Thursday, November 15, 2012

More on Vetericyn

Vetericyn Products - Are they everything they claim to be?

You may have seen the Warning Letter from the FDA which I posted on our HighDesertEquine Facebook page.  The letter was written to the manufacturer of Vetericyn because the company is making claims for the product without having a license or adequate research data to support those claims.  In addition, the FDA states that the manufacturer of Vetericyn has inadequate quality assurance regarding the water used in product formulation, according to FDA regulations.

So, is Vetericyn bad?  Should you stop using it?

Not necessarily.  The product does in fact have a sound physiologic basis and may be an excellent tool for use in wound care.  However, the FDA says that the company's claim the the product kills almost all bacteria within 30 seconds of contact has not been substantiated with adequate laboratory data.  You should ask yourself: are the FDA regulations for product manufacture and label claims reasonable?  If they are, then the producers of Vetericyn need to do some additonal work before making the label claims currently on their product. 

Most importantly - is their danger that you will do harm using this product?  I believe the best way to answer this question if by following these recommendation regarding wounds:  If there is signficant swelling, heat, redness or pain associated with a wound, or if ANY deep wound is located on a horse's distal limb (below the knee or hock), consult a veterinarian before initiating treatment.

The following is copied directly from Vetericyn's information to veterinarians about their products.  
The FDA takes issue with the claim that "this revolutionary antimicrobial wound treatment even kills antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, like MRSA, as well as fungi, viruses and spores."

"Vetericyn products assist in the mechanical removal of cellular debris, senescent cells, necrotic tissue,
and foreign material from the skin and wound surface through debridement. Wounds that are clean,
well maintained, and moist have shown faster healing than wounds left on their own.

 Vetericyn® VF is a special veterinary formulation of Microcyn® Technology. At nearly double the potency of the original over-the-counter formulation, Vetericyn VF provides 3-4 times the efficacy of our consumer formula and offers licensed veterinarians a powerful new treatment option that works naturally with animal immune systems to fight infection and speed healing time.

Based on Microcyn Technology, Vetericyn is the world’s first non-toxic, broad spectrum antimicrobial. Now, formulated exclusively for use and dispensing by licensed veterinarians, Vetericyn VF is even better at managing the organic load of a wound bed than our over-the-counter Vetericyn. It is still completely non-toxic, biocompatible, and safe as water. It may be used to treat a wide variety of topical wounds and infections of the skin, eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

This revolutionary antimicrobial wound treatment even kills antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, like MRSA, as well as fungi, viruses and spores.

Vetericyn VF Liquid Contains:
Electrolyzed Water (H20): 99.816%
Sodium Chloride (NaCI): 0.023%
Sodium Phosphate (NaH2PO/Na2HPO4): 0.015%
Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI): 0.011%

Vetericyn VF HydroGel Contains:
Electrolyzed Water (H20): 96.245%
Sodium Magnesium Fluorosilicate: 2.987%
Boric Acid (H3BO3): 0.462%
Sodium Sulfate (Na2SO4): 0.295%
Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI): 0.010%
Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCI): 0.001%
Hypochlorous acid

Heals by Mimicking the Immune System
Vetericyn is an oxychlorine compound similar to that produced by the animal’s own
immune system. Oxychlorine compounds are released by neutrophils, which are
the most abundant type of white blood cells in the immune system. Neutrophils use
oxychlorine compounds to attack and kill pathogens. Vetericyn is a similar pathogen
fighting solution that can be applied locally to an infection site. In-vitro results show
that Vetericyn can safely kill 99.999% of most single-cell pathogens within 30
seconds of contact or less, including tenacious pathogens like MRSA, staph and

Vetericyn products assist in the mechanical removal of cellular debris, senescent cells, necrotic tissue,
and foreign material from the skin and wound surface through debridement. Wounds that are clean,
well maintained, and moist have shown faster healing than wounds left on their own."

