Animal Industry News Update - July 2015

Theresia Lavergne, Page, Timothy G., Walker, Neely, Pruitt, J. Ross, Johnson, Rodney  |  7/7/2015 9:59:08 PM

Common lameness issues in barrel racing horses

barrel horse

Dr. Neely Walker

Barrel racing is one of the most popular uses of the American Quarter Horse in North and South America with approximately $14 million dollars awarded annually in prize money. However, this popularity takes a heavy toll on horses, most commonly resulting in forelimb lameness. According to the National Animal Health Monitoring System’s (NAHMS) National Estimate of Economic Costs associated with animal events and production, the number one cause of economic loss in the horse industry is lameness. The NAHMS report indicated that for every 100 horses there are 9-14 lameness related events with each event costing approximately $430.00, taking approximately 110 days to recover from each event, making lameness issues one of the most costly and performance reducing issues in the horse industry.

Research has shown that nearly 50% of competing barrel horses could be performing with some degree of lameness, specifically relating to the fetlock joint. In a study conducted by Menarim et al. in 2012, several radiographic abnormalities associated in the forelimb fetlocks of high performing barrel horses were noticed.
· 70% of horses experienced inflammation of the sesamoid bones (Sesamoiditis)
· 56% of horses experienced inflammation or scarring of the synovial pad (Villonodular synovitis) on the front of the fetlock joint due to repeated trauma and extreme extension of the joint
· 36% of horses experienced Osteoarthritis from a bone spur
· 13% of horses experienced bone chips (Osteochondral fragments)
· 13% of horses experienced joint capsule inflammation (Capsulitis)
· 6.6% of horses experienced soft tissue swelling
Most of the horses examined in this study were more likely to display external signs of lameness on the right forelimb, than on the left. However radiographic evidence showed more abnormalities of the left forelimb. This is thought to be caused by the extreme impact and hyperextension on the suspensory tendon apparatus while turning around the barrels. Most horses make one right turn which may cause soft tissue swelling, accounting for the external right forelimb lameness, and two left turns explaining the higher incidence of sustained injury on the left forelimb.

Despite the high likelihood of injury associated with barrel racing, there are treatments available that can extend the longevity of your horse’s career including Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein (IRAP), stem cell therapy, platelet rich plasma, Tildren, joint support, anti-arthritis medications, corticosteroids, and shockwave therapy.
· IRAP is an anti-inflammatory therapy which blocks interleukin-1, a major inflammatory substance released due to an injury, reducing further tissue damage. A blood sample is collected from the injured horse and incubated with specially designed glass beads which stimulate anti-inflammatory and regenerative cytokines. The serum is collected from the sample and then injected back into the injured horse.
· With stem cell therapy, fat cells are collected from the injured animal. The stem cells from the fatty tissue are concentrated and injected into the injured area, delivering active fibroblasts to the area needing healing. Horses treated with this therapy have returned to normal work levels prior to injury.
· Tildren is a bisphosphonate drug shown to be highly effective in treating osteoarthritis in horses and humans. It acts by decreasing osteoclast formation. Tildren can be given locally but is more commonly given systemically, allowing multiple areas of injury to be treated at once. Tildren is most effective in horses that experience acute lameness.
· Joint Support- Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine can increase articular cartilage and have anti-inflammatory effects. This treatment provides the basic building blocks for cartilage repair and should be used as a preventative in any high performance athlete.
· Anti-arthritis medications such as, Adequan, Legend, or Sodium hyaluronate can be used. All have anti-inflammatory effects and stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid. Sodium hyaluronate decreases pain and increases mobility. It acts as a pain killer and is anti-inflammatory. It increases range of motion by improving synovial fluid viscosity and soft tissue lubrication.
· Corticosteroids can be used in conjunction with anti-arthritis medications. Overuse is very common and can have negative effects if not monitored appropriately.
· Shockwave therapy is used to enhance the healing rate of soft tissue and bones in horses. Positive pressure acoustic waves transmit energy into structures deep within the body, stimulating cell healing.

