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Updated: 4 hours 53 min ago

A Life-Threatening Diagnosis–Gutteral Pouch Mycosis

Mon, 2019-06-03 17:57

The first sign is often a simple trickle of blood dripping down from a horse’s nostril. Often dismissed as something as simple as allergies or a broken blood vessel from bumping their head, when the cause is guttural pouch mycosis, the trickle of blood can become a stream and soon a gush in a matter of days, if not hours or minutes.

Guttural pouches are unique to a small number of animals, including horses. Located beneath the ear near the throatlatch on each side of a horse’s head, guttural pouches are sacs of air that are lined with a thin membrane and expand from the Eustachian tube. Just beneath the membrane lining run the internal carotid, external carotid and maxillary arteries, which supply blood to a horse’s brain and head, as well as nerves associated with the head and throat that control basic functions such as swallowing, facial movements and upper airway reflexes.

Guttural pouch mycosis is a fungal infection of one or both of a horse’s guttural pouches commonly caused by the Aspergillus fungus (though can be associated with other fungi) that affects the lining of the guttural pouch by forming plaques that can damage these critical arteries and nerves. These plaques can slowly erode the walls of arteries nerves and causing a life-threatening hemorrhage or significant nerve damage that can impede a horse’s ability breathe or swallow properly.

“Fungus is a feeder–it can eat through arteries and nerves, as well as create inflammation around an affected area that can then impact the nerves,” said Nathan Slovis, DVM, Director of the McGee Center at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and member of the practice. “While many may not be familiar with it, guttural pouch mycosis is not uncommon. It is more prevalent in the Southern U.S., where the warmer temperatures and more humid climate create a more favorable environment for fungus to proliferate, but it can affect horses here in Kentucky and up north as well.”

While often the first reported symptom of a horse with guttural pouch mycosis is bleeding from the nose due to the fungus having eroded through the wall of a blood vessel (the reason I said this is because it can also erode veins and arteries (and a horse may experience multiple minor nose bleeds prior to a fatal hemorrhage), Slovis says there are several other possible symptoms that can suggest an infection of the guttural pouch.

“When you see excessive coughing due to the consistent dorsal displacement of the soft palate, that can be an indication to take a look at the guttural pouches. Other symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, food material coming out of their nose or chronic nasal discharge–not just blood, but mucus–coming out of one nostril,” said Slovis. “The key sign is the mucus or discharge coming out of just one nostril consistently. It is possible for both guttural pouches to become infected, but typically it is just one, whereas horses with pneumonia that present with nasal discharge usually have mucus coming from both nostrils.”

Other less common clinical symptoms of a guttural pouch infection include a drooping eyelid, constricted pupil, a sunken eye, patchy sweating affecting only one side of the neck and irregular head posture.

Guttural pouch mycosis can be diagnosed through an endoscopic exam. Fungal plaques appear overtop of blood vessels and/or nerves as black, tan or white membranes.

If the fungus has not yet compromised the nerves or arteries, Slovis says the condition can be treated medically by lavaging the guttural pouch with antifungal medication and using a topical antifungal on the guttural pouch anywhere from three to seven times a week, depending on the severity.

“The risk with treating the disease medically is that you can’t kill the fungus immediately. You have to treat a horse for four to five weeks or more, and during the treatment process the fungus can continue to do harm and cause a bleed or nerve damage,” he said.

Slovis says the preferred method to treat guttural pouch mycosis is to surgically insert a coil or a balloon into the affected blood vessel to quickly cut off the blood supply. If and when the fungus compromises the integrity of the blood vessel, there is no blood supply. Typically, once the blood supply has been removed, the fungus regresses.

“While I prefer to use a coil if we diagnose a patient prior to a hemorrhage, if we receive a horse with guttural pouch mycosis that is already bleeding out, we stabilize the horse and put them on coagulants to clot the blood, then rush them to surgery to perform the embolization with a balloon,” said Slovis. “If the owner cannot afford this type of surgery, we can also try using drugs like Tranexamic Acid, which is also used in human medicine, to clot the blood. This can be dangerous because we know at this point the blood vessel has already been significantly weakened.”

