January 2011 It's all New!

It’s a new year and I’d like to introduce you to several “new” topics at CGES.
by Charlene B. Cook DVM

New Lameness Treatment
Lameness, it’s a word that strikes fear in all horse owners. You can have the most talented, best natured, most beautiful horse in the world but if he’s not sound enough to do his job you have a companion, not an athlete. Over the past 30 years there has been tremendous research that resulted in the development of products such as Hyaluronic acid, Adequan, Legend and others. Old treatments including corticosteroids, Phenylbutazone, rest and ice have been a mainstay of treatment. In some cases though these therapies do not have the desired response and the horse is not able to return to normal athletic function.

We are now offering IRAP therapy for the treatment of lameness. “I” what you say? Well IRAP stands for Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein. That’s a mouthful of big words but what do they mean?
To understand let’s go back to some basics. One of the most common causes of lameness in horses is arthritis. By far most arthritis in horses is caused by trauma. It may be wear and tear over years of use, it might be slipping and falling on wet ground, it might be stepping into a hole on the trail or the twisting of rounding a barrel in deep footing. The causes are many but the results are the same.  You see when the horse experiences a traumatic event many structures can be injured at the same time, tendons and ligaments that hold a joint in place are stretched, bones are bruised and joint capsules become inflamed. A single bad step starts a cascade in the body called inflammation.
Normally, inflammation is a local reaction that destroys, dilutes or walls off injurious agents or damaged tissues. This causes the classic signs of pain, redness, swelling and heat. Within seconds of an injury chemical signals are released which direct white blood cells called neutrophils to flood into the area. Once the neutrophils enter the joint they degranulate and release degradative enzymes.  Over minutes to hours the cells begin to produce proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1.
Gosh Dr. Cook, more big words, why should I care about interleukin? Well joint cartilage is composed of Type II collagen. Interleukin-1 has been shown to be the key component for breakdown of Type II cartilage. So, if we could block interleukin-1, we could stop cartilage breakdown. And now we can.

IRAP stands for Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein. In short they found a way to make a protein that would block the action of interleukin. If interleukin can’t get into its parking space in the joint it becomes ineffective, the joint gets better.
So where do we get IRAP…. from the horse. Blood is drawn from the affected horse. The blood is drawn into a special syringe and incubated overnight. The resulting serum is processed in a special centrifuge and filtered into dosing syringes. The serum is then injected into the affected joint(s). Most horses receive three treatments. Since the product comes from the horse himself there is little chance of reaction.

Not all cases of lameness or arthritis are candidates for IRAP. Horses which have synovitis or capsulitis with little bone damage are the best candidates. For more information about IRAP we made a video.
 You can view the video at


Feel free to call for more information on this special new treatment.
New Product Available
Once in a while we have a new product come along that really seems to make sense. The Pfizer Company has developed a new formulation for the popular sedative Dormosedan Detomidine). As many of you know Dormosedan is a very powerful tranquilizer. When given by the intravenous and intramuscular route it results in profound sedation that can enable many procedures to be performed. But not all horses are happy about receiving an injection and some can be downright dangerous.
The new Dormosedan Gel is given by mouth. The gel is placed under the tongue. The horse is given 30-40 minutes for the drug to take effect. The new gel formulation was shown to be beneficial for many routine tasks such as shoeing and clipping. For horses that are very needle shy the owner may wish to pre-medicate with this product ahead of a scheduled visit to make vaccine administration easier and safer.

There are a few particulars you should know.
  • 1. The drug is given sublingually (under the tongue). If the horse swallows the drug rather than letting it slowly absorb it will not have any effect. Food and water should be removed from the stall until after the horse has fully recovered.
  • 2. The same side effects that can occur with the injectable formulation can occur with the oral formation.
  • 3. If you get the product on your hands you should wash your hands immediately.
  • 4. The drug is metabolized by the liver and should only be given to healthy horses.
  • 5. Decreases in the heart & respiratory rate are expected, horses with cardiac or respiratory disease may not be good candidates for this product.
For more information please contact us at 478-825-1981

New Program

The Georgia Equine Rescue League has a new program in place called “Stallion To Gelding”.
“In an effort to reduce the number of stallions and to encourage the use of only top quality animals for breeding purposes, GERL has initiated our Stallion to Gelding Program. As an incentive to stallion owners, we will pay up to a certain reasonable and customary amount toward the cost of gelding any male equine in Georgia. Owners may use the veterinarian of their choice and must take full responsibility for post operative care.”
You can go online to www.gerlltd.org and download an application for the program. Completed applications will be evaluated and the owner notified if they meet the program requirement. The application must be signed and photos of the colt or stallion are required. Applications should be sent to:
Patty Livingston
GERL President
P.O. Box 328
Bethlehem, GA 30620

 Well that's all for now, here's wishing you all a very happy, healthy and productive new year!