Equine And Large Animal
Hendra Virus Policy:
* HERVEY BAY IS A HENDRA POSITIVE AREA * Policy on horses and Hendra Virus vaccination Hendra virus (HeV) is a fatal disease in horses and in humans. Mortality (death) rate in horses known to have contracted Hendra virus is 100%. The mortality rate in humans is 60%. Veterinarians and their staff are the most at risk of contracting Hendra virus and they account for all but one of the human cases. Hervey Bay Veterinary Surgery has an obligation to its clients and staff to protect and advise them on the best way of preventing disease in horses and people. Worksafe Queensland, Queensland Health and Biosecurity Queensland have developed extensive guidelines for all parties involved with the handling horses and potential HeV cases. The information is freely available on their web sites. There is a large range of clinical signs possible in horses that have contracted HeV. Horses with HeV have been variously diagnosed with colic, snake-bite, “choke”, or have been vaguely unwell. Infected horses have had a normal, high or low temperature. In other words any horse that is acutely unwell, that may have an elevated temperature or heart rate, colic, neurological signs, respiratory secretions or disease, inappetence, or any debilitating condition could be a Hendra virus case. In recent cases there has been no known activity of flying foxes. There are many important consequences related to HeV that need to be considered by all people involved in handling horses:
- There is a known and serious risk of injury or deathbecause of this virus. Although infection is not common, the consequences are very serious including death of horses and people. HeV is categorised as a “BSL-4” virus (Bio-safety Level 4 - the same as Ebola Virus)
- Any horse that is unwell must also be considered at risk of having HeV. Therefore an unvaccinated horse cannot be admitted to hospital, or have invasive diagnostic procedures or treatments performed until a negative exclusion test has been received. It is not possible to diagnose nor rule out HeV on a sick horse without an exclusion test from Biosecurity Queensland. This requires sending samples to Brisbane with results taking between two and up to five days if over a weekend. This time delay dangerously limits treatment options for seriously unwell horses and exposes people and other horses to significant risks. The ‘Hendra Interagency Technical Working Group’ has deemed that ‘if HeV cannot be ruled out as a diagnosis, risk controls should be implemented before anyone contacts a sick horse, not after initial examination.’
Vaccination is the best way of preventing Hendra virus infection in horses and people. HeV vaccination is considered to be safe and effective. Over 250, 000 doses have now been administered and the rate of complications is very low (0.28%). The most common complication is a swelling at the injection site, or a raised temperature or malaise (off food) for 24 hours. There have been no reported repercussions in breeding horses. We STRONGLY recommend that vaccination be carried out on all unvaccinated horses for the safety of the horse, the client and their families, and our staff. From the 1st September 2015 Hervey Bay Veterinary Surgery will be adhering to the following guidelines in relation to sick horses that are NOT vaccinated for HeV:
- Sick, unvaccinated equids (horses & donkeys) will not be seen by Hervey Bay Veterinary Surgery. This will include foals < 4 months old from unvaccinated mothers.
- High risk procedures such as those using an endoscope and dental equipment will only be carried out on clinically well horses that are vaccinated.
- We will not attend any Horse events unless they are a compulsory HeV vaccination event.
- Any unvaccinated horses that are down and require immediate veterinary attention will only be attended to when the welfare of the animal is severely compromised. These animals will most likely need to be euthanased. An exclusion test will be performed and the attending veterinarian will be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment which entails additional cost.
Information for horse owners: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/livestock/horses/hendra-virus Hendra Virus Infection in Humans http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/363/Hendra-Virus-Infection
Vaccination For Horses
Oral Health for Your Horse
Worming Your Horse
Common signs of dental disease:
Rearing or bucking
Resistance to turning in one direction
Tips for checking if your horse needs its teeth floated
- With the horse’s mouth closed, lift the lips and examine its bite
- Line up the gap between the first pair of top teeth with the gap between the first pair of bottom teeth
- Holding the top jaw still, slide the lower jaw as far to the left as the horse will allow, without having the opposing teeth separate from each other
- Now slide the lower jaw as far to the right as the horse will allow, without having the opposing teeth separate from each other
- The gap between the first pair of teeth on the lower jaw, should be able to move the distance of one tooth away from its starting point
- If you cannot slide the jaw a distance of one tooth left and right (whilst the teeth are still touching each other), then your horse most probably has sharp enamel points and needs a dental with the Powerfloat
Vitamins and Minerals
Energy and Proteins
VACCINATIONS FOR CATTLE
There are a number of vaccines for cattle on the market. You will need to develop a vaccine plan that incorporates what you need for your herd. There are three types of vaccine, which are used differently. Live vaccines give long immunity with one dose, while inactivated vaccines need a booster dose to maintain immunity. Anti-toxins give immediate short-term immunity. Commonly used vaccines for cattle
WORMING YOUR CATTLE
Research has shown that de-worming the herd prior to, or shortly after turn out, can increase weaning weights. Consult your veterinarian for the best vaccination and de-worming protocol for your herd.
