Category Archives: Medical

CONTINUTING THE HAY CONVERSATION and WHAT I HAVE FOUND TO FEED MY HORSES WHO CANNOT EAT HAY… (may be an option for some of you)






Wow!  Yesterday’s topic of ‘the price of hay where you live’ really lit up the switchboard.

Clearly, the price of hay is a hot topic for those of us on the West Coast and Florida.  I found out that California, Oregon, Washington and Western Canada growers all ship to Japan and/or grow subsidized corn.  Many in Nevada as well – and Utah.

Ugh.

THE MOST POPULAR SUGGESTION

The most popular suggestion I heard all day was to get together with some girlfriends, rent a flatbed and drive to another state to pick up hay.

So, Hubby and I did some basic research into neighboring states.  My neighboring states would be Nevada (already pretty high in price), Oregon (same situation as Northern CA), Utah or New Mexico.

Both Utah and New Mexico have hay but it is in small squares or rolls.  We priced a trip to Utah.  One night in a hotel, basic food and fuel plus the rental of the flatbed.  After it was all worked out, we figured we might save $1 a bale.  Of course, if we were actually in Utah, we might find better deals on hay, but from what we found on the Internet, even thought the trip might be fun –  it wasn’t much of a savings.

Yikes!

This could be me!  I have a Dodge dually and I would happily rent a flatbed and drive to another state - however, it probably wouldn't save much due to the price of fuel...

This could be me! I have a Dodge dually and I would happily rent a flatbed and drive to another state – however, it probably wouldn’t save much due to the price of fuel…

AND THEN I THOUGHT ABOUT THE PONIES…THEY DON’T EVEN EAT HAY…

HMMMMMM.  Maybe there is a way to replace the hay?…

I then thought about my two ponies who hardly eat hay because one of them has no teeth.  While doing research, I did find many compressed and chopped hay options in the feed stores.  I ended up with this combination that seems to work really well.

I feed one Shetland per month:

Beet Pulp $15, Timothy Hay Pellets $16, Renew Gold 1/2 bag per month $13, Equion $6, Chia $10, Psyllium $12 = $72/mo.

If I fed them hay, they’d get 3 bales a month which would be $75/mo (plus I’d still give them the Psyllium, Chia and Equion).

So, the beet pulp, timothy hay pellets and Renew Gold plus the other is actually less expensive than hay!

This is what I feed my toothless Shetlands. ( I always add water. ) They look great!  Fat and happy.

This is what I feed my toothless Shetlands. ( I always add water. ) They look great! Fat and happy.

These are my bags of timothy pellets and Renew Gold.

These are my bags of timothy pellets and Renew Gold.

SO WHAT ABOUT A REGULAR SIZED HORSE?  Well… Tess LOVES HER COOLSTANCE! and SHE LOOKS GREAT!   (No affiliation – I wish!)

Mama Tess  has to be fed only low starch, low sugar feed – which is hard to find.  I soak her hay and she’s really tired of it.  She was thin and the Founder Warrior commented.  She asked if I could ‘up her hay’.  I told the FW that Tess had free choice hay but she rarely finished what I put out there.

Hmmmmm.

Since the ponies loved Renew Gold, I did some research and found  CoolStance. I wrote about testing CoolStance a while back (linked here – it has all the info on CoolStance).

Anyway, I decided to start MT on Coolstance in addition to what I had been feeding her.

CoolStance made a huge difference!

MT has filled out exactly enough.  The Founder Warrior thinks she looks fabulous, has great dappling, and her topline is perfect.  I can pour it on anything and MT will gobble it up!  I’ve given her meds in soaked CoolStance and she eats it all!

Myy moderately thin horses have all tested the CoolStance…  All of them love it!  I just don’t understand why some people say it isn’t palatable.   Gosh, mine lick their bowls.  But you have to add a lot of water – make it mushy.

The tough part is finding CoolStance.  It comes from Australia and not that many feed stores carry it.  But, if you can get it, a little bit goes a long way(Here is the store locator page)

*IMPORTANT NOTE:  I found that when I first started feeding Tess the CoolStance, her manure was too dry.  So, I made sure to mix the CoolStance with double the water.  And, I give her psyllium.  I think the psyllium is a good idea for any stalled (low mobility) horse…

This is my CoolStance...

