AQHA Disease Panel Testing


Anyone else receive this form from the AQHA lately in their mail?

It’s that time of year again. Before the mad rush of the Christmas season begins, it’s time for me to get all of my records in order with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Time to get the foals registered (before they become 7 months of age), time to ask questions for any of the straggling documents I’m still waiting to receive, and time to register all of the stallion breedings. November 30 is an important deadline for stallion owners as all AQHA stallion breeding reports and AQHA Incentive Fund stallion nomination forms must be postmarked on or before November 30, 2014 – or a late fee may be incurred.

Photo by Natalie Jackman,

Photo by Natalie Jackman,


One of the newest developments for Quarter Horse breeders in the last year has been that all stallions that bred 25 or more mares in 2014 are now required to have their five-panel disease test results on file, as per Rule REG108.5 in the 2014 AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations. Going forward to 2015, all breeding stallions (regardless of how many mares they bred in 2015) must be tested.

A DNA Kit ready for submission, complete with a DNA sample.

A DNA Kit ready for submission, complete with a DNA sample.

Personally, I think this is a very welcome development in our industry. It helps owners and breeders make informed decisions. To facilitate this, AQHA offers a five-panel test for HYPP, PSSM1, MH, GBED and HERDA (also known as “The Big 5”). The test results will be public, available by request from AQHA and eventually will be printed on horses’ AQHA registration certificates.

And as we’ve seen in many stallion advertisements, if the results are “clean” owners are now proudly detailing the fact that they’ve had their horses tested and hanging the results out for everyone to see.

DNA testing may also be required of other horses depending upon the rules. Refer the AQHA Official Handbook for complete information or contact AQHA Customer Service at (806) 376-4811 for more information.

Panel testing for The Big 5 costs $85 US. A Panel test plus DNA test costs $105. Non-members can also have the test done on their horse(s) for $125.

Disease panel test kits can be ordered online at

To learn more about submitting online reports, visit, and for questions concerning stallion breeding reports, contact [email protected] AQHA customer service representatives are available until midnight November 30, to answer SBR questions.

I’m curious to see how the new ruling for stallions to be Disease Panel tested in 2015 will affect our breeding industry. As always, if you have any thoughts on the subject we welcome them in the comments section below.

– JW

Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo by Natalie Jackman of

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful ladies out there! If you’ve been following along to My Stable Life this week, you’ll know that because today is a special day, I have a big announcement to make – the winner of 2 tickets to Odysseo!

But first, in honor of today I have a few foal pictures I’d love to share with you, snapped by my friend Natalie Jackman of Have Dog Photography.

I hope all you Mother’s out there get a chance for some time in the sun with your kidlets. Perhaps you can delight in some flowers as well!

Photo by Natalie Jackman

Maybe your kids will take a nap, offering you the chance at some precious “Mommy Time.”


Since this is what life as a Mother looks like for me…


I awoke to the squeal of a smoke detector this morning. That was quickly followed by the beckon of a fire truck’s siren at my front door. I’m sure y’all with kids can relate…?

If not, you can most certainly connect to this. The constant, Mad-Dash to here and there:


Or there are days when you wanna pull your hair out, or let it down. Whichever comes first:


And then there are the days that look like this:


Or better yet, this:


And while we all know not every moment is as tranquil as this:


Whenever and wherever kids are concerned, hilarity usually ensues.


“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest-salaried jobs … since the payment is pure love.” — Mildred B. Vermont


Happy Mother’s Day! And oh yeah, the winner of 2 tickets to Odysseo? Congratulations Melissa Cockle! You will be seeing the fabulous 6D show in Calgary! Please contact [email protected] for details on receiving your prize.

Colostrum Bank

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

The loss of a mare that relates to her foaling experience is heartbreaking, especially when it should be a time of celebration. In such situations, it may also be necessary to locate colostrum within the first 24 hours to provide the orphan foal with the immunity it requires.

In 1997, Albertan Peter Hurst created With support from Alberta breeders, it has become a successful resource for mare owners.

Since 1997, Cyberfoal has been providing a central location to breeders willing to distribute or acquire mares’ colostrum. When time is of importance, this voluntary service contributes to the survival of many newborn foals.

