonella are commercially available, however there is no reliable comparison on the efficacy of the products. These products are also costly at $150-$500 per horse. The antibiotic polymyxin B also neutralizes endotoxin, but it has potential kidney and nervous system toxicity. In any case, any antibody or neutralizing factor against endotoxin needs to be used immediately since once the endotoxin binds to white blood cells, the fight is on.

Preventing the endotoxin from binding to white blood cells is another possibility, and is the subject of experimental studies. Stopping the inflammatory mediators is difficult since there are literally dozens of different ones produced by cells. Preventing the action of these mediators can be aided by administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as flunixin meglumine or possibly ketoprofen. Corticosteroids are not currently recommended for endotoxemia. Supportive therapy such as intravenous fluids is essential for survival.

This disease further emphasizes the need for horse owners to learn to detect abnormalities in their horses, and to be able to communicate to their veterinarian basic health information such as heart and respiratory rates, temperature, capillary refill time, mucous membrane color, gut sounds (increased, decreased, or absent), and level of depression. Any horse owner can learn to evaluate these parameters, which can provide the veterinarian vital information while on the way to see the patient.

Roberts specifically addressed colitis, or inflammation of the colon, as a sporadic disease of high mortality. Based on information from North Carolina State University, 86% of horses die despite intensive treatment. Colitis affects horses of all ages, although adults and performance horses might be at higher risk. Predisposing factors include exhaustion, transport, recent illness or surgery, and administration of drugs or antimicrobials.

The causes of colitis are numerous and varied--infectious agents (Salmonella, Clostridia, Ehrlichia risticii), toxic agents, NSAIDs, heavy metal toxicity, parasites, antimicrobial drugs, endotoxemia, and colitis X (a disease of the colon not caused by a known agent). Endotoxemia is the critical factor in the development of non-obstructive intestinal disease.

One major way to stabilize the health of the gastrointestinal tract (remember the time bomb?) is to assist the microflora (good bacteria) which are essential to digestion. Microflora composition is regional throughout the GI tract from stomach to rectum and is dependent on the amount, content, and timing of feed. Abrupt feed changes directly cause a change in the microflora. Since many of these bacteria are Gram negative, it is understandable that changes in the microfloral environment can precipitate endotoxemia.

The take-home messages for the horse owner are simple ones--avoid abrupt feed changes, increase the amount of fiber in the diet, and if feeding concentrates, give several small meals rather than one or two large ones. Feeding horses grain more frequently than twice daily is obviously difficult, especially on farms with large numbers of horses. One wonders what the incidence of colitis is in wild horses which eat a fibrous diet continuously throughout the day without the interference of humans.

Behavior Demonstration

Monty Roberts of Flag Is Up Farms gave an equine behavior demonstration. Making believers out of horses, and people, is what Roberts does for a living. He has made serious impressions on many equines--some 8,000 horses--many of which were considered "rough stock." He doesn't know the number of people he has influenced, but a good number of very attentive ones were on hand at the convention to watch Roberts teach his behavioral training on a 20-month-old Thoroughbred filly.

Roberts, a former rodeo rider, has made a profession out of breaking horses and changing attitudes. He has started horses for three royal families, including the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, and he has introduced his techniques to many others, both personally and through his videotapes. Among his four-hooved students are 200 stakes winners, more than 1,000 mustangs, as well as mules, donkeys, and numerous other equidae. Some of his best-known human students are the Taylor family of Taylor Made Farm, a Thoroughbred nursery near Lexington. They have used Roberts' technique for all of their yearlings for almost eight years.

"I've got kids in business now in all parts of the world that have never met me, but have learned to do my thing, just from videos," Roberts said.

Some of the countries where his methods are being used included Dubai, England, Ireland, Canada, and Argentina.

As he entered the round pen set up for his demonstration, Roberts said that he had two goals. First, "always to create the best environment and best possible experience for my horse. My second goal is to profoundly change the opinion that a horse needs to be broken with the use of pain or restraint." The alternative? His method uses gentle techniques that work with a horse's "language" and instinct to create a feeling of trust between horse and human.

"What we're trying to talk about is making the lives of equine practitioners easier," he said to the veterinarians in attendance. "A horse doing something because he wants to is a horse doing something better than a horse that's doing something he's made to."

