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HOW At Halls
Purina Horse Owners Workshops (HOW), educational seminars held at Purina certified dealers across the country, provide horse owners with up-to-date information on equine nutrition, veterinary issues, health and maintenance care, and a variety of other topics.
Hall’s Feed and Seed in Collierville, TN hosted a Purina HOW on April 8, 2014. Equine nutrition expert Jon Law of Purina Mills gave an in-depth presentation to help horse owners in the audience select a feeding program appropriate for their horses. Brent Pugh, DVM, whose articles are frequently published in the Mid-South Horse Review, gave a presentation on Pigeon Fever in horses. Hall’s Feed and Seed owners Jimmy and Beverly Thompson provided food and beverages for the seminar participants, as well as some useful door prizes and Purina Feed discounts, including a buy-four-get-one-free card valid through the end of June.
Dr. Pugh’s power-point presentation on Pigeon Fever (Corynebacterium pseudotuberculoses) was timely, as few participants were familiar with the disease. He explained that Pigeon Fever has nothing to do with pigeons and is not transmitted by birds, but got its name from the puffed out chests that horses have when they are infected. He said that the disease is new to the mid-south, but is more common in dryer climates in Texas and Oklahoma. The bacterium that causes Pigeon Fever is found in the soil, and the speculation is that it came into the area on windblown deposits. It may be that we have started seeing it recently because the mid-south has been experiencing some dryer than normal summers.
Infection takes place in the late summer to early fall dry season, but may not manifest symptoms until winter sets in. The incubation is three to four weeks. The bacteria can live two months in hay or shavings, but does not thrive in temperatures below 36º F.The entry point is usually a wound, which may be the reason why it is so random, i.e., only one horse in a large heard contracting the disease. Some horse-to-horse transmission may be possible, however, from biting flies in wounds. Although sheep and goats contract a similar disease from the same bacterium, called Caseous, a goat or sheep cannot infect a horse because the animals are different biotypes.
Dr. Pugh said that Pigeon Fever is rarely fatal in, otherwise, healthy grown horses. It is best to let the abscess mature and drain. He asks the client to monitor the abscess and send him photos so that he can determine when it matures. A few horses may re-abscess at a different location on the body, but after recovery, the horse’s immune system will build a resistance to the disease.
Purina rep Jon Law also illustrated his talk with a power point presentation. He first asked a few questions of the audience to ascertain their level of equine nutrition knowledge. He showed photos of Purina’s newly expanded research farm in Missouri. It is the state of the art facility, he said. This is where Purina has recently developed several new products for horses. He introduced a few, including the Impact line of horse feed, which replaces Horseman’s Edge. Hydration Hay is designed to keep a horse eating and hydrated, especially when traveling. Enrich is a vitamin and mineral supplement for easy keepers, and Super Sport is a balanced amino acid protein supplement for quicker muscle recovery in high performance horses, such as barrel racers and eventers.
Jon told the audience that Purina’s research knowledge is readily shared with the public. Horse owners can contact Purina and consult directly with an expert. He emphasized the importance of using weight rather than volume to measure feed and hay. He also showed examples of the body conditioning score to determine a horse’s nutritional needs and showed how to use a weight tape to ascertain your horse’s weight - the base line for how much to feed .
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