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Friday, 15 July 2011

The Red Mite and the effect on Poultry

The red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is approximately 1mm long and is a brown/grey colour but becomes red after feeding on the blood of its host. Red mites do not live on the birds themselves but can usually be found in crevices and the roof of the hen house. At night the red mites come out to feed on the roosting birds and their nocturnal behaviour can make them hard to spot.
Signs of red mite infestation include anaemia which can be seen as pale combs and wattles, a drop in egg production, eggs with blood spots on the shell and general unthriftyness or distress. Upon close inspection of the hen house a whitish-grey powder can often be found in crevices or other hiding places. Red mite can live for up to 6 months without feeding so it's important when buying second hand hen houses or introducing new birds that the hen house is treated for red mite. There are numerous treatments on the market ranging from chemical based treatments to completely organic products, whichever product is used it is important to follow the instructions carefully and to ensure that every nook and cranny is thoroughly treated. Also don't forget about the poultry run, this can often be a favourite hiding place for red mite too. Remember, that whatever product is used it is only the adult red mite that will be killed therefore   it is essential to repeat the treatment about a week later to kill any recently hatched eggs. Although red mite are virtually impossible to eradicate completely you can help to prevent them from becoming a threat to your birds by being vigilant and treating the problem promptly.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

British Equestrian Trade Association

I should be at the BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) Council meeting today but with 2 of my 3 staff away I just cannot get there and will miss both meeting my industry colleagues and helping to promote the Equine community.  BETA works tirelessly for the membership and to provide safe shopping channels for the UK rider and it is pleasure to be a part of it both as a member and sitting on the Council.

BETA was formed in 1979 and has grown to be recognised and accepted as the official representative body for the equestrian manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade by Government and leading riding organisations.

 There are over 800 member companies, covering a wide range of businesses including not only retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, but also agents, dealers and many service based businesses. All our members are involved in some way with equestrianism.

BETA are committed to the promotion of BETA members to the riding public, to on-going market research to inform both their members and the wider equestrian industry on the state of the market and horse riding as a leisure activity. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Pinworm in horses

Pinworm burden is becoming an increasing problem for UK horse owners. Pinworm (Oxyuris equi) is not generally thought to be harmful but more of a nuisance and an irritant. However it is becoming more difficult to eliminate. The female can grow up to approximately 10cm in length and are white in colour. They reside in the large intestine and attach them selves to the intestinal wall to ingest the contents for food.
Adults produce eggs approximately 5 months after the initial infection which are found on the pasture, in faeces, contaminated water fences and walls.
Eggs are ingested by the horse and L3 larvae are released in the small intestine, they then migrate to the large intestine to develop into the mucosa to L4 larvae which then emerge and mature into adults. The female adults then migrate from the large intestine to the anus where they lay eggs in clumps in a sticky substance on the skin causing irritation around the anus leading to tail rubbing.  These can be removed on a daily basis by cleansing the area around the tail, anus and hindquarters with warm diluted disinfectant.

On occasion the actual female worms can be seen in the process of egg laying.

Active ingredients that treat for adult and pinworm larvae are Moxidectin,  Ivermectin, Febendazole and Mebendazole with Pyrantel treating adults only.
Not all brands are licensed so care needs to be taken by checking the brand’s label.

Extra care should be taken in the stable environment to help reduce the risk of re-contamination from buckets, feed bowls, haynets and rugs etc. Do not share grooming brushes.  A thorough clean with a heavy duty disinfectant in these areas and most importantly the stable after removing all bedding will help and is always a good idea in areas of animal care and management.

In some circumstances it may be possible for your vet to prescribe special preparations or treatments.

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