fescue hay

fescue hay

Post by Detomaso » Sun, 20 Aug 2000 04:00:00


I just purchased some fescue hay. I've now heard some *** things about this
type of hay. I heard that it can cause lameness and can induce miscarriages. Is
there any truth to these allegations?

Thx,

Donna

 
 
 

fescue hay

Post by cdhowar » Sun, 20 Aug 2000 04:00:00

Quote:

> I just purchased some fescue hay. I've now heard some *** things about this
> type of hay. I heard that it can cause lameness and can induce miscarriages. Is
> there any truth to these allegations?

 see below....

     regards
       Tamara in TN

Quote:
> THE EFFECT OF ENDOPHYTE -RIDDEN
>                          FESCUE ON EARLY PREGNANCY
>                                   Written and provided by:
>                              Equine Reproduction Concepts
>                LLC 111 Hackleys Mill Rd Amissville, VA 20106  (540) 937 9832

>         It has been well known that fescue grass containing the endophytic fungus, Acremonium

coenophialum, has detrimental effects on pregnant mares when consumed
during late gestation.Common problems include prolonged gestation,
dystocia (foaling problems), agalactia (no milk
production) thickened placenta, poor foal viability and decreased
concentrations of prolactin and progesterone. However, few studies have
evaluated the effects of this fungus on early pregnancy. Dr.J.P.
Brendemuehl, at Tuskegee University in Alabama, has done some work with
respect to the effects of infected fescue on the transitional mare.
During spring transition, the number and size of follicles from January
through April were found to be lower and smaller in mares grazing on
endophyte-infected fescue pastures compared to mares on non-endophyte
pastures. The time to first ovulation was also delayed 43 days in mares
ingesting infected fescue (May 28 vs. April 15). Brendemuehl and
coworkers also found that cycling mares were affected by
endophyte-ridden fescue. Prolonged luteal function, decreased pregnancy
rates on a per cycle basis and increased embryonic death rates were all
evident in cycling mares that grazed on infected fescue. Forty-five
percent (45 %) of the mares on infected pastures were pregnant 14 days
after ovulation compared to 75 % of mares that grazed on endophyte-free
fescue. Also noted 30 % of those mares ingesting the endophyte-ridden
fescue lost their pregnancies during early embryonic development
compared to 10 % of the mares on endophyte-free pastures. From these
data, it appears evident that endophyte-ridden fescue can have dramatic
effects on the transitional and cycling mare.
Quote:
>  The objective of a recent study by Arns and coworkers (1997) was to investigate the effects of increasing dietary concentrations of ergovaline, the problematic ergot alkaloid produced by A.  coenophialum, on establishment and maintenance of pregnancy in the mare. Earlier work by Brendemuehl, (1994) examined the reproductive status of bred mares ingesting 1171 Ng ergovaline/  wet grass. Therefore, Arns and associates felt it necessary to evaluate the effects of lower levels of

