Tuesday I just went for a couple of casual rides out on both my horses which Occy enjoyed. But Jarrah encountered a sound of music moment. Doh, a deer a female deer. The thing was about the size of a horse. Jarrah doesn’t do big dark brown shapes crashing through the undergrowth very well.
Showjumping lesson tonight with Will.
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When bacteria and fungus creep into the living layers in the horse’s foot, they can cause extensive damage known as white line disease. This is something that is more relevant this year in the damp warm conditions we have been experiencing.
The many layers of the hoof make it a living, growing, highly functional, powerful structure capable of supporting the weight of the entire horse. Unfortunately, this construction also puts the horse at risk of hoof infections within the layers. Without treatment, white line disease can continue to travel up through the layer, sometimes causing lameness, and it will eventually reach (but not involve) the coronary band. Read More
Highlights from the 2011 Horse Trials
Disease in horses due to insect borne viruses
The wet spring and summer have resulted in an increased risk of insect borne viral infections. Viruses that are transmitted by insect vectors are broadly called arboviruses.
Since February 2011 there have been an increased number of reports of horses in NSW, South Australia and Victoria displaying two distinct disease syndromes:
• muscle and joint soreness
• nervous signs.
Although no increased incidence of muscle/joint soreness or nervous signs in horses has been reported in Queensland, a small number of possible cases are being investigated. There are indications that cooler weather in some in-land areas of South East Australia has led to a reduction in mosquito numbers and a consequent reduction in the number of new cases being reported in horses from early April 2011.
The horse is usually a ‘dead-end’ host for mosquito-borne arbovirus infections and is not considered a likely source of new infection for people or other horses.
What to look for
The most common clinical signs in horses include, but are not limited to:
• a reluctance to walk
• a stiff gait
• ataxia (uncoordinated)
Different symptoms from different viruses
How Arboviruses are involved
Laboratory testing of samples from horses showing muscle and joint soreness indicates that most infections are probably due to Ross River virus, an Alphavirus (arbovirus sub-group).
Laboratory testing of samples from horses with unusual nervous signs suggests that a majority of cases are due to infection with one of several Australian strains of mosquito-borne Flaviviruses that include viruses such as Murray Valley encephalitis virus and Kunjin virus. All testing to date has ruled out Japanese encephalitis and Hendra viruses.
It is likely that many horses may be infected with arboviruses but only a small proportion of infected horses will become ill. This means that a positive blood test must be carefully interpreted. Repeat testing will be needed to show that antibody levels are rising.
Soreness signs are associated with Alphavirus infections
Reports of horses showing muscle and joint soreness have mainly originated from northern and central Victoria and South Australia. Signs are predominantly reluctance to walk, stiff gait and ataxia (uncoordinated). Affected horses usually recover with good husbandry and veterinary care.
Nervous signs are associated with Flavivirus infections
Reports of horses with nervous signs have originated from:
• widespread areas in Victoria
• locations across South Australia from the Riverland, down the length of the Murray and areas both north and south of Adelaide from Port Pirie to the South East
• various locations in NSW, including west of the Great Divide, from Mungindi in the north to the Murray River, and a significant cluster in the Hawkesbury Valley west of Sydney and also the Upper Hunter Valley.
Early signs of infection may include depression or mild colic. These initial signs are followed by nervous signs including lack of coordination, high stepping in front limbs, weakness in the hind quarters, muscle twitching and increased responsiveness to touch and sound. In some cases there has been facial paralysis or twitching, especially of the lips. Severely affected horses may fall repeatedly and in rare cases develop convulsions. Most horses with clinical signs recover over several weeks with good husbandry and veterinary care, however, up to 12% of horses in some areas showing nervous signs have either died or had to be euthanased for animal welfare reasons.
Animal health officers in each state are assisting with these investigations.
Prevention in Horses
Horse owners should try to prevent their animals from being bitten by insects through measures including rugging, fly masks and using registered insect repellents. Even though mosquito numbers have decreased in some areas due to cooler weather, horse owners are urged not to become complacent. Ensuring that horses are kept in good condition will help build a strong immune system and minimise the risk of infection with arboviruses.
Human health departments in most states and territories are advising the public to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes to minimise the risk of infection with these viruses. In 2011 up to 13 April, there have been four confirmed human cases of Murray Valley encephalitis across NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory and no confirmed cases of human disease due to Kunjin virus. Check your state or territory’s human health department website for more information.
Owners who notice horses displaying unusual signs should contact their private veterinarian immediately.
Situation updates and more local information is available on each state’s Primary Industries or Biosecurity department website:
• South Australia:
Information for Vets
Sample collection and laboratory submissions
Veterinarians who would like further advice on submissions of samples should contact officers in their Primary Industries or Biosecurity department:
• Biosecurity Queensland 13 25 23
• Biosecurity SA 8226 0222
• NSW State Diagnostic Laboratory 02 4640 6327
• Victorian Department of Primary Industries 136 186
Samples are being tested at state animal health laboratories and the Australian Animal Health Laboratory at Geelong.
It is important that veterinarians and any assistants take stringent precautions when performing necropsies on horses showing neurological clinical signs. Great care should be exercised when handling brain and spinal cord tissue and appropriate personal protective equipment should be utilised as part of a risk management approach to personal safety.
This fact sheet was compiled by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in conjunction with state departments of primary industries in the states listed above and the Australian Animal Health Laboratory.
Issued 15 April 2011
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As Australia is “girt by sea” mabe somebody here should try this
Early start to get to Bulla as the EastLink road tunnel was closed for a fun run. I’d rather do my running on a horse J .
Got to Bulla about 8.20 with enough time to get ready for my 9.16 dressage test without rushing. Occy was working reasonably nicely, but I felt he could have been a touch more forward and supple. His lengthening trots could have been a smidge better and it felt to me his last halt wasn’t quite square. I think my work with Megan Jones during the week paid of a bit as the test was marked with 8s and 7s putting me second after dressage.
That gave me a couple of hours before the mad rush of showjumping followed half an hour later by Cross-country to walk the courses. Di and Bron had made the journey to provide moral and other support to myself and Heather, who was doing her first horse trials in years, plus. her horse had never done a horse trials. The XC course looked the same as last year with some interesting turning lines. And the grass was green and thick underfoot with a couple of boggy patches. Unheard of in Bulla.
Showjumping went well, even though we gave the third jump a good knock, but the rail stayed where it was supposed to. Apparently the round looked nice and forward and was clear.
A change of boots and putting on of back protector and numbers for the XC just outside of the SJ ring, another quick gear check and a real quick warm up for the XC was next. I almost missed the start as I did not hear my number being called. Had a slight stick moment at jump 4 the sharks teeth. But as Occy had a stop at this last year I was prepared and encouraged him from about 6 strides out. We had no problems with the 2 triple combinations and motored on nicely up to the far corner of the course, taking short lines where possible. Time was still looking good coming out of the water and I backed of the pace before we crossed the finish 7 seconds under. The helpers were there to help, which was appreciated.
When the Showjumping scores went up I knew I was in with a good chance as the person coming first had 10 penalties in the showjumping, putting me in first place baring any problems with the cross-country. Which of course was no problem, so we won our first rug for Level 2 Horse Trials J . Plus I won a set of soft touch spurs courtesy of Southern Stars Saddlery www.southernstarssaddlery.com in the raffle. That just left me with the long drive back home and the unpacking.
And Occy got carrots.
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