You may have heard that Congress recently "lifted the ban" on horse slaughter. A quick Google search reveals many articles that state this as fact and follow this with the writer's opinion on the subject. This is a very sensitive topic, and many people have an immediate, emotional reaction to the idea of slaughtering horses for meat. Adding to the mix, there are a lot of misconceptions as to what is going on with horse slaughter in the nation. We hope to put to rest some of the misinformation, and leave the emotions and opinions out of it. Here are the facts, we'll leave the opinions up to you.
If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, many of you know that I (Dr. K) spent several days in San Antonio this past week for the annual AAEP convention. The convention is held in a different city each year and equine veterinarians from all over the world attend. The event is designed to introduce new research and veterinary methods to these vets, as well as to allow networking between them.
So what exactly happens at these so-called "conventions"? Primarily, learning. Lectures are given from 8am until 5pm every day. These lectures are on a variety of topics and presented in various ways. While lectures can be dry (come on, all of us went to high school and slept through the occasional class), they are presented in various formats.
Compounded drugs are a bit of a hot topic in veterinary medicine, for various reasons. As veterinarians, we rely on them to treat our patients when no other drug will do. For many years, pergolide (used to treat Cushing's Disease in horses) has been one of these compounded drugs. In a few days, a major drug company will release Prascend®, a new FDA-approved formulation of pergolide. So, what's the difference, and how will it affect you and your horses?
What's that sound coming from the end stall? It sounds like a long wheeze and a cough. No, it's not a goblin that got lost during Halloween. It's something that can be even more frightening - a heavey horse.
Heaves in horses is a respiratory disease that affects the lower airway (the lungs and bronchi). An easy association would be to call it "equine asthma". Heaves typically has an allergic component to it and tends to be seasonal. Since the disease results in chronic inflammation of airway, it can affect the horse year round.
You may have heard it called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO), or Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD). The currently used moniker is RAO. COPD is a human disease and there is not a lot of correlation between heaves and the human syndrome, so that name is no longer used. IAD is similar to heaves, but is lesser in severity, tends to affect young performing horses, and is not recurrent. In the end, the term "heaves" or RAO should be reserved for mature horses with chronic airway obstruction that can be reversed by environmental change or bronchodilation. (Don't worry, we'll get to that later!)