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Columbus, OH - Beginning with the harness racing foal crop of 2019, the primary means of USTA horse identification will be the microchip. "Microchipping provides a more safe, efficient and reliable way to identify horses," said USTA Director of Registry T.C. Lane. "The microchipping process is less stressful for the horse than freeze branding or a lip tattoo. In addition to its identification capability, the Merck microchips also can read the horse's body temperature quickly in a non-invasive fashion, which is a great benefit in monitoring the horse's health." To watch a video explanation and demonstration of the microchipping process hosted by the USTA's Wendy Ross with Midland Acres' doctors John Mossbarger and Bob Schwartz, click here. Not all horses will need to be microchipped immediately, but by 2021, all horses that race in the United States at all USTA member tracks (including county fairs) will be required to be identified with a microchip. All USTA ID Technicians are trained to implant microchips and will also continue to collect a DNA sample from each horse to send to the approved laboratory. All horses that have been previously freeze branded by the USTA will be required to be microchipped by a USTA ID Technician. Horse owners have the option to microchip stallions as well as broodmares. For foals of 2019, the microchipping fee is incorporated into the registration. All others with an existing freeze brand (racehorses, broodmares, stallions, etc.) can be implanted for a fee of $35 per head. The USTA has agreed to allow those that choose to continue to freeze brand the foals of 2019 to do so. That $75 fee must be prepaid to the USTA in addition to the normal registration fee and there are no discounts for multiple horses at any location with this arrangement. All USTA extended pari-mutuel racetracks will be equipped with readers to identify horses and county fair officials that will be responsible for identifying horses will be required to have them as well. As a USTA Member Benefit through our partnership with Merck Animal Health/HomeAgain, Bio thermal Scanners are available at the discounted, introductory rate of $279 for a BlueTooth model and $69 for the smaller standard unit. Industry participants (tracks/individual members/associations) can purchase a universal scanner for their own purposes at a reduced rate via our supplier by contacting the USTA at 1.877.800.8782 or by ordering via myaccount.ustrotting.com. In addition, Merck has agreed to partner with the USTA, for free, a lifetime subscription to their HomeAgain rescue services, which is a proactive network of veterinarians, rescue facilities and volunteers who are immediately notified in an attempt to help locate lost animals. The program maintains owner contact information that proactively prompts owners to update it during the annual membership renewal process and through other member communications. This is an added benefit for horses that are in need of rescue or connected via the USTA's Full Circle program. There are multiple reasons why microchips are a superior means of identification including: • Microchips in general offer a faster/more efficient and less stressful means of identification and require less time to implant than freeze branding or lip tattooing, providing greater convenience for farm visits. • Can measure a temperature in only a few seconds compared to rectal reading that might take several minutes. • Is a safe, unobtrusive way to uniquely identify individual horses. • Provides a less stressful way to alert owners of health problems through temperature sensing (EHV-1), which makes preventive care easier. • Allows for monitoring temperature during and after surgery or procedure, where minimal disturbance is desired. • Alerts owner to possible sub-clinical indications of potential infectious diseases. • Ideal for both young and pregnant stock. Improved technology has eliminated the concerns about the microchip moving after implantation. With Merck’s patented Bio-Bond® process, the microchips are encased in an insert micro-capsule made of bio-compatible material. The process enables the animal's tissue to permanently anchor the microchip at the desired anatomical site. HomeAgain/Destron Fearing microchips stay where they should for the health of the animals and for reading convenience. Any registration or identification question can be addressed by contacting the USTA Member Services team at memberservices@ustrotting.com or by calling the USTA office at 1.877.800.8782. U.S. Trotting Association | 6130 S. Sunbury Rd. | Westerville, OH 43081-3909  

A quintet of Ohio-based, practicing racetrack veterinarians provided the Ohio State Racing Commission members with their thoughts on out of competition testing at the OSRC's monthly meeting, Nov. 29, in Columbus. The veterinarians-who between them have over 150 years of experience-included: Dr. John Piehowicz, Cincinnati (Thoroughbreds/Standardbreds); Dr. John Reichert, Grove City (Standardbreds); Dr. Barry Carter, Lancaster, (Standardbreds); Dr. Dan Wilson, Cleveland, (Standardbreds); and Dr. Scott Shell, Cleveland (Thoroughbreds). All five veterinarians agreed that clients in their respective practices were in favor of out of competition in the Buckeye State. "We need to establish a simple process, whereas a public training center or private farm would be able to be easily licensed by the OSRC," Dr. Barry Carter stated. "By being licensed, it would allow the OSRC to walk onto a property at any time and test and/or examine any racehorse. "The race secretaries would only accept horses from licensed facilities," Dr. Carter added. "And the licensing fees should be nominal, so everyone would be encouraged to get licensed." "My major concern is, what will we test for?" said Dr. Dan Wilson. "The RCI protocol is currently burdensome and we need to narrow the focus of testing and test for street designer drugs such as neuro-toxins, blood doping agents and venoms. "Also, we'll have to deal with horses coming in from neighboring states such as Michigan and New York. At Northfield we have a ton of horses coming from these areas every night and have anywhere from 640 to 740 horses stabled on the grounds." "Out of competition testing will eliminate the 'shooting star' trainers, as well as the gossip and innuendoes that are a backstretch constant," Dr. John Piehowicz acknowledged. "Out of competition testing also serves as a strong deterrent to those few bad apples we have in the racing industry. "Racing is a privilege, just like driving, and protocol will need to be set well in advance," Dr. Piehowicz continued. "We're going to need to establish who does the testing? What criteria is that person going to have to be authorized to test horses? What about out of state competitors? How do we handle them? We're going to have to work closely in cooperation with surrounding states. "The penalties need to be stiff too-ten or 15-year suspensions or a life ban for medications that are injurious to the welfare of the horse," Dr. Piehowicz stressed. "This year at Belterra Park we had 900 horses on the grounds and 30 to 40% of those on race day are ship-ins, so a slap on the wrist for a drug that has no business being in a horse's system isn't appropriate." "I'm firmly in favor of out of competition testing but the RCI model as it currently stands is just way too large," said Dr. Scott Shell. "There are drugs out there right now that have no business being in a horse: venoms, toxics and blood-doping agents like synthetic EPO. However, there are a lot of drugs on the RCI list that we use as healing agents and we need to narrow the scope to those harmful agents. "Out of competition testing will also help to eliminate excess testing expenses," Dr. Shell continued. "In order for me to keep my veterinarian license, I'm required to be accountable for every drop of medication that goes into every horse and when and where I performed that service. Therefore, a trainer needs to be able to produce a vet record of his or her horses so that regulators have a clear idea of what is therapeutic and what isn't. "For instance, anabolic steroids are a controlled substance that we, as veterinarians, use therapeutically, and we need to establish the difference between when medications are used therapeutically and when they are not." "Out of competition testing has become a necessity," Dr. John Reichert admitted. "The majority of trainers are operating within the rules, but because of the few bad apples we need out of competition testing and we need to establish