Rossdales has formed an innovative partnership with leading animal nutrition company Alltech to raise awareness and provide a comprehensive solution to the much-underestimated problem of mycotoxins in horses.
Following a surge in the number of horses presenting with raised liver enzymes that can be attributed to mycotoxins, Rossdales’ partner and internal medicine specialist Emily Haggett approached Alltech.
Mycotoxins are produced by certain moulds commonly found in forages, mixed feed, grains and bedding, and are generally referred to as being of either ‘field’ (Fusarium and Endophyte toxins) or ‘storage’ (Penicillium and Aspergillus) origin. They are implicated in a variety of acute equine health problems which can include liver disease, colic, hypersensitivity, abortions and neurological disorders. Chronic cases can lead to cumulative effects such as damage to organ function, reduced growth, infertility and respiratory problems.
It is important to understand that even with the best forage making practices, mycotoxins can still be present. There are a multitude of environmental factors that can be attributed to mycotoxin contamination, so even when found at low levels, the issues can be caused from the interaction between the mycotoxin groups themselves. As symptoms are usually non-specific, our clinicians want to educate horse owners and encourage veterinary surgeons in other practices to consider mycotoxins as a cause, when it is seemingly difficult to get to the root of a problem.
Emily Haggett commented: “Working with Alltech will enable us to work towards educating owners and helping their vets to consider mycotoxins as a possible cause of symptoms. As a medicine clinician within Rossdales Equine Hospital, we regularly see horses with liver disease.”
“Rossdales Laboratories, our in-house clinical diagnostic laboratory, services the needs of our own clinicians and those of a large number of referring vets throughout the UK and our laboratory team frequently deals with blood samples and liver biopsies from horses with liver disease. Many of the test results suggest an issue with mycotoxins - this highlights the need for vets and horse owners to take the problem seriously.”
Emily continued: “With the partnership we have forged with Alltech, Rossdales is in a position to offer owners a complete service, from identifying symptoms of liver disease, testing forage and feed, through to management solutions, including Alltech’s Forage Guard, which is designed to help maintain the normal performance of horses in the presence of mycotoxins in forages and feed and can be fed as part of a mycotoxin management programme.”
Alltech is at the forefront of the latest research into mycotoxin detection and prevention and has seen a significant rise in the number of samples it has received from veterinary hospitals and practices for testing at their state-of-the-art facility.
From a simple-to-use testing kit, Alltech can detect over 50 different mycotoxins, providing results in as little as seven days. The testing kit is one of the most comprehensive commercially available tests for mycotoxin contamination available in the UK, and is unique in its reporting of results.
The testing kit is available free of charge and comes with everything needed to provide a sample, as well as step-by-step instructions, and is packed in an addressed and postage prepaid box which can be reused to return the sample. Referring vets can obtain mycotoxin testing kits for their clients by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following laboratory tests, which cost £200 and are performed by Alltech, a full report is supplied with major mycotoxin groups identified and the levels at which they have been found, along with tailored recommendations. For clients using our mycotoxin service, the report will be sent to Rossdales Laboratories and will be reported to the referring vet and the client.
Alltech’s UK Marketing Manager, Isla Baker-Browne said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the team at Rossdales to increase awareness of the issues caused by mycotoxins in horses. Their extensive knowledge combined with Alltech’s research into this field makes this a powerful partnership in the fight against mycotoxins.”
For further information about mycotoxins, visit www.knowmycotoxins.com.
Find out more about Liver Disease here. To discuss our Mycotoxin Service, contact Emily Haggett on 01638 577754, or email email@example.com. Referring vets can obtain a Mycotoxin Testing Kit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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