Friday, September 26, 2008

Good News on Pigeon Fever

I am happy to report that I just heard from Dr. Meg of Ridgefield Equine Clinic.

She said that the cases that they have seen were in Washougal, La Center, and Brush Prairie. All are getting better and there are no new cases this week that they have treated.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

H.R. 6598 - horse slaughter bill

I saw this online today and wanted to send you all an update.

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has passed H.R. 6598, a measure known as the "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008."
This bill prohibits transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption. Supporters praise the bill for banning the export of horses to processing plants in Canada and Mexico.
"The bill passed by voice vote on Sept. 23," said Judiciary Committee Communications Director Jonathan Godfrey. "The next step is introduction on the House floor."

This is the AQHA action alert email on H.R. 6598

This appears to be just pure information on H.R. 6598 from Thomas - legislative information from the Library of Congress.

H.R.6598 Title: To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit certain conduct relating to the use of horses for human consumption.
Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] (introduced 7/24/2008) Cosponsors (105)
Latest Major Action: 9/23/2008 House committee/subcommittee actions.
Status: Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Voice Vote.
SUMMARY AS OF: 7/24/2008--Introduced.
Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008 - Amends the federal criminal code to impose a fine and/or prison term of up to three years for possessing, shipping, transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering, or receiving any horse, horse flesh, or carcass with the intent that it be used for human consumption. Reduces the prison term to one year if the offense involves less than five horses or less than 2,000 pounds of horse flesh or carcass and the offender has no prior conviction for this offense.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Closing to Haul-ins - Pigeon Fever

Ok, so that wasn’t the last word. UGH! I have been enjoying this nice sunny weather but this Pigeon Fever stuff is making me look forward to our rain so the flies will leave and we can get thru the incubation period and not have to worry about it again. At least for this year.

Heidi Olson of Remuda Ranch is closing her facility to haul-ins until this stuff passes. There is word that a barrel horse has tested positive for PF and it seems to have contracted it from Rock Creek. The horse has since been to the Saddle Club and to the Fair Grounds. Heidi talked with Dr. Meg today to check for updates. Again prevention is the best action and it is fly control. Also check your horses daily for lumps on the chest area, belly (were the flies like to gather) and also on the legs. A fever would come first and then open lesions. If you do take your horse out to an event or camping, take along a 10-15% bleach/water mixture in a back-pack sprayer and douse all the area that your horse will have contact.

There are a few pictures getting passed around of a poor horse up in La Center with PF and it looks nasty. Nothing to mess with.

I have heard of another barn that is closing to haul-ins. When I find out more, I’ll pass it along. In the mean time, it might be wise to call before you head out someplace to check that arena or barn’s current plan.

Want to learn Drill?

I got this email from Mellissa Avery today. This sounds like a good opportunity for some of you 'speed demons' out there. I have watched drills and they are very exciting. What I find interesting is, from visiting with members of different drill teams, what a close knit group these people become.

Ignited Equestrian Drill Team is looking for new members for this upcoming season.

If you have drilled in the past we would love to have you join us. If you haven't drilled before, we would also love to have you this year.

We are planning on building a team from the ground up. Beginning with the basics of drill and moving on to those exciting maneuvers that many of you have seen. Our team has been around from a number of years and through those years we have made many changes. This year is a big year for us so if you are interested in finding out more info, please contact me at

Mellissa Avery

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One last time, hopefully -

I’m going to give this one more shot and I sure hope it goes away and we never have to speak of it again.

I just talked with my vet, Dr. Meg Brinton of Ridgefield Equine Clinic, to get some local up to date information about the Pigeon Fever (PF) outbreak in our area.

She has seen quite a few horses with PF and she is waiting on diagnostic cultures for a few more. She said that there are more that she has not seen directly but she is advising on their treatment.

There is no real treatment, just support. She has not had any horses die because of PF. It has high morbidity (occurrence) but low mortality.

The only control is excellent fly control – sheets, masks, fly spray and even think about keeping them in the shade during the heat of the day.

The signs are usually an abnormal swelling or abscess on the ventral midline and a mild fever. There can also be an internal abscess which is the most dangerous because it is harder to treat.

From visiting with clients, she is suspect of infected horses having some contact with Rock Creek in the past 3 weeks, either direct or indirect.

She feels that the best site for more information is the COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY News & Information report.

Galveston Horses

The has a good article on the rescue of horses in the Galveston area. They are just starting that work but it sounds like a well organized effort. Another article was saying how all the things that they learned from Katrina have helped in this disaster. I always like it when we can learn from past mistakes.

The Horse: Groups Working to Rescue Stranded Galveston Horses

Monday, September 15, 2008

More on Pigeon Fever

Here is some more information about Pigeon Fever but this time it is local. Here is an article about it in “Equine News”, the quarterly newsletter put out by Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. This newsletter always has really good information.