The prognosis and recovery process for horses with guttural pouch mycosis can vary greatly and is dependent on what structures were compromised by the infection. If the fungus affected only an artery, the recovery time can take weeks– possibly more in more severe cases. In horses whose symptoms included nerve damage, more extensive long-term care may be necessary, including the insertion of a feeding tube or performing a tracheostomy to allow the horse to breathe properly.

“Nerve injury is the worst. It’s a whole different category as far as recovery goes. It can take several months or even a year, if the horse is able to recover at all,” he said.


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Belmont Buzz: Everfast Works; Joevia, Tax Confirmed

Mon, 2019-06-03 16:39

Calumet Farm’s Everfast (Take Charge Indy), a fast-finishing longshot second in the GI Preakness S., completed serious preparations for a start in Saturday’s GI Belmont S. when working five furlongs in 1:01 flat (7/16) Monday morning at Churchill Downs. The Dale Romans trainee clocked splits of :12.80, :24.40 and :48.60 seconds before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.60 and seven panels in 1:28 flat under exercise rider Faustino Aguilar. The colt previously worked a half-mile in :50 1/5 (23/35) just five days prior at Churchill.

“Everfast worked great today,” Romans said. “It’s a mile and a half race, so we crammed two works back to back to make sure he is plenty fit. The way he worked out there this morning, he looked great. He went even early and finished fast and didn’t want to pull up, which might be key going into the Belmont.”

Elsewhere, Michael and Jeff Fazio’s Joevia (Shanghai Bobby) was confirmed as a Belmont starter by trainer Gregory Sacco. Demoted to 11th after interfering with horses on the first turn of the GII Wood Memorial S., the dark bay rebounded to capture the Long Branch S. May 12 at Monmouth. Jose Lezcano will ride.

Tax (Arch), 14th in the GI Kentucky Derby last out, is also slated to start in the Belmont, according to trainer Danny Gargan. The gelding drilled four furlongs in :49 flat (33/68) Saturday at Big Sandy. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will have the call.

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Letter to the Editor: Ben Walden

Mon, 2019-06-03 14:30

How important was Sid Fernando’s TDN article of last Friday on the subject of Lasix? Let’s be honest. In recent times, we have seen a variance of political correctness within our beloved industry, similar to that which has overtaken culture and society at large today. And in both cases, both sides are motivated by a genuine concern for its subject. When it comes to the men and women of the horse industry, that concern is for their horses. What concerns me is that much like what’s happened in America, one side of the debate on Lasix has become more and more reticent to speak up. In light of this, I was grateful to read Sid’s column on the subject. In the past year I have spoken to several knowledgeable horsemen and horsewomen who believe that Lasix is a blessing to our racehorses for many of the reasons that were articulated in Sid’s article. But each one of them expressed a reluctance to share that position for reasons of political correctness.

Like it or not, our thoroughbred racehorses bleed. They have bled. They will continue to bleed. As a horseman, I believe this option of treatment is the kindest and most effective way to go…the alternatives being horses bleeding profusely whether in training or in the afternoon, or “old-school” practices that horsemen and horsewomen would be left with if Lasix were taken out of the equation, or expensive alternatives only a few would be able to employ for reasons of cost. There is no doubt that the men and women pushing for abolishing current Lasix parameters love their horses. But no more than those who understand this treatment to the fullest and advocate for it. And there is another side of this debate, and that is the horsemen and horsewomen themselves that would be significantly hurt by this change. Most of them are “bread-and-butter” folks that love racing, love their horses, and sustain the industry below the top. Their voices aren’t as loud in most cases. But they are horse trainers and horse owners who are often more in touch with the realities of this debate than anyone.

Lastly, I have two thoughts to add. First, let the opinions of the veterinarians and the horsemen on the front line carry significant weight in this discussion. And second, why don’t we spend our hard-earned energy, time, and money developing a better treatment for this malady in our horses, instead of doing away with the only known way to humanely help them before we have solutions? Finally, we have a lot of issues to solve outside of this one that, in my opinion, are far more pressing to our industry in this very fragile time.