Most pregnant mares produce colostrum and, when collected, filtered and frozen, many foals can benefit.

Collection takes but minutes to perform and can remain frozen for up to two years. How to collect colostrum is explained on the Cyberfoal website.

Each year, Cyberfoal receives more requests for colostrum than becomes available. The requests for foster mares are less frequent. These unprecedented statistics continue each year, because colostrum collection is at the breeders’ discretion.

Find out more about how you can help at Cyberfoal.

Weanling Woes

photo by Jenn Webster.


Avoid fretting, but be aware of what scenarios are cause for concern in the weanling. Laid out here, are eight issues commonly seen in weanling horses, along with explanations to help you tell if you need to worry or not.

1. Not eating feed

It is not at all uncommon for young horses, especially those that have just been weaned, to be hesitant to eat new sources of food. Like little children, they like what they know, and any new food – whether it be hay, grain or apples or anything else – is likely to be suspect. They may be curious enough to taste new things but then spit them out, even treats that adult horses would turn somersaults for. Rest assured that in most cases, they will soon get used to new feeds, usually within a few days to a week. Also keep in mind the fact that small horses have small stomachs, so they tend to get full on much less than an adult horse would, which can sometimes make us think that they aren’t eating enough.

Don’t worry as long as the youngster is eating some hay and/or grass and seems bright and energetic. As Michael Peron, DVM, of Surrey, BC says, “If there is a change of feed and they are reluctant to eat a particular new feed stuff, I wouldn’t be concerned. Fussiness and unfamiliarity will usually give way to curiosity and hunger soon enough.” Feed good quality hay and small amounts of pellets or grain rations as directed by your veterinarian or equine nutritionist, and baby should come around. Try adding a drizzle of molasses over feed to make it especially tempting.

Consult your veterinarian if the youngster won’t eat anything at all for more than a day, seems dull and listless, or if it exhibits signs of colic or other illness. “When a horse doesn’t want to eat at all,” says Dr. Peron, “my concern is that this could be a sign that they are developing some kind of disease, and going off their feed is just the tip of the iceberg.” Not eating for many hours at a time can also lead to ulcers, and conversely, ulcers can cause a horse to go off its feed, so it is good to be familiar with the signs associated with this ailment.

2. Runny nose

Young horses, like little kids, do not have the fully developed immune system of an adult, which leaves them more susceptible to common respiratory infections. Giving a flu/rhino vaccination might seem like a logical way to prevent this, but it is not recommended in most instances. “Generally,” explains Dr. Peron, “we don’t vaccinate weanlings for flu until they are nine or even 12-months-old because the research indicates that they’re not really immunologically able to respond to the flu vaccine before then, and there may actually be some contraindications for giving those vaccines too early.” On its own, a runny nose is not cause for undue alarm. Antibiotics are not usually called for, and most of the time, an otherwise healthy weanling will fight off a minor upper respiratory infection. Allowing it to do so is actually beneficial in helping the young horse to develop its natural immunity. However, a horse with a runny nose should definitely be checked for fever and watched for any other symptoms such as lethargy, coughing or loss of appetite, all of which could indicate a more serious situation.

Don’t worry about a runny nose as long as the weanling is eating well and seems otherwise normal, but do watch to see if it is resolving or not. An ongoing runny nose can indicate a sinus infection or some other kind of problem. A runny nose accompanied by a slightly elevated temperature (normal for weanlings is generally about 101°F, a bit higher than adult horses) is not cause for panic, but you would definitely want to monitor the horse closely.

Consult your veterinarian if the horse develops a high fever (103°F or more), or if a lower grade fever does not resolve within a few days. Also contact your vet if the youngster develops a cough, shallow breathing or other symptoms, or if the nasal discharge is foul smelling. Such symptoms are especially concerning if the horse has been recently shipped, as youngsters are particularly vulnerable to “shipping fever” (pleuropnemonia), which can be very serious. aSays Dr. Peron, “It’s a good idea with any horse that’s been shipped to take its temperature soon after it arrives and continue to monitor it for a few days, just to stay on top of any possibility of shipping fever.”


Most warts clear up on their own within a few months.

