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Summary

Disseminated Actinomycetales infections were diagnosed in 6 slender-horned gazelles at a zoologic park over a 17-month period. Nocardia and Mycobacterium spp were isolated. Possible predisposing causes leading to infection were investigated. Environmental contamination where the gazelles were housed was not high, and other breeds of gazelles at the park did not become infected, indicating that environmental exposure was not the sole factor involved. Information gathered from questionnaires sent to other zoologic parks and personnel communications indicated that this was not an isolated incident. Investigation into the genetic lineage of the gazelles revealed substantial inbreeding in prior generations. These findings suggested inbreeding may have been an important predisposing factor leading to infection. Careful scrutiny to ensure maximal heterozygosity of future breedings is warranted.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine major causes of death and the anatomic location of musculoskeletal injuries in Quarter Horse racehorses in California.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—314 Quarter Horse racehorses with musculoskeletal injuries that were necropsied through the California Horse Racing Board Postmortem Program from 1990 to 2007.

Procedures—Postmortem pathology reports were retrospectively reviewed. Musculoskeletal injuries were categorized by anatomic region and described. The number of Quarter Horse starts and starters for the same period of time were obtained from a commercial database for determination of fatal injury incidence.

Results—Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 314 of the 443 (71 %) Quarter Horse racehorses that died during the 18-year study period. Fatal musculoskeletal injuries occurred at a rate of 2.0 deaths/1,000 race starts and 18.6 deaths/1,000 horses that started a race. Musculoskeletal injuries occurred predominantly during racing (84%) and in the forelimbs (81%). The most common fatal musculoskeletal injuries were metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joint (fetlock) support injuries (40%) and carpal (24%), vertebral (10%), and scapular (8%) fractures. Proximal interphalangeal (pastern) joint luxations resulted in death of 3% of horses. Fracture configurations of some bones were consistent with those of Thoroughbred racehorses. Evidence of preexisting stress remodeling of bone was reported for some fractures.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Knowledge of common locations and types of fatal musculoskeletal injuries in racing Quarter Horses may enhance practitioners' ability to detect mild injuries early, rest horses, and help prevent catastrophic injuries.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine sensitivity and specificity of western blot testing (WBT) of CSF and serum for diagnosis of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) in horses with and without neurologic abnormalities.

Design—Prospective investigation.

Animals—65 horses with and 169 horses without neurologic abnormalities.

Procedure—CSF and serum from horses submitted for necropsy were tested for Sarcocystis neuronaspecific antibody with a WBT. Results of postmortem examination were used as the gold standard against which results of the WBT were compared.

Results—Sensitivity of WBT of CSF was 87% for horses with and 88% for horses without neurologic abnormalities. Specificity of WBT of CSF was 44% for horses with and 60% for horses without neurologic abnormalities. Regardless of whether horses did or did not have neurologic abnormalities, sensitivity and specificity of WBT of serum were not significantly different from values for WBT of CSF. Ninety-four horses without EPM had histologic evidence of slight CNS inflammation.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The low specificity of WBT of CSF indicated that it is inappropriate to diagnose EPM on the basis of a positive test result alone because of the possibility of false-positive test results. The high sensitivity, however, means that a negative result is useful in ruling out EPM. There was no advantage in testing CSF versus serum in horses without neurologic abnormalities. Slight CNS inflammation was common in horses with and without S neurona-specific antibodies in the CSF and should not be considered an indication of CNS infection with S neurona. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1007–1013)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate hoof size, shape, and balance as risk factors for catastrophic musculoskeletal injuries (CMI), including suspensory apparatus failure (SAF) and cannon bone condylar fracture (CDY) in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Animals

95 Thoroughbred racehorses that died between 1994 and 1996.

Procedure

38 quantitative measures of hoof size, shape, and balance were obtained from orthogonal digital images of the hoof and were compared between case horses with forelimb CMI (70), SAF (43), and CDY (10) injuries and control horses whose death was unrelated to the musculoskeletal system (non-CMI, 25). Comparison of group means between cases and controls was done using ANOVA, and multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios.

Results

Odds of CMI were 0.62 times lower for a 5- mm increase in ground surface width difference and 0.49 times lower for a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference. Odds of SAF were 6.75 times greater with a 10° increase in toe-heel angle difference and 0.58 times lower with a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference. Odds of CDY were 0.26 times lower with a 3° increase in toe angle, 0.15 times lower with a 5- mm increase in lateral ground surface width, and 0.35 times lower with a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference.

Clinical Relevance

Decreasing the difference between toe and heel angles should decrease risk of SAF for Thoroughbred racehorses and should be considered in addition to increasing toe angle alone to help prevent catastrophic injury. Trimming the hoof to perfect mediolateral symmetry may not be a sound approach to avoiding injury. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59: 1545-1552)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Objective

To investigate relationships of several racehorse characteristics and race conditions with risk of a catastrophic musculoskeletal injury (CMI) resulting in euthanasia in Thoroughbreds during racing in California in 1992.

Design

Retrospective longitudinal study.

Animals

Thoroughbreds that incurred CMI during racing and all California race entrants in 1992.

