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August 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter Aug 21
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For sure it has been nice and warm in the past days, horses are being exercised early in the morning to beat the heat and lovely sunny afternoons are well ideal to enjoy a few pints at the pub after a long day's work.

This is just the weather we get at home (Italy, where the Euro cup has gone just in case you forgot) throughout the summer. So yes it is quite enjoyable, and don’t complain about the heat if you are going to complain about being cold and wet in the winter.

We are flat out busy, in fact we’ve been flat out since resuming after the 2020 lockdown so we’ve had the best year so far!

One piece of news I’d like to share with you, since me and Emily are so busy with work, we have 2 retrievers who moult more hairs than I’m losing, and the house is, generally speaking, a mess, we bought one of those Roombas hoovers, and I cannot recommend it ENOUGH! Welcome to the 21st century.

Plenty happening in the upcoming months, we’re looking forward to the 21-22 jump season, and 2022 breeding season!

Where can I start… First of all, we are delighted to inform you that we are adding another vet to our team.

Shauna will start in September and will add many services to our practice. Most importantly,she will be in charge of all of the breeding side, so if you are in need of a vet to get your mare pregnant, look no further!

Shauna comes with hypes of experience: Irish born and bred, having done breeding seasons in Australia, Ireland and England, I feel she is exactly the missing piece we were looking for.

My good friend Ram Zveibil, a very good vet working in Israel, once told me what his only criteria when interviewing a vet is: he just looks at how hungry for work they are. We need grafters in this line of business as days are long and the job is tough and finding the right person is often troublesome and time consuming. We are very lucky in that respect: I interviewed Shauna a couple months ago and I was impressed by her knowledge and drive. She has been dealing with stud farms all of her career and has extensive knowledge in laboratory work and foal medicine which we will put right to use.

Also, since we don’t do things half hearted, we are setting up a bacteriology and breeding laboratory as well! This will mainly be used for uterine cultures from mares and bacteria culture from dirty scopes.

In terms of repro medicine, being able to get culture results within 24h would allow a more time efficient breeding schedule and hopefully higher pregnancy rates.

By now you are well aware of our approach, we don’t really analyse scopes too much under the microscope as diagnosis can be made by gross examination: there is actually a surprisingly large amount of research out there confirming that cytology (cell analysis) from trach washes is quite inaccurate (have a look at the consensus statement from the American College or Internal Medicine - link at the bottom of newsletter). HOWEVER, knowing for sure what bacteria is causing disease is rather helpful to select appropriate treatment so we thought we might as well just do it all ourselves.

Expanding on this concept, the only true, accepted way to gather reliable cell analysis from a scope is doing what is called a BAL (Broncho-alveolar lavage): the sample is collected from deep within the lungs, using special catheters with an expanding balloon at the end, which allows to completely “close” a lobe of lung, However in general racehorse practice this is not needed as I explained above, gross examination is often more than indicative of what’s happening. I’ve added a link to this procedure at the bottom, as explained on the Tufts vet school website.

We are also expanding other lab services too as we will be able to offer fecal egg counts in the next few weeks: this honestly has limited use in racing yards however can be quite helpful in a population of resident horses such as broodmares, horses kept at owners premises or horses belonging to a riding school etc.

Horses are back in training now, and most of them should be in tip top form after their summer break. Nevertheless some of them might still be achy from a tough previous campaign.

August and September can be challenging months for trainers as some horses would come in with sequelae of previous injuries, perhaps occurred during last races, so this is in fact the time of the year when we write off some horses for a full season.

We recommend having horses checked at the beginning of season to make sure they are ok to resume training in the best possible condition. They should be fine after the summer off, otherwise any concern might indicate an ongoing issue which is best off being diagnosed and treated sooner rather than later.

Over the years we have developed and adopted a tailored approach to each horse based on relevant history, previous treatments and clinical exams. These types of pre-season checks are done routinely in most of the yards we attend, as I said above, keeping in mind relevant veterinary history for each horse. Horses that historically suffer from stomach ulcers can be scoped when cantering is resumed; scratchy movers should instead be checked before faster exercise is reintroduced.

We are using more and more bone modulators (Tildren) this time of the year as this drug lasts for a whole year ideally and has a long withdrawal time (30 days) so if needed, this is the right time of the year for treatment.

Planning joint and back meds is best done at the beginning of the season, particularly in horses that historically have had joint or back troubles in the past. By doing so, we can optimize the schedule and avoid missing training or racing days due to withdrawal times.

Some of them might even require a radiographic or ultrasound recheck - luckily for you it all can be done at your premises!

There is other veterinary magic we do but we are not gonna spill all our secrets are we? Get in touch if you would like your horses checked, we are here for that.

Also and quite importantly, please if you notice large, interfering sarcoids on your horse’s girth, belly, hindlimbs or armpits, or even around the eyes, please let us know now because NOW is the time to act - we will have big news on this probably in the next newsletter but equally sarcoids should be removed at this time of the year so that treatment will not interfere with training later on.At the moment we are using a combination of “traditional” banding, surgical removal and Liverpool creams (which work phenomenally well) but we are in the process of buying a surgical laser in the next couple of weeks so we will be able to remove them rapidly at your premises!

Having said that each sarcoid has to be treated individually so some of them will still be removed by creams, we are not going to go out just zapping lasers left right and centre. Who do you think we are? Dr. Evil?

Finally, have a look at our new website - click on the link below and maybe give us a like on facebook or instagram if you like the way it looks? We are trying to keep the website up to date with newsletters and educational pieces - these in particular will be there at all times, after publishing, available for download, share and print.

Hopefully vaccines, green passes and general common sense as social distancing + facemasks are doing their job so we can go back to our normal lives just as if this was 2019.

Best wishes, Paolo

ACVIM Consensus on lower airway disease

Broncho-alveolar lavage:


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