Friday, February 26, 2010

A Bridge to Nowhere?

Okay, so this doesn’t have anything to do with veterinary medicine. However, it does have a big impact on my daily practice, so I thought it worthy of comment here. One of the challenges with ambulatory practice is the amount of time I spend staring out my windshield. It seems West Michigan is about to get their own version of a bridge to nowhere. But, in this case I think it’s a good thing. Let me explain.

Our practice area here in West Michigan is bisected by the scenic Grand River. This river is a significant treasure for our area. However, it also provides a tremendous geographical obstacle for those of us who traverse West Michigan on regular basis. The reason the river is such a nuisance to negotiate is because, as the crow flies, it is a little over 14 miles between the bridge in Grand Haven and the bridge in Eastmanville. As my truck flies, it is just short of 20 miles. This accounts for the longest stretch (by a long shot) between any two bridges spanning the river banks. The problem is further compounded by the bascule bridge in Grand Haven. That’s okay, I didn’t know that that means it’s draw bridge either. That bridge has a longstanding reputation for trouble. It is not uncommon for it to get ‘stuck’ open. In such situation, the alternate route means a detour through Eastmanville. If you haven’t been through Eastmanville, it really is a nice drive. My attitude is usually a little different during the week, when on I’m on my way to a call.

MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) announced this week that they intend to start construction later this year or early next, on the long debated new bridge just west of 120th Ave. If you are not familiar with the area, that crossing is just about halfway between the bridges at Eastmanville and Grand Haven. But before you get too excited about a new back way through the county, it seems that the project will be just the bridge, and will not include any actual roads to it. So apparently, when it is done, no one will actually be able to drive over it. Federal funds have been apportioned for the bridge, but not for the roads to actually get to the bridge. That funding supposedly will come from the state, at some future date. With the current fiscal state of affairs in Michigan, I wonder when and how that will happen. I suppose that either way, with such a project, someone has to act first. The state would likely never build the roads to a bridge that is not there. So the bridge project is going forward with federal funding in hopes that some day the state will be able to provide access to this bridge. But for now, it sounds a little like a bridge to nowhere.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Antibiotic (sort of)

We are excited about the release of Excede, a newer form of a sustained release antibiotic that is now approved for use in horses. Naxcel (ceftiofur) is a broad spectrum antibiotic that we have been using in horses for many years. There is now a formulation of this same antibiotic that is available in a sustained release formulation. A single dose will provide 4 days of therapeutic levels of antibiotic. A second dose given 4 days after the first will give a total of 10 days of therapeutic level of antibiotic. This is a much more appealing option then twice a day penicillin injections or once daily Naxcel injections. Some soreness and stiffness at the injection site is common. Like Naxcel, Excede is not available ‘over the counter’ and thus requires an ‘active veterinary client-patient relationship.’
Pfizer (the makers of Excede) have been working with sustained released formulations for quite some time. However, this is the first time they have obtained a equine label for such a product. Excede has been used quite successfully in cattle for the past 4 or 5 years. The important thing to point out here is that this is not a new antibiotic, it is a new formulation of an antibiotic that we have been using for a long time. Like all antibiotics, this is not a panacea medication for all infections and needs be used judiciously under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. We are excited about the addition of this new weapon to aid in the fight against disease and infection.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Method for Dealing with an Old Problem

Since this blogging thing is all new to me, I thought it would be appropriate for the first several posts to also be about what's new. So here's a brief explanation of our NEW parasite control recommendations:

This year, we have made a significant change to our routine deworming recommendations. Our previous deworming program was based on worm prevalence and susceptibility information from the 1970’s. A lot has changed since that time in regards to the types of parasites and how susceptible they are to the deworming medications that are now available. Resistance of parasites to deworming medications continues to be an emerging concern. This is further compounded by the fact that there does not appear to be any new dewormers coming down the pipe. Given the amount of time and effort to get a new drug through FDA approval, it is unlikely we will see any new dewormers come on the market in the near future. All of this just further emphasizes the need for us to be more focused and strategic with our parasite controls programs to lessen the chance for issues related to resistance. Of course, keeping costs under control also must enter into the equation as well. While the new parasite control recommendations are not as straight forward as just deworming all of the horses with the same thing at the same time every 2 months, it is a significant step forward in addressing these concerns. The new parasite control recommendations include incorporating fecal samples from each horse twice per year. An explanation sheet detailing the new recommendations is available by contacting the office or online at .

And we're off!

I've been toying with the idea of doing a blog for some time. The whole thing is fairly new to me, so bear with me as I tread through this new water. I hope to post at least once or twice a week with news, ideas, comments and experiences that I encounter through the practice of veterinary medicine. If you have an interest in horses and/or veterinary medicine I hope you will gain something useful from the time you spend reading this blog.