 ergovaline consumption. Twelve cycling mares of light-horse breeds were
randomly assigned to receive diets that contained either no ergovaline,
low levels (150158 ppb ergovaline/kg total diet) of ergovaline or high
levels (308315 ppb ergovaline/kg total diet) of ergovaline. The diet of
each mare consisted of 52 % orchard grass and 48 % grain concentrate.
Dietary ergovaline was introduced as infected fescue seed mixed into the
concentrate. Following 7 days of diet acclimation, reproductive  cycles
of all mares were monitored for follicular development and ovulation.
Mares in estrus were bred  every other day by artificial insemination
once a follicle reached 30 mm in size. In evaluating bod  condition
score, those mares fed the high ergovaline (HE) diet tended to have a
lower average daily weight gain compared to those mares fed no
ergovaline (NE). Mares on low ergovaline (LE) diets had no difference in
average daily gain. Reproductive efficiency was measured by overall
conception rates, cycles per conception, length of estrus and
preovulatory size of follicles. All of these parameters were found to be
similar for mares in all three groups. Consumption of infected fescue
seed also did not have  an effect on embryonic vesicular sizes on day
14, 21 or 28 of gestation. There were however, higher progesterone
concentrations during the luteal phase in mares fed LE or HE diets.
Also, prolactin concentrations were lower in LE and HE mares. The
researchers of this study believe that weight los  occurred as a result
of a decrease in food consumption rather than a direct effect from
injecting ergot  alkaloids. Also, small sample size and individual
variation may have been responsible for the lower  progesterone
concentrations found in mares fed no ergovaline. Brendemuchl (1994) as
well as studies  in other species clearly defined endophyte-fed animals
as having lower progesterone levels. Few studies have accurately
quantified the amount of toxin (ergot alkaloid) necessary to induce an
effect on nutritional or reproductive status in horses. It is clear that
infected fescue pastures elicit
 different effects in gestating mares from year to year. Concentrations
of ergot alkaloids do fluctuate  with management and environmental
conditions. Work by Arns seems to suggest that dietary concentrations of
ergovaline up to 308 ppb/kg total diet consumed has no adverse effects
on reproductive performance in cycling mares. Signs of fescue toxicosis
have been seen in horses fed concentrations of ergovaline in excess of
325 ppb/kg total diet. More research is needed before one can recommend
a specific concentration of ergot alkaloid that is safe.
 It may be prudent for any horse breeder living in a region of the
country where fescue grass is  prominent to assess their pastures for
endophyte infestation. ***ia pastures are well known for their
prominence of tall fescue grass. Testing of pastures at ERC found that
fescue grass made up 20-30% of the total grass population in the fields
and 58 % of the fescue was indeed infested with the endophyt  fungus.
Because consumption of certain levels of endophyte-ridden fescue has
been shown to affect  mares during the first 30 days and last 30 days of
gestation, one should constantly be aware of exposure in pasture as well
as in cut hay being fed. Apparently, ingestion of infected fescue has
little to no affect on mares in the middle of gestation. The present
policy at Equine Reproduction Concepts is  that no mare at our facility
will be exposed endophyte-ridden fescue in cut hay or pasture form,
during breeding, early gestation (first 60 days) or late gestation (last
45-60 days). If someone is concerned that their pregnant mare has been
exposed to infected fescue during a vulnerable period, please consult
a   veterinarian for possible treatment.

 
 
 

fescue hay

Post by Jim & Laura Behni » Mon, 21 Aug 2000 14:02:30

<snips>

Quote:
>For non brood animals, it is perfectly OK.  I am
>unaware of any implication that it causes any kind of
>lameness.

There have been studies suggesting a link between fescue pasture and
laminitis. I am unsure if that risk extends to fescue hay, however.

Laura Behning
Brookridge Morgans
http://www.mindspring.com/~morgans/Laura.htm

 
 
 

fescue hay

Post by Bill Kambi » Mon, 21 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Quote:


> <snips>
> >For non brood animals, it is perfectly OK.  I am
> >unaware of any implication that it causes any kind of
> >lameness.

> There have been studies suggesting a link between fescue pasture and
> laminitis. I am unsure if that risk extends to fescue hay, however.

Do you have a site on this?  This would be a Really Big
Deal for me and for about 90% of the horses in TN if it
were true.  Is it possible that what is being
referenced is a connection between laminitis and overly
rich pastures?  And obese horses?

Bill Kambic, Bright Star Farm, Kingston, TN
Mangalarga Marchador: Style, Stamina, Symmetry,
Smoothness
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/1816

 
 
 

fescue hay

Post by Jim & Laura Behni » Mon, 21 Aug 2000 04:00:00

Quote:



>> <snips>
>> >For non brood animals, it is perfectly OK.  I am
>> >unaware of any implication that it causes any kind of
>> >lameness.

>> There have been studies suggesting a link between fescue pasture and
>> laminitis. I am unsure if that risk extends to fescue hay, however.

>Do you have a site on this?  This would be a Really Big
>Deal for me and for about 90% of the horses in TN if it
>were true.  Is it possible that what is being
>referenced is a connection between laminitis and overly
>rich pastures?  And obese horses?

