How Can I Protect My Horse From Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1)

How Can I Protect My Horse From Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1)

EHV-1 is a rhinopneumonitis that usually causes respiratory infection in horses. Infected horses will often exhibit symptoms such as: high fevers, lethargy, nasal discharge, enlarged lymph nodes and swelling of the throat latch area. Occasionally, EHV-1 may cause swelling (edema) of the limbs and can also lead to your horse developing bacterial bronchitis or pneumonia. Currently, the strain of EHV-1 that has been spreading in the latest outbreak is a more severe version.

Why Should I Be Concerned About Rhinovirus?

Unfortunately, EHV-1 can also cause late term abortions, foal deaths and neurological problems. The latest, aggressive strain of EHV-1 is called Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) and is associated with neurological symptoms. It can severely affect the brain and spinal cord causing hind end weakness, lack of coordination (ataxia), leaking of urine or the inability to pass urine or manure. The end result for horses infected with the EHM strain is paralysis and often death. [1]

How Can My Horse Get EHV-1?

EHV-1 or EHM is a highly contagious virus and is typically spread by direct, horse-to-horse contact. The virus is shed in the respiratory tract of infected horses meaning it is spread through the nasal discharge including coughing and sneezing. It is possible to spread it indirectly through contact with contaminated items such as shared buckets, trailers, tack, people’s hands and grooming equipment. [2]

Ways to Help Keep Your Horse From Contracting the Neurologic Strain of EHV-1

Dr. Kim A. Spraybery, D.V.M., a board-certified medicine specialist, shared several strategies to minimize your horse’s exposure to the rhinovirus. Her recommendations are for at your home barn as well as during traveling, stabling elsewhere and in situations where avoiding other horses is impossible such as at shows. While these are not guaranteed to provide 100% protection, the effort to restrict your horse’s exposure may minimize the risk of contracting EHM as outbreaks are occurring stateside and internationally. [3]

  • Maintain your horse’s vaccination schedule
  • Limit exposure to other horses
  • Prevent nose-to-nose contact especially at shows
  • Skip the community water troughs
  • Don’t share buckets, feed scoops, grooming equipment or tack
  • Don’t pet or interact with other equines
  • Don’t allow others to pet or interact with your horse or horses
  • Keep your hands washed
  • Disinfect your trailer immediately after use
  • Disinfect stalls at the showgrounds before stabling your own horse
  • When shipping, verify that boxes are disinfected between shipments
  • Quarantine any new arrivals at your farm for 14-21 days [3]

Supplementing Vitamin E Can Improve Immunity

Research has shown that domestic animals that are fed additional vitamin E have a stronger immune system. According to The Horse Magazine, horses fed diets fortified with vitamin E have shown “increased specific infection-fighting white blood cells’ bacterial killing capacities.” Vitamin E can also help equine’s in stressful situations remain healthy and maintain their immunity. [4]

As outbreaks of rhino viruses have been reported in Florida, Connecticut and California as well as across the globe, increasing the nutritional support your horse receives may help prevent infection or assist in recovery.  Feeding nutritional supplements, including Vitamin E, that support gut health also boost the equine immune system making your horses better able fight off infections, including EHV-1 and EHM. [5]

TWYDIL® S May Help Protect Your Horse During the EHV/EHM Outbreak

While supplements alone may not prevent illness, a digestive health supplement can help boost the immune system. Research has shown that a strong immune system begins with improving the health of the digestive system. [6] Used daily, TWYDIL® S paste improves your horse’s gut flora thereby restoring his digestive health as well as his overall health. As our unique formula is continually fed, the Vitamin E, healthy fats, prebiotics and antioxidants make your horse’s body better able to fight off infection and increases the chances of a full recovery following serious illness. [6]

FEI is maintaining a database for the current EHV-1/EHM outbreaks in the US and abroad. Get the latest information and statistics at https://inside.fei.org/fei/ehv-1/timeline.


References:

  1. Young, Amy. “Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1), Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM).” School of Veterinary Medicine, July 31, 2019. Web. Retrieved April 1, 2021 from https://ceh.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/equine-herpes-virus-1-myeloencephalopathy
  2. “FAQ: Equine Herpesvirus (EHV).” AAEP – American Association of Equine Practitioners. 2020. Web. Retrieved April 1, 2021 from https://aaep.org/horsehealth/faq-equine-herpesvirus-ehv
  3. Spaybery, Kim A, DVM. “What are the Symptoms of EHV-1 and how do I protect my horse?”. Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Web. Retrieved from https://www.hagyard.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-ehv-1-and-how-do-i-protect-my-horse
  4. Oke, Stacy, DVM, MSC. “Vitamin E Might Provide Support For Horses in Stressful Situations.” The Horse – Your Guide to Equine Health Care. Sept. 17, 2020. Web. Retrieved April 1, 2021 from https://thehorse.com/192579/vitamin-e-might-provide-support-for-horses-in-stressful-situations/
  5. Henneman, Kimberly, DVM, DACVSMR (EQ, K9), FAAVA, DABT, CVA, CVC. “An integrative approach to Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM).” Innovative Veterinary Care. August 14, 2017. Web. Retrieved April 1, 2021 from https://ivcjournal.com/integrative-approach-ehm/
  6. Gill, Amy. “Building Blocks to a Healthy Immune System.” Holistic Horse. Web. Retrieved April 1, 2021 from https://holistichorse.com/health-care/building-blocks-to-a-healthy-immune-system/

Why Performance Horses Need Different Levels of Nutrition, Vitamins and Supplements

Why Performance Horses Need Different Levels of Nutrition, Vitamins and Supplements

With any horse, there are factors such as breed, age, body type and activity level that influence a horse’s dietary needs. Equines that need additional nutritional support are pregnant or nursing mares, breeding stallions and performance horses. Horses that are in heavy training or competing regularly require additional calories, protein, vitamins and minerals to meet their energy needs while maintaining their overall health and body condition.

Equestrian Disciplines That Influence a Horse’s Nutrient Requirements

The actual reason some horses experience EIPH episodes, while others do not, is still unknown. Simply put, this condition is caused when pulmonary blood vessels in the lung rupture while the horse is exercising. Pressure within the airways can cause these blood vessels to break even while participating in mild exercise, so it’s not just strenuous activity that causes bleeding. Most horses with EIPH will only have bleeding within the airways, which is not visible without a scope. Only a small percentage experience bleeding from one or both nostrils. Without proper care, each episode creates scar tissue and lung damage which eventually reduces lung capacity and function.

Veterinary Care for Equine Bleeders

When people think of horses that work hard, train hard and compete even harder, thoroughbred racing often comes to mind. While it’s true, they may endure intense workouts and training regimens, there are many disciplines that require maximum effort from the horse.

Here are several types of English and Western riding disciplines that may increase a horse’s need for a high-energy diet:

  • Thoroughbred racing
  • Quarter Horse racing
  • Harness racing
  • Steeplechase
  • Barrel racing
  • Endurance racing
  • Combined driving
  • Eventing
  • Showjumping
  • Cross country jumping
  • Dressage
  • Reining
  • Fox Hunting
  • Vaulting/Trick Riding
  • Polo

Feeding Equines with Heavy Conditioning and Training Schedules

When it comes to nutritional requirements, racehorses and performance horses require large quantities of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and fats (calories). In order to perform and to sustain that performance, whether it’s racing, jumping, eventing or any other competition, horses need dietary energy. Grazing alone or feeding low-quality maintenance feeds do not fulfill these requirements. The equine body needs a fuel source to support the energy expended during exercise. That requirement is often double that of a maintenance level horse.

Dietary Energy Needs of Competition Horses

Competition horses cannot meet their dietary needs by forage alone. Estimating how much energy (calories) your horse needs, you have to consider how much work is being done, the kind of work your horse is doing (low or high intensity) and the horse’s developmental stage.

Fiber – Proper gut function is essential to the health of a horse and its digestive system is designed to utilize fiber-rich forage. As hay and grass slowly move through the hindgut, it is fermented which is then used as an energy source. Some horse trainers choose to add beet pulp as another highly fermentable fiber choice.

Starch (carbohydrates) – Cereal grains such as oats, corn and barley provide extra calories. Starches or carbs is the source for glycogen (glucose and insulin) that the body uses to fuel quick bursts of energy. It’s stored in the muscles, liver and fat cells.

Note: Horses prone to tying up may do better on low-starch feeds.

Fats – High-fat feeds and high-calorie supplements typically rely on healthy oils to increase the digestible fats needed to maintain body condition. Using fats to increase the caloric intake of a performance horse relieves the need to increase the actual feed volume.

Protein – Next to energy, protein is the most essential nutrient in your equine athlete’s diet. It’s a building block for hoof, hair, skin, tissues, blood, bones and of course, muscle. Protein is composed of amino acids that repair and build muscle making it a crucial element of any training program involving heavy workloads.

Feeding for Conditioning and Performance

Complete Horse Feeds

Most complete feeds that are commercially made typically include all the major energy sources we’ve already discussed (starch, fat, fiber and protein). They are intended to help increase the calorie intake of horses in training or competition without increasing the actual amount of grain being fed. Complete feeds are either textured (sweet feed) or pelleted feed and both include essential vitamins and minerals.