This is my CoolStance…

Screen-Shot-2014-03-06-at-1.17.32-PM

And this is the product photo.

PRICE COMPARISON BETWEEN MY HORSES WHO EAT HAY AND TESS WHO EATS COOLSTANCE AND BEET PULP

This is the feed bill breakdown for Tess per month:

CoolStance, 3/4 bag = $30, 2 bags Beet Pulp = $30, Mixed Grass Pellets 1 bag $15, Chia Seed $20, Enzion Hoof Supplement $20, Psyllium powder $15, Hay (she only eats about 2 bales a month) $50.

Total feed bill per month for Tess:  $180

One other of my regular sized horses eats per month:

1 bag Beet Pulp $15, 2 bags timothy pellets $34, Chia Seed $20, Equion $22, Psyllium powder $15, Grass Hay (5 bales a month) $125

Total feed bill for my other regular sized horse per month:  $231

So, I am actually spending less to feed Tess and she looks great!  I think the CoolStance is a fine product if you can find it…  AGAIN, I have no affiliation but wish I did.

This is Tess tonight, eating her assemblage of mushy food.  She loves the CoolStance.  I can put it on anything (YOU MUST ADD LOTS OF WATER) and she gobbles it up.  so does Scouty.  You can see her in the background, eating what Tess spilled on her Theraplate.

This is Tess tonight, eating her assemblage of mushy food. She loves the CoolStance. I can put it on anything (YOU MUST ADD LOTS OF WATER) and she gobbles it up. So does Scouty. You can see her in the background, eating what Tess spilled on her Theraplate.  Anyway, Tess looks like a very healthy and filled-out 24 year old mare!

MY BIG IDEA…

As I was fuming about the price of hay and the fact that there is no competition, I had an idea…  What if there was a non-profit that grew hay to supplement their community horses?

What do you think?

 

 

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PYTHIOSIS INSIDIOSUM… Swamp Cancer. Have you heard of it? Here are 2 success stories and a new treatment… Please tell us your experience!


Monday, May 5th, 2014 | Filed under Medical




I live in California were we don’t have too many swamps.  So, I had  never heard of Pythiosis Insidiosum.  (You readers in Texas and Florida probably know all about this…)

While researching leeches, I came across an article on this nasty fungus and was aghast!

This is the nasty little bugger.

This is the nasty little bugger.

Swamp Fever (as they informally call Pythiosis Insidiosum) is horribly invasive and often fatal.

But, according to a few stories I’ve read, it doesn’t have to be fatal if recognized and treated quickly.

So, I wanted to bring this to the attention of Horse & Man readers, in case you ever have the misfortune of seeing this type of infection on a horse (it also is common in dogs).

This is the least offensive photo I could find.  The fungus is truly nasty.

This is the least offensive photo I could find. The fungus is truly nasty.

WHAT IS PYTHIOSIS INSIDIOSUM?

I cut and pasted a nice article from the PAN AMERICAN VET LABS website.  You can read the article here.

Equine pythiosis is characterized by the development of cutaneous, subcutaneous, lymphatic and intestinal lesions and less frequently by the involvement of bones and lungs (chronic pythiosis). Lesions caused by P. insidiosum can occur on any part of the horse’s body. Lesions of the lower limbs are more common due to more frequent contact with the organism in infested environments (stagnant water, grasses). The lesions often occur singly, but cases with multiple granulomatous lesions have been encountered. There are no reports of animal to animal, or animal to human transmission of this pathogen. If the disease is not treated in the early stages it is fatal in >95% of cases. In most cases treatment with antifungal drugs is not helpful.

