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Severe Winter Storm Preparedness for Livestock - Saskatchewan

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 25, 2012 10:20

Emergency preparedness is especially important for livestock because of their size and special shelter & transportation requirements. On a farm, generally, the effects of severe storms on livestock are lessened by moving animals to avoid the storm; mitigating the storm's effect if it cannot be avoided; or sheltering the animals, ensuring they have access to food and water. The approach taken would depend upon the type of storm/emergency anticipated.
Hypothermia & dehydration are the two most probable life-threatening conditions for animals in cold weather.
 Barn fires are the most common disaster for livestock at anytime of the year
o Mount fire extinguishers in all buildings and at all entrances
· Regularly maintain them
· Make sure all family members and employees know how to use them
o Keep aisle and all doors free of debris and equipment
 Consider removing all barbed wire and rerouting permanent fencing so that animals can move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas in high winds
 Install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for a least a week in the event the water supply is contaminated
 Identify alternate water and power resources
 Do you have enough feed, bedding material, supplies, medications on hand to last an extended period in case suppliers/supplies are unavailable because of the disaster
 Identify alternate location(s) for your animals in case of evacuation
 Label hazardous materials and place them all in the same safe area. Provide information about their location to local fire and rescue and emergency authorities.
 If the emergency is Winter Storm/Extreme Cold:
o Wet conditions and wind-chill add greatly to the cold-stress for animals
o Livestock should be provided with wind-break and roof shelter
o Monitored for signs of discomfort (extensive shivering, weakness, lethargy, etc.)
o Provide extra hay/forage/feed as up to double the calories for normal body heat maintenance may be needed in extreme cold and if you are unable to get to the animals for a couple of days because of deep snow, etc. they will have enough food.
o It is critical that animals have access to drinking water at all times
· Usual water sources may freeze solid in low temperatures and dehydration becomes a life-threatening factor
· Many animals, especially the young, may not know how or be unable to break several inches of ice to reach water
· Animals tend to drink less in extreme cold, risking dehydration
· Research with horses shows horses drink more water if it is warmed during winter weather
o If possible, move animals to an indoor shelter or building
· Provide additional bedding to keep animals insulated & to keep them dry
 Place sand or other non-toxic gritty material on icy feedlots to provide good footing
 Ensure heaters are working properly and are in areas with adequate ventilation
 Ensure adequate ventilation in buildings
o Animals could suffocate from lack of oxygen
o Open vents to facilitate natural air flow
o Clear ice and snow from vents
 Know the signs of Cold Reated Illnesses in any species of animals you own:
o Frostbite
· Extremities (ears, tails, teats, male reproductive organs) are particularly subject to frostbite
· Signs may not necessarily be obvious for several days (waxy or pale appearance to affected areas, sloughing of freeze-damaged tissue)
Winter Storm Preparation R.M. of Corman Park Created January 2011 Page 12

o Hypothermia
· Extreme shivering
· Increased respiration
· Confused, erratic, clumsy behaviour

Livestock/Farm Emergency Kit:
During an emergency, you will need to decide whether to confine large animals in an available shelter or leave them outdoors. This will depend on what emergency/disaster is occurring and how much warning you have.
 Have a current list of all animals
o Include proof of ownership, their location, records of feeding, vaccinations & tests
 Have a contact list of emergency phone numbers (employees, neighbours, veterinarian, poison control, animal care, transportation resources, etc.)
 Supplies for temporary identification of your animals
o Plasitc neckbands, permanent markers to label with your name, address & phone no.
 Basic first aid kit
 Handling equipment such as halters, cages, blankets, etc.
 Bolt cutters to quickly free animals in an emergency
 Water, feed and buckets
 Tools and supplies needed for sanitation
 Emergency equipment
o Cell phone; Flashlights; Portable radios
o Other safety & emergency items for your vehicles and trailers
 Let everyone know where the emergency kit is being stored
 Consider evacuating your animals only on the advice of your veterinarian or local emergency management officials.

