Rood & Riddle Provides Veterinary Service and Educational Opportunities for the Alltech National Horse Show 

Multiple divisions of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital will be in action at the Kentucky Horse Park November 2-6, as the Official Veterinarian, Farrier and Equine Pharmacy of the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. Rood & Riddle sport horse veterinarians will be on site daily to provide any needed veterinary support for the 450 horses expected to compete at this year’s championship. Rood & Riddle Podiatry will also be on site to provide farrier services.

The Alltech National Horse Show is a weeklong championship event featuring “AA”-rated hunters, open jumpers, junior/amateur jumpers, the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals and the $250,000 Alltech National Horse Show Grand Prix, an FEI World Cup qualifying event. The National Horse Show is America’s oldest indoor horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports event calendars.

“We are very pleased to serve as the official veterinarian for the Alltech National Horse Show,” said sport horse veterinarian, Dr. Alex Emerson. “Rood & Riddle’s sport horse team travels to many excellent competitions around the country but it is especially exciting to have a championship of this caliber right here in Lexington.”

In addition to the veterinary duties, Rood & Riddle will have several hands-on interactive educational exhibits ranging from podiatry, interactive ultra sound stations, a full display area of a surgery table and Intensive Care Unit and a complete horse skeleton in the Equus Pavilion. The Equus Pavilion will serve as an educational expo with interactive educational booths, clinics, demonstrations, and arts and craft projects all revolving around an equine education curriculum.

Rood & Riddle will continue their education into the evening hosting a sport horse seminar, “Achieving Peak Performance – A Whole Horse Approach” on Thursday, November 3, from 5pm-7pm.

The symposium will highlight a range of veterinary topics impacting sport horses of all disciplines and levels. Topics and speakers are: “How Dentistry Affects Performance” by Brad Tanner, DVM; “Neck and Back Dysfunction” by Alex Emerson, DVM; “Hind Limb Pain and the Use of Stem Cells” by Scott Hopper, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS; “Shoeing for Performance” by Vern Dryden, DVM, CJF and “Nutritional Supplements for Sport Horses” by Steve Elliott, Global Product Director at Alltech. Dr. Chris Newton will serve as moderator.
The seminar is free to all Alltech National Horse Show ticket holders on Nov. 3.  

Courageous Comet named two-time winner of Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year award 

Tom and Becky Holder’s Courageous Comet, the 2009 Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year, was awarded the honor again for 2010 after a stellar season of competition.
The award, which was given at the annual Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association dinner on September 9, recognizes the best off-the-track Thoroughbred competing in its respective discipline as a second career. Comet had moderate success on the racetrack as a stakes-placed winner in New York before retiring in 2000. After a period of retraining, he discovered his propensity for eventing, ultimately earning spots on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Team, the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games team and a third-place finish in the 2010 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.
“Comet made it to the Fair Hill Three-Star CCI in less than two years’ training as an eventer,” said owner Tom Holder. “He showed up here and our selectors were asking, ‘Where did he come from?’”
Holder estimates that typically, even talented horses typically take three to four years of training to be prepared for a three-star level competition.
He describes Comet’s personality as “a little like the Fonz from ‘Happy Days’”, and notes that his wife Rebecca, who shows Comet herself, makes an excellent pair with the horse.
The Sport Horse of the Year trophy is the centerpiece in a family of awards recognizing off-track Thoroughbreds in the sport horse disciplines of dressage, hunter, show jumping and eventing. Rood & Riddle, together with TOBA and the United States Equestrian Federation, track each horse’s annual points tally to determine divisional winners, which are awarded at the USEF’s Silver Stirrup Awards Banquet.
Returning to collect awards in the open category will be Thomas Edison (jumper), Alexander (hunter), Arthur (dressage) and Courageous Comet (eventing). The rookie category, which recognizes only new divisional winners includes: Set Sail (jumper), Two Heros (hunter), Star Style (dressage), and Wild Tiger (eventing).   

