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Talkin' Pets News

April 6, 2024

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jasmine the Dog Trainer - Tampa Bay, Florida

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Alex

Fish in South Florida are dying after displaying abnormal "spinning and whirling" behavior.

According to a statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the endangered smalltooth sawfish's odd behavior is leaving scientists baffled. They spin and while in areas around the Florida Keys before they mysteriously die, and researchers don't know why.

"Based on fish necropsy data to date, there are no signs of a communicable pathogen, and specimens were negative for bacterial infection," the statement says.

The FWC says that it does not suspect the cause has a link to oxygen levels of the water either.

Researchers are currently collecting and analyzing the water the fish are in and tissue samples. They are also trying to recover the endangered sawfish's carcasses for necropsies.

The FWC is studying the small-scale fish mortalities in collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and other organizations and universities, including the University of Alabama.

So far, the FWC has sent the university 52 fish and 12 smalltooth sawfish for analysis.

The FWC says reports from the public are essential to its investigation.

It asks people to report sightings of healthy, sick, injured or dead sawfish to FWC’s Sawfish Hotline, 844-472-9347, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The University of New England Online has announced it is offering a six-week, 100% online End-of-Life Pet Doula Certificate program designed to provide participants the skills needed to deliver practical, compassionate, informed, and supportive care for pets and their families as pets approach the end of life.

Through the program, students will gain expertise in such areas as advanced pet care planning, grief support, and emotional guidance. Moreover, the certificate fosters personal growth and fulfillment, empowering individuals to make a meaningful difference in the lives of pets and their families, providing solace, companionship, and a peaceful transition for beloved animal companions.

Participants will develop an understanding of how compassionate care, support, and advocacy can enhance end-of-life companion animal care at home and within the veterinary medicine framework. As non-medical care providers, pet death doulas form companionships with pets, their families, veterinary professionals, and those involved in informal care to guide them through the dying process.

“It is important to acknowledge the loss people experience with the death of their pet and give them the space for emotional expression and validation,” said Tracey Walker, instructor for the course. “The more we can work to normalize talking about pet loss, death overall, and the deeply personal journey of grieving, the better we will be equipped to support each other when we need it most.”

Walker is a nationally certified death doula, subject matter expert, educator, and founder of Let it Be End-of-Life Services. She sat on the board of the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance and has worked, educated, and volunteered in several veterinary and deathcare settings.

The course is open to individuals from all backgrounds, from veterinary professionals and death care workers to individuals planning ahead to care for their own pet companion. This broad accessibility fosters a genuine sense of community, uniting those driven by a shared passion for providing comfort and support.

The End-of-Life Pet Doula Certificate course began April 1 and runs through May 12, 2024. The cost is $550.

UNE Online also offers an End-of-Life Doula certificate program designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide compassionate support and guidance to individuals and families during the end-of-life-journey. The course will soon be offered in Spanish as well as English.

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Less than a week after sick dairy cattle in Texas and Kansas tested positive for bird flu, Texas state officials reported that a person in the state has been infected with the virus after coming into close contact with the infected cows.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in a news alert Monday said that the patient became "ill following contact with dairy cows presumed to be infected with avian influenza" and that their primary symptom was conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.

Officials said that it is the first human case of the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza in Texas, and the second in the U.S., and that is "believed to be associated with the recent detections of avian influenza A(H5N1) in dairy cows".

Federal and state health authorities are investigating the outbreak, said the news alert, adding that the risk to general public is low and that the virus has rarely been transmitted from person to person.

"Avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses have only rarely been transmitted from person to person," authorities said. "As such, the risk to the general public is believed to be low; however, people with close contact with affected animals suspected of having avian influenza A(H5N1) have a higher risk of infection."

The state department of health, however, has issued a health alert to healthcare provided to be vigilant about the sign and symptoms of the bird flu, especially among those who have regular contact with animals.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture last Monday had announced that the highly contagious pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) had been found in unpasteurized clinical samples of milk from ill cows at two dairy farms in Kansas and one in Texas, plus a swab from a dairy cow in Texas.