I got a report from East county that their pigeon fever outbreak is winding down but after talking with my vet, Ridgefield Equine Clinic, it is still around on the west side. Their suggestion is to up the fly control any way you can including fly masks and fly sheets. I asked if there was any type of spray or treatment. The answer? “My experience is that the flies just like to eat that stuff”. Oh well, we can just keep trying.

Sounds like this is all kind of new around here so send any information that you may have, and I’ll pass it on.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pigeon Fever in the area

A friend sent me this email and I think this is the kind of information we can all use. If you come across something that you think would be of interest to the horse community, send it along and we'll get it out.

I just got a call from my shoer telling me that there have been cases of pigeon fever reported in Clark County horses - a handful of cases here in the Camas/Washougal area for sure. It is not usually fatal but I did look it up on line and here is the deal -

FORT COLLINS - Equine veterinarians at Colorado State University's James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital report a serious increase in the number of cases of pigeon fever they have treated since early fall and warn horse owners to be alert for signs of the highly contagious disease.

Seventy-six cases from Colorado's Front Range have been confirmed by the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory since early fall, more than six times the number of cases from last year's total of 12 confirmed cases and far above the seven confirmed cases in 2000.

"What was once considered a disease of California horses is now a growing problem for the Colorado equine population," said Andrea Torres, veterinarian and microbiology resident who conducted a study of the disease in Colorado in 2000-2001. "The increased number of confirmed cases may be due to a more educated horse-owning public and/or to more veterinarians being aware of the disease and testing for it."

Torres and other veterinarians at the hospital point out that the signs of pigeon fever can also initially resemble those of other diseases such as strangles. Sometimes the only initial signs are lameness and a reluctance to move.

Pigeon fever, also called pigeon breast, breastbone fever, false strangles, dryland strangles or dryland distemper, is caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis and is found worldwide. It can strike a horse of any age, sex or breed, but usually attacks young adult animals. There is a low incidence in foals.

It has also been diagnosed in cattle, and a similar disease affects sheep and goats. The disease is not transmissible to humans, although humans can carry the infectious agent on shoes, clothing, hands or barn tools and transfer it to another animal.

Clinical signs include lameness, fever, lethargy and weight loss and usually is accompanied by very deep abscesses and multiple sores along the chest, midline and groin area and, sometimes, the back. Abscesses also can develop internally.

The disease is called pigeon fever because infected animals often develop abscesses in their pectoral muscles, which swell and resemble a pigeon's chest. Although the disease is considered seasonal, with most cases occurring in early fall, a number of cases have been confirmed during winter months and other times of the year as well.

The causative bacteria live in the soil and can enter the animal's body through wounds, broken skin or through mucous membranes. Additionally, some researchers believe pigeon fever may be transmitted by flies.

The disease occurs in three forms: external abscesses, internal abscesses and limb infection, also known as ulcerative lymphangitis. The most common forms are external abscess and lymphangitis, with the prognosis of a full recovery being generally good. Internal abscesses are much more difficult to treat.

"Because this disease is so highly contagious, it is very important that veterinarians accurately diagnose these cases to tailor treatment and control," said Torres.

"Horse owners should be aware of the clinical signs and understand that veterinary care must be timely. Infected horses should be isolated, the abscesses properly treated and the drainage properly disposed of. The area where the infected horse is kept must be properly cleaned and completely disinfected because this is a very hardy bacterium. Pest control is extremely important"

You can read the rest of this story including an extensive fact sheet about Pigeon Fever on this Colorado State web page.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just like the Scouts, Be Prepared

With all the talk about Hurricane Ike and with winter coming on, I start to think about being prepared for whatever. We have been told for years to have an emergency kit for our families but there really hasn’t been much talk about preparing for an emergency with our horses.

Our son and his family were living in San Diego last October during their wild fires. They had to literally run for their lives because the fire had come up the canyon and was overtaking their apartment complex. The fire storm blew over them while they were evacuating on the interstate and caught a car in front of then on fire. Pretty scary stuff. Because of my concern for them, I kept watching their local news online and reading local blogs to check were the fires were and where the evacuation centers were located. On one of our visits down to see them, we visited a handicap riding program that was in the line of the fire so I was keeping track of them also. It was very interesting to read about what all those people did to keep their horses safe – this time. There had been another wild fire in 2003 that burned and killed a lot of horses and because of that experience the area worked at finding ways to avoid letting that happen again. Because of that planning, very few horses were even injured this time. Even the Wild Animal Park – that was directly in the line of the worst and fastest fire – escaped serious damage because of good planning. We got to visit the park this spring and saw how devastating that fire was to the park and the homes and the whole area.