STRANGLES: Dispelling the Myths  

 Jeff Cook, DVM

The infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi, commonly known as strangles, has been described in horses for almost 800 years.  The name strangles describes the condition in which an affected horse is suffocated as lymph nodes in the throat region become enlarged and obstruct the airway, but thankfully this does not happen in all cases.  Many misunderstandings exist regarding strangles, most likely due to improperly informed horse people passing on tales regarding the infection.  Common myths surrounding strangles refer to clinical signs, transmission, treatment, persistence of the disease in the environment, and prevention. 
Strangles is typically characterized by a sudden onset of fever, with subsequent formation of abscesses of lymph nodes of the head and neck 7-10 days following exposure.  The most common lymph nodes affected are those under the jaw.  These abscesses may open and produce a thick yellow drainage which may also be seen as a nasal discharge.  Misunderstandings regarding the clinical signs of strangles can lead to a false sense of security among horse owners.  It has been said that ALL horses with strangles have several large lymph nodes under their jaws with copious amounts of yellow drainage.  The severity of clinical signs varies depending on the immune response on the individual horse.  Younger horses, or horses that have never been exposed to the bacteria, will have a more severe form of the disease.  Horses who have been exposed in the past, and have developed some level of immunity often exhibit a mild form of the disease seen as slight nasal discharge with little to no enlargement of the lymph nodes under the jaw.  The symptoms of the disease following exposure to a group of horses can vary from severe lymph node enlargement with difficulty breathing to no outward signs with a slight nasal discharge.
Misunderstandings regarding the transmission of the bacteria causing strangles, Streptococcus equi, exist.  It is often said that once a farm has had an outbreak of strangles, the problem will always be on the farm and can show up at anytime.  A fact that needs to be understood is that the source of infection from year to year and farm to farm is the horse, not any part of a barn, pasture, fence, etc., or other animals besides a horse. 
After outward clinical signs of strangles have ceased, the majority of horses clear the bacteria and no longer pose a threat for infecting others by 2-3 weeks.  However, following an outbreak a number of horses (can be as high as 10%) cannot clear the bacteria and become persistently infected.  The bacteria can survive in the guttural pouches, which are located in the pharyngeal region, for years.  These persistently infected horses that may not be showing any outward signs are known as asymptomatic carriers.  A carrier horse that undergoes some form of stress such as foaling, weaning, competing at a show, or a simple change in routine, can begin to shed the bacteria and serve as a source of infection in its herd.  These carrier horses can be the source of new outbreaks when introduced to a new herd.
Transmission of Strep. equi occurs by either direct or indirect contact.  Direct transmission occurs during horse-to-horse contact through everyday social behavior.  The indirect transmission can be more difficult to control and occurs through the sharing of recently contaminated stalls, water buckets and troughs, feed tubs, bits, as well as the tools and clothing of farriers, veterinarians, and dentists unless appropriate precautions are taken.  Water sources, either in shared stalls or in field settings with a common water supply, are the most common culprit when it comes to infecting a herd during an outbreak.  When a horse is shedding the bacteria and dips their nose into a water source, the water serves as a reservoir for the bacteria to be passed to every horse that comes in contact with the water.  If the water is not disinfected regularly the infected horse will continue to contaminate and infect the herd.
There is a misunderstanding regarding the persistence of Strep. equi in the environment.  With the exception of in a water source, the bacteria will not survive for prolonged periods in the environment.  This means horses do not become infected with the bacteria from the soil, grass, or fences, unless a horse currently shedding bacteria is present.
Strangles is often diagnosed by clinical signs, but it takes a positive culture with or without a positive PCR test to confirm the presence of Strep. equi.  There are other bacteria that can cause similar symptoms to strangles, but are not nearly as infectious.  It is important to determine the causative agent of a swollen or draining lymph node immediately to prevent a possible outbreak.  Both tests utilize a sample from a nasal wash or direct swab from an enlarged lymph node to detect the bacteria.  Each test has its limitations, but when used in conjunction can be very effective in detecting the bacteria in a horse actively showing clinical signs and a carrier horse that may appear outwardly healthy.
Common mistakes are made in the treatment of an individual horse or entire herd during an outbreak of strangles.  Once a horse is confirmed to have strangles, different opinions exist regarding the treatment of the individual.  Unless a horse is in distress, such as difficulty breathing or severely depressed with a fever above 103 F, they should be isolated from other horses and monitored with no medications.  As far as herd management during an outbreak, the use of vaccines should be avoided.  Vaccinating during an outbreak can actually cause more harm than good.  Horses are at different stages of the disease during a herd outbreak and if vaccinated following exposure to the bacteria, a horse may have an immune system response to the bacteria that can be more severe than the actual disease.  If not used correctly, antibiotics can also lead to problems during an outbreak.  Often times, when a horse who has been exposed and is not yet showing clinical signs is placed on antibiotics, the disease process is simply being suspended.  When the antibiotics are stopped, the horse may continue to progress through the stages of the disease with no benefit from the antibiotics.  The best management during an outbreak is to segregate the horses showing clinical signs, giving them supportive care, and monitoring the temperatures of the healthy horses for 2-3 weeks after the last horse with clinical signs was removed.
Steps can be taken to prevent the exposure of your horse to strangles.  It is important to remember that a horse does not have to be showing active clinical signs of strangles to be capable of infecting others.  Care should be taken to minimize exposure to other horses, particularly at shows and stables with a changing population.  Particular attention should be made to the water source.  When traveling to shows, water buckets should be brought and not shared with other horses.  Do not permit direct or indirect contact with other horses while at the show.  This includes nose-to-nose contact as well as sharing such things as stalls, water buckets, feed tubs, grooming tools, tack, and trailers.  In a stable or herd situation, a few simple prevention methods can be used to decrease the likelihood of exposure to strangles.  Isolation of all horses for 2-3 weeks before they come in contact with others can decrease the potential exposure.  Testing incoming horses for Strep. equi can be an effective tool in limiting the introduction of strangles into a herd or stable.  Strangles is a preventable disease and with the proper steps, the risk of exposure can be minimized.  

