Inspectors to be placed, barrel races, net wrap warning, pigeon fever on the upswing |

Inspectors to be placed, barrel races, net wrap warning, pigeon fever on the upswing

It sure feels like summertime now. I can’t believe that July is already here and well under way. I keep checking the calendar but they’re still making them with 12 months. My problem is that several months seem to blur together these days.

There’s good news, though to be read with caution, from the horse processing front. The USDA has finally decided that they need to obey the law and put inspectors in the plants. Valley Meats have waited over a year for this final step and are going to begin hiring the 40-100 employees that will be needed to operate the Roswell, N.M. plant. The plant’s attorney, Blair Dunn, says that they hope to open in July. He also said that the litigation with USDA will continue over their failure to comply with the law for over 14 months and to hold USDA accountable for it’s politically motivated reasons for delaying/refusing the grant of inspection. The ag committee and the president are urging Congress to remove funding for horse processing from the ag bill, so, we need to keep the pressure on. You can bet that the HSUS and other animal rights groups will be.

Congrats to the Y6 Livestock team from Hyannis, Neb., on their third place finish at the Colorado Springs, Colo., WRCA Ranch Rodeo. The good hands are Wade Kramer (owner), Shane Gorwill, Brent Neal and Jessie Hefner.

The 2nd Annual Evelyn John Memorial Barrel Race will be Aug. 9 at the Rounds Arena, Central States Fairgrounds, Rapid City, .S.D. There will be exhibitions from 4-6 p.m., then at 6:45, youth 14 and under will compete The 5D will start at 7 p.m. It is NWBRA approved. There will be a drawing for a beautiful star quilt and a silent auction with proceeds going to Women Against Violence. Contact Donna March at 605-890-1100 or Gale Beebe at 605-673-4020.

The 7th Annual McCrossan Boys Ranch Beauty and the Beast Xtreme Event Challenge will be held at Sioux Falls, S.D., on Aug. 24. There will be barrels (UBRA approved), bulls, and the “Wildest Show On Wool” mutton bustin.’ For more information or entry in the barrel race, contact Brenda Weber at 605-421-1267 or 605-425-2247, email Entries must be postmarked by Aug. 17.

Hay feeding season is about past for most of us, but this info is important because of the time delay involved. The round bales that are put up with the net wrap are the concern and if the wrap isn’t all removed from the bale, it can get mixed in the hay. If a horse eats it, it can form a very hard impaction in the colon. It seems to bind with the solid contents of the colon into a mass that becomes impacted in the large colon and obstructs the lumen. Surgery is required to remove it, which is expensive and sometimes the horse doesn’t survive even with the surgery. Just be very careful that every little bit of the net is gone before feeding that hay.

This time of year, especially in the more arid areas of the west, dryland distemper of “pigeon fever” can break out in horses. It seems to be on the rise in the western states with cases reported in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado, plus most other states west of the Missouri. Called pigeon fever by many, it has nothing to do with pigeons, but often appears as a large swelling on the chest of a horse, thus looking like the puffed chest of a pigeon. The swelling is an abscess and is also found along the mid-line of the belly. It is a serious condition and needs treatment immediately. The infection can manifest in various ways. Besides the aforementioned swelling, it can happen internally in the liver, lungs, kidneys and spleen, which is very hard to diagnose and happens in about 10 percent of cases and can be fatal. In the ulcerative lymphangitis form, horses develop swelling along the lower legs as well as oozing sores. This form is less common but very painful. The deep tissue abscesses are the hardest to diagnose properly because the symptoms can mimic many other conditions and lameness. Internal abscesses can be spotted with ultrasound.

Not much is certain about what causes it and the infection can live in the soil for a long time. Some fly species can carry the bacterium through bites when they have been in contact with infected soil or from an infected horse’s discharge from the abscesses. It’s not believed that the disease is highly contagious from horse to horse so quarantine isn’t usually called for if there is good fly control and the discharge from the abscesses is contained and disposed of. Cattle can get the same strain as horses, and though sheep can also get it, it is a different variety.

Treatment of the external abscesses includes lancing and draining the pus from the site, making sure to keep the pus contained for disposal. It’s very important to keep the pus from dripping all over, thus contaminating the soil and any feeders and equipment used around the horse. Testing a sample can aid in choosing the right antibiotic to treat the infection.

Well, ending on that gross note, I think I’ll call this circle ridden.

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