Sheltering in Place:
Sometimes evacuation isn’t posssible and can be challenging especially in winter and while it often seems that animals will be safer inside barns, in many circumstances, confinement can reduce their ability to protect themselves.
Survey your property for the best location for shelter. If you pasture meets the critereia below, your large anminals may be better off in the pasture than being evacuated.
Pasture Criteria:
 No trees which can uproot easily
 No overhead powerlines or poles
 No debries or sources of blowing debris
 No barbed-wire fencing
 Not less than 1 acre in size (less than an acre, livestock may not be able to avoid wind-blown debris)
 There is shelter &/or windbreak areas
o Shallow open front sheds
o Solid sided feed wagans can serve as temporary wind protections (place plywood or bales of straw under the wagon to block the wind
 If your pasture doesn’t meet the above criteria, you should move your animals to a barn/building
o Winterize any building that may provide shelter for livestock
o Check roof structure and stability to hold the weight of accumulated snow/ice
o Repair roof leaks
o Have proper ventilation

If your building(s) does not meet the above criteria, you should evacuate your animals. Winter Storm Preparation R.M. of Corman Park Created January 2011 Page 13
The leading causes of death of large animals in disasters are collapsed barns (winter snow is too heavy for roof or roof is susceptible to high winds), dehydration (frozen water), eletrocution and accidents resulting from fencing failure.
 If you must evacuate, do so as soon as possible otherwise everything will get caught in the storm
 Set up safe transportation including trucks and trailers suitable for livestock and appropriate for each type of animal, along with experienced handlers and drivers
 Take disaster/emergency livestock kit with you
 When sheltering off your property, make sure that they remain in familiar groupings, securely contained and sheltered from the elements
 Notify your veterinarian, processer, feed representative, etc. if evacuating
Storm damage can cost an individual or family a significant amount of money; therefore it is best to take precautions ahead of time to minimize these costs. YOU are the first line of defence against damage and it is up to you to minimize any harm that may occur.
3.1 Before a Blizzard/Winter/Ice Storm
 If a blizzard or heavy blowing snow is forecasted, you may want to string a lifeline between your house and any outbuildings to which you may have to go during the storm
o In wide open areas, visibility can be virtually zero during heavy blowing snow or a blizzard
o A lifeline will guide you and give you something to follow
 If a severe storm is forecast, secure everything that might be blown around or torn loose – indoors & outdoors.
o Flying objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture can injure people and damage property
 When a winter storm hits, stay indoors
 If you must go outside, dress for the weather
o Outer clothing should be tightly woven and water-repellent
o The jacket should have a hood
o Wear mittens – they are warmer than gloves
o Wear a hat, as most body heat is lost through the head
o Avoid travel; if you are safe where you are, stay where you are
 If you must travel during a winter storm
o Do so during the day
o Let someone know your route and arrival time.
 If travel is unavoidable make sure you have:
o Enough fuel
o A vehicle emergency kit
o A winterized, reliable vehicle
o Check out local media for weather updates, road conditions & the level of civic services available
 If your car gets stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm:
o Remain calm and stay in your car
o Try to move the car away from trees or power lines that might fall on you
o Allow fresh air in your car by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side (away from the wind)
o You can run the car engine ~ 10 minutes every half-hour if the exhaust system is working well
o Beware of exhaust fumes and check the exhaust pipe periodically to make sure it is not blocked with snow. Remember: you can't smell potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes
o To keep your hands and feet warm, exercise them periodically. In general, it is a good idea to keep moving to avoid falling asleep
o If you do try to shovel the snow from around your car, avoid overexerting yourself
· Overexertion in the bitter cold can cause death as a result of sweating or a heart attack
o Keep watch for traffic or searchers.
 If you live on a farm, shelter animals:
o Generally, if the structure is sound, the animals should be placed indoors
o Once they are inside, secure all openings to the outside
o The sheltering should be ordered and completed before similar action is taken for humans
o Water supplies should be checked for freezing. Many animals have died of thirst during the winter, even with abundant water sources, because they could not drink the water as it was frozen solid.
 Prepare for Power Outages and Blocked Roads
o Winds, ice and snow tend to bring down power lines
o Make sure that you have an emergency kit (see Page 6)
 Staying warm when the power goes out may be a problem
o Be prepared with alternative heat sources and plenty of blankets
Winter Storm Preparation R.M. of Corman Park Created January 2011 Page 16