accurate testing. I'm talking about agents that have long term effects on a horse's system: blood doping, venoms, etc. We need an effective narrow scope of testing, and the accuracy of testing is paramount to establishing severe penalties for the cheaters. "We also need to think about legal concerns," Dr. Reichert continued. "For instance, do we do random testing, or do we pick the obvious cheaters? There's not many trainers who operate on a 400 to 600-win average. But we're also going to have to think about horses that throw in bad races for reasons such as flipped-palates and tying up, and then dramatically improve when in the hands of a new trainer who can help alleviate those issues. "I also think that logistically we'll have to figure out how we're going to cooperate amongst the other states who already have out of competition testing in place," Dr. Reichert noted. "For instance, different states have different testing procedures. Are we going to test the horses in the state they're currently in or do we bring them to a central location? The manpower to do the testing has to be credentialed and capable as well." "In my opinion, out of competition testing is the biggest deterrent to illicit drug use in this industry," Dr. Barry Carter concluded. "Obviously, out of competition is a multi-faceted issue which needs to be discussed further," stated Robert Schmitz, OSRC Chairman. "At our January 2019 meeting I'm asking the Ohio Department of Agriculture's testing lab to be on hand to lend their insight into this issue." by Kimberly Rinker, OSDF Administrator 

Sixteen horses died on Racing NSW tracks between January 1 and June 30 this year, The New Daily can reveal. Another 13 have been euthanised after being injured in a race. There have also been three cases of sudden death due to cardiovascular failure associated with racing, according to figures obtained by NSW Greens animal welfare spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi under freedom of information. Two horses died on Harness Racing NSW tracks between January 1 and August 6, and another two were euthanised due to their injuries. The numbers were revealed after the Information and Privacy Commission told the racing agencies they must comply with freedom of information laws, as reported by The New Daily last month. Racing NSW said 67 horses were so injured in the first half of this year they either retired or took prolonged time off. “It should be noted, 10,572 individual horses started in races with 53,245 starts between them in the 12-month period to 30 June 2018,” Peter Sweney, General Counsel of Racing NSW said in his response to Dr Faruqi. Ninety-four horses were injured in harness racing as at August 6. Harness Racing NSW chief executive John Dumesny told The New Dailyhorses collectively raced about 34,500 times a year. Dr Faruqi called for a special commission of inquiry into the industry. “Whenever animals and gambling are mixed, animals always come last by a long way,” she said. “When animals are treated as disposable commodities and valued only for their profit, unfortunately injuries and euthanasia seem to be all too common. “We need to get to the bottom of how many horses die for the sake of a bet.” A spokesperson for NSW Racing Minister Paul Toole said the industry was leading the nation on animal welfare initiatives. “The Greens should just be honest and admit they want to shut down the racing industry, something that would put thousands of working people out of a job.” Horse retirements in Racing NSW Mr Sweney said Racing NSW has “the most comprehensive and robust retirement program for racehorses” in Australia. Overseer Janelle Bowden prepares Memphis at St Heliers Correctional Centre. Photo: NSW Justice / Colin Lavender Horses are re-trained to ensure they are equipped to be re-homed for jumping, hacking, eventing, polo, dressage and pleasure riding. Inmates at St Heliers Correctional Centre – at Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley – care for up to 80 horses at a time under a partnership with Corrective Services NSW that has been running since 2012. “This operation has proven to have positive outcomes for both the horses and the inmates, with improvements in inmate behaviour and reduced recidivism rates,” Mr Sweney said. NSW RSL also operates a similar Homes for Heroes program for returned servicemen with physical and mental health issues at Picton, southwest of Sydney. Horse deaths on racing tracks are notified in public steward reports but not recorded in the Racing NSW annual report. Harness Racing NSW Mr Dumesny reiterated Harness Racing NSW was transparent and accountable and provided information when requested. “We take care of the horses in the most humane way and veterinarily [sic] practical ways,” he told The New Daily. Where we can we save these beautiful horses. “Unfortunately these things do occur.” In his response to Dr Faruqi, Mr Dumesny said the number of horse deaths and injuries would be detailed in the 2018 annual report. The 2016-17 annual report did not provide information on deaths and injuries. Harness Racing NSW horses collectively race about 34,500 times a year. Photo: Getty It said about 80 per cent of standardbreds were “re-homed in areas of leisure activities and breeding” nationally on retirement. Mr Dumesny told Dr Faruqi that horse deaths and injuries are reported by stewards onto an internal portal, which registers on a national database. The Regulatory Veterinarian reviews the reports and refers them to him, he said. Dr Faruqi also made similar inquiries in questions on notice in the Legislative Council. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Tydd wrote to both racing regulators on June 13 to tell them they were accountable to the public and needed to comply with the GIPA (Government Information Public Access) Act. Dr Faruqi will be sworn into the federal Senate this week after resigning from state parliament. Racing NSW declined to comment. By Rachel Eddie Reprinted with permission of The New Daily

Leading horse feed manufacturer, Mitavite, has launched the Centaur Feed Assurance Program. This is a feed testing program that will provide an increased level of assurance for trainers who use Mitavite Premium race feeds. Mitavite have partnered with UK based lndependent Equine Nutrition (IEN), a specialist, equine focused, state of the art analytical laboratory to provide a regular Feed Contamination and Herb, Spices & Plant Screening program. In stage 1 of the program samples of Mitavite Athlete+, Sustaina and Formula 3 will be routinely tested for prohibited substances. Cobalt levels will also be tested. The Feed Contamination screen is extensive and includes theobromine, caffeine, theophylline, morphine, codeine, oripavine, thebaine, noscapine, papaverine, atropine, hyoscyamine, scopolamine, sparteine, lupinine, bufotenine, methylbufotenine, dimethyltryptamine, coumarin and ractopamine. The Herb, Spices & Plant Screen (HSPS) is designed to reflect the differing risks presented by novel herbs, spices or other plant based ingredients and includes: ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, synephrine, nicotine, cathinone, cathine, quinine, quinidine, digoxin, digitoxin, salicylic acid, valerenic acid, ibogaine, lobeline, harmaline, reserpine, yohimbine, ajmaline, ajmalicine, capsaicin, dehydrocapsaicin, nonivamide, cocaine, THC, cannabinol, cannabidiol, colchicine and vincamine. Mitavite General Manager, Colin Price was pleased to be announcing this industry leading program. “As the provider of feed and nutrition programs to many leading trainers throughout Australasia, Asia and the Middle East we believe it is important that we take every step to ensure that to the best of our knowledge our feeds are safe to use and contaminant free. This program will add to the already extensive testing program undertaken on all our feeds and raw materials at our own laboratory. Our partners IEN are acknowledged internationally as leaders in the provision of equine feed screening services.” Mitavite Feeds that are included in the Centaur Feed Assurance Program will, over time, carry the distinctive Centaur logo on each bag. With the Program now under way trainers can be assured that Athlete+, Sustaina and Formula 3 are included in the testing program. Trainers can register to receive regular feed test reports at www.mitavite.com/centaur or by emailing mitavitecentaur@inghams.com.au Colin Price General Manager - Mitavite | Mitavite (A Division of Inghams Group Limited) 3 Pile Road, Somersby NSW 2250 Australia Ph: +61 2 4340 9609 | Mob: +61 407 297 967 | Fax: +61 2 4340 1708 Email: cprice@inghams.com.au | Website: www.mitavite.com

