Thursday, August 25, 2011

Continuing Education

Sharing New Knowledge

Although this picture looks like my life is one big vacation, the truth is that in addition to lots of hard work, continuing education is a vital part of my commitment to your animal’s care. This spring I attended the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Annual Forum. I thought you all might be interested in a few highlights of what I learned:

Topic: Neurologic EHV-1 – In a research setting, treatment with the anti-viral drugs Valacyclovir or Gencyclovir decreased the severity and improved recovery from neurologic signs even when the medication was not given until 5 days after the known time of infection with EHV-1.

Topic: Melanomas –A fascinating DNA based vaccine has been available for dogs with malignant melanoma for several years. Application of this vaccine to horses with melanoma has yielded promising results. The vaccine is expensive, and multiple doses are required, but for those of you who have experienced the heartbreak of progressive melanoma in horses, this represents a great breakthrough in treatment/prevention options. A second novel therapy for melanomas combines a hyperthermia unit with chemotherapy. In the pilot clinical study a positive response rate of 81% was reported with this treatment.

Topic:Insulin Resistance - Low carbohydrate diets are the standard recommendation for Metabolic Syndrome horses. Occasionally these horses are in work that requires a higher caloric intake and we have traditionally recommended adding fat as a caloric source. This may not be a good idea. Recent research shows that fat may be detrimental to the metabolism of insulin resistant horses, and that beet pulp and soy hull feeds are a better source for increase calories in these horses’ diets.

Topic – Stem Cells for Laminitis – Regenerative therapy is rapidly expanding field in medicine. Stem cells are now being injected as a regional limb perfusion in horses with laminitis (founder). The work is early, but positive results have been reported in horses that failed to respond to conventional treatments. Next week I will be administering stem cells to a horse with a chronic quarter crack and underlying laminar damage.

I believe that education is the key to evolution. I believe that animals are the key to compassion. I believe the learning never stops.

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