 Stock up on shovels and snow removal equipment before the snow storm
 Be sure you know how to open your garage door manually
 Cover the windows and spaces around the doors to keep drafts at a minimum in the event the heat shuts off
 Regular fuel sources may be cut off
o Have an adequate supply of alternate fuel sources available
o If you have a fireplace or a wood burning stove, stock up on dry seasoned wood
 If you live in an area that gets bad storms regularly, consider investing in an emergency generator
 A cellular phone is a 'hot' commodity for the snowbound. If you have a cell phone, make sure it is charged and easy to find. Even if the phone and power lines go out you can get word out that you are stranded and need help.

3.2 Before an Ice Storms
 Ice from freezing rain accumulates on branches, power lines and buildings. If you must go outside when a significant amount of ice has accumulated, pay attention to branches or wires that could break due to the weight of the ice and fall on you. Ice sheets could also do the same.
 Never touch power lines
o A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you would run the risk of electrocution
o Remember also that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the precipitation
 When freezing rain is forecast, avoid driving
o Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery
o Wait several hours after freezing rain ends so that road maintenance crews have enough time to spread sand or salt on icy roads.
 Rapid onsets of freezing rain combined with the risks of blizzards increase the chances for extreme hypothermia
o If you live on a farm, move livestock promptly to shelter where feed is available
o Forage is often temporarily inaccessible during and immediately after ice storms
o Animal reactions to ice storms are similar to that of blizzards

3.3 During a Blizzard/Ice Storm/Winter Storm
 If you must go to the outbuildings, dress for the weather
 If you lose Heat/Power
o Insulate your pipes so they do not freeze
o Consider letting your faucets drip a little if the temperature drops below freezing
· Moving water will not freeze as fast as standing water
· Keep a supply of antifreeze on hand to protect plumbing from freezing
o Know where your water main valve shut off is located and how to turn it off if a pipe does break or you are unable to have your faucets drip

