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    Re: [RC] Pasture - Lisa Redmond

    Let me ask a question here--when you took your mare off pasture, what did
    type of hay did you put her on?  The reason I ask is that fescue hay is also
    toxic.  The problem isn't limited to the fresh fescue.  The toxins are very
    stable over time, so if they were getting any fescue hay at all, it defeated
    the purpose of removing them from the pasture.
    The toxins themselves are cleared from the mare's system very rapidly--we
    know this because there is a significant increase in serum prolactin within
    twenty-four hours after you remove the endophyte from the diet. However, the
    effects on the steroid hormones take longer to reverse.  If she was removed
    100 days out, there should have been milk production without much problem,
    unless she was just predisposed to being a poor milker--unless she was still
    getting some of the toxins in her diet in some fashion.    We know that it
    takes very little of the toxin to cause a problem---as Claudia pointed out,
    her pasture was only 50% fescue.  We started seeing problems in the
    experiment station pastures that were becoming reinfested due to moving
    stock from infested pastures (seed is the only way the endophyte is
    transmitted).  Made life difficult for me on the last study, some were so
    badly reinfested--one was up to 40%.
    Having said all that--there's no question that there are residual effects,
    and in some cases I wouldn't expect complete perfection even at 100 days
    out, simply because it takes a while for the steroid hormones to readjust,
    and with plain withdrawal it takes longer than if they are being treated
    with Equidone.
    Withdrawal isn't a cure-all...however, it does achieve the main goal which
    is to save lives.  I saw the train wrecks that occurred when animals weren't
    withdrawn at all--the high mare and foal mortality, the suffering, the
    broken calving jacks, etc.  Trust me--the problems associated with
    withdrawal seem minor in comparison.  One very significant problem we see in
    mares that aren't treated or withdrawn is that the foals do not rotate into
    the proper position for delivery--they are usually 90 degrees out of plane,
    i.e., their spines are aligned with the mares' side instead of with their
    spines.  The mare's pelvis just isn't designed for that, and the number of
    foals that get stuck is appalling.  I saw some horrific results, trust me.
    The fact that withdrawal alone isn't perfect, and the fact that not everyone
    who breeds horses in the fescue belt has the facilities or labor or money to
    keep mares off fescue for the majority of the pregnancy is why we searched
    so hard for the drug.  Now, if the FDA would get off it's collective butt
    and finish approving it...sigh....
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    Re: [RC] Pasture, Onefarmgirl