The first part of his system allows for a "conversation" between himself and the horse. In this "language equus," he and the horse bring to the table an agenda. Through his process, they reach a compromise. Along the way, each demonstrates body language that indicates when the compromise has gone too far in one direction or the other. The first item was simply "joining" with the filly.

Before even letting the filly off her lead rope, Roberts told the crowd what she would do. He would let her go and when she was ready to come back, she would open up her inside ear to him, begin to arc her body from the fence toward him, then relax her head and neck and begin licking and chewing. The latter, he reminded the crowd, was her way of showing that she is an herbivore and not a threat.

Then he let the filly off her lead. She began circling the round pen, getting used to the fence, finding the gates, watching the lights, and eventually, focusing on Roberts. First with her inside ear, cocked to hear his constant speaking, both to her and the crowd, then following her ear, her body began arcing toward him, her mouth working and her head relaxed. In return, he changed his position. From a formerly strong stance where he looked her eye-to-eye with square movements, Roberts turned his body 45 degrees, rounded his shoulders, showing her that he could be passive as well. The filly took her first steps toward "joining up," demonstrating her trust by voluntarily following him around the pen.

Next, the saddling equipment was brought into the pen and placed on the ground. The filly sniffed it, but made no sharp moves. Roberts then put the saddle pad and saddle on her, still with no restraints, and let her try out the feeling as she jogged around the pen. The filly only gave a few mild bucks. Eventually, she returned to Roberts. Then he put the bridle on her, attached long lines, and began directing her around the ring. Turning to the left, then to the right, until she understood what he was asking and obliged without resistance.

At this point, the rider came into the ring and began rubbing the filly--her legs, her face, her belly. Roberts explained that in 1986, when he began this technique, 85% of the horses he started never bucked or threw their rider, 15% did. After he began giving the rider and horse this minute to get acquainted, the bucking percentage dropped to 5%. When the rider did put weight on the horse, he started by simply laying across the saddle and balancing his weight on her back while she walked around the ring. When she was used to that, he then put his feet in the stirrups and walked and trotted the filly around the ring, using the reins to change her direction once she was used to him on her back.

After most of her learning for the day was complete and she was released free in the pen, Roberts let the audience give her the "applause test." When clapping started and the filly got scared, she went toward Roberts. "Why? Because she found a safety zone in the human," he said.

"There is no such thing as teaching, only learning," Roberts said. "The teacher has to create an environment where the student can learn, with positive consequences for positive actions. My goal is to make the world a better place for the horse."


Biologic and Therapeutic Agents

A key item from the meeting, chaired by W. David Wilson, MRCVS, came near the end in new business when the group addressed the FDA statement from October of 1995 that banned the use of dipyron. The announcement apparently came in reaction to finding the drug in dairy cattle, and the FDA saw its presence as threatening enough to outlaw its use for all purposes. The drug was originally grandfathered into use with the creation of the FDA, and never underwent full testing or approval from the administration. The AVMA contacted the AAEP regarding the ban, and that group in turn created a response that advocated use of the drug in treatment of equines, both for colic cases and as an anti-diuretic. The committee advised those present and other members to write the FDA to further support the AAEP position.

The committee recommended that the equine vaccination guidelines be reviewed every five years after their first update in 13 years. Members reviewed pertinent legislation, including the Animal Drug Availability Act and the Extra Drug Use Act, and recommended giving comments on each after reviewing actual copies of the bills.

With barbiturate overdoses, the only accepted agent for euthanasia, the committee pointed out that it doesn't always work rapidly enough in "hot" horses, thus prolonging their death if injured during exercise. The chair will ask the Racing Committee to address the issue. Some present advised using compounds, which are not excluded from use, but the need for licensed alternates still exists.

Infectious Diseases

Chair G. Marvin Beeman, DVM, focused on vesicular stomatitis, including the introduction of a vaccine earlier this year. Upon the release of the vaccine, the American Horse Council and AAEP cooperated to recommend that veterinarians not use it. Amy Mann from the AHC detailed the process to the committee, including the late notification both groups received that a vaccine was being made available. The groups also requested that the Office International Des Epizooties (OIE) change the classification of VS from a Type A disease. Vesicular stomatitis is also found in cows, and bovine research is getting priority because the financial losses have been greater. Tim Cordes, DVM, of the USDA, said he is recommending more funding to research the equine strain.