3. Warts

Equine warts (viral papillomatosis) are small bumps on the skin caused by the equine papilloma virus. They are most often found on the muzzle and lower part of the head, and they are extremely common in horses aged six months to three years. Though not pretty, they are almost never more than a cosmetic problem and will generally go away without treatment in three to four months. Because they are viral in origin, the warts are highly contagious to other horses who have not been exposed to the virus (most have been by age five), but they are not contagious to humans.

Don’t worry in general about these warts. Though they share some physical characteristics with verucous sarcoids (and it is easy enough to confuse the two), a young horse is far more likely to have warts than sarcoids. “On your list of things to be concerned about, warts should be at the very bottom,” says Dr. Peron.

Consult your veterinarian only if the warts appear to be causing pain, look like they are becoming infected, or show no signs of abating after four or five months.

4. Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are common in weanlings, with estimates putting the numbers at up to 50 per cent. The stress of weaning itself, along with changes in diet and transportation, can lead to ulcers in these youngsters. Since most of the symptoms of ulcers can be associated with other problems as well, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is going on without a veterinary examination. “Mild but persistent colic, teeth grinding (bruxia), poor appetite and depression are what I see most commonly associated with ulcers in weanlings,” says Dr. Peron, “but you can also see diarrhea, excess salivation, poor condition or a pot belly appearance”.

Don’t worry if you see mild symptoms off and on for up to a week, especially if the foal has just been weaned, changed feed, or has had to adjust to a new situation. Mild ulcers brought on by such stresses will usually resolve fairly quickly without intervention once the youngster settles into its new routine.

Consult your veterinarian if symptoms are marked, persistent, or continue for longer than a week. “Most ulcers are not terribly serious if they don’t go on for too long,” explains Dr. Peron, “but it is a potentially life-threatening condition. Ulcers by their very nature cause bleeding, and while an older horse can handle that to a certain extent, a young horse can more easily become extremely depressed, run down and anemic.”

5. Hoof changes

The bodies of young horses change and grow at an astonishing rate, and their hooves are no different. In fact, the hooves of a weanling are extremely “plastic”, meaning they can change their shape quite easily in response to external and internal forces. This can be a positive thing if you are trying to correct a problem, but the flip side is that a nice-looking hoof can distort faster than you might think if allowed to become imbalanced. For this reason, states Dr. Peron, “I am a strong advocate of early and frequent hoof care in foals and weanlings.” Young horses also need movement (and lots of it!) to allow the internal structures of their feet to develop properly, preferably on firm or varied terrain. Even if they have that, it is important to keep a close eye on young feet, and get your farrier in there sooner rather than later if you start to see any problems.

Don’t worry if you see jagged edges or snags along the bottom of the hoof wall. This is nature’s way of trimming away excess material, and usually causes no problem for the horse. It is also worth remembering that foals are born with quite “tubular” hooves that may also appear slightly more upright than a normal adult horse’s feet. You should see the more adult “cone” shape starting to be evident by the time the youngster is six or seven months old.

Consult your hoof care professional or veterinarian if you start to see long toes, or very short toes with excessive heel growth (feet too upright), flaring, under-run heels, medial/lateral imbalance, or any other distortion.

6. Diarrhea

A healthy young horse should have normal looking manure – not too hard and not too mushy, but it is not at all uncommon for weanlings to have loose stool on occasion. While this is usually not serious, it can be indicative of a number of problems. It can be brought on from stress or having to adjust to new foods, but persistent diarrhea can be a symptom of a variety of ailments, including parasite infestation. It is therefore important to monitor the horse for other symptoms, keep track of how long the problem goes on, and to assess the degree of looseness.

Don’t worry if the stool is merely soft or loose, but the horse is otherwise normal. If you see this kind of manure, Dr. Peron advises that you monitor the horse’s temperature, appetite and attitude, and just ensure that the horse stays clean. “You can put some Vaseline on their rear ends so that it doesn’t stick to them,” he says, “and you should see things clear up within a few days if the horse is just reacting to a stressful event or a change in diet.”

Consult your veterinarian if there are other symptoms present or the stool is very watery and this persists for more than a day. When it comes to young horses getting the runs, less is more – meaning the less firm the manure is, the more seriously you should take it. Says Dr. Peron, “Persistent liquid manure is a concern because young horses are very susceptible to dehydration. I would also get on it if a horse is off its food, depressed or lethargic, or if there is a fever associated with the loose manure.”