Decisions regarding your animal's care are your responsibility, so be sure you are informed, and are doing no harm, before you choose a treatment for your horse.  I welcome comments on this entry regarding your experiences with wound care and Vetericyn products.  Remember, I am not condemning the use of Vetericyn - in fact the product has an excellent theoretical basis for a safe, effective wound treatment.  Just make the decision to use it from an informed position.

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

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fall 2012 News & Notes

High Desert Veterinary Service

Chrysann Collatos VMD,PhD,DipACVIM

775-969-3495 (Office) 742-2823 (Emergency)
Fall 2012 News & Notes:
Ø Vaccination Clinic Schedule
Ø Special Alert: West Nile & Flu
Ø Understanding Immunity
Another season changes-
     Here I am enjoying the view with Washoe, a 9 yo Arabian gelding, during the 50 mile Bridgeport Endurance ride a few weeks ago.  This was my first “50” and we proudly finished with all “A’s” for Washoe’s condition at every vet check.  When the ride vet said Washoe looked ready for another fifty miles, I looked at her and asked, “but what about ME?”      Endurance riding is a fascinating sport.  I am avidly devouring the literature on conditioning, electrolyte balance, hydration, metabolic and musculoskeletal challenges from a veterinary view point.  My experiences over the years as a participant in the worlds of Thoroughbred racing, show jumping, foxhunting, and now endurance riding  provide invaluable knowledge to me as a veterinarian.  Understanding equine athletes of various disciplines and the sports they “play” from an insider’s perspective gives me special insight into their injuries, illnesses and daily stresses that makes me a better clinician for them.
            Enough about me – Hayley, my assistant you all have known for the past 6 years, was accepted into Washington State Veterinary School and began her first semester last week.  Please join me in wishing her all the best as she continues onward in her veterinary career.  And Jessie is just now returning from Nicaraugua, where she volunteered as a veterinary technician in training with an international veterinary non-profit organization working both with small animals and equines in third world countries.  She will finish her vet tech program at TMCC this year while continuing to work part time between classes.
          Join me in welcoming Victoria and Jessica, my two new assistants, to the practice.  Victoria is a student at TMCC and plans to pursue a career as a Licensed Veterinary Technician.  Jessica, already a LVT, is finishing her final year at UNR.  After graduating she plans to spend  a year working with me as she applies to vet school for Fall 2014 start date.
That’s the latest news from us.  I look forward to hearing your summer adventure stories when I see you at your Fall Clinic.

Dr. Chrysann
or e-mail

Special Alert Concerning Fall Vaccinations
Significantly increased occurrence of two diseases may affect your decisions concerning Fall vaccinations this year.  First, human cases of West Nile Virus are the highest nationwide since 1999, with 693 cases reported as of the 2nd week of August, including cases in CA and one asymptomatic human carrier in NV.  Horse cases also are on the rise nationwide, with 77 cases including horses in AZ, CA, CO, NM, WY and one fatality here in Nevada in Churchill County.  So, if you were economizing this spring and failed to have your horses vaccinated against West Nile Virus, I strongly recommend a West Nile Virus vaccine as part of your fall horse care.  Mortality in horses with West Nile Virus Encephalitis can reach 40% and vaccination is safe and effective.  Late summer/early fall is the highest risk period for West Nile Virus disease in horses.
Secondly, there have been multiple outbreaks of high fevers and respiratory disease in horses due to Equine Influenza Virus both in the North Valleys and Washoe Valley this summer.  Interestingly, Dr. Nicola Pusterla from the UC Davis PCR diagnostic center contacted me because the virus strain in one of these outbreaks was genetically identical to a strain identified in a group of horses in Oregon.  We were unable to identify any travel that connected the two groups of horses.  While we know that West Nile virus travels across the country in migrating bird populations, we still do not understand how Equine Influenza virus seems to appear suddenly in areas without any identifiable vector, or means of transportation.
Here are my specific recommendations for 2012 regarding these two diseases and fall vaccinations:
West Nile Virus – If your horse has not received a West Nile Virus Vaccine in 2012, I strongly recommend fall vaccination against West Nile Virus.