The agency said its officials, along with the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state veterinary and public health authorities, were investigating an illness detected primarily in older dairy cows in those states, as well as in New Mexico.

Wild migratory birds are believed to be the source of the infection, the USDA had said. Bird flu is a disease caused by a family of flu viruses primarily transmitted among birds.

Avian influenza viruses, according to the CDC and USDA, are classified into two groups: low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) (often seen in wild birds) and HPAI, found mostly in domestic poultry. According to the Centers for Disease Control, LPAI viruses cause mild or no disease, and HPAI cause severe disease and high mortality rates in infected birds.

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Helen Woodward Animal Center is noticing a disturbing trend in rising veterinary costs. An emergency vet bill for ailing orphan pups, arriving from Oklahoma last Thursday, was the highest on record in the Center’s history.  The Center urges all pet owners to seek out authentic and reliable organizations for healthcare when it comes to the well-being of your pet. In addition, Helen Woodward Animal Center encourages pet owners to consider pet insurance.

Helen Woodward Animal Center recently faced a stunningly high veterinarian bill, in upwards of $30,000 from Veterinary Emergency Group in Encinitas.  Three young puppies suffering from the deadly canine parvovirus were in transit to the Center from an area of high-risk euthanasia in the state of Oklahoma. The situation became dire, and the puppies were taken directly to the emergency care facility for treatment and four nights of overnight watch.

The Center strives to provide all pet healthcare on-site, but when an illness governing the life or death of an animal occurs, Helen Woodward Animal Center relies on support from other like-minded organizations.   In particular, cases in which a 24-hour watch is needed to keep an animal alive, Center vets rely on emergency care facilities.  These emergency healthcare costs have been historically high but never refused as Helen Woodward Animal Center dedicates itself to each life that comes through its door.  The bill received for the Center’s latest emergency, however, was over two times what had been paid for such emergencies in the past.

“I’m rarely shocked but this was shocking,” said Helen Woodward Animal Center President and CEO Mike Arms.  “Helen Woodward Animal Center is a large and established organization with the potential to cover these medical costs thanks to our generous partners and donors, but it still creates a strain on the amount of resources we can provide for our other animals.  What concerns me the most is how these rising expenses must be affecting our city’s pet-owners.  There has been a disturbing lack of adoptions across the country over the last year and the veterinary bill we received may indicate one of the reasons why.”

Helen Woodward’s Companion Animal Hospital (CAH) was specifically founded to help control pet healthcare costs. By bringing public veterinary care under Helen Woodward Animal Center’s roof, it allows the Center to provide for animals in need and keep veterinary bills affordable.  Perhaps, most importantly, CAH is open seven-days-a-week, allowing pet-owners to get pets in over the weekend when many other veterinary offices are closed.  For more dire emergencies, the Center advises that pet owners consider investing in pet insurance to help cover the cost of overnight stays at emergency facilities.

“A pet is a beloved member of the family, often viewed like a furry child.  High-emotions can result in spending exorbitant amounts of money for pet healthcare.” said Companion Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Angela Gaeto. “We try to alleviate the stress associated with those costs by having consistent, fair pricing. Plus, we have certified staff in-house every day of the week. Not all facilities have that kind of accessibility.”  Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Companion Animal Hospital is open seven days of the week. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and both Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information about Helen Woodward Animal Center visit www.animalcenter.org or call (858) 756-4117.

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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for all dogs, is honored to recognize K9 Vishu of Kankakee Sheriff’s Department in Kankakee, IL., and K9 Biza of Auburn Massachusetts Police Department in Auburn, MA., with the American Kennel Club’s DOGNY Paw of Courage Award.

The AKC DOGNY Paw of Courage demonstrates appreciation for the work that dogs do in the service of humankind. This award recognizes dogs who serve their communities, making great impacts on the lives of their human counterparts.