7. Cuts and Scrapes

One of the greatest pleasures of having weanlings is watching them leaping, running and bucking with the irrepressible exuberance of youth. However, that same exuberance can lead to bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes, some of which may require serious attention. Whatever age your horses are, it is always advisable to keep a well-stocked emergency kit in your barn and to know how to use it, but this is especially important with youngsters, who are definitely more accident prone than their older counterparts.

Don’t worry if you are dealing with a scrape (abrasion) that has not penetrated through the skin. Says Dr. Peron, “If it’s an abrasion, but not a laceration (all the way through the skin layers), then normal first aid – keeping it clean and such – will suffice. If it is on their lower extremities I may bandage for a day or so, but abrasions are not usually too much of a concern. The horse owner can generally take care of abrasions because there isn’t much more the vet is going to do anyway beyond just cleaning it up and keeping it clean.” Flushing an abrasion with plenty of sterile saline is the best way to clean it, as wiping can be painful and cause more irritation. Over the counter antibiotic ointments may be applied, but some experts feel it is best to just clean a scrape and leave it to heal on its own. If it is fly season, you may want to put some kind of repellent around the wound to keep the bugs away, but never put fly spray directly on a wound unless it is a product specifically designed for use on wounds.

Consult your veterinarian if you are dealing with a laceration, puncture wound, or if you are unsure if the wound is all the way through the skin or not. “It can be difficult to determine whether you are dealing with an abrasion or a laceration at times,” says Dr. Peron, “but since all but the most trivial lacerations do require veterinary care, it is better to be safe than sorry.” Your veterinarian may advise putting the horse on antibiotics, and will check to be sure there is no foreign material in the wound or damage to deeper tissues. Puncture wounds are also cause for concern, as they can often be more serious than they look and are highly prone to infection. Pay special heed to any lacerations or puncture wounds on the lower legs or abdomen.

8. Weight loss, pot belly, dull or rough coat

If you notice these symptoms in your youngster, either singly or together, the most likely causes are either internal parasites or a nutritional issue. Most often, a weanling exhibiting these symptoms is in need of deworming, and this can be surprising because you may see this even if you are deworming on the standard 60-day schedule. Weanlings, because of their immature immune system, high metabolism, and low energy reserves, show the effects of worm infestation much more quickly than most mature horses. Because of this, they sometimes need a more frequent, more intensive or more targeted deworming program. However, the same symptoms can show up if the horse’s diet is simply not meeting its nutritional needs. Pot bellies and poor condition are common in youngsters who are eating large amounts of low quality roughage, which basically fills the gut to its maximum capacity while depriving the horse of necessary energy and nutrients. Don’t worry if all you are seeing is a bit of “ribbiness”, but the horse otherwise looks healthy. In fact, says Dr. Peron, “Weanlings, in my opinion, should be somewhat ‘ribby’. Particularly during periods of rapid growth, they will often look like they are losing weight. Sometimes they’ll go through a growth spurt and suddenly they’ll look quite ribby because they’ve basically thinned down because they’re shooting up. That’s pretty normal. I think people get a little over-concerned about that and tend to overfeed, if anything. Considering all the problems we have with developmental bone disease, OCD, and so on, a little ribby is actually quite healthy.”

Consult your veterinarian if you see persistent weight loss over a period of weeks, often noticeable as a loss of muscle along the topline, or if your horse has a pot belly or rough-looking coat despite regular deworming. Your veterinarian may want to take a deeper look at the parasite situation, check for some other type of problem such as ulcers, or you may need to make some nutritional changes that he/she can advise you on. “If you’ve ruled out parasites and disease,” says Dr. Peron, “you would have to consider your feeding program – is the horse getting enough to eat, and appropriate feed. I would actually like to see more people weighing their feed in order to better calculate what their horses are actually getting. Feeding by flake or by can or whatever is kind of meaningless unless you know how much that actually weighs, and what the energy and nutrient value is per pound of what you are feeding.”

Published in the March 2008, edition of the Western Horse Review.

