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  • Author or Editor: Monica A. Aleman x
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine period prevalences of postmortem diagnoses for spinal cord or vertebral column lesions as underlying causes of ataxia (spinal ataxia) in horses.

ANIMALS

2,861 client-owned horses (316 with ataxia [ataxic group] and 2,545 without ataxia [control group]).

PROCEDURES

The medical records database of the University of California-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital was searched to identify horses necropsied between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2017. Results were compared between the ataxic and control groups and between various groups of horses in the ataxic group. Period prevalences were determined for the most common causes of ataxia.

RESULTS

2,861 horses underwent full necropsy, and the period prevalences for the most common definitive diagnoses for ataxia were 2.7% (77/2,861) for cervical vertebral compressive myelopathy (CVCM), 1.3% (38/2,861) for equine neuroaxonal dystrophy or equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (eNAD-EDM), and 0.9% (25/2,861) for trauma; the period prevalence of ataxia of unknown origin was 2.0% (56/2,861). Horses in the ataxic group (vs the control group) were more likely to have been warmblood horses (OR, 2.70) and less likely to have been Arabian horses (OR, 0.53). In the ataxic group, horses < 5 (vs ≥ 5) years of age had greater odds of CVCM (OR, 2.82) or eNAD-EDM (OR, 6.17) versus trauma or ataxia of unknown origin. Horses in the ataxic group with CVCM were more likely Thoroughbreds (OR, 2.54), whereas horses with eNAD-EDM were more likely American Quarter Horses (OR, 2.95) and less likely Thoroughbreds (OR, 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that breed distributions differed for horses with CVCM versus eNAD-EDM; therefore, breed should be considered in the clinical evaluation of spinal ataxia in horses.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To investigate the clinical, clinicopathologic, and diagnostic characteristics; treatment; and outcome associated with acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) in horses and assess risk factors for nonsurvival in TBI-affected horses.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—34 horses with TBI.

Procedures—Medical records of horses that had sustained trauma to the head and developed neurologic signs were reviewed. Data that included signalment, clinicopathologic findings, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome were analyzed. Clinicopathologic variables among horses in survivor and nonsurvivor groups were compared, and risk factors for nonsurvival were determined.

Results—Median age of affected horses was 12 months. Findings of conventional survey radiography of the head alone failed to identify all horses with fractures of the calvarium. Horses with basilar bone fractures were 7.5 times as likely not to survive as horses without this type of fracture. Depending on clinical signs, horses received supportive care, osmotic or diuretic treatments, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, or anticonvulsants. Twenty-one (62%) horses survived to discharge from the hospital. In the nonsurvivor group, mean PCV was significantly higher, compared with the value in the survivor group (40% vs 33%). Risk factors associated with nonsurvival included recumbency of more than 4 hours' duration after initial evaluation (odds ratio, 18) and fracture of the basilar bone (odds ratio, 7.5).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that prognosis for survival in horses with acute TBI may be more favorable than previously reported. Among horses with TBI, persistent recumbency and fractures involving the basilar bones were associated with a poor prognosis.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate deafness in American Paint Horses by phenotype, clinical findings, brainstem auditory-evoked responses (BAERs), and endothelin B receptor (EDNBR) genotype.

Design—Case series and case-control studies.

Animals—14 deaf American Paint Horses, 20 suspected-deaf American Paint Horses, and 13 nondeaf American Paint Horses and Pintos.

Procedures—Horses were categorized on the basis of coat color pattern and eye color. Testing for the EDNBR gene mutation (associated with overo lethal white foal syndrome) and BAERs was performed. Additional clinical findings were obtained from medical records.

Results—All 14 deaf horses had loss of all BAER waveforms consistent with complete deafness. Most horses had the splashed white or splashed white–frame blend coat pattern. Other patterns included frame overo and tovero. All of the deaf horses had extensive head and limb white markings, although the amount of white on the neck and trunk varied widely. All horses had at least 1 partially heterochromic iris, and most had 2 blue eyes. Ninety-one percent (31/34) of deaf and suspected-deaf horses had the EDNBR gene mutation. Deaf and suspected-deaf horses were used successfully for various performance events. All nondeaf horses had unremarkable BAER results.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Veterinarians should be aware of deafness among American Paint Horses, particularly those with a splashed white or frame overo coat color pattern, blend of these patterns, or tovero pattern. Horses with extensive head and limb markings and those with blue eyes appeared to be at particular risk.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Wildfires are a serious and expanding threat in western North America, and wildfire encroachment on human populations leads to widespread evacuation and emergency housing operations for residents and their companion animals and livestock. Veterinarians are frequently part of wildfire response efforts and are called upon to assist in rescue, evacuation, and emergency housing operations as well as to provide medical care for evacuated animals. Although veterinarians are likely familiar with the principles of transporting and housing terrestrial animals, emergency response for aquatic companion animals presents unique logistic challenges. Veterinarians familiar with aquatic animal evacuation, housing, and care prior to a wildfire response can extend the scope of disaster recovery. This report offers general guidance for rescuing, evacuating, housing, and caring for aquatic animals in the wake of a wildfire.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To describe epidemiological, clinical, and pathological features of neuroaxonal dystrophy in Quarter Horses (QHs) on a single farm.

Design—Prospective case series.

Animals—148 horses.

Procedures—Neurologic, pathological, and toxicological evaluations were completed in selected neurologically affected horses over a 2-year period. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed.

Results—87 QHs and 1 QH-crossbred horse were affected. Most (50/88 [56.8%]) affected horses were 1 to 2 years old (median age, 2 years [range, 2 months to 34 years]). Neurologic deficits included obtundation (53/88 [60%] horses), decreased to absent menace response (33/88 [37.5%]), proprioceptive positioning deficits, wide-based stance, ataxia, and dysmetria (88/88 [100%]). Most (78/88 [88.6%]) horses had mild ataxia, but some (10/88 [11.4%]) had moderate to severe ataxia. Low serum concentrations of vitamin E (≤ 2 mg/L) were detected in 3 index case horses and 16 of 17 randomly selected horses (13/14 affected and 3/3 unaffected) during study year 1. Dietary vitamin E supplementation did not improve neurologic deficits in affected horses; vitamin E administration in pregnant mares appeared to decrease but not prevent disease development among offspring born the following year. Lesions detected at necropsy included bilaterally symmetric neuroaxonal degeneration with axonal spheroids in the nucleus gracilis, nucleus cuneatus medialis, nucleus cuneatus lateralis, and nucleus thoracicus (5/5 horses).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Neuroaxonal dystrophy should be considered in evaluation of young horses with ataxia and proprioceptive positioning deficits. Vitamin E deficiency may contribute to disease severity.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association