Rood & Riddle Veterinarians Committed to Education 

Rood & Riddle veterinarians will be busy presenting lectures at three major veterinary conferences both here and abroad during the month of November.Dr. Steve Reed and Dr. Peter Morresey will travel to Hyderabad, India for the 12thCongress of the World Equine Veterinary Association, November 2-5. Dr. Morresey, who is double boarded in internal medicine and reproduction, will speak on new issues in mare reproduction, placentitis, and diagnosis and treatment for sub-fertile mare-endometritis. Dr. Reed will lecture on Equine Herpes Myelopathy, Cervical vertebral myelopathy (wobbler) diagnostics, and lesion localization and differentials in equine neurology cases. Dr. Michelle LeBlanc is not able to attend the WEVA Congress this year but will accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from WEVA via video link.

Rood & Riddle surgeons Dr. Rolf Embertson, Dr. Alan Ruggles andDr. Brett Woodie will present lectures at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Symposium in Chicago, Illinois November 3-5. Dr. Embertson will discuss the top 4 challenging problems in mare emergencies; Dr. Ruggles will present Fractures in the New Decade: What can we repair; and Dr. Woodie will deliver two lectures, “Update on Cervical Vertebral Stabilization” and “Endoscopy of Sale Yearlings: Where Are We.”

Rood & Riddle veterinarians will contribute in several capacities to the American Association of Equine Practitioners Annual Convention November 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas. Rood & Riddle lecturers and topics include Dr. Raul Bras presenting How to Use Foot Casts to Manage Horses with Laminitis and Distal Phalanx Displacement Secondary to Systemic Disease; Dr. Etta Bradecamp presenting How to Process High- and Low-Quality Semen for Cooling and Shipment; Dr. Michelle LeBlanc presenting How to Perform and Interpret Findings from a Low-Volume Uterine Flush Culture and Cytology; and Dr. Brett Woodie presenting Evaluation of the Upper Respiratory Tract at Rest and During Exercise and Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures for the Upper Respiratory Tract. Additionally, Dr. Steve Reed will co-host the Kester News Hour session, a well-attended forum featuring reports on research that are too brief or new to be included in the scientific program, and Dr. Larry Bramlage and Dr. Scott Hopper will contribute to panel discussions and Table Topic sessions. 

Around the Practice . . .  

The $125,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager Stakes was contested on October 23 at Keeneland Racecourse. Senada, a 16-1 long shot, ended her 11 race losing streak with a thrilling come from behind victory. This year marked the ninth year Rood & Riddle has sponsored the 1 ¼ race for fillies and mares. Rood & Riddle was pleased to welcome Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer to the winner’s circle to co-present the Dowager trophy.

Raul Bras, DVM, CJF of the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Podiatry Department will be accepting patients monthly at Woodland Run Equine Veterinary Facility in Grove City, Ohio. Consultations and appointments can be scheduled by calling Woodland Run at (614) 871-4919.

The Rood & Riddle Veterinary Pharmacy and Laboratory will be present at the AAEP Annual Convention and Trade Show November 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas. Veterinarians attending AAEP are invited to visit us at booth #7077 for information and specials.

Three hundred and sixty third year veterinary students traveled to Lexington, Kentucky September 2-4, for the ninth annual Opportunities in Equine Practice Seminar (OEPS). The annual seminar, hosted by Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, is supported by the AAEP Foundation, industry partners and equine practitioners from across the United States and Canada. This year’s program featured lectures addressing the changing face of equine practice, financial advice for managing student and business loans, making the most of externship and internship opportunities, and testimonials from practitioners about their careers in various fields of equine practice. 


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