Abnormal Horse Temperatures

Learning to recognize subtle differences in your horse’s behavior, can lead to early detection of an illness. Confirm your suspicions by taking his temperature.

Originally published in the Western Horse Review magazine. 


What is a horse’s normal temperature and when is it time to be alarmed?

A horse’s age will cause normal temperature variations. Foals for example, have slightly higher body temperatures than mature animals – often 38.5 to 39˚C. Exercise will cause a slight elevation in body temperature, as will excitement or anything else that causes activity of the horse’s muscles. Extremely high and humid ambient temperatures and the time of day can also result in an increase. It’s possible to find your horse with a higher body temp in the evening, as compared to the morning. Plus, digestion (just after feeding) will bring about an increased temperature.


Pyrexia – The horse’s temperature is greater than 39˚C or 102˚F. Pyrexia is another word for fever. It can be the result of an inflammatory response in the body. Or a fever can result from an infection caused by the presence of bacteria. Or a horse’s body temperature can rise due to a combination of both.
Hyperpyrexia – An excessively high temperature, greater than 41˚-43˚C or 103˚-105˚F. At this reading, the horse’s body temperature is so high it could be detrimental to its bodily functions.
Subnormal – Below the normal range, a cooling down of the entire body, between 36˚-37˚C or 95.5˚-99˚F. Generally, this is a result of anemia, blood loss, hypothermia, advanced toxemia.
Moribund – Excessively low temperature, less than 36˚C or 97.5˚F. Indicates an imminent approach of death.


The following are warning signs that should alarm you to your horse’s health. If your animal is displaying any (or many) of the following, his temperature should be taken:

• The horse shows little or no interest in food

• The eyes are dull and/or the animal appears depressed

• Mucous membranes (gums) are pale

• Runny nose or a cough

• Diarrhea

• Weight loss in a short period of time

• Swelling of limbs or any other area of the body

• Profuse sweating (without exercise)

• Seeks isolation from other horses

• Monitor temperature following a deep cut or injury until reading is normal

Digital Evolution, German Martingales & More

You may have heard already that the May / June Western Horse Review is out! But if you're like me and you can't wait for your printed copy to arrive in the mail, did you know you can now access the digital magazine on your iPhone, iPad touch or iPad?

That's right!

The magazine is available in its entirety, page for page on iTunes. So be sure to check it out!

This month I had the pleasure of helping to put together several pieces. One of which was the article on Mounted Shooting which can be found in our RoundPen section.

Did you know there are in excess of 50 possible patterns for mounted shooting competition? Patterns can be pre-determined or may be drawn out of a hat on the day of the event. A competition typically consists of three to six patterns a day, with each pattern comprised of 10 balloons.

Within this same article, I also had the opportunity to interview “Outlaw Annie” – a World Champion Cowgirl in the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) and an Overall World Champion in the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). With a tenacity for the sport and a passion for Quarter Horses, flashy wardrobes and Colt firearms, Bianco Ellett was a perfect addition to this editorial.

Photo courtesy of Annie Bianco-Ellett.

Next up on my list was a piece with Al Dunning. With 37 World or Reserve World titles to his credit and expertise in reining, working cow horse and cutting, Dunning is one of the industry’s leading professionals. In the May / June issue, the Arizona trainer tells us why his signature German Martingale is one of the first pieces of equipment he reaches for in the tack room.

Photo by Cappy Jackson.

There are safety considerations to keep in mind when using a German martingale. For instance, when the horse raises its head above the desired point, the aid adds leverage to the bit in the horse’s mouth. If used improperly, adjusted too short for the individual, or the reins are pulled too tight, the force exerted on the mouth can be jarring. Hence, proper timing and softness of the rider’s hands is imperative. Even so, the German martingale can be an extremely useful tool in the right hands. Here is a little bit more why Dunning likes it so much:

 1. Made from Hermann Oak harness leather, this training aid features a neck strap that holds the martingale that is secured through the horse’s front legs and clipped to the cinch.

2. This martingale only allows for as much lateral movement as set by the rider via a clip on the reins – the degree of head position can be altered by attaching the ends up further along the rings on the reins. Dunning’s martingale allows for three different positions of varying head sets.