“These two canines have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to keeping their communities safe every day,” says AKC Executive Secretary, Gina DiNardo.” The American Kennel Club is proud to honor these two incredibly deserving canines, K9 Vishu and K9 Biza.”

K9 Vishu, Kankakee Sheriff’s Department, Kankakee, IL

Over K9 Vishu’s career, she has assisted on open water searches for drowning victims as well as missing persons searches for many surrounding police departments. Vishu has assisted multiple agencies in the Midwest to help locate evidence and remains in various states and stages of decomposition.

She has been certified numerous times through United States Police Canine Association as both a tracking dog and detector dog. She is trained to track and indicate on articles for live persons and find human remains in various stages and states of decomposition.

Vishu eats a raw meat diet and is referred to as “The Hamburgler” here, earning the name through many acts of thievery over the years.

K9 Biza, Auburn Massachusetts Police Department, Auburn, MA.

In February of 2024, K9 Biza and her partner assisted in tracking down a 12-year-old child who had been missing for over two hours. Biza followed the child’s scent for two miles, which ended with K9 Biza and K9 officer David Llunggren safely reuniting the child with their family.

Biza is a dual purpose K9 who is nationally certified through the North American Work Dog Association on patrol functions and narcotics. Patrol functions include obedience, building searches, area searches, evidence recovery, aggression control/handler protection and human tracking.

She is 3 years old and in her down time, she enjoys long walks, playing fetch and swimming.

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Edible bird nests from the Swiftlet bird are a traditional delicacy in east Asia. Especially in China. For centuries, wealthy Chinese people have consumed edible bird nests. Usually in the form of bird’s nest soup.

Throughout much of recent history, this dish has been one of the most expensive foods in the world.

No wonder people have called edible bird nests the “caviar of the east,” or “white gold.”

Perhaps the primary reason people spend ungodly amounts of money on bird’s nest soup is because of its medicinal properties. Well… It’s supposed medicinal properties, anyway.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s believed that the benefits you can get from eating these nests include: a prolonged life, increased attractiveness, increased libido, brain health, bone strength, no more diabetes, no more cancer, a stronger immune system, more energy, better looking skin, and better circulation.

Wow.  So basically, it sounds like an edible bird’s nest is a cure-all—a panacea. That’s pretty impressive!

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Benton, Arkansas – A dog in Arkansas was subjected to horrific cruelty when someone sprayed his face with spray foam. According to Benton officials, the dog was discovered lying on the side of the road in the area of Whitewood Drive on March 20, 2024 – he was unable to see because the foam completely covered both of his eyes.

Animal Control officers rushed the dog to a veterinarian who was able to carefully shave away his fur to remove the hardened foam. The dog remains under veterinary care; one of his eyes has an ulcer and his veterinary team hopes that they will be able to save his vision.

This is a despicable, vicious act of cruelty and Benton City officials have promised to prosecute whoever is responsible to the “fullest extent of the law.” Animal Victory has created this petition with the hope that someone will come forward with information leading to the arrest of whoever did this.

When and if this person is found, we will be presenting the petition to court officials to help ensure that this case is not dismissed – this dog deserves justice and we need your signature today at www.animalvictory.org  This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with any information about this dog is asked to call or email Benton Animal Services at 501-776-5972 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Rick Slayman, the world’s first living recipient of a genetically edited pig kidney transplant, was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, two weeks after his operation, Massachusetts General Hospital said in a statement. “He is recovering well and will continue to recuperate at home with his family,” the hospital said on X, formerly Twitter.

In a statement issued by the hospital, Slayman said, “This moment – leaving the hospital with one of the cleanest bills of health I’ve had in a long time – is one I wished would come for many years. Now, it’s a reality and one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Slayman, a 62-year-old manager with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, had previously said his doctors suggested that he try a pig kidney when he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease last year.

His doctors said last month that they thought Slayman’s new kidney could last years but also acknowledged that there are many unknowns in animal-to-human transplants.