Cattle are commonly infected with Roundworms. Peak risk periods for worm infection occur during the warm and wet conditions from spring through to autumn, which provide the right environment for larvae to survive in the pasture and infect stock. The life-cycle of most worm species slows over the cooler, drier winter period, but rainfall at any time can boost worm numbers.
Roundworm species include:
• Small intestinal worm (Cooperia spp)
• Barber’s Pole Worm (Haemonchus placei)
• Small brown stomach worm (Ostertagia ostertagia)
Pyrolizidine alkaloids, found in blue heliotrops, are a common plant toxin found in the Warwick area and cattle may be forced to feed on these toxic plants in drought condition. They exert their toxic effect in cells of the liver (lung and kidney) by inhibiting cell division. Large nonfunctioning cells develop in the liver (megalocytes) which can then inhibit the organs ability to function properly.
Mild diarrhea, abdominal straining followed by anorexia, depression, weakness and ataxia can develop after eating plants containing this compound. Jaundice and bottle jaw may develop at the end stages of this disease with mortalities likely to develop after a few weeks of exposure.
There is no known effective cure for this disease and generally the condition of the cattle continually deteriorates. Preventing access to known poisonous plants (Crotalaria spp.) is encouraged.
Nitrates in the diet of livestock (oats, corn, sorghum, barley, wheat) can be converted in the rumen to nitrite and then ammonia. Nitrite can rapidly oxidize oxyhaemoglobin (carries oxygen in the blood stream) to methaemoglobin (unable transport oxygen), and when the levels reach above 20% in the bloodstream, tissue anoxia results leading to cell death and clinical signs.
Cattle will become short of breath, they develop a dull colour in their mucous membranes and their blood will appear quite brown (chocolate coloured). They may have muscle tremors, weakness and lie down. At high methaemoglobin levels (80%) cattle usually die.
Treatment if given early can be successful. The methaemoglobin can be reversed with methylene blue given into the vein of affected cattle. A long with holding period on the milk and meat usually is required following treatment.
Prussic acid or cyanide poisoning (HCN) can develop in cattle when feeding grain sorghum. Seen mainly during summer, HCN can be released in the rumen from the plant to inhibit the cellular processes which allow tissues to use oxygen properly. Tissues are starved of oxygen and die.
Acute cyanide poisoning is characterised by rapid, deep breathing, irregular weak heart rate, salivation, muscle spasms and death. The clinical signs seen early usually include the appearance of bright red coloured blood due to the high levels of oxyhaemoglobin in the circulation. The amount of cyanide found in plants can vary if the improved pasture is stressed with inclement weather.
Treatment if given early can be successful. Therapy usually requires the use of sodium nitrite to convert blood to methaemoglobin which acts as a sink for the cyanide. Cyanomethaemoglobin can then be broken down by simultaneously treating the animal with sodium thiosulphate (Hypo) orally.
Botulism is a disease caused by the botulinum toxin. It is commonly seen in the phosphorus deficient areas of northern Australia; however, reports of botulism have become more frequent in parts of Queensland. Most of these outbreaks have been in intensively fed beef and dairy cattle.
Botulinum toxin is often reported as being one of the most potent toxins known to mankind, as only a small quantity is required to produce disease. The toxin binds strongly to nerve endings, preventing nerve impulses proceeding to muscles. This leads to the type of paralysis typically seen with botulism where animals go floppy or flaccid because they cannot move their muscles.
Botulism symptoms include:
• Sudden deaths (animals collapse and die in a couple of hours)
• A slowly progressive paralysis where animals may take days to die
• A wobbly gait (staggers)
• Aggressive behaviour
• Difficulty breathing
• Tongue paralysis
Toxins in the water
Cattle can tolerate poor water quality better than humans, but if concentrations of specific compounds found in water are high enough, cattle can be affected. Most factors affecting water quality are not fatal to cattle.
Cattle may not show clinical signs of illness, but growth, lactation and reproduction may be affected, causing an economic loss to the producer.
Most common water quality problems associated with surface water are:
• Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria)
• Bacteria, viruses and parasites
• Dissolved solids (TDS)
Toxins in feed
The usual sources of toxin in intensively fed cattle are feedstuffs contaminated with rotting animal or vegetable material.
Sources of rotting material in stored feed have included:
• Dead snakes and possums in grain augers.
• Snakes and other animals in hay and silage.
• Mice when mouse plagues result in large numbers of mice dying in stored feedstuffs and in grain augers, especially at the end of a plague.
• Water may also be a source of toxin if animals that die in dams, tanks or troughs are left to decompose.