Ben Walden
Walden Bloodstock

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TDN Wins Six Awards at the AHP

Sun, 2019-06-02 19:49

The TDN took home several honors in Saturday night’s American Horse Publication’s Equine Media Awards. Dan Ross won first prize in the News Reporting Related Feature Single Article with his “Bellocq Embracing Calmer Waters in New Recovery Phase,” which appeared in the August 19 TDN, telling the story of the San Luis Rey fire survivor Martine Bellocq. Diana Pikulski’s series, On Aftercare, took home third-place in the Equine Related Editorial Series. Patty Wolfe and Emma Berry’s recap of the Palio took home second place in the Publishing Media Equine Related Video category, while Bill Finley’s TDN Podcast with John Gosden was third in the Podcast category. The TDN Weekend design took home third place in the Publication Cover Page category, an award which went to Justin Fowler, designer; and Fowler also brought home an honorable mention for design of Kelsey Riley’s story on the Mongolian Derby, the Wild Wild Steppe.

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Maximum Security Breezes; Next Start Still Uncertain

Sun, 2019-06-02 18:52

Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security (New Year’s Day), last seen crossing the wire first before being disqualified to 17th in the GI Kentucky Derby, breezed at Monmouth Park Sunday morning, his second significant bit of activity since the Derby. In the typical fashion of his trainer Jason Servis’s works, the activity was more of a two-minute luck than a standard breeze and went unpublished on the worktab.

“He looked great,” said Servis. “He went a mile in 1:58 and galloped out a mile and an eighth in 2:10. He wasn’t blowing at all and he seemed to cool out good.”

Servis added that Maximum Security’s next start is up in the air, but will come at the seaside track, either in the Pegasus S. June 16 or the GI Haskell Invitational July 20.

“I haven’t made a decision yet [on the horse’s next start],” he said. “We’ll take it race by race, whether it’s the Pegasus or the Haskell. I probably won’t make a decision until his next breeze. We’ll probably send him out again in seven, eight or nine days.”


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Super Saver’s Super Comet ‘Stars’ Under Twin Spires

Sun, 2019-06-02 18:23

With a name like his, it was only fitting that newcomer Super Comet (Super Saver–Sky Dreamer, by Sky Mesa) be named a ‘TDN Rising Star’ for his auspicious debut under the Twin Spires Sunday afternoon. Let go at 9-1 facing a number of foes with solid established form, the Mark Casse-trained John Oxley homebred was one of the slowest away but rushed his way up through horses to sit fourth out wide down the backstretch behind a :22.80 opening quarter. He mounted a four-wide bid into a :45.92 half, and was one of four in with a chance as noses pointed for home. He hit the front leaving the eighth pole, and from there found another gear to widen his advantage to 4 3/4 lengths at the finish. Young Philip (Gemologist), who was third in the Santa Anita slop on debut Feb. 2 before going one better on GI Kentucky Derby day May 4, was second. The winner is a half to Kimbear (Temple City), GSW-UAE & GSP-U.S., $542,267 and a 2-year-old filly by Hard Spun. Under second dam To Dream About (Monarchos) is Oxley’s GISW Dream Dancing (Tapit) and recent GIII Pat Day Mile S. third and fellow Churchill debut winner and ‘Rising Star’ Dream Maker (Tapit). Super Comet’s third dam is none other than MGISW and champion older mare Beautiful Pleasure (Maudlin).

10th-Churchill Downs, $97,187, Msw, 6-2, 3yo/up, 7f, 1:22.85, ft.
SUPER COMET, c, 3, Super Saver
1st Dam: Sky Dreamer (GSP, $176,065), by Sky Mesa
2nd Dam: To Dream About, by Monarchos
3rd Dam: Beautiful Pleasure, by Maudlin
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $54,848. Click for the chart or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O/B-John C. Oxley (KY); T-Mark E. Casse.