3.4 After a Blizzard/Winter/Ice Storm
 Assess the damage to your property, if any
 Check out local media regularly for the level of civic services available
o If you must travel, plan your route accordingly. The first priority for snow clearing is to ensure movement of traffic on the major roads and access to emergency locations
 Exercise caution and care when shoveling snow, especially during very cold weather
A winter storm/blizzard/ice storm may lead to power outages.
Most power outages will be over almost as soon as they begin, but some can last much longer – up to days or even weeks, ESPECIALLY in rural areas. Power outages are often caused by freezing rain, sleet storms and/or high winds which damage power lines/poles and equipment. Poles may be damaged by vehicles losing control and running into them causing power outages. Cold snaps can also overload the electric power system.
During a power outage, you may be left without heating, lighting, hot water, or even running water. If you only have a cordless phone, you will also be left without phone service. If you do not have a battery-powered or crank radio, you may have no way of monitoring news broadcasts. In other words, you could be facing major challenges. You can greatly lessen the impact of a power outage by taking the time to prepare in advance. You and your family should be prepared to cope on your own during a power outage for at least 72 hours.
 You can install a non-electric standby stove or heater
 Choose heating units that are not dependent on an electric motor, electric fan, or some other electric device to function
 It is important to adequately vent the stove or heater with the type of chimney flue specified for it
 Never connect two heating units to the same chimney flue at the same time
 If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned every fall in preparation for use and to eliminate creosote build-up which could ignite and cause a chimney fire.
 If the standby heating unit will use the normal house oil or gas supply, have it connected with shut-off valves by a certified tradesperson.
 Before considering the use of an emergency generator during a power outage, check with furnace, appliance and lighting fixture dealers or manufacturers regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures.
 Program 310-2220 into your cell phone
o This SaskPower phone number is toll-free and dedicated to 24-hour outage reporting
 Keep a corded phone in the house, because cordless phones don't work during power outages
o Program 310-2220 into the phone's memory
 Plug in sensitive electronic equipment (computer, TVs, etc.) through surge-protector power bars
 If you use electronic life-sustaining equipment, make sure to have a back-up power source
o You can register your life-sustaining equipment with SaskPower and be notified of planned power outages
 Make sure you have a Personal Emergency Kit prepared (list on Page 6 of this booklet)
 Keep a supply of antifreeze on hand to protect plumbing from freezing
Winter Storm Preparation R.M. of Corman Park Created January 2011 Page 18
 Determine if the power failure is limited to your home
o If your neighbours have power, check your electrical panel to see if the main circuit breaker has tripped
 Turn the breaker off and back on again to ensure a good connection
 If your electrical panel or main breaker isn't the cause of the outage, call (SaskPower) 310-2220
 Turn off or unplug any appliances or electronics you were using when the power went out
o Leave one light on so you'll know when your power returns
 Keep refrigerators and freezers closed
o If the power is out for a long time, make sure you check all refrigerated and frozen food before you eat it
 Use proper candle holders
o Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children
o Always extinguish candles before going to bed
 Close all doors, windows and drapes to conserve heat (unless the sun is shining in)
 Never light a fire indoors unless you're using an approved fire place or wood stove
 Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector
o If it is hard-wired to the house’s electrical supply, ensure it has a battery-powered back-up
 If you have to Evacuate during a power outage in the winter:
o Turn off the main breaker or switch of the circuit-breaker panel
o Turn off the water main/pipe where it enters the house
o Protect the valve, inlet pipe, meter or pump with blankets or insulation material
o Drain the water from your plumbing system
· Start at the top of the house
· Open taps, flush toilets (several times)
· Go to the basement and open the drain valve
· Drain you hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank valve and running it to the basement floor drain
· If you hot water tank is gas-fired, turn out the pilot light
· Unhook washing machine hoses and drain
o Add a small amount of glycol or antifreeze to water left in toilet bowl(s) and the sink & tub taps
o Do not worry about the small amount of water trapped in horizontal pipes
o If your house is protected from ground water by a sump pump, clear valuables from the basement in case of flooding

Weather Warnings:
 Environment Canada Public Weather Warnings for Saskatchewan http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/warnings/sk_e.html

 The Weather Network’s Page for Alerts: Weather Warnings & Public Alerts http://www.theweathernetwork.com/alerts/?product=alerts

Get Prepared Website: (Federal Government Website), www.GetPrepared.ca

All information in this post is a small part of the following document by the R.M. of Corman Park, an excellent resource. 


posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 24, 2012 07:14

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Record Crowds Attend the Inaugural Saskatchewan Equine Expo

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 21, 2012 12:24

Biosecurity Tool – Does Your Barn get the Green Light?

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 14, 2012 18:37


With all the breaking news on the importance of biosecurity – Isn’t it time to bone up on preventative measures your barn could be taking?   Calculate your horse farm’s risks with Equine Guelph’s Biosecurity Risk Calculator, a tool designed for horse owners to generate a report that grades them on their biosecurity management practices on their farms.  See if you score a green, amber or red light.

Live and online at Biosecurity Calculator, the interactive tool is an educational resource of Equine Guelph (University of Guelph) developed in collaboration with Colorado State University and sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation and Vétoquinol Canada Inc.


"Every horse owner should think about a biosecurity management plan,” says Karen Ann Paradis, Equine Product Manager of Vétoquinol. “Having a solid understanding of equine health, infectious disease and disease control is paramount in reducing biosecurity risk in a high-risk industry."


After taking the 10 minute, 42 question Biosecurity Calculator quiz - turn those amber scores green by increasing your knowledge with Equine Guelph’s biosecurity workshops this March and 2 week e-Session April 16 - 29.    The combined feedback from the Biosecurity Calculator and Equine Guelph’s upcoming programs will provide you with the best practices for decreasing risk of infectious disease in your horse(s).  