The Association of Racing Commissioners International's Board of Directors has approved the latest revisions to its Model Rules of Racing, including protocol for when riders sustain concussions, best practices when lightning is in the area and raising the scale of weights in Quarter Horse racing. The model rules provide the template for racing regulatory entities and the framework under which the sport has made significant gains toward uniform regulations among jurisdictions. The updated model rules can be viewed at and downloaded by using the button at the bottom of this message. The ARCI Model Rules Committee recommended the updates, which then went to the full board for approval at ARCI's 84th Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity in Hot Springs, Ark. The committee is chaired by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming's Larry Eliason. "The Model Rules are a living document that we amend as needed to provide our regulatory members the most up-to-date blueprint for best practices in all areas of conducting pari-mutuel racing," said ARCI President Ed Martin. "Concussions are at the forefront of all sports, and these additions to the Model Rules make sure racing participants get proper evaluation when the possibility of a concussion occurs and do not return to racing prematurely. At the heart of all these changes is the well-being and safety of our human and equine athletes." The changes: ARCI-007-020 (A)(5)(b) and (A)(10) -- The concussion protocol for jockeys was amended to mandate that at least one of the previously-required medical professionals on site (physician, nurse practitioner or paramedic) must be adequately trained in diagnosing and assessing concussions. The updated rule requires racing associations to adopt, post and implement protocol approved by the regulatory authority for the diagnosis and management of concussions sustained by jockeys. Such protocol is to include an assessment with a minimum of a SCAT-5 exam by an individual trained in concussions, which could be the track physician, paramedic, nurse practitioner or athletic trainer. Additionally, a return-to-ride guideline must be established in order to clear a jockey who has been concussed, or is believed to have been concussed, once he or she is declared fit to ride. ARCI-007-020 (M) and 014-025 -- Tracks are required to develop an approved hazardous weather and lightning protocol, including access to a commercial, real-time lightning detection service with strike distance/radius notifications. When lightning is detected within eight miles radius of the track, racing or training will be suspended and participants alerted to seek shelter. Racing or training can resume only after a minimum of 30 minutes has passed since the last strike is observed within an eight-mile radius. ARCI-010-020 (D)(3) -- The scale of weights jockeys carry in Quarter Horses, Appaloosas and Paints was increased four pounds in each age class, with the minimum weight to be carried now 124 pounds for 2-year-olds, 126 for 3-year-olds and 128 for older horses.   DOWNLOAD THE MODEL RULES OF RACING   Ed Martin 1510 Newtown Pike Lexington, KY 40511   - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  

Guelph, ON, May 10, 2018 - Ah Spring; when countless materials are covered in shedding horse hair including your clothes, car, perhaps even your couch if you don’t change out of barn clothes immediately when you get home. But what if you are not covered in your horses shedding coat? Delayed shedding or regional hypertrichosis can be early warning signs of Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) – a metabolic condition that suppresses the immune system when high cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels.  Look for abnormal hair coat including patches of long hair on the legs, wavy hair on the neck, changes in coat colour or shedding patterns and unusual whisker growth.  Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge healthcare tool contains useful resources to practice identifying metabolic issues.   Did you know horses seen for laminitis have frequently been found to have PPID or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)? Laminitis can be a sign of both metabolic issues yet it is often treated without identifying the underlying cause.   There is a fair bit of confusion in the horse world over mixing up PPID and EMS as they share many of the same clinical signs. Horses with PPID may also have some of the features of EMS. Equine Metabolic Syndrome had many previous names: peripheral Cushing’s Syndrome, pseudo Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance syndrome.   Horses with EMS do not display hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) or delayed shedding. New research studies are investigating changes in gut microflora as another possible early warning sign of EMS. PPID cases are more common in horses over 15 where EMS tends to be seen in horses over 5 years of age. Laminitis and obesity are often the first clues in identifying both disorders. Working with a veterinarian who can perform diagnostics is necessary to conclude which disorder you are dealing with and determine the best treatment options. Early warning signs can be subtle and of course early diagnosis is important.   “Every year Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a PPID testing campaign in partnership with Animal Health Laboratory in Guelph,” says Guillaume Cloutier, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. “In 2017, out of the 442 horses that were tested, 273 (62%) had a positive result for PPID.”   To learn more about detecting early warning signs for metabolic issues and other important factors in maintaining health as your horse ages, visit Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge Healthcare Tool, kindly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) has advised Harness Racing New South Wales that meloxicam has been detected in the blood sample taken from CORRINYAH CONMAN following its win in race 5, the HUTCHEON & PEARCE PACE (2000m) at Temora on Friday 9 March 2018. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. Trainer Mr S. Hillier has been advised that HRNSW will continue its investigation into this sample and an inquiry will be conducted in due course. Acting under the provisions of AHRR 183A, it has been determined that CORRINYAH CONMAN, the horse subject of the certificate, shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the outcome of an Inquiry or investigation.    Florist – positive sample THE Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) has advised Harness Racing New South Wales that synephrine has been detected in the urine sample taken from FLORIST following its win in race 5, the DONGES SUPA IGA PACE (1720 metres) conducted at Young on Tuesday 27 February 2018. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. Trainer Mr M. Johnstone has been advised that HRNSW will continue its investigation into this sample and an inquiry will be conducted in due course. Acting under the provisions of AHRR 183A, it has been determined that FLORIST, the horse subject of the certificate, shall not be nominated or compete in any race until the outcome of an inquiry or investigation.    MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au