Equine Energy and Muscle Builder Supplements

Since the equine digestive system is designed to digest small amounts over time, overloading your horse’s gut with large amounts of grain can cause serious health issues including colic. If you feel your horse needs additional energy (fats/calories) or muscle-building components, you can choose to add a feed supplement that corresponds to the desired effect. This is a safe alternative to overfeeding any horse requiring more calories. Reading labels will help you decide which product and ingredients are right for you and your horse.

Matching Your Horse’s Diet to Its Workload

Performance horses have specific nutrient requirements that differ from that of other horses. If your horse is typically turned out, used for pleasure or light work, he or she will easily become overweight on diet intended for horses in competition. When horses are working hard, they require an energy source, nutrients for muscle function, and electrolytes to replenish the balance of fluids and body functions. Ensure that each horse in your care has unlimited access to fresh water and is fed plenty of forage (hay) especially if they are often stall kept. If you are unsure of your horse’s nutritional requirements, ask your vet to evaluate the current diet and what his or her recommendations are before making changes.

Safe EIPH Bleeding Treatment For Athletic Horses

If your equine athlete has ever had a nosebleed (epistaxis), then you are probably familiar with the term: Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). It’s likely you’ve discussed both medical and non-medical treatment options for this disorder as there is no cure. Typically, the plan is to reduce the symptoms with proper rest between workouts, medication and nutritional supplements shown to help EIPH horses.

What causes EIPH bleeding in horses

The actual reason some horses experience EIPH episodes, while others do not, is still unknown. Simply put, this condition is caused when pulmonary blood vessels in the lung rupture while the horse is exercising. Pressure within the airways can cause these blood vessels to break even while participating in mild exercise, so it’s not just strenuous activity that causes bleeding. Most horses with EIPH will only have bleeding within the airways, which is not visible without a scope. Only a small percentage experience bleeding from one or both nostrils. Without proper care, each episode creates scar tissue and lung damage which eventually reduces lung capacity and function.

Veterinary Care for Equine Bleeders

Once your horse has been properly diagnosed by your vet, a diuretic is prescribed for use 4 hours prior to exercise. Furosemide (Salix, formerly Lasix) increases urination which lowers the volume of blood in the body. The result is less pressure in the lungs and on its blood vessels. While the medication may reduce symptoms, it cannot completely prevent bleeding episodes.

With Salix being the only race-day approved medication in some jurisdictions, alternatives are being researched as the medication continues to receive support to ban it. Some vets are showing positive results with Furosemide alternatives such as concentrated equine serum, nitric oxide, conjugated estrogens and anti-fibrinolytics. Others prescribe anti-inflammatories to reduce airway swelling and bronchodilators to assist the respiratory function. You should discuss these options only with a licensed veterinarian.

Alternative Treatments for Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage

Non-medical treatment options include nasal strips (nasal dilators). When used during workouts, they help balance the pressure within the lungs and it’s membranes to reduce bleeding. Other non-medical treatment options include herbal formulas, supplements, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of stall rest. Microcurrent therapy is also another option that some EIPH horse owners have had success with.

Equine Feed Additives for EIPH Management

Since EIPH is not curable and no one treatment can eliminate the risk of lung bleeding, adding a supplement to your treatment plan can help. Some bleeder supplement ingredients may strengthen the capillaries (blood vessels) which can help reduce fluids, mucus and irritation of the airways. These supplements, like TWYDIL® X, can also help horses prone to other respiratory issues including heaves, COPD, stable cough, allergies and fungal infections.

Respiratory Supplement to Support Performance Horse’s With Bleeding Lungs and Inflamed Airways

While EIPH is common in the racing industry, it is not limited to just thoroughbreds. The lung bleeding disorder can be found in other breeds including Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Arabians and Standardbreds. However, It’s not uncommon to find bleeders in any high-performance equine sport such as eventing, steeplechasing, polo, show jumping, barrel racing and reining.

Even a small loss of lung function due to damage and scar tissue can reduce a horse’s performance and shorten their career. To protect your horse’s respiratory health, maximize lung capacity and reduce the frequency of bleeding, TWYDIL® X is formulated to minimize airway inflammation and reduce pressure-inducing fluids. With only plant and mineral-based ingredients, it is safe for daily use in all horses. Our EIPH respiratory aid is a natural, drug-free alternative to Lasix making it allowable for use during competition.

The Best Calming Supplements for Horses

Even the best trained horses can experience anxiety and nervousness occasionally. Some situations, like shipping or having their teeth done can stress out even the quietest of equines. Maybe your favorite mount is just a little high strung. Having an equine calming aid in your feed room that you know works quickly and safely for all horses is a gift to horse owners.