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McCraken Half Sis Named ‘Rising Star’ Like Big Bro

Sun, 2019-06-02 17:24

Whitham Thoroughbreds homebred With Dignity (Declaration of War–Ivory Empress, by Seeking the Gold) followed in big brother McCraken (Ghostzapper)’s hoofsteps Sunday to garner the ‘TDN Rising Star’ nod at Churchill Downs. The sophomore filly belied 17-1 odds and her conditioner’s notorious patience to rally and graduate at 17-1 odds sprinting here May 11. Backed at 3-5 odds on the stretch-out and having worked a bullet breeze in the interim, she turned in another extremely impressive showing under the Twin Spires despite a less-than-ideal trip. Awkward into stride, the dark bay was taken back after being hung wide around the first turn. She was forced to tap on the breaks heading down the backside and was relegated to last. Starting to inch clear but still with plenty of work to do behind a half in :48.96 and six panels in 1:13.42, she was forced to wait for a seam at the head of the lane. Pilot Julien Leparoux worked her out into the clear by midstrech, and from there With Dignity exploded, gobbling up rivals down the center of the track under hands and heels to post the head-turning 3 1/4-length tally. Jo Marie (Elusive Quality) completed the exacta.

In addition to being a half to McCraken, MGSW & GISP, $869,728–who was a five-time Churchill winner himself and who is finishing up his first year at stud at Airdrie–With Dignity is half to Bondurant (War Front), MGSP, $250,379. Her GSP dam, a daughter herself of GSW Madame Pandit (Wild Again) and a half to GISW Mea Domina (Dance Brightly), has an unraced 2-year-old filly named Four Graces (Majesticperfection) and a yearling colt by Into Mischief. She most recently visited Empire Maker.

With the win on With Dignity, Leparoux becomes the seventh jockey to ride 900 winners under the Twin Spires.

“It was great to win number 900 for [trainer] Ian Wilkes,” Leparoux said. “He’s supported me a lot in my career and this filly is very nice. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with her in stakes company down the road.”

8th-Churchill Downs, $96,178, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($75,000), 6-2, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.03, ft.
WITH DIGNITY, f, 3, Declaration of War
1st Dam: Ivory Empress, by Seeking the Gold
2nd Dam: Madame Pandit, by Wild Again
3rd Dam: Tuesday Evening, by Nodouble
Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $104,496. Click for the chart or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O/B-Whitham Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Ian R. Wilkes.


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Tacitus Records Bullet in Final Belmont Tune-Up

Sun, 2019-06-02 15:57

Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Tacitus (Tapit), with Jose Ortiz up for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.42 (1/16) Sunday morning at Belmont in preparation for Saturday’s GI Belmont S.

Working in company with Juddmonte maiden Tide of the Sea (English Channel), the third finisher in the GI Kentucky Derby galloped out well in front of his workmate.

“He was moving very good, very level and very even. He went along in ’12s’ every furlong and went out strong enough,” said Mott. “It was very similar to last week. Once he gets in his rhythm he moves very nicely.”

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Medal Count Gets First Winner at Monmouth

Sun, 2019-06-02 14:58

5th-Monmouth, $48,350, Msw, 6-2, 2yo, 4 1/2f, :52.75, ft.
GIN AND PLATONIC (c, 2, Medal Count–Blue Samurai, by Orientate), 2-1 while bidding to become the first winner for his freshman sire (by Dynaformer), dueled and dug in to prevail Sunday at the shore. Breaking from the rail, the :10 flatOBSMAR breezer was quickest from the gate and immediately opened up a clear advantage. Longshot Shield of Faith (King Puma) soon rushed up to challenge, and that pair engaged in a stretch-long battle that saw Gin and Platonic edge away by a half-length. The winner’s dam produced a Goldencents filly last term before being bred back to Fed Biz. Sales history: $2,500 Ylg ’18 FTKFEB; $3,200 RNA Ylg ’18 OBSOCT; $45,000 2yo ’19 OBSMAR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $27,000. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Mr. Amore Stable; B-Allen Poindexter, Kevin Welsh & Deann Baer (KY); T-Kelly J. Breen.


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