His surgery is the third such xenotransplant of a pig organ into a living human. The first two transplants were hearts transplanted into living patients that had run out of other transplant options. The organs were transplanted under special rules that permit compassionate use of experimental therapies for patients in especially dire situations. Both patients died weeks after receiving their organs.

Slayman said he was grateful for the response to his surgery, especially from other patients who are waiting for a kidney transplant.

The need for organs far outstrips the number that are available. Every day 17 people die in the U.S. waiting for an organ. Kidneys are the organ in shortest supply. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, roughly 27,000 kidneys were transplanted in 2023, but nearly 89,000 people were on the waitlist for those organs.

”Today marks a new beginning not just for me, but for them, as well,” Slayman said in the statement.

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A truck carrying 102,000 live salmon in the US state of Oregon crashed last week on a creek bed, inadvertently releasing thousands of the juvenile fish into the water.

The young Chinook, also known as King, salmon were being taken from the Lookingglass Hatchery in the state's north, to the Imnaha River, where they are listed as threatened.

But the crash caused some 77,000 fish to splash into the Lookingglass Creek, boosting the population of that waterway instead.

Wildlife officials said on Tuesday that the driver lost control around a tight turn, causing the fish tanker to roll down a rocky embankment. The driver sustained minor injuries, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said in a statement.

The crash happened on a tight corner, the statement says, with the 53-ft (16m) truck "rolling onto the passenger side, skidding on its side on the pavement, and then going over a rocky embankment causing it to roll onto its roof".

While thousands of fish made it into the water, many more were left stranded on the bank

Over 25,000 of the salmon smolts - fish that are around two years old - died either inside the truck's tanker or on the creek bank.

The local sheriff's office responded to the crash, officials said. "Small amounts of diesel fuel were quickly contained," the release said, adding that there was no need for a hazardous material spill response.

The Nez Perce Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation also responded and helped by collecting and scanning transponders on the dead fish.

Salmon are anadromous, meaning they spend much of their lives in the ocean but return to freshwater rivers to spawn. Many are now raised in government-run hatcheries before being released back into their native waters to later return to those same hatcheries.

ODFW officials say the loss represents about 20% of the fish it intended to release into the Imnaha River this year. They expect that around 500-900 fewer adult fish will return to spawn in 2026-2027 due to the loss.  The 77,000 smolts in the Lookingglass Creek will likely lead to around 350-700 additional adults returning there.

"We are thankful the ODFW employee driving the truck was not seriously injured," said ODFW fish hatchery coordinator Andrew Gibbs. "This should not impact our ability to collect future brood stock or maintain full production goals in the future."

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A U.S. rancher warned in a video that livestock injected with mRNA vaccines are suffering near-death symptoms or dying.

“Let’s dig into the statistics sheet about mRNA vaccines in live animals and why this is a concern not only as a consumer, but as a producer as well,” the rancher begins.

“They took 525 hogs, injected them with a live mRNA vaccine and in 21 days, these were the statistics. 25 of them suffered from death, 55 of them became so anorexic that they were near death, 20 of them suffered from lameness, 12 of them suffered from loss of condition, and 25 more of them had near-death symptoms.”

He noted that 70% of the animals with mRNA vaccines are “okay to an extent,” while 30% of the livestock “have died or have near-death symptoms.”

“They did autopsies on the ones that had passed away, and they still found remnants of the live virus vaccine inside the meat of these animals,” the rancher said. “So from a consumer standpoint we have to worry about a live virus being inside of our meat that we’re putting inside of our bodies, and as a producer standpoint, we have to worry about the health of our animals that can ultimately destroy us, destroy our herd, and destroy our business altogether.”

mRNA vaccines were developed for swine in 2018, according to the Tennessee Farm Bureau.

Merck Animal Health’s swine vaccine became commercially available in November 2023.