horseshoulderLesions on the limbs are characterized by the formation of tumor like masses with fistulas and a serosanguineous discharge. Lesions on the thorax, abdomen, and shoulders, tend to be circular, 5 to 500 mm in diameter. Ulceration and pruritus (itching) is commonly associated with large lesions. The formation of small hard coral-like masses termed “kunkers” is an interesting characteristic of the disease in equines. These stony masses contain the viable hyphae of P. insidiosum surrounded by cell detritus from degranulated eosinophils. Metastasis (spread) from distant lesions, through lymphatic vessels to regional lymph nodes, lungs, or bones have been reported. Like dog pythiosis, intestinal equine pythiosis is more likely to be acquired by direct inoculation of the organism through ingestion, than spread from distant lesions.

horse neck legHistopathologically, in early equine pythiosis, abundant micro abscesses with eosinophils, a few neutrophils, lymphocytes, and macrophages are present. In chronic cases, an eosinophilic granuloma with giant cells is observed. In the center of the micro abscesses, stony masses (kunkers) are often present. With Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS) and Silver stains P. insidiosum appears as sparsely septate hyphae 6 to 10 mm in diameter.

TREATMENT: SURGERY. The most common treatment of equine pythiosis has been the surgical removal of the lesions. This method is very popular and frequently used by veterinary practitioners. A common short-coming of surgical treatment is its high rate of recurrence. This is due to the incomplete removal of the P. insidiosum from the affected tissues. Additionally, surgical recession of lesions of the limbs is very difficult to accomplish without permanent damage to the surrounding tissues.

CHEMOTHERAPY: Two main groups of Antimycotic drugs have been used to treat pythiosis: Iodine and amphotericin B. Both drugs, however, have given contradictory results. For instance, some practitioners reported that iodine can cure the disease after intravenous injections while others reported failures with the same procedures. In theory, amphotericin B should not work on P. insidiosum due the fact that this pathogen does not have ergosterol (target of the drug) in its cytoplasmic membrane. Nevertheless, the drug has been used with some success in equine pythiosis. The use of drugs in treating pythiosis has been limited because of cost, poor success rate, and high toxicity.

IMMUNOTHERAPY: In the early 1980?s an immunotherapeutic therapeutic product for treatment of P. insidiosum infections in equines was developed in Costa Rica. This early immunotherapeutic product cured 100% of the acute cases (infection 60 days). It was found that horses with chronic infections often become immunodepressed due to the loss of large quantities of proteins, electrolytes and water through the open wounds. Thus, the immunotherapeutic product works better in equine with intact immune system (early pythiosis). A new formulation of this therapeutic vaccine has been introduced by Michigan State University and Pan American Veterinary Laboratories. This new formulation cured 50% of the chronic cases that the original immunotherapeutic product failed to cure. The overall (acute plus chronic) rate of cure of this new immunotherapeutic product was 75%.

 WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? – steel yourselves.

Swamp Fever looks like angry, infected proud flesh.

Basically, if you see any kind of infection that isn’t responding to the regular treatments… quickly have your vet perform the inexpensive ELISA test for Pythiosis Insidiosum.  The sooner you either rule it out or find out… the better.

Chronic cases have been cured, although with less success.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 6.36.46 PM

A typical case of the nasty ‘Swamp Cancer’.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 6.36.28 PM

Heels are in the water, for sure.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 6.36.08 PM

Legs are prime for swimming spores.

It usually happens in the foot and leg area - where the horse has met swamp water... but it can happen on the neck, nose and belly as well.

It usually happens in the foot and leg area – where the horse has met swamp water… but it can happen on the neck, nose and belly as well.

A SUCCESS STORY USING Pythium Immunotherapeutic Product (PIP)

Here is a story off where the distressed owner used PIP.  You can read about the drug PIP and this story on the original website, here.

Puzzle Barton

Puzzle Barton, a seven-month-old Appaloosa filly was brought to my farm, Sugarflats, in November 2004 as a medical lay-up. She had been diagnosed with Pythiosis. The common names for this infection are Florida Swamp Leeches, Swamp Cancer or Phycomycosis. The first veterinarian called to look at her thought she had stepped on something and prescribed antibiotics. A week later, Puzzle was worse, the bulb of her heel was swollen and sore. Puzzle belonged to my mom and dad, they had just lost their home during the hurricanes and they were determined to do everything that could be done to save her. Another vet, Dr. Sally Collins, was called in who immediately recognized Pythiosis and arranged for Puzzle to go the University Of Florida Veterinary School. There Dr. Nicolas Ernst, the Infectious Disease Specialist, decided surgery was not a good option due to her young age and very small legs. He was afraid a tendon or ligament could be severed while trying to cut out the organisms. We had no choice to bring Puzzle home with no real hope to save her.