To learn more about Equine Guelph’s biocesurity programs visit:    www.EquineGuelph.ca/biosecurity.php

Consistency is Key – Says Racing Surfaces Internationally Acclaimed Publication

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 14, 2012 18:11





A number of factors affect the performance of a racing or training surface according to the well received 34-page “Racing Surfaces White Paper” published in June this year.   This international publication is a survey of current understanding on ways to enhance track safety, and is co-authored by an esteemed panel including: Michael “Mick” Peterson, Ph.D., University of Maine, United States; Lars Roepstorff, DVM, PhD, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; Jeffrey J. Thomason, PhD, University of Guelph, Canada; Christie Mahaffey, MPhil, University of Maine, United States; C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, Colorado State University, United States. 


Though there is still much research to be done since the forming of the racing surfaces committee at the inaugural Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in 2006, this publication will benefit trainers, track superintendants and any person in charge of riding surfaces.  Details of proper maintenance of surfaces and training guidelines can be found, based on the knowledge gained from the researcher’s findings thus far.  The download is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org/resources/White_Paper_final.pdf


Climate and maintenance are two of many factors analyzed by the researchers looking for the best possible training surface conditions to enhance safety for the horse and rider. The Racing Surfaces White Paper publication will have future applications in helping in the design of tracks, in terms of banking and cushioning properties in track surfaces not only in racing but in training as well.  U of G, Co-author Dr. Jeff Thomason notes, “Horse industry leaders, interested in creating an optimum surface to help minimize injuries in the limbs of horses, will be interested in following this research”.


Thomason is pleased to be a part of this White Paper publication. It is the most comprehensive scientific body of research on race tracks to date; yet it is just scratching the surface.  New questions have been cultivated requiring further investigation.  Thomason will continue to be involved with this collaborative research with targeted studies on the effect of racetrack characteristics on the horse-hoof-track interaction.


With so many variables in play the next steps in research are always, short very specific experiments with a narrow focus (e.g., the effect of different height toe grabs or different shoes on the same surface).  “It is only by meticulously piecing together the answers of each precise question that you begin to see the big picture” says Thomason.  Studying the influences of forces and loads and the mechanics of loading on the hoof itself is an integral part of Thomason’s research.  One method used to measure these forces is by gluing lightweight sensors to a horse’s hooves before it goes out to the training track.  These sensors have been used to record two kinds of data: strain and shock. 


With so many track surface options available (including synthetic, dirt or turf), Thomason is often asked what the best option is.  The preponderance of evidence at the moment suggests the consistency of the surface is more important than the material it is made of.  A well-maintained all-weather track is desirable.  The track should be consistent around its circumference.  Three unknown topics requiring further research are:  1) the range of hardness or softness that is not dangerous to the horse.  2) How well does water need to run off a track?    3) Do track surfaces need to have different properties for the impact as opposed to the sliding?  Research proves good maintenance is an extremely important component for providing consistency and improving safety.  Of course, the track has to be well constructed to start with.  Regular maintenance includes light harrowing between races to level the hoof prints left in the ground.  Deeper harrowing, as required, provides a cushion at the top of the surface.  One superintendent reported a 30 - 40% reduction in catastrophic fractures at his track after attending a meeting of superintendents in North America and adopting the consistency maintenance program outlined in the White Paper. 

Climate also plays a vital and complicated role in determining maintenance.  Thomason reminisces, “Where I grew up, in England, the climate consisted of ample rain and you heard about the going being sloppy, firm or good.  This would be a measure of how slippery or firm the track was.”  Conversely California has problems with the surface becoming too dry. Artificial surfaces were designed to give a surface that was consistent.  This has not been achieved yet.  Even artificial surfaces change their properties throughout the day when the sun comes out. In the morning the surface becomes softer and records indicate the racing times slow down throughout the day showing a very local effect of sunny climate on the track. 