“Merck Animal Health is excited to bring this important innovation to our customers as it demonstrates our mission to bring forward solutions to solve swine disease challenges and improve animal health,” Channing Sebo-Decker, D.V.M., swine technical services veterinarian, said in a statement. “The SEQUIVITY IAV-S NA vaccine represents a novel technological advancement and creates a new tool for influenza control programs.”

American Faith reported that the president and CEO of Whole Cows, Jason Nelson, said the push for mRNA injections in livestock and lab-grown beef is a “war against Americans being healthy.”

“As far as the beef industry itself, it’s under attack from multiple angles,” Nelson stated.

“What they’re scared of is what’s in their beef,” Nelson added, discussing consumers’ concerns. “They don’t know what’s in their food,” he said. “Every question we get is, ‘Are you sure it doesn’t have mRNA? Are you sure it doesn’t have GMO?’”

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The lives of many Tennessee walking horses are filled with fear and pain. Unscrupulous trainers intentionally inflict pain on a horse's legs and hooves to force the horse to perform an exaggerated, high-stepping gait known as the "Big Lick" that is rewarded in some show rings. These shows may seem like a lively performance, but in reality, audiences are watching horses flinch in pain with every step, trying desperately to avoid the agony of putting weight on their injured front legs.

This agony is inflicted through a practice known as “soring,” involving a variety of gruesome techniques, including caustic chemicals that burn the horse's legs, chains and heavy, stacked horseshoes. Some trainers even go so far as to cut the hooves down to the delicate tissue and jam in hard or sharp objects to make the pain even more excruciating.

How are they getting away with this outright cruelty? Even though the Horse Protection Act is supposed to protect horses from this extreme abuse, currently the industry is allowed to police themselves, so those involved in soring allow the behavior to continue.

It's past time we end this abuse by passing the PAST Act, which would amend the Horse Protection Act to end the failed system of industry self-policing, ban the use of devices integral to soring, strengthen penalties and make other reforms necessary to finally end this torture.

But we need your help to make protecting these horses a top priority for Congress. Please, send a message now urging Congress to pass the PAST Act and finally end the terrible practice of “soring.”

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An elephant attack that left an American woman dead in Zambia was captured in harrowing cellphone video over the weekend. The clip, shot by tourists in Zambia's Kafue National Park, begins inside an open safari vehicle during a game drive.

In the distance, a large bull elephant can be seen coming toward the vehicle. The occupants of the vehicle cannot be seen in the video clip, but someone is heard, saying: "Oh my goodness," before a man says, "it's coming fast."

The vehicle stops and then another voice, presumably the game ranger, tries to ward off the elephant verbally as the large pachyderm hooks its tusks onto the vehicle and rolls it several times.

Family members confirmed that Gail Mattson, a 79-year-old Minnesotan, was killed in the attack. In the post on Facebook, Rona Wells said her mother had died in "a tragic accident while on her dream adventure."

Mattson, a retired loan officer, was 11 days into a month-long vacation overseas, her family told WCCO, describing her as "adventurous" and "loved by everybody."

Wilderness Safaris, which operates the tour in the Zambian park, said in a statement that it was cooperating with national authorities to investigate the incident and it offered condolences to Mattson's family.

Wilderness said the other tourists traveling with Mattson were also Americans, four of whom sustained minor injuries in the attack.

"Our guides are extremely well trained, but sadly the terrain and vegetation was such that the route became blocked," the company said, explaining that the ranger "could not move the vehicle out of harm's way quickly enough."

Mattson was evacuated to a hospital in South Africa after the incident but succumbed to her injuries.

Kafue National Park is Zambia's largest national park at 8,650 square miles. It's a popular tourist destination as it's home to five of sub-Saharan Africa's iconic big animal species, lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceros and buffalo

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Loyal, a biotechnology company developing longevity medications for dogs, has announced the conclusion of its Series B financing phase, securing $45 million in investment, with Bain Capital Ventures spearheading the round. With this latest investment, Loyal has amassed over $125 million in funds since its establishment in 2019.