Intense exercise is a hazard to racehorses in Ontario and has been linked to hundreds of deaths within the industry, according to a new study from the University of Guelph. Peter Physick-Sheard, an emeritus professor of population medicine, examined 1,709 deaths in Ontario's horse racing industry between 2003 and 2015. "Training and racing at top speed within a short amount of time and space is a health risk for horses," said Physick-Sheard of his study that was released this week in Equine Veterinary Journal. Damage during exercise to the horses' musculoskeletal system, such as fractures, dislocations and tendon ruptures, is the most common underlying problem in the deaths, the study says. The study notes that the immediate cause of death for 97 per cent of those injured horses is euthanasia that occurs shortly after. Dying suddenly ranks second and is closely affiliated with exercise, with those horses either dying on the track, or very shortly after a workout. Since 2003, Ontario has maintained a registry of racehorse deaths that occur within 60 days of a race or trial entry, which provides insight into mortality rates, the study notes. Physick-Sheard studied thoroughbreds, standardbreds and quarter-horses and looked at the differences in mortality both between the breeds and within them. He and his team examined data from about three million race starts — each time a horse starts a race — and official recorded work events along with necropsy reports, the bulk of which were done at the university after a racehorse dies. Thoroughbreds have the highest mortality, the study says, and notes that exercise represents "a far greater hazard for thoroughbreds than standardbreds" with a risk of dying up to eight times higher for thoroughbreds. "The best example is the very high mortality for very young horses, especially stallions, on the thoroughbred side and is associated with exercise, which is an area we should focus on," he said. On the standardbred side, Physick-Sheard said "it's the high mortality that tends to occur off the track. That's really interesting and suggests something procedural and cultural." The study says the rate of deaths off the track for standardbreds is still about half that of thoroughbreds off track. He said his study highlighted important structural factors within the industry that need to be examined more closely, especially those within the thoroughbred world. An oft-stated euphemism within horse racing goes as: standardbreds race to win and thoroughbreds race to breed. That has real world implications on the horses, Physick-Sheard said. Standardbred horses, those used in harness racing, are focused on winning over a long period of time, he said, noting that most begin racing at three years old and can race until they are about 14 years old. "Their type of work and training is much more progressive, much more gradual," he suggested as a possible reason for the lower death rates of standardbred horses. Those horses will often run upwards of 1,000 kilometres before they enter their first race. Standardbred horses have a high mortality that tends to occur off the track, pointing to another area that should be examined, Physick-Sheard said. "That's really interesting and suggests something procedural and cultural," he said. Thoroughbreds are different. "Thoroughbred racing is more intense and progressive, but shorter in duration," Physick-Sheard said. There is more money to be made in thoroughbreds through breeding, rather than from wining races, he said, and making money is more intense for thoroughbreds younger than five years of age. Thoroughbreds generally train with relatively short distances to minimize damage that is punctuated by short, intense bursts on the racetrack. The management of young thoroughbreds, especially those aged two years old, is another area the racing industry should examine further, he said. Physick-Sheard said the study is the "first of its kind" to compare mortality in three racing breeds. The death registry is held by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, a Crown agency that regulates the horse racing industry. The AGCO granted the professor access to the data. The AGCO said it has just begun to examine the study. "There is an initiative to review the rules of racing and we're looking at what can be improved and what can help," said Mike Wilson, the manager of racing operations with the AGCO. "The findings (of the study) will be useful in the AGCO's current review." The AGCO said an official investigates every time a horse dies or is injured or there is an incident. "Any time a horse goes down, it's one horse too many," Wilson said. By Liam Casey Reprinted with permission of The Canadian Press

Millstone Township, NJ - April 25, 2018 -  The last three of the 21 trotters and pacers in the kill pens the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) is trying to keep from slaughter, have a reprieve, but do not have homes, Valid Moment, Native Avenue, and DeMartini. They do have donations to care for them until SRF can hopefully find them homes. Secret Impression who has a home is now sick and injured. A veterinarian has been called. Her home is now pending.   SRF expresses its heartfelt gratitude for the support received for these horses. It's been a stressful six days trying to pull it all together, very sad to have had to do this at all, but a few sweet things have come from this effort. Four horses had their past owners take them home, and help came from a horse that was considered rescued himself, St. Elmo Hero, who went on to earn nearly $800,000 for his owner John Barnard.   Josh Green, one of 21 owners of Skedaddle Hanover, during his racing career, owning him for just 6 months,stated, "I don't understand how people can be in racing and not fall in love with and appreciate how hard these horses try for us." Eric Goodell and Josh Green took Mr. Mystic N, one from this group, home on the same day they heard he was in trouble.    We were surprised that the United States Trotting Association, (USTA) chose not to pick up SRF's press releases, as their readers are people more closely associated with these animals than anyone, especially past breeders, owners, trainers, and fans. These are the people who should have this information. The USTA states that they do not have a policy on slaughter. It is well known that some of the directors oppose it and some are pro slaughter. We suggest that when members vote their new directors in that they pose that question before casting a vote.    Homes are still needed.       To offer a home, make a tax-deductible gift to help any of the other 390 horses inSRF's program, or to sponsor one, contact SRF 732-446-4422 or email SRF.Horseandkids@Adoptahorse.org. To see some of the other 390, to sponsor one, adopt one, or make a gift click here AdoptaHorse.org/Donate.    Standardbred Retirement Foundation | AdoptaHorse.org | Judith Bokman

Millstone Township, NJ - April 23, 2018 - Since Friday, April 20, 2018, of the 21 horses weighed and tagged to ship for slaughter, Mr. Mystic N was helped by his past owner, Eric Goodell, and trainer Joshua Green, and is being returned to Mr. Goodell; Jeremy Sharky was helped by Linda Maine, and being returned to her; DC Piggy Bank left to go to another organization in Indiana; Captain is going back to his owner Dr. Claude Gedreau in Canada; Forward Action has found a loving home in Kentucky by a dear friend of SRF;  two others have been offered a home at a rescue/sanctuary in NJ, that will be confirmed today. Two adoption applications have been received and will be screened. That leaves 14 others still in need of homes, and donations.   Funds have been raised for all expenses to help 2 more horses, but they do not have home offers. Should SRF need to find a place on their roster they can afford to do so with these donations, but by securing homes for them, donations can go to others in great need.   "We have asked for an extension beyond Tuesday's deadline, but we worry that the kill buyer will again pull a few from this group to fill his truck, should he have empty space," noted Paula Campbell, SRF's President. "This effort needs a collaboration of good, kind and generous people to get it accomplished. These horses worked hard when racing and most have had a miserable life afterwards. Slaughter is unacceptable."   The Standardbred Retirement Foundation(SRF) is presently paying for the all the care, board, and medical needs on 390 horses. It is stretched, and concerned about its financial situation, and without a farm of their own, the concern is even greater. "Since 1989 we have managed to follow-up every horse in the program for life, secure more than 4,000 adoptions, and care for those still not homed," shares Judith Bokman, SRF's Executive Director. "  We need so much more help to give these animals a little dignity. It shocks me that we have survived this long.  If it wasn't for a few small bequests over the years we wouldn't be here today trying to help these 21."   Here is how you and SRF can save these horses:   1. If you choose to take a horse back that you bred, owned or trained or wish to help a horse, SRF will assist with the facilitation. The list with their prices is available in the group of photos. 2. For horses with a home offer, but the home is unable to pay for the horses and the shipping (often to rural parts of the US), SRF will collect donations to help. 3. For a horse without a safe place to go, if donations cover all expenses, the price of the horse, shipping to quarantine, then shipping again to a boarding facility for rehabilitation and retraining for adoption and several months of board, SRF will consider whether it can take on the responsibility of another horse. This is approximately $3,000. 