The infecting organism Pythium insidiosum normally lives in plants such as grasses and weeds, but sends out a thousands of swimming “spores” when the host plant is covered with water. Many cases of Pythiosis are seen each year in Florida and the surge of cases seen in 2004 was surely tied to all the hurricane activity we had last year. In untreated cases this disease spreads rapidly and kills over 90% of all infected animals.
I called my uncle, Dr. Max Ray, DVM, knowing he would know what to do. A 30 year + veterinarian, he believes strongly in doing everything possible to preserve life and during his career had treated horses for “leeches”.
We immediately started supportive treatments to maintain her leg and at least make the environment within the leg inhospitable to the Pythiosis organism using treatments Dr. Ray had often used in his equine practice years ago. Most commonly the treatment for Pythiosis is surgery, cutting out as much of the damaged tissue and Pythium as possible. Another treatment is a potassium iodide IV drip which works in some cases but unfortunately most often it doesn’t. The invading Pythium grows rapidly resulting in huge rotting lesions making euthanasia the end result most frequently.

I sprayed the infected area (the whole bulb of her foot and the sole of her hoof) with Physofix, 3 times daily and then on the second day, wrapped and soaked her whole lower leg and hoof in ammonium alum. A week passed and then another, she was still up and moving around. The vet at the University had thought we would be putting her down in a matter of days as the organism destroyed her tendons and bone in the affected leg.

By now, I will admit, caring for her leg was not for the faint of heart or the undetermined.

Upon talking again with Dr. Ernst in Gainesville he mentioned an experimental immuno therapy for Pythiosis. I immediately called Bob Glass, Pan American Veterinary Laboratories in Hutto, Texas to see how to secure that product for use in Puzzle.

Mr. Glass immediately reassured me that I would receive the Pythium Immunotherapeutic Product (PIP) upon submitting to him a sample of Puzzle’s blood and clearing the use of the PIP with the State of Florida’s Agricultural Dept. Trust me, it was easier to pull the blood sample than get the approval. Unfortunately, it was Thanksgiving week when all this transpired and I couldn’t get anyone at the state to respond to me. Finally, the Wednesday before the holiday, I called every administrative assistant in the State Agricultural Dept. and explained, very emotionally, why it was so important for a quick response from the State Vet. It worked, by that afternoon the typed and signed release required by the lab was faxed to Mr. Glass. He shipped Puzzle’s PIP the Friday after Thanksgiving and I received it on November 30th. By now, Puzzle was rapidly approaching the stage where it was uncertain whether the vaccine would help her or not.

PIP had been proven to be 90% effective on horses diagnosed and started on within 30 days of infection, but only 75% effective in for horses started on it in the 45 day to 60-day range, which is about where Puzzle was on December first, the day of her first treatment. We were also giving her ½ cc of immunregulin, every third day, to boost her immune system. Mr. Glass had explained to me, that the horses that didn’t respond well to PIP usually had seriously compromised immune systems from trying to fight off the organism for an extended period of time.

Pythium Immunotherapeutic Product is a purified extract of the Pythium organism developed during 20 years of research. This therapy actually stimulates the animal’s own immune system to fight the infection.

Puzzle was still in good body condition but seriously sore on her left hind. She had been walking on her toe since arriving at the farm. Her lower leg from the hock down was 3 times larger than normal, raw, and I was keeping a heavy cotton bandage on her for support and protection. What a mess! By now I was alternating the alum soaks with Pet Milk soaks to soothe the damaged tissue. The Physofix really had no affect on the Pythiosis organism, so we stopped it. The infection had moved up to her haunch and we saw signs of it starting to break through her skin on her inner thigh.