Influenza/Herpes (Flu/rhino) - I recommend a flu/rhino vaccination for your horse this fall if it meets any of the following criteria:  1)Your horse is 5 years of age or less,  2) Your horse lives in a neighborhood with lots of horse movement along streets/trails or with a shared horse arena, 3)Your horse lives in a boarding stable.

Understanding Flu and Immunity
Equine influenza shares many similarities with the human flu virus we all fight every fall.  The equine virus exists worldwide, except in New Zealand and Iceland.  Clinical signs include fever, depression, poor appetite, cough and nasal discharge.  The virus only lives a short time in the environment and is susceptible to common disinfectants.  In most cases the virus is spread from horse to horse in aerosolized particles generated when an infected horse coughs.  Unfortunately, virus replicates in the horses upper respiratory tract and is shed into the environment for a few days before clinical signs become apparent, making control of disease outbreaks challenging, especially in larger groups of horses.
The virus has many serotypes, and these strains change frequently.  The horse must have antibodies specific to each serotype to prevent disease.  I imagine the flu virus as a secret agent – every time he appears he is wearing a different hat and coat so I don’t recognize him until it is too late…..and here I am coughing and sneezing, or watching my horse cough and hang his head.  Both we and our horses manufacture antibodies that are shaped to fit the “hat and coat” of each flu strain that infects us – when exposed to a virus strain wearing a new “hat and coat” the old antibodies may not eliminate the new virus effectively and we get sick all over again.  Don’t get confused here – equine influenza virus and human influenza viruses share the same infection tactics, but not the same host – we cannot get flu from our horses, or visa versa.
Pharmaceutical companies making vaccines against Equine Influenza know that in order for their vaccine to be effective, it must contain the most up to date viral strains in a given location.  They weigh this against the cost of introducing new strains into their current vaccine.  Currently, the newest equine influenza virus strains predominant in the US include viral antigens (the “hat and coat”) from strains A/South Africa/2003 or A/Ohio/2003.  The Merck influenza vaccine used in our practice contains A/KY 93, KY02, and NM2/93 strains. Merck Animal Health serological data suggest that these strains provide cross protection against Ohio 03 and South Africa 03. So Merck has not yet taken the financial dive to replace the strains of influenza virus in their vaccine, but they have tested them and claim that there is cross protection – in other words the antibodies created in response to their vaccine will recognize newer influenza strains in our horses’ environment.
You can see that Equine Influenza Vaccines are not perfect – so why should we use them?  They are an important part of disease prevention in specific settings.  If only  part of a population of horses is vaccinated, these individuals may have partial immunity which protects them from showing signs of disease but does not completely eliminate their shedding of virus.  Horses, especially younger ones, living in groups without diligent vaccination rapidly spread virus from one to another making it very difficult for humans in charge to stay ahead of disease spread.  In larger barns, the outcome is usually quarantine of the entire facility for 21 days or longer, or until 7 days after the last horse has any clinical signs or fever.   As you can imagine, such an outbreak has serious impacts, both on horses’ health and humans’ pocketbooks. The risk of pneumonia and other serious complications increases dramatically in such settings.
If a group of horses ALL are vaccinated against influenza the consequences of infection with flu virus are greatly reduced.  Although equine influenza vaccines may not be absolutely protective, they do reduce the virus’ ability to replicate in each horse, and therefore reduce the number of virus particles released into the environment and passed from horse to horse.  If EVERY horse in a given population is vaccinated, then the viral load in the vicinity is kept low, fewer horses actually contract disease, and the outbreak event is over much sooner, with fewer sick horses.  

Fall Vaccination Clinic Schedule

I am always here to answer your questions, and offer routine health care services on clinic days. Fall health care includes Flu/Rhino vaccination plus deworming or fecal examination, an oral exam,  and sheath cleaning.  Also West Nile Vaccination if not given in spring!
To reserve an appointment, call the office (775-969-3495) and leave:
Name, Phone #, Clinic Date,
Number of Animals, and Services requested.
We will return your call three days before your clinic with an estimated time of arrival at your address.  Please be sure horses are caught and haltered 30 minutes beforehand!