Although the chances of your barrel horse sustaining some kind of performance reducing injury are high, most horses can continue to perform as high-level athletes. Proper hoof care and the use of support boots also are helpful in preventing excessive hyperextension and injury. It also is important for equine athletes to receive regular veterinary check-ups. These check-ups increase the possibility of early diagnosis of any soft tissue or joint injury, as well as increase the odds of successful treatment and a speedy recovery. If your barrel horse refuses to enter the arena, makes excessively wide turns, or cannot take the correct lead, it is important to contact your veterinarian to rule out any painful lameness issues.

Reference: Menarim, B.C., V.M. Vasconcelos Machado, L.E. Cisneros Alvarez, R. Carneiro, L. Busch, and L.C. Vulcano. 2012. Radiographic Abnormalities in Barrel Racing Horses with Lameness Referable to the Metacarpophalangeal Joint. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Vol. 32. Issue 4. p. 216-221.

Foot Scald and Foot Rot in Sheep and Goats

goat hoof

Rodney Johnson

Foot Scald
Foot scald, also referred to as benign foot rot or interdigital dermatitis, is an inflammation between the toes of sheep and goats. Persistent moisture on the skin between the toes can increase susceptibility to foot scald. However, foot scald does not seem to be contagious. Foot scald often precedes hoof rot.

Foot scald and foot rot outbreaks occur most often during persistent rainy weather along with high temperatures, when animals walk across wet pastures and muddy soil. If not treated, these animals can become permanently infected. During the rainy season, infected animals can contaminate the soil, which can increase disease transmission to other animals. Overgrown hooves also will increase the chance of an animal developing foot scald or rot. The disease causes stress to the animals and can affect weight gain, and reproductive rates. Foot rot and scald may incur additional costs for treatment and increased labor. Some animals can be more resistant or susceptible to these hoof problems.

Foot Rot
Foot rot is a contagious disease of the hooves in goats and sheep. This disease is prevalent in the southern region of the United States. The South's wet and humid climate makes it conducive for foot rot and foot scald. Foot rot is primarily caused by the microorganisms Dichelobacter nodosus and Fusobacterium necrophorum. Dichelobacter nodosus can be found in contaminated soil. Introducing an infected animal into a non-contaminated herd can create herd contamination. Foot rot microorganisms also can be carried to soil on visitors' boots.

The first signs of hoof rot or scald are limping, holding limbs above the ground, grazing on knees, and reluctance to walk. Foot scald is characterized by interdigital inflammation. The skin between the toes is pink to white in color, raw, moist, and very sensitive to the touch. Foot rot can be mild or severe. Upon trimming the hoof, the outer wall of the hoof will be separated from the inner sole. Severe cases of foot rot may be accompanied by the presence of pus and a foul smell. Animals with severe foot rot might have fever, loss of appetite, and deformity of the hoof.

? Cull highly susceptible animals and enhance selective breeding for resistance to foot rot
? Trim hooves regularly; hooves should be trimmed as needed to expose the infected tissue to oxygen
? Maintain clean pens and barns
? Quarantine animals for several weeks after they arrive
? Check animals for foot lesions
? Give animals a footbath upon returning from shows or after purchasing new animals

Consumer Demand and Value-Added Opportunities

supply demand

Dr. Ross Pruitt

It is often easy to see the market forces of supply and demand as one big entity, akin to a single forest. When discussing these factors, demand (or supply) is normally aggregated to simplify the discussion due to demand (supply) encompassing so many aspects. For instance, aggregate domestic beef demand is easier to talk about than each of the different cuts that make up total demand. Domestic beef demand experienced its strongest first quarter this year since the early 1990s with increases in 18 of the past 19 quarters. Given some of the price increases since late 2010 when that streak began, it is quite impressive to realize that these price increases did not result in the expected decline in purchased quantities and, therefore, demand. Closer inspection of the movement of beef products during this time also provides additional insight into how dynamic and vibrant the beef market (or any commodity market) is.