No, it specifically references fescue. I actually first heard about
this from my new vet when we moved out here to our new place in 1997
and had a mare who came up sore on our pasture (trust me after years
of drought it is anything BUT "overly rich"). I was absolutely floored
as I had never heard of such a thing before! I asked about it here on
rec eq; a nice gal from UGA (***ia Benjamin, was it you?) pointed
me in the right direction. The study was published in the Am. J. Vet.
Res (maybe Dr. Newell can tell us what that means, I'm just quoting)
by BW Rorrbach, EM Green, JW Oliver and JF Schneider in 1995, issue
56:22-26. A friend of mine who works for the University of Arkansas
sent me a paper one of their extension specialists Steven Jones wrote
on fescue for horses which summarizes the fescue/founder link
(referencing the aforementioned study) as follows:

"It has been observed by many horse owners that mature horses grazing
endophyte-infected tall fescue show signs of laminitis or sore feet
similar to what has been observed in cattle. Horses normally affected
have been exposed to continuous grazing of endophyte-infected fescue
and with little or no forced  exercise. This condition is more
prevalent when the fescue plant is seeding. Since the fescue seed has
a more concentrated level of endophyte, horses are probably ingesting
a higher concentration of endophyte alkaloids. Little is known about
the actual physiological effects the endophyte may have on this
condition other than the ergot alkaloids have the ability to cause
vasoconstriction in the extremities of horses. The reduced *** flow
may predispose affected animals to chronic foot and leg disorders."

My friend at U of A also wrote in a handwritten addendum that the
fescue/founder problem "is more prevelant during hot summer months,
even without seeding, or in hay made in summer".

There it is, FWIW. We've been making some headway, despite the
drought, at overseeding our pastures in bermuda (which is more
drought/***le hardy than the fescue IMO, anyways-) and I'd estimate
the current percentage at 75% bermuda, 25% fescue in what was
previously all fescue pastures.

I used to have the summary of the Rorhbach study saved on my computer
but now I can't find it. Maybe someone with access to a search (like
Medline?, is it, but for vet stuff) can find it for us. Interestingly
I want to say Rorhbach is headquartered right there in TN but I'm not
sure I'm recalling that correctly.

Laura Behning
Brookridge Morgans
http://SportToday.org/~morgans/Laura.htm

 
 
 

fescue hay

Post by QH » Mon, 21 Aug 2000 04:00:00

from PubMed(medline):

"Aggregate risk study of exposure to endophyte-infected (Acremonium
coenophialum) tall fescue as a risk factor for laminitis in horses.

Rohrbach BW, Green EM, Oliver JW, Schneider JF

Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary
Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37901-1071.

Loline and ergot alkaloids found in endophyte-infected (Acremonium
coenophialum) tall fescue (EITF) cause vasoconstriction of equine
vessels in vitro. An aggregate risk study was used to evaluate the
association between horses exposed to EITF and development of laminitis.
Veterinary teaching hospitals participating in the Veterinary Medical
Data Base were grouped by whether equine accessions were likely to have
been at high, moderate, or low risk for exposure to EITF. From
1980-1990, there were 185,781 accessions, of which 5,536 had diagnosis
of laminitis. Proportion of equine accessions with laminitis reported by
veterinary teaching hospitals for high, moderate, and low risks, were
3.41, 3.04, and 2.00 cases/100 accessions, respectively (P < 0.0001).
Comparison of the proportion of accessions with laminitis in the high-
and moderate-risk groups with that in the low-risk group revealed
significant differences between risk groups over all months (P = 0.063)
and differences from month to month within risk groups (P = 0.0001). If
the difference among risk groups is attributed entirely to exposure to
EITF, the population-attributable risk is 7 cases/1,000 admissions, or
15% of all admissions for laminitis at veterinary teaching hospitals in
our data base. Preliminary data support an association between horses
exposed to EITF and increased risk of laminitis; however, studies at the
individual animal level are indicated to confirm this hypothesis.

PMID: 7695144, UI: 95209169 "

this?  This would be a Really Big
.........

Quote:
> Deal for me and for about 90% of the horses in TN if it
> were true.  Is it possible that what is being
> referenced is a connection between laminitis and overly
> rich pastures?  And obese horses?