3.  A split fork formation is created with the cord line that comes up from the horse’s chest, then runs through the rings of the bit and attaches to rings on the reins.

4. This martingale can be used with split reins or a single rein style.

5. “This training aid is my favorite because it has a lot of ‘take’ when needed and a lot of ‘give’ as soon as the horse performs correctly.” – Al Dunning

Pic by Jenn Webster.

This issue also features top tips from barn and supply professionals for building your ultimate stable! Considerations like hay storage, natural lighting versus artificial lights and permit acquirement are all covered in this feature.

In the piece, I had a chance to speak with Robbie McKay, the owner of a unique Rona store in Black Diamond, AB. As an avid cow horse enthusiast and an acreage owner himself, McKay is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to planning and choosing supplies to build your next barn.

“When people come to us about horse keeping, I like to ask them questions like 'Where will you put your paddocks?' 'Where will you put your hay?' and 'How much time do you plan on spending in your barn?'” McKay says.

“The answers to these questions determine a lot about how a person should proceed with building a barn. I try to give people as much information as I can, ask them lots of questions and get them thinking about how they would visualize a barn on their ranch or acreage,” he states.

Pic by Jenn Webster.

In the health section, Dr. Chris Berezowski of Moore Equine South weighs in on Stage Three Labour in the mare. In this in-depth piece, Dr. Berezowski discusses meconium passage, placental care and routine post-foaling care. He also shares a great picture of a hippomane with us, which is completely normal to find after foaling and is thought to be an accumulation of minerals and proteins.

Be sure to check out the newest issue of Western Horse Review! With our unveiling of the Top 25 Youth in today's horse industry, an honest conversion with trainer's wife Elyse Thomson, and a close up look at equine myofascial release, this is another not-to-be-missed edition!

Transporting Mares & Foals

Published in the April 2008, edition of the Western Horse Review.


Photo by Jenn Webster

Due to the advent of shipped semen, it is not as necessary to transport mares along with their foals to stallions for breeding, as it once was. Instead of mares enduring shipping for miles, we can simply pick up the phone and have a stallion meet breeding requirements right in the backyard. Still, there are instances where it might be necessary for a mare and foal to hit the road for long hauls. Re-breds for example, often require that the mare come straight to the stallion farm to eliminate any further complications of getting her into foal for the following year. Or arriving at a new home following sale at an auction.

Hauling is stressful for adult horses, so it only makes sense that it would take a toll on foals as well. With a young horse’s immature immune system and inexperience of being confined for transportation, hauling can subject them to shipping fever, colic, dehydration, fatigue. The stress factors horses must endure during transport include noise, trailer motion, changes in air temperature, changes in eating and drinking patterns and fatigue from constantly having to balance themselves. As such there are several things you can do to help eliminate the risks.

1. Always transport a mare together with her foal, in a box stall compartment, so the duo can move freely.

2. Give the mare hay to eat. The box stall will allow her to put her head down, giving her more opportunity to expel foreign particles that may enter her nasal cavity. Horses get tired from having their heads tied high for too long. As such, lowering their heads offers the chance to balance themselves and rest up from fatigue.

3. A box stall on the road might also mean you can hang a water bucket in for the mare. But use caution! While the opportunity for free choice water is ideal for a lactating mare, it is possible for the foal to bump into the bucket or for the mare to get her mane or tail stuck in the handle clasp or hanging device. Ensure you have foal-proofed and duct-taped any place where they might get caught.

4. If you cannot give the horses free choice hay and water, stop frequently (every four hours) to feed and water them. This also allows you to look in often and see if a mishap has occurred, monitor water consumption, or discover if one horse seems to be poor-doing.

5. Monitor body temperature often. A highly recommended practice for long trips. Slight changes in temperatures can alert you of a potential illness.

6. Be sure to halter break the youngster before he/she is loaded into a trailer. The mare and foal should also be taught to load and unload, to help eliminate stress. In the event you have to unload enroute, you will be prepared without the risk factor of a free-roaming foal.

7. Ensure the trailer has good ventilation and fresh bedding.

8. Monitor attitude, appetite and the development of a cough following arrival at your destination. Recovery time from travel depends on the animal and ailments such as shipping fever and pneumonia, might not cause classical symptoms for two to three days afterwards. While other clinical signs (depression, lack of appetite, coughing or nasal discharge) may be more readily apparent.