4. For horses with no help at all, the controversial option that is being considered is humane euthanasia. The cost is, the kill pen's purchase price, in addition to shipping to a facility, the veterinarian and rendering, approximately $550.   To offer a home, make a tax-deductible gift to help SRF Facilitate a horse to a home being offered, or to send a gift for SRF to afford taking on one, contact SRF 732-44604422 or SRF.Horseandkids@Adoptahorse.org.  CLICK HERE TO DONATE: https://www.adoptahorse.org/donate OR  https://www.gofundme.com/save-22-horses-from-slaughter - GoFund Me page. The list of horses is included in the group of photos.   A choice can be made whether a horse leaves the earth by the heinous act of slaughter or through humane euthanasia. Should some horses not receive help and you wish to provide a more peaceful passing please call us to discuss. To contact by telephone- 732-446-4422, email SRF.HorsesandKids@AdoptaHorse.com.         TAG # NAME SEX AGE TATTOO EARNINGS   PRICE SIRE/   DAME 1871 Mister Mystic N G,16 ZH205 $403,984 $800 In The Pocket-Seafield Mystic-Nero's Bebe 1877 Yankee Fur OR Stubling G, ? ? ? $720   1864 Nole G, 14 1BE96 $54,911 $810 Yankee Glide-CR Seminole Sister_Royal Trubador 1865 T-N-T Dozer G, 20 T4635 $23,102 $910 Sir Taurus-Midnight Oasis-Desert Night 1866 Forward Action   G, 15 4AE47 $761 $810 Save and adopted into a loving home  1868 Valid Movement G, 14 4DB75 $31,602 $800 Towner's Big Guy-Chevie Sprints-Sport Master 1863 Artistocracy G, 14 9BD28 $56,013 $810   Artiscape-Expensly Ashley-Expensive Scooter 1867 Loutopia M, 18 WC096 $0 $660 Sir Taurus-Golden LOu-Baltic Speed 1869 Demartini (formerly Whitsand Predator) G, 17 XR713 $0 $835 Grinfromeartoea r-Filly Bahama-Matt's Scooter 1880 Us Invader G, 20 T0018 $38,784 $660 Balanced Image-Picaboo Flame-Keystone Flame 43 Dale G. 15 8AC46 $10,454 $892 Inquirer Mandalay Bay-Overcomer No Tag Native Avenue G, 7 2J771 $3,460 $940 All American NAtive-Lady Welagin-Walton HAnover 688 Indiego G, 21 SC361 $0 $892 Die Laughing-Nude Indigo-Abercombie No Tag DC's Piggy Bank G, 15 5A679 $589,811 $675 Saved by another organization in Indiana. No Tag Hillbilly Style OR Letsgo Dort G, ? ? ? $650   No Tag Bob J L G, 15 9CN42 $48,026 $600   Dauntless Bunny-Etoile De Mai-Rumpus Hanover N/A Captain G, 13 9C641 $1,540 $700 BREEDER SAVED Him and Took Him Home. No Tag RC Kettle Chip G, 11 4EC77   $12,099 $1200   Dream Vacation-Malhana Gunilla-Bonefish No Tag Jeremy Sharky G, 15 4A407 $255,982 $750 Saved by Linda Maine and took him home. No Tag Secret Impression M, 14 4B682 $49,380 $625 Go Get Lost-Tuf Tonya-TZ 760 Casimir Army Patrol G, 20 TR315 $0 $700 Shre Patrol-Casimir Mooky     Standardbred Retirement Foundation | AdoptaHorse.org | Judith Bokman       Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535    

Guelph, ON April, 11, 2018 - Researchers at the University of Guelph are searching for clues to better manage a virus that can cause late gestation abortion in mares.   Horses carrying equine herpesvirus (EHV) may exhibit signs as minor as a runny nose and mild fever, but the virus is a major cause of neurological, respiratory and reproductive disease, including abortions, in the equine industry.   Horses often are infected early in life and EHV can remain in the body for life, reactivating at any time, but it’s not clear what causes this to happen. Something pushes it over the edge to disease manifestation, explains Dr. Brandon Lillie, a pathologist in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   While vaccination is recommended to protect against EHV, the virus continues to occur in vaccinated herds. Affected horses may abort their foals or foals may be born apparently healthy only to die a short time later.   Lillie and Dr. Luis Arroyo, a clinician and researcher in OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies, along with their research team are trying to better understand how the virus exists in the horse population, uncover what triggers the virus to cause disease and assess ways to maximize current EHV vaccination efficacy and minimize the virus’s effect on the horses’ health. In particular, they are focusing on the abortive affect of the virus.   EHV can present in a number of ways, explains Arroyo. Horses may demonstrate neurological signs; they may have difficulty walking, they may have difficulty urinating because the nerves to their bladder are inflamed, or they may exhibit milder symptoms like a runny nose, or no symptoms at all.   A mare may not show clinical signs of the virus at all, but could lose a foal who is loaded with the virus, he adds. Conversely, some mares may be clearly diseased but their pregnancy isn’t compromised.   The cyclical nature of the virus is part of the challenge. Farms may report no abortions for a couple of years and then suddenly they have two or three.   The researchers began with a survey of Ontario horse farms to better understand the current state of the industry, looking at herd sizes, abortion rates and prevalence of EHV-related diseases.   Beginning in December 2016, they began sampling horses on farms across Ontario – from Ottawa to Windsor and Sudbury to the Niagara Region.    The farms include large racing operations with dozens of mares to smaller farms with two, three or six mares. Says Lillie, “We are focusing on the mares because that is the major way that foals get infected. We think that’s an important area to look at and understand.”   Horses on each farm will be sampled six times over 12 months, essentially covering the entire gestational cycle of horses.   Lillie and Arroyo are also examining the best way to sample for the virus, looking at nasal swabs, vaginal swabs and blood samples.   “If a mare is shedding are there different levels in different places, are you better to swab a horse’s nose or to take a blood sample?” asks Lillie.   They will test the samples for presence of the virus or viral DNA levels and also look at serology, the mare’s antibody level or immune response to the virus. Using this information, researchers can then determine how prevalent the virus is, the impact of vaccines on the virus and the mare’s ability to mount an immune response.   On the farms being studied, there is also a fairly even split between those who vaccinate and those who don’t.    “Hopefully we’ll start to see some trends,” adds Lillie. “Ultimately, when abortions occur, we can look back and see if the shedding pattern changed and if one type of sampling was a key indicator.”   Another area they will assess is how the antibody response pattern changes with horses throughout the year. Preliminary evidence suggests not all mares respond the same way to the virus or have the same antibody level patterns over the year.   The host, the pathogen, the farm’s management strategy and the environment all contribute to the occurrence of disease particularly when a virus is there all the time, adds Lillie.   Ultimately, the researchers hope to make some changes in how the disease is diagnosed and managed. “Maybe vaccine protocols need tweaking,” he says. “Maybe the current vaccination schedule isn’t the best as far as timing or maybe another one is needed in there, or perhaps the virus has evolved a bit.”   Funding for the study has come from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and a University of Guelph Catalyst Grant, as well as funding from Equine Guelph and the Zoetis Investment in Innovation Fund.   Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=541    by: Karen Mantel  