I had a horse friend that went thru the horrible hurricanes in Florida several years ago – I don’t remember the name – and I really learned a lot about ‘disaster thinking’. One of their big concerns was identification. That was a big issue after Katrina also. She talked about braiding luggage tags into her horse’s manes or tails or shaving a phone number on to them or painting a phone number onto their hooves. Papers are necessary to prove ownership but since our horses can’t tell us their home phone numbers, this would be important also. I always say that a dog tag on my dogs is their phone call home.

So now back to the point of this note. Here is a link to a really complete guide to emergency planning for our pets. I saw it on Hopefully, none of us will ever need any of this but I want to be prepared so I can keep my boys safe and well.

I know that the county has done some emergency preparedness planning for our pets. There are several areas in the county designated as evacuation centers. I will write more about that at a later time.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ride and Be Counted

I received this email about a trail survey by way of a friend that works in the county. I'm not sure who it was originally sent to but this is important for the horse community. These are not normally thought of as horse trails but two of them do have that designation. Frenchmen's Bar is really short now but it is supposedly just a place holder for a future trail on up the bar. Land for the Salmon Creek trail was given to the county with the understanding that it would always be a horse trail. It is not very horse friendly right now and many don't even know about it's history. It would be good to have horses on both of these trails on the day they are counted. If you can ride, check with Brian to see which trail the volunteers will be counting and if you can't ride, think about volunteering to make sure someone is there to count the horses.

Vancouver-Clark Parks was just contacted by Metro to participate in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Program. Despite the very short notice, Parks will participate by conducting pedestrian, bicycle and in some cases equestrian counts on several trails (dependent on how many volunteers we get) on Sept 9, 10, 11 during 4-6PM and Sept 13 and 14 between 12-2PM- the designated days and time set by the National Documentation Project. Parks will be using the designated survey forms and counting methodology to correspond with the national and regional survey.

Parks proposes to take counts and surveys at the following trails and trail locations. These have been selected at points (generally) where Parks has plans to extend the trails to get baseline information to use as we move ahead with expansion.

Please review and let me know your suggestions for other locations and/or priorities if you have any:
1. Columbia Renaissance Waterfront Trail at the Quay
2. Burnt Bridge Creek Trail at Devine trail head
3. Salmon Creek Trail at NE 117th St. (east end)
4. Vancouver Lake to Frenchman’s Bar Trail at Blue Rock trail head
5. Lacamas Heritage Trail at NE Goodwin Road trail head
6. Padden Parkway Trail at 94th Ave (if we have enough volunteers).

We will need 2 volunteers at each location – we plan to only survey each trail once- not each day of the survey period. Ideally we need to get at least 12 volunteers.

I’m attaching the website if you would like more information. I apologize for the short notice.

Let me know if this is something of interest
Brian W. Zahora Volunteer Coordinator Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation 360-619-1124 (phone) 360-696-8009 (fax)

Cold Camping

Now that’s I’ve finally warmed up, it’s time to tell you about our camping adventure.

First, some history. We had a motor home but found that since we moved into the horse world, we didn’t use it much so we sold it a few months ago. We have a modified stock trailer with a largish tack room so we planned to stay in it if the need arose.

In June we went to a wedding in the Glenwood Valley and stayed in the trailer. It was a VERY hot weekend but the trailer worked out great. With a port-a-potty in the tack room we were set. We didn’t have horses with us so we just pressure washed the trailer and set up cots. We used a couple of bungees to keep the doors closed while we were in the trailer. Over all, it was a nice set up.

Now for this past weekend.

We had a great time with our friends and took a couple of real nice, relaxing rides. Just the ticket for the end of summer. What we didn’t have completely planned out was the weather. We knew it was getting cold at night and even talked with some friends in the valley and heard that the temps over night were in the low 30’s. No problem. We have good warm clothes and a double sleeping bag. It was a bit crispy getting to bed but with hoods and socks and several layers, we were tough. Dennis wanted to take pictures of us bundled up for the night but I said no. I didn't need pictures to remember looking like the 'michelin man'. What we hadn’t planned out was the ‘weight’ of our sleeping bags. They had been really good bags for our motor home. But those ‘good to 40 degrees’ bags were no match for 28 degree over night temperatures. About 2 AM, after not being able to sleep for quite some time, I finally called uncle and told Dennis I just had to get warm. We climbed into the truck and drive around for about 20 minutes to unthaw. It is quiet and dark way out there in the middle of the night. No all night minit marts either. We spent the rest of the night sleeping in the truck covered with the sleeping bags and turning the truck back on occasionally to warm up.

I am game for sleeping in the trailer again but it either needs to be warmer over night or we need to shop for some heavier bags.

Note for future trips in the horse trailer:
- Don’t look into the living quarter trailers of others camping with you.
- Put down pelleted bedding with the horses so it is easy to clean out the trailer before we move in for the weekend
- Take a battery lantern for light in the trailer
- Take along some throw rugs to walk on in the trailer

Someone once said that the worse the trip, the better the stories. The trip wasn’t bad but that was certainly a night to remember.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,