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Straw bedding and dry hay ‘significant risk factors’ for equine IAD
In the study, straw bedding and dry hay feeding represented significant risk factors for IAD.

Researchers perform clinical exam on more than 700 active horses

Straw bedding and dry hay feed are significant risk factors for equine Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD) and should not be used in performance horses, a new study has concluded.

Scientists writing in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine assessed the presence of fungi in respiratory samples of 731 active horses with signs of respiratory disease or poor performance.

For each case, a clinical examination, an airway endoscopy, a tracheal wash (TW) and a bronchoalveolar lavage were performed. The researchers also collected data regarding the type of bedding (straw, wood shavings, and other) and hay forage (dry hay, moistened hay, damped hay, steamed hay, or haylage).

'In our study, straw bedding and dry hay feeding represented significant risk factors for IAD and for the presence of fungal elements in equine airways,' the authors conclude. Their use cannot be recommended in performance horses.

'Fungal spores naturally contaminate hay and straw during harvest. The storage of hay and straw can also lead to an exponential increase in fungal proliferation within the batches.'

Conversely, researchers found that wood shavings decreased the risk of IAD and the detection of fungal particles in the airways. The use of high‐temperature hay steaming also appeared to have a protective effect against the development of the condition.

'Hay steaming has been shown to significantly reduce bacterial as well as fungal contamination and could be an effective means to improve the hygiene of forage," the authors continue.

'Interestingly, soaking the hay, which is often recommended as a protective measure for horses with respiratory inflammation, did not significantly decrease the risk of being IAD nor the risk of having fungal elements in the airways.'

The study was conducted by scientists from The Equine Sports Medicine Practice, Waterloo, Belgium. 

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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.