Procedure

Necropsy records were reviewed, and race start information was obtained. Incidence risk of CMI/1,000 race entrants was estimated. Relationships between CMI during racing and race-meet, entrant age and sex, race type and length, and racing surface type and condition were evaluated by use of logistic regression.

Results

Incidence risk of CMI was 1.7/1,000 entrants. A higher risk of CMI was found at 2 fair race-meets, with incidence risks of 4.9 and 5.5/1,000 entrants. Risk of injury in male horses was 1.7 times greater than that in female horses, and influence of age on risk depended on race type. Risk of injury for horses 2 to 5 years old was two times greater for claiming horses than for maiden horses. Race length or racing surface type (dirt vs turf) or condition (fast, muddy, yielding) were not significantly associated with risk of CMI.

Clinical Implications

Incidence of CMI was similar among 12 of 14 major and fair race-meets and among various race lengths and racing surface types and conditions, whereas incidence of CMI was influenced by entrant age and sex as well as race type. Investigators should consider controlling for age and sex, race-meet, and race type whenever possible in studies of risk of CMI. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998; 212:544-549)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To characterize and contrast data from Thoroughbreds that incurred a fatal musculoskeletal injury ( fmi; injury resulting in death or euthanasia) during racing or training and data from all California race entrants during a 9-month period in 1991.

Design

Case-control study.

Animals

Thoroughbreds that incurred a fmi during racing or training at a California race-meet and all California race entrants from January through June and October through December 1991.

Procedure

Age and sex were compared with χ2 and Fisher's exact tests among horses fatally injured while racing and training. A log-linear model was fit to assess the relationship between race-meet and age and sex of California race entrants. Incidence risk of racing fmi was estimated per 1,000 race entrants, and the relationship between the occurrence of fmi during racing with race-meet, age, and sex was evaluated by logistic regression.

Results

Injury type and sex-specific age distributions differed among the horses fatally injured during racing and training. Age and sex distributions of the race entrants were not independent and varied among race-meets. Overall incidence risk of racing fmi was estimated at 1.7/1,000 race entrants. Risk of racing fmi in male horses was about twofold that in female horses, and in 4-year-olds was twofold that in 3-year-olds.

Clinical Implications

Age- and sex-related differences in risk of incurring a fmi during racing should be considered when comparing fatal injury rates among race-meets.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective—

To estimate the minimum rate of abortion attributable to infection with Neospora sp in selected California dairy herds.

Design—

Prospective study.

Animals—

Twenty-six dairy herds containing 19,708 cows were studied. Fourteen herds had a history of abortions attributable to neosporosis, and 12 were herds in which neosporosis had not been identified as a cause of abortions.

Procedure—

During a 1-year period, all available aborted fetuses were submitted to veterinary diagnostic laboratories to determine the cause of abortion. Reproductive records of cows that aborted were reviewed.

Results—

Neospora sp infection was the major cause of abortion identified (113/266 abortions, 42.5%). The majority (232/266, 87.2%) of the aborted fetuses were submitted from herds with a history of abortions attributable to neosporosis, and Neospora sp infection was identified as the causative agent in 101 of 232 (43.5%) of the abortions from these herds. Fewer aborted fetuses were submitted from the 12 herds that did not have a history of abortion attributable to Neospora sp; however, neosporosis was confirmed as a cause of abortion in 6 of these 12 herds and was identified as the causative agent in 12 of 34 (35.3%) abortions from these herds. The disease was widespread throughout the state (19/26 herds in our study). Available reproductive histories of cows that had abortions attributed to neosporosis were evaluated, and 4 cows were identified that twice aborted Neospora-in-fected fetuses.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the distribution for limbs and bones in horses with fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones and relationships with findings on palmarodorsal radiographic images.

Sample Population—Proximal sesamoid bones obtained from both forelimbs of cadavers of 328 racing Thoroughbreds.

Procedure—Osteophytes; large vascular channels; and fracture location, orientation, configuration, and margin distinctness were categorized by use of high-detail contact palmarodorsal radiographs. Distributions of findings were determined. Relationships between radiographic findings and fracture characteristics were examined by use of χ2 and logistic regression techniques.

Results—Fractures were detected in 136 (41.5%) horses. Biaxial fractures were evident in 109 (80%) horses with a fracture. Osteophytes and large vascular channels were evident in 266 (81%) and 325 (99%) horses, respectively. Medial bones typically had complete transverse or split transverse simple fractures, indistinct fracture margins, > 1 vascular channel that was > 1 mm in width, and osteophytes in abaxial wing and basilar middle or basilar abaxial locations. Lateral bones typically had an oblique fracture and distinct fracture margins. Odds of proximal sesamoid bone fracture were approximately 2 to 5 times higher in bones without radiographic evidence of osteophytes or large vascular channels, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Biaxial fractures of proximal sesamoid bones were common in cadavers of racing Thoroughbreds. Differences between medial and lateral bones for characteristics associated with fracture may relate to differences in fracture pathogeneses for these bones. Osteophytes and vascular channels were common findings; however, fractures were less likely to occur in bones with these features.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research