Anxiously, I waited for the day I could give the 2nd PIP injection, all the while watching for some sign that the PIP was working. In the 14 days after the first PIP treatment there were no new breakouts and it appeared the lesions on her lower leg and around her hoof were shrinking. By now, the organism had almost completely taken over her lower leg, the coronary band appeared to be compromised and it was eating through her hoof wall.

I was cautiously optimistic, and then on December 14, she shed her frog and the whole sole of her hoof. I started to clean the area and pack the hoof with cotton for support when I noticed how clean and pink the tissue inside the hoof wall was. No sign of the organism or the decaying smell I now associated with it. A small victory!

With a few more days until her final shot on December 21st, we had a huge set back. Over the last week, Puzzle’s appetite had waned and now she spiked a fever. The worst possible had happened, the Pythium infection was clearing but a bacteria had infected the damaged tissue in her haunch, her leg swelled overnight to the size of a small elephant’s. Dr. Ray was out of town, so I started hosing Puzzle down to bring down the fever. I gave her banamine to help with the inflammation and waited for his call. Dr. Ray came out and decided we needed to start her on Cipro and Tetracycline to combat the infection in her leg.

A couple of days passed and the swelling in her leg was subsiding, her appetite was back and I was leaving her leg unwrapped. The leg was doing better, the raw and damaged areas were starting to close up and heal over. The 21st of December had arrived and I gave her the 3rd and final vaccination. The next few days passed uneventfully, her leg was still rather large, but not hot and fevered. Dr. Ray said she might go through life with a “Milk Leg”, the term for an overly large leg, caused by the lymph node being damaged and unable to function properly. That seemed like a small price to pay for her being alive.

On Christmas day I left Puzzle in her stall for the morning while I went to my sister’s house for lunch., When I returned I immediately went to the barn to turn Puzzle out for a little grass. I opened her stall and she walked out FLAT- FOOTED!! For the first time in over 60 days, she wasn’t walking on her toe At that moment I knew we had won.

The next few months passed rapidly, she shed most of her hoof and a new one is growing back in from the coronary band. Completely growing back in, not deformed as we first had feared.

She is walking, running and playing like any normal yearling. Her leg is almost back to normal size and we expect that within a year the only visible sign of what she went through will be the scar left were her lymph node burst open and drained. Upon the advice of Dr. Ray and Mr Glass, we decided to give her another series of PIP, since she was so young, perhaps the youngest horse to receive this treatment and survive. Puzzle will also receive the PIP once a year for life as recent research indicates that it may prevent infection for at least 1 year.

This story is about miracles, Puzzle is a miracle; she is one tough baby, a credit to her breed. We all need to remember that horses have miraculous powers of healing as long as we, their humans, don’t give up.

The great news is that Pan American Veterianry Laboratories has received a USDA liscense to manufacture and sell Pythium Immunotherapeutic Product to veterinarians in the USA. Now this treatment is available for any horse or dog that contracts this deadly disease.
About Us

Pan American Veterinary Laboratories is located in Hutto, Texas. Our facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and a professional staff experienced in ELISA technology.
Contact Us

166 Brushy Creek Trail
Hutto , TX 78634
Phone: 800.856.9655
E-Mail: info@pavlab.com

A SUCCESS STORY USING “FUNGUS FREE PLUS”

I know nothing about this product… just that it is advertised as a cure for Swamp Cancer.  There was an impressive success story so I’m passing it onward.

You can read about Fungus Free Plus and the success story here.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 8.24.48 PM

Treatment of Pythium Insidiosum on Horse Belly

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 7.25.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 7.25.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 7.25.54 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 7.26.03 PM

 PLEASE PASS THIS ONWARD!  Especially to those in swamp states!

 

OUR MAY BUCKET FUND - THIS IS TOTALLY FIXABLE!  She only needs surgery - one that Texas A&M has performed many times before. To learn more, click image!

OUR MAY BUCKET FUND – THIS IS TOTALLY FIXABLE! She only needs surgery – one that Texas A&M has performed many times before. To learn more, click image!


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