Equine Health Notes: 03/05

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Static Magnets: Harvard Says Yes
Static magnets are found in various magnetic wraps, the kind that aren’t battery-powered. In our field trials, we found that, although not all horses respond to magnets, 50 to 60% had decreased pain and more freedom of movement.

Harvard University recently reported a study involving human patients with knee arthritis. Patients received either four-hour treatments with an active magnetic wrap, or with a placebo, “fake” magnetic wrap. They were then sent home to continue treatments six hours a day and return to be retested. An equivalent number of patients in both groups guessed that they had received a magnetic wrap, so there was no placebo effect.

Results showed significantly greater pain relief in the magnet group. Similar results were found in a trial at the University of Tennessee where magnets were used for treatment of women with chronic pelvic pain, and in yet another study from the University of Texas again using magnets for knee arthritis pain.

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Rabies In Illinois
A horse in LaSalle County, Ill., is the first animal in the state, other than a bat, to test positive for rabies in the last seven years.?? Testing revealed the horse had been infected with the skunk strain of the virus.?? The Department of Health is urging all residents to vaccinate their animals, and be alert to wildlife acting unusually.

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Routine Floating
A study performed by the Veterinary School at the University of Saskatchewan, and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,??followed 56 pregnant mares over a six-month period, half of which had their teeth floated at the beginning of the study, half of which did not.??The mares were further divided into four groups depending on the type of diet, with equal numbers of floated and not floated mares in each group.??

At the end of the trial, researchers found no differences in weight gain, body condition score, feed digestibility or manure particle size between the floated vs. the unfloated mares.

In the unfloated horses, researchers were also unable to find any connection between how efficiently the diet was utilized and the number of untreated dental changes, or the type of lesions noted. They concluded that more studies are necessary to determine if routine dental floatings are necessary in healthy horses.

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Radiation Therapy
Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common malignant tumors in horses. It often appears in the external structures of the eye or in the genital area.??The tumors usually have a cauliflower-like appearance but can be mistaken for benign growths.?? Advanced cases will have surface ulcers and bleeding.?? Pink-skinned horses are at higher risk.??Surgical removal is usually used.?? However, a study from the University of Georgia found that tumor sites that weren’t also treated with radiation therapy had a four times higher risk of recurrence.