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Midwest states confirm cases of West Nile, EEE

According to TheHorse.com, animal health officials in Minnesota and Wisconsin have reported new cases of West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), respectively. The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported Sept. 13 that the Minnesota Board of Animal Health that a 2-year-old Quarter Horse gelding from Newfolden, in Marshall County, had contracted the disease. “The horse, which had neurologic symptoms, was not vaccinated but is recovering,” the EDCC said. Also on Sept. 13, the EDCC indicated that Wisconsin had confirmed an additional EEE case.


Study: Poor living conditions impact equine welfare

According to a new study, french researchers have learned that suboptimal living conditions, such as 24-hour individual stabling and restricted feeding, can make horses less optimistic, TheHorse.com reported. “This constitutes an indispensable step in establishing management practices or working conditions which contribute toward an improvement of the horse’s quality of life or toward better prophylactic care such as treatment for back pain,” said Séverine Henry, PhD, of the University of Rennes in France. In their study, the horses with the highest levels of welfare also had the highest levels of optimism in their experiments, Henry said. By contrast, however, poor welfare was always associated with pessimism in the study horses. Read more on the study at www.thehorse.com/articles/38090/study-poor-equine-welfare-pessimism-linked


AVMA supports USDA’s efforts to end soring of horses

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased to see that the USDA has proposed changes to strengthen enforcement of the Horse Protection Act in an effort to put an end to the inhumane practice of soring, the organization said in a release. The USDA now hopes to address the issue of soring through proposed amendments to the Horse Protection Act, which would make two significant changes. First, the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) would assume responsibility for training, screening and licensing horse inspectors. Instead of allowing horse industry organizations to handle these responsibilities, which can be ineffective due to conflicts of interest, inspectors would be veterinarians and veterinary technicians required to follow USDA rules and standards of conduct. Second, the USDA-APHIS would ban the use of all action devices, pads, and foreign substances at horse shows, exhibitions, sales, and auctions. This would align the HPA regulations with existing equestrian standards set forth by the U.S. Equestrian Federation. The proposed rule is available for public comment at www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2011-0009.


Jaguar Animal Health and Napo Pharmaceuticals announce proposed merger

Jaguar Animal Health, Inc., an animal health company focused on developing and commercializing gastrointestinal products for companion and production animals, foals, and high value horses, announced that it has signed a non-binding letter of intent (“LOI”) with Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. potentially to merge the two companies. Napo focuses on human product development and commercialization from plants used traditionally in rainforest areas, and has provided Jaguar with exclusive worldwide rights for veterinary applications to crofelemer and corresponding rights to all related Napo technology.