Thomason spends much of his time understanding the complexity of how the hoof interacts with the ground from absorbing the shock of impact to the abrasion of grinding into the surface and how the weight of the horse is distributed.  One excerpt of the Whitepaper states:  As the soil or top layer of the turf compacts, it becomes stiffer and more resistant to further compaction, bringing the hoof to a stop (Thomason and Peterson 2008). Once the motion of the hoof has been slowed or has stopped, the weight of the horse is dynamically transferred to the hoof and then to the harder surface material beneath the hoof. This dynamic transfer of the weight of the horse to the hoof is the source of the acceleration, resulting in peak loads which may approach 2.5 times the bodyweight of the horse.


The hardness of the track influences how quickly the foot is decelerated and then the stiffness of the track when the load is being applied. This rate of deceleration controls the strain which is transferred to the leg and results in higher peak loads for stiffer surfaces. Repeated loading to the bone can cause micro fractures and the catastrophic fractures (Radin et al. 1972).  Horses and their owners stand to benefit from this research when new information is discovered regarding how to reduce the factors causing injuries on limbs.


Jeff Thomason’s research has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Equine Guelph and Grayson Jockey Club. 



Biosecurity Workshop @ e-Session Dates Announced by Equine Guelph

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 26, 2012 13:45

January 26, 2012– Find out what steps you can take to protect your barn from sporadic disease, outbreaks and infectious diseases.


“The recent devastating outbreak of EHV-1 in North America has highlighted the importance of infection control and biosecurity, as well as the deficiencies in knowledge and application that are present across the industry,” says Scott Weese, associate professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Guelph.  Proof-positive that the time for prevention has now arrived is the January 2012 biosecurity update from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirming cases of Equine Herpes in Southern Ontario.


Equine Guelph’s “Beat the Bugs with Biosecurity,” program promotes biosecurity throughout all sectors of the horse industry. The program is funded through the Agricultural Biosecurity Program (ABP), part of the Best Practices Suite of programs under Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of several Growing Forward programs in Ontario.


“Increasing knowledge of best biosecurity practices stands to benefit the horse industry by reducing the risk of disease transmission and, in turn, could create a huge positive economic impact and prevent a potential catastrophic outbreak,”  says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker.


The “Beat the Bugs” program includes four workshops, conducted by biosecurity specialists, offered free of charge on a first come, first served basis. The workshops are scheduled as follows:  Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, March 7, 1 – 3pm; Western Fair, London (during Can-Am), March 16, 10am – noon; Kemptville College, Kemptville, March 24, 2 – 4pm; and Georgian Downs, Barrie, March 27, 1:30 – 3:30pm.  Contact Susan Raymond at Equine Guelph, slraymon@uoguelph.ca, to register and for more information.


For those who are looking to take their biosecurity knowledge to the next level, a two-week Equine Biosecurity e-Session is available April 16 – 29 for $75 (plus HST) per person.  Contact Susan Raymond at Equine Guelph, slraymon@uoguelph.ca, to register and for more information.


“Beat the Bugs” has been developed by Equine Guelph with the assistance of its 11 industry partners: American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Colorado State University, Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners, Ontario Equestrian Federation, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, Ontario Veterinary College, Standardbred Canada, Vétoquinol Canada Inc. and Woodbine Entertainment Group.


For more information on the “Beat the Bugs with Biosecurity” initiative, and to view the Biosecurity Risk Calculator, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca/biosecurity.php.






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disease | groom

Biosecurity Update: New EHV-1 case in Canada

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 23, 2012 14:18

   Veterinary Update

Animal Health and Welfare Branch/Office of the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


                                                    January 19, 2012

Confirmed Case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy in Southern Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has been notified of a confirmed case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), caused by equine herpes virus 1 (EHV-1),  in Southern Ontario.  A blood sample from a horse with severe neurological signs tested positive for EHV-1 in early January. The horse was euthanized after its condition deteriorated.  On a second farm in the same area, another horse with similar signs was euthanized in late December.  No samples were collected from that horse.


