NOTIFICATION: I-40 Ramp Closures and Access to DCLAH
Ani attention ALL DCLAH CLIENTS:

Due to the construction at the intersection of Farmington Rd. and Interstate 40, the Exit and Access ramps on the I-40 West bound side will be closed for several weeks. All traffic coming to DCLAH from the east should take Exit 180 Bermuda Run and 801 North towards Farmington Rd.

Once on 801 North proceed to Farmington Rd. travel approximately 5.5 miles and turn left onto Farmington Rd.

DCLAH will be on the left side of Farmington road, approximately 2.5 miles from 801.

At this time, Clients coming from the west on I-40 East bound are unaffected by the ramp closures.

 

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A Full Service Medical, Surgical and Equine Reproduction Center

We understand the special role your horse plays in your daily life and are dedicated to becoming your partner in your horse's health. Our goal is to practice the highest quality medicine with compassion, commitment and an emphasis on client education.

 

 
Davie Co. Large Animal Hospital in Mocksville, NC is a full service equine hospital. Our services and facilities are designed to assist in routine preventive care of your horse.  We also offer advanced specialized treatments for the performance and sport horse.

 

We strive to keep our website current and informative for our clients.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please email them to info@dclahdvm.com.

 

 

 

Fescue in the Horse's Diet

Tall fescue is a grass which grows on approximately 35 million acres of land in the United States. As many as 700,000 horses may graze fescue pastures or be fed fescue hay each year.

What many owners may not realize is that there are some significant health risks associated with horses eating endophyte fungus-infected (El) tall fescue. Some of these problems can be minimized with careful management of horses and pastures.

ENDOPHYTE- INFECTED FESCUE

Recognize first that it is not the fescue grass itself that is toxic to the horse, but rather an endophytic fungus known as Acremonium coenophialum which lives within the plants and seeds. When the horse ingests the grass, it is steadily poisoned by the endophyte. Endophyte-infected (El) fescue grass will look perfectly healthy and nutritious to the eye. The only way you will know if your pasture grass or hay is infected is through laboratory analysis.

Because of the horse's extreme sensitivity to the toxin, fields with as little as 5-10% infection rates can pose potential hazards to broodmares and foals.

PROBLEMS IN THE HORSE

The most significant problems associated with endophyte-infected fescue relate to the horse's reproductive performance.
They include:
  • Lower Conception or Breeding Rates Abortions Prolonged Pregnancy (normal gestation averages 342 days) Foaling Difficulty (dystocia) Thick or Retained Placentas Lack of or Poor Milk Production (agalactia) Higher Rates of Newborn Foal Death
  • Increased Risk of Laminitis
Other less significant reactions to the endophyte-infected fescue may be loose feces or diarrhea and more profuse sweating. Research in cattle has demonstrated that EI fescue also reduces growth and body condition. A similar effect could occur in horses.

MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

While research shows that horses seem to be able to rid their systems of the endophyte toxin and recover from its ill effects in as little as 30-45 days, a good rule of thumb is to remove broodmares from endophyte-infected fescue 60-90 days prior to foaling.

Replace the forage with a balanced ration that includes high quality hay, grain and supplements. If you live in an area that produces fescue hay, make sure you are not inadvertently buying hay from an endophyte-infected field. The toxin can remain in fescue hay tor several years after it has been cured and baled. To dispel any doubts, choose a different variety of grass hay or feed a legume such as alfalfa. Even if a producer is advertising endophyte-free (EF) fescue hay, it would be prudent to have the hay tested before purchasing and feeding it. Mare with foal

ENDOPHYTE- FREE FESCUE

To eliminate the problems associated with endophyte-infected fescue and livestock production, researchers have developed endophyte-free (EF) tall fescue seed. Unlike some fungi, Acremonium coenophialum is only spread via infected seed. If a field is established using endophyte-free seed, it should remain that way unless contaminated by seeds from infected fescue.

When replanting a pasture, it is extremely important that all infected plants and seeds be destroyed prior to sowing. Seeds may remain viable in the soil for a year or more. Discuss the best methods for eliminating stands of infected fescue with an agronomist, toxicologist or your county extension agent. It is generally recommended that an interim crop, such as an annual forage or row crop, be grown for at least one season before replanting fescue. If you choose to replant fescue, make sure the seed is certified as fungus-free.

OTHER MANAGEMENTCONSIDERATIONS

If it is impractical to replant your endophyte-infected fescue pastures at this time, it will be especially important to heed these management practices: Have your pasture tested to determine the level of infection.

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