Guelph, ON - April, 4, 2018 - The Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool was performed by over 100 students in the winter 2018 offering of Equine Guelph’s Gut Health & Colic course. Feedback indicates participants were keen to learn the simple management changes that could reduce their chances of colic. Many were surprised to learn that approximately 80% of colic episodes may be related to management and therefore can be prevented. Available on the Equine Guelph website, the free Colic Risk Rater tool provides individual feedback to help horse owners identify risk factors and develop preventative strategies to help reduce the risk of colic.    Spring in particular is a time when many new stresses can impact the horse.  Very often this is a time when riders start to ramp up the intensity of exercise and also feed. Making changes to horses feed slowly is a common topic among horse caretakers but did you know it is even more important to change forages slowly than it is concentrates?   'Concentrates' are broken down by enzymes in the foregut for the horse to digest, while forages are broken down by the microbes in the hindgut and it is the microbes that feed the horse. Therefore, it is even more critical to change forages more slowly than concentrates, in the horse’s diet.    In spring, there is the introduction of grass pasture to consider. If we let the horse out on pasture when the grasses are beginning to grow, Mother Nature helps control the intake of this new, very digestible, 'short forage, as it begins to grow very slowly. Problems arise when the manager waits until the fresh grasses are 3 to 4 inches tall before turning the horses out to eat it. Then the horse can consume too much at one time and cause a digestive upset, i.e., colic.    However, not every farm owner has an ideal ratio of one horse per 1.5 -2 acres of grazing in which case special pasture management includes rotating horses to new paddocks before the grass is eaten down below 3 inches. In these cases, introduce horses to fresh grass with gradual increases in grazing time. If stools begin to loosen, you know that grazing time was increased too much.  Back off the time spent grazing and be sure to provide the horses with extra hay when off the pastures. This allows them to chew more, which will produce more saliva thereby controlling pH levels which helps the good microbial population stay healthy and restore the 'good' bugs in the gut.   During the last Gut Health and Colic course, guest speaker and highly experienced equine nutritionist, Don Kapper was on hand dispelling myths and discussing nutrition as it pertains to horse health and performance. One of the topics Kapper discussed was manure; “this is one ‘visual’ for all horse owners to monitor and learn to manage accordingly.”  Too firm (dry) stools would be an indication of dehydration, a condition that can lead to impaction colic if ignored.   Moist stools could indicate a well hydrated horse, but if it becomes too loose and is accompanied with a strong 'acid' aroma, it could indicate something has happened to the microbial population in the colon. One of the jobs of the colon is to absorb water and form the feces, but the microbes found there are very pH sensitive, therefore, a ‘hindgut irritant’ caused from eating too much starch or sugar; lack of adequate fermentable fiber; or extended treatment of antibiotics, could cause 'Acid Gut Syndrome' that could lead to 'Acidosis'. Unfortunately, acidosis is when the pH of the colon becomes <6.0 and this is when 80% of the horses will founder.   The most common cause of ‘Acid Gut Syndrome’, during a change of season, is a change in the forage they are eating. This could be from: 1)transitioning from mature grass hay to immature grass pasture, or visa versa; 2) feeding a different 'type' of hay (remember it takes different microbes in their fermentation vat to breakdown the different ‘types’ of forage). To make a 100% microbial change in their fermentation vat, i.e. hindgut, takes 21 days. Therefore, to maintain a healthy gut, it is more important to change your 'forage' more slowly than your concentrate feed.   Stay tuned to theHorsePortal.ca for the next offering of Gut Health and Colic.   “The Gut Health and Colic Prevention course was packed full of relevant and useful information along with practical applications that I can immediately implement with my horses.” - student Donna Elkow   The Colic Risk Rater and the Gut Health and Colic Prevention short course are kindly sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services Inc. and CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd. Mike King, National equine industry program manager for Intercity/CapriCMW is familiar with both the financial and emotional costs involved and fully supports colic prevention through education. “With decades of insurance underwriting and claims experience in the horse industry across Canada, we can think of no better risk management tool to prevent colic, than education.“   Colic is the number one killer of horses, other than old age. Knowing your horse and picking up on change is one important factor in colic prevention. The Colic Risk Rater health care tool also takes horse owners through management strategies such as: amount of forage fed, quality of feed and amounts fed at once, turn out time, exercise routine, hydration and parasite control.   Visit Equine Guelph’s interactive Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool to learn how you can reduce your horse’s risk of Colic.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Each foaling season, a number of foals are orphaned, rejected, or the mares have no milk (agilactic).  Don Kapper, formerly of Progressive Nutrition, has provided the following article with suggestions on how they recommend dealing with such situations. According to Mr. Kapper and Progressive Nutrition, the following is a highly successful program for raising these foals that has been implemented at several universities, veterinary neonatal hospitals and on many horse farms. Their research has shown that foals raised on this program will grow and mature the same as non-orphans and will attain their normal size. Research was completed at The Ohio State University1, comparing the different growth rates of foals raised according to two differing protocols. In the first group foals remained on the mare and were provided a milk-based pellet as a creep feed. In the second group, foals were weaned at three days and fed a mare’s ‘all-milk’ milk replacer and provided a milk-based pellet in a creep feeder. Researchers recorded weekly measurements of their body weight, heart girth, body length, wither height, hip height, and cannon bone circumference. Results showed that foals developed similarly in skeletal size and all foals received similar body condition scores (BCS) and were healthy. These foals were not negatively affected by early weaning and did not develop bad habits. This ‘Feeding Program’ will be helpful to those who are managing foals who are: orphaned, rejected, out of mares with no milk or weaned early. Colostrum First Colostrum, or the mare’s first milk, contains high levels of ‘whole protein antibodies’ to protect the foal from disease. Mares secrete colostrum up to 24 hours after foaling. Foals will absorb colostrum for 12 to 24 hours after birth, or until an adequate amount of the whole protein antibodies are absorbed through the small intestine. The quicker we can get the colostrum into the foal, the faster the foal has both systemic and local immunity against disease pathogens. When possible, Progressive Nutrition recommends that when the foal is sternal and has developed a suckle reflex (you can see and hear them suck on their tongue), you milk 3 to 4 ounces of ‘colostrum’ from the mare, put it into a bottle and give to the foal before it stands. All new born foals need colostrum, beginning within the first hour after birth. All 'orphaned or rejected foals', weighing 100 lb. at birth, should receive 250 ml. (approx. 1 cup) of colostrum each hour for the first six hours after they are born. This is a total of 1500 ml, or about 3 pints of colostrum per 100 lbs. of body weight. Therefore, Progressive Nutrition recommends that all breeding farms should have a minimum of 3 pints of frozen colostrum in storage. When needed, it should be removed from the freezer and thawed at room temperature or in a warm water bath. Pour the colostrum into a bottle, which has a ‘lamb’ nipple with the ‘X’ opening at least ½ inch wide, and let the foal suckle. NEVER microwave the colostrum because that will ‘destroy’ the whole protein antibodies and render them useless. Provide an ‘All-Milk’ Equine Milk Replacer ‘Powder in Solution’ Next After the colostrum has been consumed, introduce the foal to the ‘All-Milk’ Milk Replacer powder mixed into a liquid solution. You may start them drinking from a shallow plastic bowl or from a bottle with a lamb nipple attached, depending on how aggressive the foal is. Most of the time a bottle with a nipple is not necessary because the foal will learn to drink from a shallow bowl or bucket very quickly after birth. Teach your foal to drink by placing your finger in their mouths to stimulate the suckle reflex. While they are sucking, raise the small bowl containing the ‘warmed’ liquid milk replacer solution up to their muzzle. After they begin to suck and drink, slowly remove your finger from the foal’s mouth. If he stops drinking, repeat the above steps until he is drinking by himself. Always bring the milk up to the foal; do not force the foal’s head down into the container. The first day, warm the liquid milk replacer to encourage consumption. When the foal drinks without assistance, hang