Ingredients That Help Relax Nervousness

Finding a horse calming supplement that is both safe and effective takes a little homework. You’ll want to skip any calming agents that use a drug to relax your horse. Calming is not the same as sedation. Not only can drugging your horse cause him to lose focus, but it’s dangerous, habit-forming and against competition rules. Make sure to carefully read the label. Look for all-natural, soothing ingredients such as L-Tryptophan, Magnesium and Vitamin B.

How Does Tryptophan Work to Calm Horses?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the equine brain that helps lower the level of fear, stress and anxiety that horses may experience. It has a mild sedating effect that is achieved without drugs. The amino acid, L-Tryptophan, is a building block of serotonin. Horses that lack tryptophan often exhibit anxiety, nervousness and spook easily. This naturally occurring ingredient is used in equine supplements to produce quieter behavior in horses.

Benefits of Magnesium Proteinate

Magnesium is a key ingredient in most calming supplements because it’s known to help horses that tend to be excitable and jumpy. Stress can cause their magnesium levels to drop. Equines that have a magnesium deficiency may act anxious and jittery. Magnesium Proteinate is a chelated trace mineral with a high degree of bioavailability meaning the body can absorb more of it rather than waste it. For equine athletes, magnesium can have a performance boosting effect as it increases oxygen delivery to muscles and helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and amino for all day stamina.

Vitamin B in Equine Mood Supplements

The same B vitamins that are known for having anti-anxiety effects on people can also help horses to relax. B Vitamins are commonly used for performance horses to ease the stress of travel and competition. Thiamine or B1 is often sold alone for its calming and relaxing effects on scared or easily excited horses.

The Horse Calmer That Actually Works

When you find yourself with a nervous horse that spooks or gets stressed out easily, TWYDIL USA has the calming solution that professional trainers, breeders and competitors rely on. This is not just a quick fix to get your horse through an unpleasant situation. TWYDIL® C is a sedative-free supplement that soothes anxious horses, promotes quiet behavior and enhances performance. Because it calms naturally, it allows horses to remain relaxed yet focused throughout the entire day of competition. TWYDIL® C also meets all strict international anti-doping requirements and is safe for use in horses of all ages.

Important Questions To Ask When Choosing Horse Supplements

In recent years, horse nutrition has been scientifically researched allowing for more targeted supplementation. A balanced equine diet must include fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Horses in heavy training, especially in humid, tropical climates, also require electrotypes. Commercially made feeds offer a good foundation but in many cases, additional health and nutritional support may be necessary.

Types of Equine Feed Additives

Additional vitamins, minerals and other essential ingredients can play an important part in keeping your horses fit and in optimal health. It’s important to understand the difference between the two types of supplements available:

Nutritional – vitamins, minerals, herbs and plant-based sources designed to enhance or balance your horse’s diet.

Health – provides support or maintenance of a body structure or function such as respiratory supplement

Are Supplements Safe?

When it comes to our horses, what we feed them is just as important as vet check ups and farrier visits. There are a lot of choices out there. Do your research. Read the ingredients list on the label. Typically, nutritional products made by or bought from reputable companies are safe provided you follow the instructions provided. Too much of certain ingredients can be unsafe, so it’s crucial to stick to the recommended dosage unless a veterinarian instructs you otherwise.

Do They Really Work?

When it comes to animal (or human) health, there is no magic pill. Horse owners, trainers and breeders are a well-informed audience so any company trying to market a feed supplement needs to show proof that their product works. Today, many equine products are backed by scientific research and case studies. If you aren’t sure if a company can support their product claims, contact them and ask for documentation if it’s not readily provided on their website. No facts? Then keep shopping.

Risk of Doping Test Failures

A positive swab before or after a race, show or competition can have major consequences. Testing positive can result in equine athletes and riders being suspended or disqualified. In some cases, winnings may be stripped. To avoid embarrassing and costly affirmative action, it’s crucial to find an equine health product that is truly free of any banned substances. TWYDIL® tests each product batch and is certified free of prohibited substances. Their supplements are FEI and RCI compliant for International competition, safe for use even on the day of the event.

Choosing the Right Equine Health & Nutritional Supplement for Your Horse

Consumers put a lot of trust in brand names. TWYDIL® should be one of them. Every product bearing the TWYDIL name is the result of research and is backed by scientific data With over 50 years of manufacturing world-class equine products, they offer a guarantee of quality and that each product meets strict international anti-doping requirements. That means there is no wait time for a substance to clear your horse’s system. Each supplement is safe to use even on race or show day, guaranteed. TWYDIL USA proudly offers these globally-recognized, innovative feed additives to support the health of equines of all ages, especially the performance horse.