Downeast Medal Finals

January 2019
Downeast Medal Finals
September 12-15, 2019
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Happy New Year to all!
Equine Coronavirus
By Ella Pittman, DVM
New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center

ECoV (Equine Corona Virus) is a gastrointestinal virus that only became recognized in adults within the last 8 to 10 years. Most cases of ECoV are mild and self-limiting. Transmission of the disease occurs via fecal-oral route, meaning horses acquire the disease by ingesting contaminated feed and water. Both adults and foals are susceptible but clinical foals are usually affected by ECoV and another gastrointestinal pathogen whereas adults only have to have ECoV to experience signs. Despite the recent summer outbreak, most cases occur from October to April. For those of you with cows, this may sound familiar to winter dysentery - that’s because it’s in the same virus family!
Clinical Signs
Clinical signs are non-specific and most commonly include fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Colic and diarrhea can also be seen. In rare cases, disease can be severe. Coronavirus attacks the mucosa layer in the gastrointestinal tract, disrupting the barrier that normally separates gastrointestinal contents (bacteria, ammonia, etc) from the systemic circulation. Severe disease - septicemia, endotoxemia, hepatic encephalopathy - occurs when there is extensive damage to this barrier. Septic and endotoxic horses will have a dark pink line called a toxic line on their gums adjacent to their teeth. Horses with hepatic encephalopathy will exhibit neurological signs including circling, head pressing, ataxia, excess laying down, and seizures.
Blood work will often reveal that two types of white blood cells, neutrophils and lymphocytes, are low. In mild cases, blood chemistry is usually normal. In more severe cases, electrolyte abnormalities and elevation of liver and kidney enzymes can be seen. Elevated blood ammonia is also present in cases of hepatic encephalopathy.
Diagnosis is generally made by clinical signs, ruling out other causes of disease, and detection of ECoV in manure. Fecal reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the gold standard for identifying ECoV.
Horses often recover within a few days to one week and require no to minimal supportive care (fluids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as bute and banamine). Those exhibiting more severe signs will need more intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting.
Unlike bovine coronavirus, no vaccine for ECoV exists. One of the best ways to prevent your horse from acquiring ECoV is having good biosecurity practices at home and at horse shows. Monitoring rectal temperature twice daily can catch a fever early. Just be sure to wipe off thermometers between horses! If outbreak does occur, ECoV is inactivated by common disinfectants such as diluted bleach. Implementing protocols such as isolating febrile horses, working with infected or suspect infected horses last, and wearing personal protective equipment (gloves, shoe covers) can prevent the disease from spreading. 

Thank you to NEEMSC and Ella Pittman, DVM for this article, which can be viewed here .
Get to Know- Katie Kirwin
The 2018 $1000 Mason Dixon Memorial 2'6" Hunter Derby at the 10th anniversary Downeast Medal Finals was won by Katie Kirwin and Absolut Ice ("Schimmel"), owned by Olana Laffey. Katie and Schimmel also won the 2018 Downeast Amateur Adult Medal Final. In this Get to Know series, we will be highlighting the champions of our 2018 Medal Finals classes as well as our 2018 Hunter Derbies. As Katie is the one who puts together this Downeast Newsletter, Andrea Laffey (Downeast Editor and General Liaison) was kind enough to put together this blurb about Katie:

This year’s Adult Medal Finals and 2’6” Hunter Derby winner, Katie Kirwin, has a long history with the Downeast Finals. She first stepped into the Downeast Finals ring as a junior in 2010 to win the Junior Medal, and returned in 2012 to win the Adult Medal. Since then, she has continued to be part of the Downeast community through riding, grooming, and assisting behind the scenes as the Downeast Communications Director. Throughout her wins, Katie’s horsemanship, sportsmanship, and love of horses has been a bright example of what Downeast stands for.
Katie’s path to the winner’s circle began in the eventing world, with her first horse, a 21 year old Arabian. While her older mount was limited by fence height, Katie didn’t let that limit her progress, and focused on horsemanship and dressage work. She began riding hunters and equitation in high school and showed on the Bates Intercollegiate team in college. While representing her school at the 2014 IHSA Nationals, she won 7th in Intermediate Over Fences, and captained her team her Junior and Senior years.    
Transitioning into the “real world,” Katie has met the challenges many adults face – balancing work and riding. Katie is currently working at Codiak BioSciences in Cambridge, MA as an associate scientist, working to help with a variety of diseases. While spending most of her time in the lab, Katie looks forward to her few days of riding each week, despite early morning weekends or fighting the Boston traffic. Katie’s horsemanship is still at the forefront, caring for, and getting to know every horse she rides, and loving them all – whether the horse be young and green, a seasoned show horse, or an older school horse, she strives to bring out the best in each horse, and in turn learns from each one. 
We are proud to have Katie as a Downeast Alum! When asked why Katie likes competing at Downeast she answered: “The absolute best part of Downeast to me, is the people. There is a friendly face wherever I go, and that includes new people I have yet to meet! The atmosphere is so welcoming and fun. It really takes the pressure off and lets you just enjoy the show.”
Upcoming Shows with Downeast Qualifying Classes
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Become a Downeast Medal Finals Sponsor:
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For more information, to list your show with Downeast qualifying classes, to be featured as a Downeast spotlight rider, or to become a sponsor, please email Ginger at .

Thank you to Spotted Vision Photography and Riitta Fortier for providing us with many wonderful photographs from the Downeast Medal Finals.