Stephen Derwelis, DVM, from New Mexico described firsthand his experiences with VS and its devastating effects to the livestock industry in his state, due primarily to the ten-mile radius quarantine required around any premises identified with the disease. That quarantine at one time affected 50% of the populated area of New Mexico and caused serious repercussions.

The committee discussed four solutions: 1) more monitoring of horses crossing the Mexican border; 2) study the current quarantine plans; 3) look at the communication system for notification of new cases and developments; and 4) find an effective vaccine.

In a Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) update from South America, Cordes reported 475 equine deaths, plus human fatalities. The United States has sent a vaccine for humans from Ft. Dietrich to Colombia.

As one of several committees discussing equine piroplasmosis and the possibility of positive horses participating in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta (see page 6), the committee members supported the recent industry stance against allowing these horses into the United States. The AHC continues to lobby against waivers.

Trails And Events

Chair Catherine Kohn, VMD, asked 1996 Olympics Vet Services Coordinator A. Kent Allen, DVM, to describe the program in place for the equestrian events. The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games has been very receptive to the recommendations of AAEP members and other experts, and will have 40 volunteer veterinarians serving during the games. A veterinarian will be stationed at every jump and a clinic is under construction. An advanced weather monitoring system also will be on-site to ensure that the horses will only compete under safe conditions. Most events will end before noon in order to miss the main heat of the day.

The committee established liaisons regarding emergency communication at events including endurance riding, ride and tie, long distance driving, and other specialty sports. They also compiled a list of resource people to field questions regarding specific sports.

Sports Medicine Committee

Chair Allen began the meeting by introducing the members of the committee. Also present was Kohn, president of the Veterinary Commission for the 1996 Olympic Games in Georgia. Kohn addressed issues of concern for the Olympic equestrian events, including health monitoring systems, the fact that monitoring will be a new concept for the Europeans, the addition of two mandatory, ten-minute rest periods, weighing the horses, and especially looking at the effect heat and humidity has on the horses. So far, $300,000 has been spent studying the effects of heat and humidity on athletic horses.

Another issue that surfaced was alternative medicine. Members feel there is a need for the AAEP to recognize the use and benefits of acupuncture and chiropractics. There was mention of organizing a committee on alternative therapies. Harry Gill, DVM, suggested the committee put together a program to present the idea to AAEP members and generate enough interest to have a talk on it at the 1996 convention.

Pediatrics Committee

Eleanor Green, DVM, chair of the Pediatrics Committee, brought members up-to-date on the progress of the slide program designed for AAEP outreach. Robert Keene, DVM, volunteered to oversee the program with help from Kent Morgan, DVM. Discussion led to the conclusion of putting the slides on CD Rom or on the Internet.

Walter Zent, DVM, Alan Goldhahn, DVM, Morgan, and Keene will be in charge of the abstracts which need to be submitted by April. The abstracts will include fescue toxicosis, therapeutics and biologics, ultrasound on chests and bladders, vaccination of young foals, pharmacology and pregnant mares, prevention and therapy of infectious diseases, nutrition and OCD, perinatal issues, and updated information on rhodococcus.

Reproduction Committee

The Reproduction Committee discussed the guidelines for AAEP members concerning the transport of frozen semen. The first topic was international shipment of frozen semen and its regulations and criteria. The AAEP wants to develop a universal system for testing semen so it can be shipped anywhere in the world. Currently, the semen is not tested for all diseases, so there is not just one test, but many tests, that must be performed to ship frozen semen. Another concern of this committee was that the United States accepts semen without the sample having been tested for EVA. Some voiced their opinion that maybe the United States should only accept EVA-negative semen.

Second was the issue of handling and transporting frozen semen. There will be a meeting next year in Holland where the veterinarians will have access to 1,000 mares impregnated with frozen semen. A need to publish current material and completed research was also discussed.

New topics included miniature horse reproduction, which might be presented at the 1996 convention. That session could make available facts about the miniature stallion. The committee's other new items were to provide uniformity to the industry, create guidelines for stallions used for frozen semen, provide continuing education and training, and increase funding to this area.