In 2011, there was one laboratory-confirmed case and one suspect case of EHM in Ontario.


EHV-1 infection in horses can cause respiratory disease, abortion, neonatal foal death, and/or neurological disease.  EHV-1 is not a federally Reportable Disease.  


Because infected horses may show no clinical signs, but still shed the virus, the temperature of suspect animals should be monitored twice daily for 14 -21 days and any abnormalities discussed with a veterinarian. Neurological signs include loss of muscle coordination, lethargy, inability to urinate, reduced tail tone and/or head tilt.  It is important that a veterinarian assess suspect cases of EHM, since it can be difficult to distinguish between this and other serious diseases, such as rabies, that can affect the nervous system in horses.


EHV-1 is easily spread by sharing contaminated equipment, contact with an animal carrying the virus, or by the clothing, hands or equipment of visitors to farms who recently had contact with an infected horse. 


All horse owners should be reminded to practice vaccination and appropriate biosecurity protocols and procedures (see links below) for horses and equipment coming on and off the farm, particularly if traveling to shows or events. 


Current EHV vaccines may reduce viral shedding but are not protective against the neurological form of the disease. Implementing routine biosecurity practices is the best way to minimize the spread of this disease.


Increased vigilance is needed in the equine industry at this time.  In cases of neurological disease, a veterinarian’s first obligation is to rule out rabies if the animal dies or is euthanized, by submitting a brain sample to CFIA. Appropriate personal protection, such as gloves and a face shield, should be used when collecting samples.

The resources listed below contain excellent information on basic biosecurity practices and infection control.


Equine Herpes Virus is an opportunity to remind your clients that the best method of disease control is disease prevention.



























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competition | dressage | employment | groom | disease

American Horse Council's 2012 Immigration Reform Outlook

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 21, 2012 19:58


Despite substantial efforts to recruit and train U.S. workers, horse farms, ranches, horse shows, trainers and others must rely on foreign workers and use both the H-2B and H-2A temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs.  For this reason immigration polices have a profound impact on the horse industry.


In 2011 numerous bills were introduced in the 112th Congress concerning immigration, most enforcement oriented.  Most notably, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885), which would require all employers to use the federal E-verify system to make sure their workers are authorized to work.   The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on this bill and reported it out of committee on September 21.


“In the Summer and Fall we saw a lot of action in Congress on immigration.  Committees in both the House and Senate held numerous hearings and the House Judiciary Committee approved a mandatory E-verify bill. Since then however, there has been little movement on the issue because even Members of Congress who are in favor of beefing up enforcement and passing mandatory E-verify can’t agree on the best way to proceed,” said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass.


In response to concerns that mandatory E-verify would cripple the U.S. agricultural industry several bills, like the American Specialty Agriculture Act (H.R.2847) and the Legal Agricultural Workforce Act (H.R.2895), were introduced.  These bills would create new, less burdensome temporary foreign agricultural worker programs to replace the current H-2A program. However, no consensus emerged on which of the many proposals on the table would  best accommodate the needs of agriculture.


 “It is absolutely vital for the horse industry to have access to functioning, efficient, and cost effective foreign temporary worker programs to meet its labor needs and the horse industry can not support any bill unless it provides for those needs,” said AHC President Jay Hickey. “We would like Congress to reform our system in a comprehensive way.  However, as we enter another election year it is unlikely Congress will have much of a desire to deal with a hot-button issue like immigration.”


“It is likely more immigration bills will be introduced in 2012 and there maybe action taken on specific issues like the H-2B wage rule, but right now it doesn’t look like Congress will take action on major legislation like mandatory E-verify,” said Pendergrass.    


Link to full article on AHC website


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As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.                       

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

American Horse Council Explains Changes in Tax Benefits for Horse Owners

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 21, 2012 19:55

Despite the acrimony and brinksmanship, Congress eventually passed an extension of the payroll tax reductions in late December maintaining the 2% reduction in payroll taxes for workers and the self-employed.  The relief is good for two months through February, 2012.  Negotiations are already underway between the House and Senate to find a way to extend payroll tax relief through 2012.