“This fundraise fuels our efforts to bring to market what we hope will be the first U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug to extend healthy lifespan,” says Celine Halioua, founder and CEO of Loyal. “All of our work is centered on giving dogs longer, healthier lives. I’m proud of the work the team has done to date, and we have a very important and challenging vision to realize. I’m excited to work with our new and existing investors and continue to make FDA-approved dog longevity drugs a reality.”

Loyal reports this funding series will support the continued development of the drug, with expected product launch in early 2025 pending FDA approval.

This funding follows several significant milestones for the company, including:

  • Earning what Loyal believes to be the FDA’s first-ever formal acceptance a drug can be developed and approved to extend lifespan. FDA review is being led by the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
  • Completing the technical effectiveness section of the conditional approval application for LOY-001’s use in large dog lifespan extension.
  • Launching the STAY study, the pivotal effectiveness study for LOY-002, in development for dog lifespan extension. STAY will include more than 1,000 dogs across over 50 veterinary sites in the United States.
  • Continued progress towards the other FDA dossier approvals necessary for LOY-002 conditional market approval in early 2025.

Loyal is currently working on three medications aimed at prolonging the healthy lifespan of dogs: LOY-001 and LOY-003 tailored to enhance the healthy lifespan of large-breed dogs, and LOY-002 is specifically designed for senior dogs weighing 14 pounds and above.

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Food allergies are a concern for many horse owners. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, however, documented cases of food allergies in horses are rare. Further, clinical serum allergy tests are not recommended for food allergy diagnosis because of their unreliability.* So, what is a horse owner to do if something in a horse’s diet is suspected of causing an adverse reaction? The best practice is the elimination diet.

The first step of an elimination diet involves removing all concentrates, supplements, treats, and other additives for a minimum of four weeks, and sometimes as long as eight weeks depending on the severity of clinical signs. During this time, the horse should be maintained on a diet of only grass hay. Clinical signs need time to completely resolve before moving on to the next steps. If the horse’s signs persist on the forage-only diet, a food allergy is likely not the culprit. The horse may be sensitive to the environment or source of hay, and the next step could involve slowly swapping the forage type. However, if the horse’s signs resolve on the forage-only diet, a food allergy may be present.

The next steps involve adding things back to the diet one at a time. It is critical to only add one item per week. Let’s assume the horse remains free of clinical signs after a few weeks on the forage-only diet. Slowly add back into the diet the concentrate the horse was previously consuming over about one week. If there is no reaction, the problem is likely not a food allergy. If the problem recurs upon reintroduction of the concentrate (or other dietary item), return the horse to the forage-only diet until signs resolve. Once they resolve, it may be necessary to break down the ingredients of the concentrate to investigate which specific additive may be causing an issue.

To do this, begin adding one major component of feed at a time, such as oats, soybean meal, rice bran, or wheat middlings. Add only one component to the diet at a time, and add no more than one per week. Take note if the clinical signs return and record what those symptoms are. If signs recur, remove the item that was most recently added and allow signs to resolve. Once resolved, try adding in that item one more time. If the horse reacts, a food allergy to that item is likely present. If the symptoms do not reappear, proceed with adding back any supplements or treats one at a time, no more than one per week. Observe the horse, and repeat the procedure until a full assessment of every dietary component can be made.

A thorough investigation and elimination diet can take several weeks. “An elimination diet takes time, patience, and a good bit of work. In the long run, it is worth it to determine if the horse is likely to have a food allergy or not,” explained Katie Young, Ph.D., a nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research. She recommends proper supplementation of EO-3, a direct source of the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that may support horses with allergies or other inflammatory conditions.

The elimination diet is currently the most efficient and potentially accurate method to evaluate a food allergy or sensitivity in horses.* While the elimination diet does have some limitations—for example, clinical signs resolve but may or may not recur on subsequent challenges—it is a useful tool to help isolate a potential irritant to the horse.

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