Wet-to-Dry Bandages

J. T. Blackford, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, presented material based on case records of 63 horses treated with WTDBs (Wet-to-Dry Bandages) to assist in debridement. WTDBs can be used to mechanically debride severely traumatized and contaminated extremity wounds. The bandage was found to encourage an environment that was conducive to rapid healing.

The horses in this study suffered from severe laceration wounds at or below the carpus or tarsus. The wounds were heavily contaminated, contained frayed soft tissues, or both. The lacerated areas were prepared for treatment with the WTDBs by clipping the hair and liberally scrubbing the intact skin around the wound. The primary contact layer of the bandage contained 4-6 layers of wide-meshed sterile 4-inch by 4-inch gauze sponges soaked in either 0.01% dilute povidone iodine, 0.05% dilute chlorhexidine, or saline solution. Excess fluid was squeezed out, leaving damp sponges that were applied directly to exposed tissues. Sponges were secured to the limb through the use of 6-inch sterile gauze under an absorbent secondary bandage layer made of sheet cotton, roll cotton, or both. A combination of brown gauze and either white porous tape or elastic tape was applied under pressure, securing the bandage to the extremity.

The use of the WTDBs aided recovery of the horses after suffering from these lacerations. The WTDBs were an important step in the recovery of the horses because they aided in removing contaminants from the wounds. WTDBs were said to be excellent for managing heavily traumatized and contaminated tissues. The damp sponges promoted the movement of fluid and bacteria away from the tissue and into the intermediate layers of the bandage. As the contact layer dried, it adhered to the wound. Then when removed, the surface of the wound was cleared of dead cells and foreign materials. The bandage was changed daily until the tissues were healthy. From this study, it was concluded that the bandage was generally discontinued, on average, after four to five bandage changes. Once wounds reached a clean-contaminated status, dictated by the lack of signs associated with inflammation, the WTDBs were ceased. Wounds were then allowed to heal by secondary intervention, or surgery performed to close the wound or to apply a graft.

Five members of the American Association of Equine Practitioners were named to the AAEP Board of Directors during the association's annual convention. They are Stephen M. Reed, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM, of Worthington, Ohio; Edward W. Kanara, DVM, of Kennett Square, Pa.; Nat Messer IV, DVM, of Columbia, Mo.; Harry W. Werner, DVM, of N. Granby, Conn.; and Richard A. Mansmann, VMD, PhD, of Raleigh, N. C.

Reed is currently a professor and head of Equine Medicine and Surgery at The Ohio State University, where he earned his DVM. He serves as a member of the AAEP Educational Programs and Research Committees and has served on the Insurance Committee. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and is chairman of the Ohio State Athletic Council.

Kanara is the director of technical services for Pfizer Animal Health. He completed his DVM at the University of Illinois and spent 11 years in private practice emphasizing racetrack, performance horses, and broodmares. Kanara has served on the Scholarship, Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, and Ethics Committees. He is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Industrial Veterinarians, and the Association of Equine Sports Medicine. Kanara is chairman of the AVMA Mentoring Committee and is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

Messer is an associate professor and director of the Equine Center at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. He is the current chair of the AAEP Equine Welfare Committee. He completed his DVM at Colorado State University in 1971. Messer is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the AVMA, where he has served on the National Board Examination Committee and the Publications Committee of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. As a member of AAEP, he has served on six committees and been a moderator during two scientific programs. Board certified in equine practice with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Messer is currently a regent in equine practice with that organization, and he has served on the specialty examination committee.

Werner, a solo practitioner in general medicine and surgery, received his VMD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974. He is a past member of the AAEP Political Liaison Committee and is currently chair of the AAEP Purchase Examination Committee. He is also a past president and current board member of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association and serves on that organization's equine coordinating committee.

Mansmann received his VMD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in 1972. He has served on the Scientific Program, Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, Purchase Exam, and Long Range Planning Committees and has spoken at several AAEP conventions. In 1974, he founded the Santa Barbara Equine Practice, which primarily dealt with adult performance horses. Currently he is with North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Equine Medicine.

Contributing to this article were Kimberly S. Herbert, Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVPM, Tim Brockhoff, and Kristin Ingwell.

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