Location                                               Date
Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos1 -  Fri  Sep 14        
Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos2 - Sat Sep 22
Red Rock North/Silver Knolls 1 - Sun Sep 16          
Red Rock North/Silver Knolls 2 - Fri Sep 21
SpanSprings/Palomino Valley 1 - Sat Sep 15           
SpanSprings/Palomino Valley 2 - Fri Sep 28
Antelope/Golden/Lemmon Valley 1 - Sun Sep 23      
Antelope/Golden/Lemmon Valley 2 - Thur Sep 27
South & West Reno 1 - Sun Sep 23                        
South & West Reno 2 - Fri Sep 29
Sierra Valley/California - Sat Sep 30

 For additional savings, you can schedule your own mini-clinic as long as you have at least 6 horses at a single location.  Call the office to make such arrangements.

Discounted Price List – Clinic day only
Farm Call/Fall Exam                    $15.00
West Nile                                     $32.00
FluRhino                                      $27.00
Rabies                                         $21.00
Tetanus/ Encephalitis                    $15.00
Intranasal Strangles                      $32.00
Ivermectin Deworm                       $14.00
Coggins Test                                $27.00
Sheath Clean w/sedation               $45.00
Fecal parasite exam                      $18.00
Oral Exam (w/o sedation)              No charge!

If I offer an educational seminar series this winter will you come and participate?  I need your input – send suggestions for location and topics.  I am, as always, grateful for your patronage.

Don’t forget to make your clinic appointment today !

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spring News and Notes 2012

 High Desert Veterinary Service
Spring 2012 News & Notes     
Chrysann Collatos VMD, PhD, DipACVIM 
775-969-3495 (Office)                        775-742-2823 (Cell)
* Vaccination Clinic Schedule
* New information on Pergolide
* Learning from the Brumbees
* What’s new with Us
I am excited  to share new knowledge and continuing relationships with you all in 2012.  Spring clinics always provide a rewarding opportunity for me to catch up with you and your animals.
I look forward to seeing you in March!

Spring Vaccination Clinic Schedule
As always I’m there to answer your questions, and offer routine health care services on clinic days. Routine spring health care includes vaccination against E&W Encephalitis, West Nile, Rabies, Tetanus, Influenza and Rhinopneumonitis plus deworming, an oral exam and sheath cleaning for geldings.

Call the office to reserve an appointment.
Name, Phone #, Date you request, Number of Animals, and the Services needed.

We will return your call three days before your clinic with an estimated time of arrival at your address.  Please be sure horses are caught and haltered 30 minutes beforehand.
Location                                                   Date
Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos1             Sat  Mar 3 
Rancho Haven/Sierra Ranchos2             Fri  Mar 9
Red Rock North/Silver Knolls 1              Sun Mar 4
RR North/Cold Springs/Silver Knolls 2    Fri Mar 16
SpanSprings/Palomino Valley 1             Mon Mar 5
SpanSprings/Palomino Valley 2             Sat Mar 10
Antelope Valley                                     Sun Mar 11
Golden/Lemmon Valley                         Sun Mar 11   
South & West Reno                        Tues Mar 13 
Golden/Lemon Val/South Reno               Fri Mar 23
Sierra Valley/California                            Sat Mar 17
For additional savings, you can schedule your own mini-clinic as long as you have at least 10 horses at a single location.  Call the office to make such arrangements.

