Keeping stock tanks clean remains one important step in prevention
The environment has become a very scary place for people and animals.
There seem to be more and more things "out there" that cancause harm; anthrax spores, smallpox virus, West Nile Virus, many speciesof bacteria and even different types of chemical agents and toxic gasses.
Some of these potential killing agents are naturally occurring and someare man-made. Some are commonly found in our general environment and someare seen only when effort has been made to introduce them.
First line of defense
Veterinarians are often part of the first line of defense against theseagents because protecting animals often protects humans as well.
Animals are commonly affected first and serve as sentinels for the restof the population. West Nile Virus is a case in point. This virus can causeserious losses in both horses and humans. Most states showed spread of thevirus in birds and horses long before the appearance of any human cases.
Any methods that can stop the spread of this virus among horses willalmost directly help to decrease its spread in humans.
Viruses have been mutating to become stronger or more capable of infectingnewer species. Bacteria have adapted to the point where antibiotics anddisinfectants are ineffective. New diseases appear weekly and it seems somewhatoverwhelming. Fortunately, science has not been standing still. There aremany new products and technologies either available now, or in the nearfuture, that will give veterinarians, their clients and their horses a fightingchance.
These products help to clean and disinfect surfaces around our barns,clinics, trailers, and horse show facilities and to kill many of the organismsthat are of primary importance in equine practice. These products give horseowners a scientifically sound way to strike back and provide some degreeof reassurance that all that can be done to protect against natural diseaseand bioterrorism is being done.
Protecting water supply
One such product comes from Bioverse Inc. in Bloomington, Minn. Thissmall company specializes in safe, natural products for maintaining clear,healthy conditions in small bodies of water, such as retention ponds, fountainsand small lakes.
This company has long been using special blends of bacteria and enzymesto reduce the plant material, bacterial growth and debris seen in theseareas.
The past year has seen these products being used, not in small pondsand lakes, but in stock tanks and water troughs. Many clients do not cleanthese large water tanks frequently enough.
It is not unusual to walk through a field and to find tanks filled witha thick greenish or brownish fluid that contains large amounts of plantmaterial, sludge, algae and debris. Tanks of this nature serve as breedinggrounds for bacteria and viral diseases. The number of mosquito larvae foundin these stagnant, uncleaned water troughs and stock tanks can be considerable.
Aside from being health hazards, many horses refuse to drink from suchtanks and the amount of time and effort needed to clean them, when it isdone, can be significant.
Researchers at Bioverse are providing some help in the problem of dirtywater tanks.
Healthy Ponds Stock Tank Water Cleaner provides clients with a safe,easy-to-use method for keeping tanks cleaner. Healthy Ponds contains a specialblend of aerobic and facultative anaerobic bacteria and enzymes.
"These non-pathogenic bacteria have been specifically chosen,"says Michael Van Erdewyk, a chemist for Bioverse, Inc., "to providenutrient reduction and accelerated degradation of organic waste."
This combination of bacteria seeks to rapidly use the nutrients or foodstuffsroutinely used by the bacteria that commonly promote slime, sludge and plantgrowth. The enzymes serve to speed up the breakdown of organic wastes thatcommonly lead to film in the water and to the sour odor often encounteredwith dirty water buckets.
The specific combination of microorganisms in Healthy Ponds has beenselected because of their synergistic effect and because of their enhancedcell growth, development rate and their effectiveness over a wide rangeof organic substances.
In short, "good" bacteria and enzymes were chosen to grow quicklyand to effectively out-compete a wide variety of "bad" bacteria.
Unlike many chemical products that can kill bacteria but that can contaminatethe water trough immediately after use, Healthy Ponds is completely safefor consumption by humans, horses and all animals.
While this product will not keep a tank as clean as it was the day youbought it, it will significantly reduce the amount of waste material foundin water troughs. When the tanks are cleaned, it will require less work,and the newly cleaned tanks will remain free of debris and sludge for roughly30 days.
The product is a powder that comes in pre-measured packets. One packetis placed inside the patented submersible dispenser, which is then putin the tank. One packet lasts for roughly 30 days and it should be usedyear round. The product is effective at temperatures as low as 34°Fand it does not become more concentrated, and therefore more of a risk foringestion, as the water level in a tank decreases due to use.
Black fly, mosquito larvae
Soon to be released is a newer version of the Healthy Ponds Stock TankCleaner that is 100 percent effective against black fly and mosquito larvae.
This new product contains a naturally occurring bacterium that will killthese larvae. The larvae ingest this product and die rapidly-often in aslittle as one hour in field trials. The product only affects these specificlarvae and is ineffective on adult mosquitoes.
Use of the Healthy Ponds Stock Tank Cleaner will effectively remove watertroughs and tanks as potential breeding areas for mosquito larvae and willhopefully reduce the spread of this disease and help to lower the threatof West Nile Virus for horses and humans.
Researchers have determined that bacterial cells have become adaptedto surviving in a hostile environment.
They have developed ways to counteract the cleaning and disinfectingthat we do.
When a bacteria attaches to a surface it produces extracellular polymersthat anchor the cell and that provide a favorable environment for growthand the attachment of more bacteria. These extracellular polymers are calledbiofilm and it is this biofilm that is resistant to cleaners and sanitizers.A new product is now available that removes biofilm and renders the organismsusceptible to the other components of the mixture, which effectively eliminatethe bacteria.
Removes bacterial biofilm
StallSafe is an enzymatic mix that has the ability to remove bacterialbiofilm. It is a 100 percent natural product that is classified as "foodgrade" and is non-toxic to humans, animals and even marine life.
The product is available in small pump spray bottles and in a concentratedliquid that can be used to clean and disinfect larger areas like barns orclinics.
The list of bacteria, viruses and molds that are essentially removedby the use of StallSafe is quite large. E. Coli and Salmonella remain thetwo most likely causes of severe diarrhea, especially in younger horses.
Many of these stressed horses are out on the show circuit and it is notuncommon to find stains on stall's walls when you enter a show facility.Has that stall been contaminated? Are your clients' horses walking intoa difficult situation? Use of StallSafe spray in the stall prior to puttinga horse in there may help reduce the number of infections seen. Streptococcus,Staphylococcus, rotavirus, Rhodococcus, and anthrax are just some of themany organisms that are effectively removed with StallSafe.
Many types of mold are affected by StallSafe as is legionella, cryptosporiosis,Candida, sarin gas, mustard gas and other less known agents.
Stallsafe can be used to disinfect trailers, bedding, tack, saddle padsand any number of things that can potentially affect a horse. This productwill be effective for more than 30 days which makes it much easier to useand provides a "buffer zone" to help keep certain bacterial infectionsout of the barn.
Science does not usually lag far behind. The adaptations of bacteriaand viruses are now able to be met through the use of StallSafe and othersimilar products.
These products allow veterinarians to recommend ways to disinfect andclean stalls, the barn or the trailer. Use of StallSafe on large breedingfarms is recommended. Problems with Rhodococcus infection and many of theweanling-related conditions seen on these farms are effectively eliminatedwith its use.
While good management and good veterinary care will still be important,these new products may help to keep horses free from any number of new diseases.