The past few years have illustrated the importance of different sub-markets of the beef industry with ground beef demand flexing its strength when higher end cuts were not experiencing the same level of demand. Improved demand for higher end cuts of late has only helped the situation for the entire beef complex reflecting improved economic outlook and incomes for U.S. consumers. Efforts to introduce and develop new cuts also have improved the demand for certain primals and, thus, the overall carcass.

In addition to the different cuts available, consumers are interested in the manner beef is produced which results in a more dynamic beef market. This adds an additional marketing opportunity for the producer, but does the cost of producing for that marketing opportunity exceed the benefit of doing so? This question includes asking whether the opportunity will continue to be available long enough to justify any investment costs that might be incurred. In other words, how stable are consumer preferences that are creating new marketing opportunities?

Many of the marketing opportunities that may be called niche markets have been available to producers and consumers for many years even if their popularity has increased in the past few years. There is always the possibility that some of these opportunities may turn out to be fads, but new opportunities will arise as markets adjust to meet consumer demands and the realities of supplying desired products. Consumer rejection of lean finely textured beef (LFTB), a production process, has resulted in increased imports and higher prices for slaughter cows and bulls. Processors have re-adopted LFTB in some situations as consumers have changed their minds on whether LFTB is an acceptable production process. Another example is the market premiums available to producers who participated in source and age verification following the closure of Asian markets to U.S. beef after the finding of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003. Source and age verification has become less important following the Asian markets re-opening to cattle less than thirty months of age. Both of these examples illustrate that markets adapt over time.

Recently, several restaurants and food companies have announced they will be eliminating artificial ingredients over the next few years in the products they sell. Livestock producers have little ability to capture that potential value of removing artificial ingredients. However, this move could make all beef more valuable just as in the LFTB example. It certainly illustrates that producers interested in niche marketing opportunities need to be able to answer the questions of where the potential value in an opportunity lies and can they capture it. In the source and age verification example, producers could capture that value by adopting the use of certain types of ear tags, scanners, and retaining cattle until slaughter for a nominal investment compared to some niche markets. Foregoing the use of growth-promoting implants or marketing some of your beef locally are other examples that minimal changes to your operation may result in additional value created for your operation.

Pursuing niche marketing opportunities is not for every producer, as they may require resources or management that are not available. Being able to understand where the potential value is, what the costs are to capture the value including additional recordkeeping practices, and how you are going to inform buyers of the value you added is critical to any value-added marketing decision made. Researching potential opportunities along with developing an enterprise budget also are recommended before making any final decisions.

Reducing Heat Stress in Livestock


Dr. Tim Page

Our Louisiana summer is here, and it is hot. Producers need to think about protecting livestock from heat stress conditions. The combination of hot, humid weather creates real concern for all our livestock and pets.

The livestock heat stress index (LHSI) is a combination of air temperature and humidity. And, the temperature humidity index (THI) also is used in some research articles. These indexes help producers know when heat stress can create a problem for their livestock. Dew point temperatures above 65 degrees F lead officials to declare conditions dangerous for livestock. Periods of heat stress should signal producers to be vigilant in making sure their animals are able to withstand the conditions.

One of the most important things producers can do are to provide cool, clean water and shade, with buildings as open as possible to help keep animals’ internal body temperature within normal limits. Sprinkler systems that periodically spray a cool mist on the animals also are beneficial. To keep cattle from overheating, producers should not work their cattle during periods of heat stress. You do not even want to do routine things like pregnancy checks or vaccinating.

Producers also should avoid transporting livestock during a heat danger period. If they must move animals during this time, producers should try to do so with fewer animals per load and transport at night or early in the morning. Producers need to plan any livestock hauling so they can load animals immediately before leaving, get them in the wind, and quickly unload upon arrival to help minimize heat stress.

Most producers should realize horses are very susceptible to heat stress. Constant attention to providing cool, clean water for horses and scheduling their activities during the cooler part of the day can help reduce heat stress. If you must haul horses during heat dangerous periods, be sure to give them access to water prior to hauling, during hauling, and after hauling.

Animal Industry News Update. Issue includes topics covering current livestock issues.

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