Price List – Clinic day only
Farm Call/Spring Exam          $18.00
West Nile (Prevenile)                $32.00
FluRhino                                    $27.00
Tetanus/ Encephalitis               $15.00
Rabies                                        $22.00
Intranasal Strangles                  $30.00
Ivermectin Deworm                   $14.00
Coggins Test                             $25.00
Sheath Clean w/sedation         $35.00

Ask Dr. C what vaccines are best for your horse based on age, environment, and activity level.
 New Information on Pergolide

Many of you are familiar with Equine Cushings Disease (PPID) and already are treating your affected horses with Pergolide.  Equine Cushings Disease is a disorder of the pituitary gland that affects the endocrine (hormonal) system.  It is slowly progressive, and puts affected horses at risk for laminitis (founder) and recurrent infections.  As the disease progresses, affected horses typically have long, shaggy hair coats (hirsutism) that do not shed out in the summer time,  drink and urinate excessively (PU/PD), and exhibit loss of muscles tone along their neck and back. Unfortunately, these clinical signs vary from horse to horse, making early diagnosis of the problem challenging.  The best way to test for Equine Cushings Disease is by measuring Adrenocorticotropin Hormone (ACTH) in your horse’s blood.
Pergolide, which stimulates production of dopamine in the brain, has long been an effective management tool to treat PPID.  There has been no FDA approved product for years, and so compounding pharmacies, which purchase and prepare non-approved chemical formulations of drugs, have been the only source of pergolide.  The price and quality of these preparations vary significantly.  Unfortunately in an effort to economize, many horses are receiving less expensive pergolide formulations that may not contain accurate or stable amounts of pergolide.
An FDA approved pergolide formulation, Prascend, is now available.  The cost is higher than some compounded formulations, but the concentration and stability of the drug is guaranteed.  If you have a horse on pergolide, or suspect that your horse may have Equine Cushings Syndrome, please contact me so that we can discuss the best diagnostic and treatment plan for your horse.  Go to our HighDesertEquine facebook page to find a link to more information on Prascend.

What’s new with us
All three of my assistants have had exciting years.  Hayley Rasmusen is waiting to hear any day now if she has been accepted to start vet school in the fall.  She had an interview at Washington State University last week and currently is on the waiting list at Oregon State University.  Join us in our hopes for a thumbs up from one of these institutions.
Jessie Racicot was accepted into and is finishing her first year in the Truckee Meadows Community College Certified Veterinary Technician program.  She is loving the veterinary related academics, but misses being able to spend as much time on the road with Dr. C
And when she isn’t winning barrel races Gina Valceschini continues in her undergraduate classes at TMCC.
 I am very excited to see these three talented individuals develop their career paths, and look forward to mentoring future HighDesertEquine assistants in the years to come. 

A New Perspective on the Mustang Hoof

Mustangs are widely used as a model for “natural” foot trimming.  This is based on the premise that their lifestyle promotes hoof health as a result of distance travelled on unimproved footing, a natural diet, and the absence of human intervention on hoof conformation.  I attended the 2011 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot where Brian Hampson, working with Dr. Chris Pollitt of the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit, presented his studies on the feet of 100 Brumbies, the wild horses of Australia.
            Five groups of horses were studied, each living in a different environmental region of the Australian outback. The feet of 20 horses in each group were analyzed for conformation and pathologic changes.  Conditions ranged from rock hard arid strata to wet grasslands.  Brian’s hypothesis was that no single feral-horse foot model exists, and that it is incorrect to assume that because a horse survives in the wild that its feet are therefore healthy.
            It was discovered that each environment produced a different hoof conformation, and that 97/100 feet studied exhibited some pathologic abnormality.  Histologic evidence of chronic laminitis was observed in over half of the feet.  It was noted that “significant pathology was identified in the foot types most closely resembling the popular ‘mustang’ foot.”  In fact, characteristics such as thick hoof wall, thick hard sole and heavily worn distal wall promoting sole loading may actually be associated with pathology.         
Brian Hampson concluded that “there is currently no clear evidence to support the use of the extreme feral horse foot as a model for foot care.”  However, he went on to point out that when the varied characteristics of all 5 groups of horses were combined and analyzed, some consistent parameters were identified that may be important when considering the natural form of the equine foot.
            Research on the wild horse foot is ongoing.  See great videos and learn more about this work at

Call 775-969-3495 to schedule your clinic appointment today!
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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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