But the bill ultimately passed by Congress did not extend the Section 179 expense deduction or 100% bonus depreciation at the 2011 levels.  Both provisions have returned to prior lower levels. 


Section 179 Expense Deduction


The expense deduction has returned to $125,000 for 2012 and phases out dollar-for-dollar once purchases of depreciable property reach $500,000.  The 179 expense deduction applies to horses, farm equipment and other depreciable property used in a business and permits a horse owner or breeder to write-off up to $125,000 in assets purchased and placed in service in one’s horse business in 2012. 


The expense allowance for 2010-2011 was $500,000 and phased out after purchases exceeded $2 million.


Bonus Depreciation


In addition, bonus depreciation has returned to 50% for 2012.  Bonus depreciation allows horse owners and other horse businesses to write off 50% of the cost of “new” capital assets, including horses, when purchased and placed in service in 2012.  To be eligible for bonus depreciation the original use of the property must commence with the taxpayer.  Any prior use makes the property ineligible.


Bonus depreciation was 100% for eligible assets purchased and placed in service from September 8, 2010 through 2011.


Both provisions can be used together.


Retroactive Change is Possible


“It is possible that the higher levels could be reinstated retroactively to January 1, 2012.  In fact, the House-passed payroll-tax bill extended 100% bonus depreciation through 2012, even though the Senate bill did not,” said AHC president Jay Hickey.  “The negotiations between now and the end of February on the one-year extension of the payroll tax reduction could include other changes to the tax code, such as the expense deduction or bonus depreciation.  But this is speculation at this point.”


Link to full article on AHC website


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As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.                       

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.


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American Horse Council Helps YOU to connect with Congress

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 21, 2012 07:45

Despite the low approval ratings for Congress, Americans are still interested in what Congress is doing.  Why?  Because what Congress does - or does not do - impacts the horse industry.  This is true regardless of your breed or discipline, whether you are an individual owner, run a track or show, own a horse business, work in the industry as a service provider or ride for recreation. 


It is important that we build relationships with our elected leaders in Washington and that they understand and appreciate the $102 billion horse industry’s contribution to the economic, sporting and recreational sectors of the U.S. and their states.  2012 is a terrific opportunity to do this because it is an election year and so many members of Congress and new candidates are running for federal office and they want to meet you.


One of the best ways to build a relationship is to simply invite a member of Congress to your farm or ranch or to an equestrian event back in the district or state.  Invite other horse people so there is a built-in crowd of voters.  A personal experience with the horse community makes an impression. 


All across the country there are farms and ranches getting ready for the breeding season, a great time to showcase the industry.  There are horse shows, large and small, races, rodeos, organized and disorganized trail rides, horse sales, etc. Each of these events is an opportunity to build a relationship with a member of Congress or a candidate and to help them understand the horse industry a little bit better.  Remember that going to a horse farm or event is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  Having voters there makes it even more pleasant for those running for Congress.  


Building relationships with members of Congress is more important now than ever. There are many issues before Congress such as taxes, federal spending, immigration reform and racing legislation, trails legislation and disease programs that could all have profound implications for the horse industry. Only by having personal exchanges with their constituents, who are involved with the horse industry, will members of Congress fully appreciate how these issues impact the industry.    


If you would like to invite a member of Congress to your facility or your organization has an upcoming event you think would be appropriate for your Senator or Representative to attend, please contact the AHC.  The AHC will help you invite them and provide any guidance you might need.  You can call or email the AHC at (202) 296-4031 or AHC@horsecouncil.org  for help.  Ask for our brochure, Getting Involved in the 2012 Elections, which will give you some pointers. 


Please get involved.  You will be helping yourself and your industry.  And remember that while Congress’ approval rating as a whole is very low, polls still show that most people feel their Senator or Representative is doing a good job so you might even enjoy the visit.  They will.


Link to full article on AHC website


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As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.                       

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

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