a bucket with the milk replacer solution in it from the stable wall at the foals shoulder height. This will allow the foal to drink whenever it wants, just like the mare was there. The bucket should be a contrasting color to the wall to make it easy for the foal to find. The selected ingredients in both products are very easy to digest and will help maintain the natural pH level in the foal’s digestive system. Make sure to follow the mixing directions as described on the packaging. To assure the equine milk replacer powder is ‘all-milk’, look at the percentage of fiber listed on the feed tag. It must be less than 0.4% Crude Fiber. A milk replacer containing 1.0% Crude Fiber or higher will contain a different protein source that is less expensive, but not as digestible to the newborn foal. A non-digestible protein source can cause loose stools to diarrhea in the young foal during the first four to six weeks of age. For additional information on the feeding program described above please see Progressive Nutrition’s entire article, Feeding the Orphaned or Rejected Foal. The article will further explore the topics of mixing amounts, how much to feed/day, when to begin feeding separate water and the ‘milk-base’ pellets, what to do at weaning time, how many 22 lb. buckets are needed from birth to weaning, what to do if a foal is orphaned after 3 weeks of age and at what age to remove all milk. 1Kapper, DR: ‘Applied Nutrition’ chapter, in Reed SM, Bayly WM and Sellon, DC: Equine Internal Medicine, 2nd edition, 2004, WB Saunders & Co. pp – 1581 to 1584. This article was provided by Donald R Kapper, PAS, a retired Nutrition Consultant to and Member of the Cargill Equine Enterprise Team.  Progressive Nutrition, is a Cargill Company.

Public representatives have called for a full clampdown on sulky harness racing and the introduction of new bylaws after an exhausted horse collapsed and died in a residential neighbourhood. The horse, which appears to have collapsed from exhaustion, was attached to a sulky cart when it began to become fatigued in the Hawthorn Mews housing estate in Dublin Hill. According to witnesses, the drivers took the harness off the horse and left it to die, leaving with their equipment. Sinn Féin councillor for the area Thomas Gould said people already had major concerns about the care of horses during the cold spell and this latest incident needed a full investigation. “Last year there was a major round up and something similar needs to be done.” A dead horse covered in a blanket at Dublin Hill yesterday   “Every day there is sulky racing taking place in Cork. Up in Ballyhooley Road, Kilmore Road, Mahon, and the Straight Road,” he said. Fianna Fáil councillor Ken O’Flynn described it as “revolting behaviour by anybody’s standards”. “I believe at this stage that we need a full assault on the individuals that are causing the problem. People putting up their hands and saying they don’t know anything about it and it’s not their animal is not acceptable. “Cork City Council needs to penalise those who are treating animals in an appalling condition and we need to introduce sulky bylaws, the same as Kilkenny, to ban it from our streets and take those animals into care.” County Councillor Ger Keohane also described the incident as “barbaric and beyond cruel”. “That animal must have suffered and gone through stress, hurt and torture right up until its last breath. For someone to just unhook it and leave it there and discard it on the side of the road, as if it is nothing, is disgraceful.” Workers’ Party Councillor Ted Tynan said it was an appalling incident. “It was not a natural death. It was a young female horse. It is appalling treatment of an animal,” he said. Mr Tynan said it reminded him of an issue he had battled with previously of horses left on the outskirts of Rathcooney to starve to death. He called on the Department of Agriculture to step up and tackle the issue of animal mistreatment. “I thought the legislation brought in in 2009 would help to curb this kind of behaviour and make people more accountable, but obviously it hasn’t worked. “I am calling on the Department of Agriculture to get to work and deal with this issue.”   The horse being removed from an estate at Dublin Hill. Pic: Damian Coleman. ISPCA inspector Lisa O’Donovan said she has noticed a trend of young people carrying out these acts of cruelty and described it as a scary phenomenon. “It is not acceptable that you have young kids going out there driving a horse into the ground and then just walking away,” she said. “A few people said to me that they were laughing as they went which I think is even more horrifying. There is no remorse, guilt. The horse is of no more value to them than anything else. “What way are these kids being brought up? What moral values, what ethical values are being instilled in these children from their parents? because it begins at home. This behaviour begins at home,” added Ms O’Donovan. She has called on the public to report incidents of animal cruelty and to hand over any information they may have on the incident in Hawthorn Mews estate to the authorities. “We need the public to be vigilant and we need the public to stand up and say: ‘look this isn’t on, this isn’t going to be accepted’. “Someone out there who saw this knows who these people are. “People have mobile phones — there could be video footage of it. There could be someone who had photographs of the people involved and we ask them to either report it, either go to the gardaí or contact us, send the information to us. “It’s all confidential,” said Inspector O’Donovan. Local resident Noreen Murphy said she and other residents were in shock at the severe cruelty that was displayed by the sulky drivers. Ms Murphy said there are often horses being driven at speed around the area and it is a regular occurrence to have horses flogged and raced in the area. “They seem to be training them for sulky races, driving them around at speed.” Ms Murphy said more needs to be done to protect the horses. “There needs to be more inspections and more control over animals. If you can’t look after animals, you shouldn’t have them. All it requires is a basic level of respect, not to be cruel.” To contact the ISPCA helpline call 1890-515515 or email: helpline@ispca.ie; there is a web form available online at: www.ispca.ie/contact_us. Mayfield Garda station can be contacted on 021-4558510. By Roison Burke Reprinted with permission of The Evening Echo

Guelph - Now more than ever, we are aware of disease outbreaks with strong lines of communication keeping us up to date. A pivotal part of your sickness prevention plan includes a vaccination program. Only vaccination can prevent death from certain diseases such as rabies, which has seen its fair share of announcements of late in certain parts of Canada. Ontario Veterinary College Dean Wichtel says, “according to new information presented at an Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners (OAEP) meeting, the need for vaccination is greater than ever, with emerging new disease patterns that may be due in part to climate change.”   In times where kids cannot attend school unless they produce up-to-date immunization records, we need to think of horses in the same way. The FEI requires proof of equine influenza vaccinations for horses competing at FEI events. Competing or not, any horse that travels to events, or comes into contact with horses that travel, are exposed to inherent risks of contracting disease.   A great starting point for horse owners and veterinarians to discuss their annual vaccination program is Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner.  Horse owners are asked to complete six questions that help determine individual farm differences and risk factors, including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. This data is then compiled in a program, and a printable customized vaccination schedule is provided for each horse.   Horses tend to receive their first influenza shots of the year in the springtime in anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens. ‘’Equine influenza remains one of the most frequent and contagious respiratory tract disease in horses. As is the case on the human side, the equine influenza virus evolves over time (although at a less rapid pace). Therefore, the use of a vaccine including recent strains of equine influenza which meets AAEP’s and OIE’s recommendations is highly desirable in order to optimize coverage’’, says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health.   “The decision as to whether or not to vaccinate your horse against a particular disease is based on the risk associated with your horse becoming infected with certain disease-causing pathogens, says Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health and Welfare at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Owners of horses that travel for competition need to know the diseases endemic to the areas to which they are travelling to properly protect their horse. Websites such as the Equine Disease Communication Centre (EDCC) (equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks) can help inform owners regarding disease risk in certain areas. Your veterinarian should also be made aware of your travel plans and be consulted regarding which diseases are in your home area so the most effective vaccination program can be designed.”      Beyond vaccinations for diseases such as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile, there are more precautions to help deter the spread of diseases transmitted via insects. Removing breeding grounds can be accomplished by eliminating standing water (e.g. old water feeders, tires around the property) and getting rid of puddles by improving drainage.   Keeping manure storage as far away from the barn as possible but accessible for staff is helpful. Fly zappers and tapes can be beneficial. There are also products that can be fed to horses to interrupt the development of fly larvae in the horse’s manure (feed through fly control). Fly bait can also be useful but should be used with caution if dogs and cats are around. Other options to control flies and mosquitoes include insecticide impregnated blankets/sheets and the traditional fly sprays.   Disease should always be a concern if you are a horse owner and spring serves as a reminder to check your horses’ vaccination records. Equine Guelph’s Vaccination Equi-Planner, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, is a useful tool designed for horse owners to generate personalized immunization schedules for their horses.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=553   FEI rule: https://inside.fei.org/node/3289   Vaccination Equi-Planner: http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/equiplanner.php        Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1 519.824.4120 ext. 54756 jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

NEW ORLEANS — Ted Shults, a nationally recognized expert in forensic toxicology and law, says racing chemists and regulators face “self-inflicted injury” if their testing policies fail to recognize the existence of environmental contamination and inadvertent transfer of recreational and prescription medications to horses. “We would never do this on the human side,” said Shults, who works in both the equine and human testing worlds. Such environmental transfer to horses was the topic of the Kent Stirling Memorial Scientific Panel at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Convention that concluded Friday at the Astor Crowne Plaza. The audience heard how increasingly sensitive testing has led to horses testing positive for drugs or therapeutic medications that were not administered to them by their trainer or veterinarian. Among them: cocaine, morphine, methamphetamine, dextromethorphan and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Naproxen. The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has lobbied hard for screening and threshold levels that would not call a positive finding for such substances when detected at trace levels that have no impact on horses’ performance. Shults said he worked for one of the first certified labs that did testing for the U.S. military. “One of the first things I learned was, ‘Look, we have a choice here: Do we want a litigation program? Or do we want a testing program?'” he said. “My view has always been, ‘Get the litigatable issues out of here. Figure out a way of fixing them. Don’t make believe they don’t exist. Don’t try to cover them up.’ Because the word will get out, and next thing you know we’re up to our elbows in cases.” Dr. Thomas Tobin, the veterinarian and pharmacologist at the University of Kentucky who is a longtime consultant to the National HBPA on medication and drug testing, showed findings from a 2016 study where swabs of the walls in 18 ship-in stalls at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races detected 30 different medications and drugs on the walls. The 50 total instances of contamination broke down to 20 findings of equine medications, 16 of recreational drugs and 14 of human prescription medications, he said. Shults said that with today’s testing technology “the race for sensitivity is over…. We’re on the verge of going toward (detection levels) of parts per trillion. “My concern is now–and what we recognize on the human side–OK, we’re down in the picogram level, but what are we measuring? What are we looking at?” said Shults, who began his toxicology training under Tobin. “… Now we’re dealing with environmental contamination, and it’s not just on the surface. We have it in the air. People smoke marijuana, they smoke crack, methamphetamine. And then we have water, and we have food. “… I first heard about this maybe 15 years ago when people were finding benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine) in the Po River that runs through Rome. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Well they found it on the West Coast in the Snake River…I think there’s a growing awareness of environmental contamination out there, because it’s well established that most of the paper (currency) in circulation has benzoylecgonine. But there’s more and more paper that has–guess what?– methamphetamine. Now I don’t think the horses are eating the dollar bills out of the grooms’ pocket. But it’s become part of the environment, of the universe we live in. You have a drug user, maybe it’s a legal drug, maybe illegal. If they’re going to take whiz in the stall on the hay, guess who is going to eat the hay?… One of my favorite little ones, esoteric kind of thing, this is a guy that’s got a (positive) test for minoxidil–Rogaine. It was the guy’s hair spray.” Dr. Levent Dirikolu, who oversees Louisiana horse racing’s testing at the LSU lab, said a cocaine positive should not be called if only the metabolite benzoylecgonine is detected. That is a clear sign of environmental contamination that doesn’t impact the horse, he said. Dr. Clara Fenger, a Kentucky veterinarian and researcher, brought up Illinois harness racing cases where horses were testing positive for the pain medication Tramadol–all having raced out of the same paddock stall. “The paddock judge was urinating in the stall, and the paddock judge was on Tramadol,” she said. “…. We need to start considering an environmental contamination violation category, so we can separate contaminants from real attempts to cheat.” Hugh Gallagher, the New York Racing Association’s safety steward, offered the perspective of racing officials. He said mitigating factors must be considered in such cases. But he also said that trainers must do more to keep their barn environmentally contaminant-free, including stressing to employees that “stalls are not bathrooms.” He also cautioned about keeping coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate away from horses. Likewise, regulators must do a better job sanitizing those areas where horses have blood and urine samples taken, he said, also advocating drug testing employees who handle horses at some stage of a race. Dr. Scott Stanley, who heads California’s testing lab, said labs and commissions must be open to doing detective work to ferret out what might cause a positive finding, not just assuming the trainer is to blame. He agreed more can be done to reduce the transfer of substances to horses. One suggestion: having horse identifiers and the starting-gate crew wear latex gloves, and more pre-employment drug screening be implemented. MaryAnn O’Connell, executive director of the Washington HBPA, said some officials view contamination “as the new loophole for trainers” and are unwilling to consider the science. “It should not be taken as a loophole,” Gallagher said, saying he would refer the matter for Racing Officials Accreditation Program’s stewards advisory committee. “… We have to work together and find solutions together. Racing regulators and horsemen have to work for a common goal. And it has to be done the right way and done fairly and justly.” Drug contamination in tap drinking water By Jennie Rees Reprinted with permission of The Thoroughbred Daily News

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