Protecting Your Mare From Rhino

Have you ever wondered why it’s so important to vaccinate your mare’s at their 5th, 7th and 9th months of pregnancy? Have you been tempted to skip one sequence of the vaccine – or the whole thing altogether – figuring that “it can’t make that much of a difference?” If you’re of this school of thought, I have one word for you: Rhinopneumonitis.

Rhinopneumonitis is also known as two distinct viruses: Equine Herpes Virus Type 1 (EHV-1) and Equine Herpes Virus Type 4 (EHV-4). Each of these types cause two different diseases, both of which are known as Rhinopneumonitis and both of which cause respiratory tract problems. However, where they differ is in the fact that EHV-1 may also cause abortion in pregnant mares – making the economic and emotional losses of this disease immeasurable. It is a very contagious viral disease that can creep up suddenly and affect large numbers of mares in what is known as an “abortion storm”. Rhinopneumonitis is transmitted by direct contact or airborne respiratory secretions and the initial source of the infection is often unknown.

Pneumabort K - The Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1) vaccine.

Symptoms of the EHV-1 disease can be tricky. Mares may show signs of respiratory disease 3-4 months prior to the actual abortion taking place. Symptoms include a horse that is feverish, lethargic and has a loss of appetite, plus a possible nasal discharge and cough. At the time of abortion, the mare will often display no other sign of illness. Most often, the abortion takes place in the last 1/3 of pregnancy as the virus attacks the lung tissue of the fetus. The fetus then dies in the uterus and the mare aborts it due to the fact that it is no longer alive. And the saddest thing of all, if the fetus has been exposed to the disease but does not die in utero it can be carried full term – only to be born in a weakened condition and die within 24 hours.


There is no known treatment against Rhinopneumonitis and once a mare has contracted the disease, the result is tragic for the foal. However, Rhinopneumonitis can be prevented and a vaccination protocol of pregnant mares at 5,7 and 9 months of pregnancy is the only way to guard against it. Commonly, the killed vaccine Pneumabort K is given to mares at these specific times in their pregnancies and may offer some cross over protection against the flu variety. Young horses can also suffer from respiratory tract infections as a result of EHV-1 and may secondarily also develop pneumonia. Therefore, weanlings, yearlings and young horses under stress should also be vaccinated – speak to your veterinarian for vaccine and protocol advice for these animals.

Best Babies Photo Contest


We’ve loved receiving your submissions to Best Babies Photo Contest! This is the final set of shots for this year’s contest. Everyone who submitted will be automatically entered in our 2011 Best Babies contest and eligible to win our fantastic foaling welcome package, valued at $200. Our judges are deliberating and we’ll have a winner announced soon. Stay tuned!

KR Blacklord Nahabi

2011 Bay Colt, KR Blacklord Nahabi, By WRA Moniet Schatan Idn Nahabi x Blacklady Shaqila, Karma Ridge Arabians, Thorsby AB, Photo By Sonja Auramenko.

JD Blackberry Neat

2011 Colt, JD Blackberry Neat, By Jac Daniels Neat x Julies Genuine Step (Wimpys Little Step), Carberry MB, Photo by Silverado’s Colt Company

2011 Filly, Nu Lady Bee Great, sired by Jac Daniels Neat x BC Nu Peppy Cash (Nu Chex To Cash), Carberry MB, Photo by the Silverado Colt Company

JD Neat N Shiney

2011 Filly, JD Neat N Shiney (aka Charley), By Jac Daniels Neat x Ima Shining Sparkle (Shining Spark), Carberry MB, Photo by the Silverado Colt Company.

2011 Miniature Filly, Gigit, located just south of Saskatoon, Owned by Heidi Petrar, by Dara Black

Lakoda Chic Filly

2011 Filly, by Lakota Chic x Freedoms Barry Lou, Briercrest, Sask, Photo by Karen Knox

Best of Babies 2011

2011 Bay Colt, By a Holsteiner Stallion x Thoroughbred Mare, Beaulieu Stables, Quebec, Photo by Tena Petkovic