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Your Horses Health


New Drug May Help Horse Owners Fight Fescue Problems

By Donald Stotts

STILLWATER - News of the drug Domperidone has stimulated phone calls to Oklahoma State University about the availability of a "vaccine" to guard against the effects of fescue toxicosis in broodmares.

Domperidone is a drug that appears to combat all the ill effects of fescue toxicosis in broodmares, said Dave Freeman, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service equine specialist.

"It functions as a dopamine antagonist; the net result is to allow for normal prolactin levels in the mare," Freeman said.

The ill effects of fescue toxicosis on broodmares have been well documented: decreased or no milk production, premature placenta separation or prolonged gestation.

Several drugs have been used in the past as therapeutic measures for veterinary care of mares exhibiting signs of decreased milk production.

"Research-based recommendations have varied, but most equine specialists agree that mares must be removed from fescue sometime between the last 90 days to two weeks before foaling to safeguard against the problems," Freeman said.

Now, research has shown that a paste form of the drug Domperidone can be given before parturition which guards against the toxicosis.

"According to a recently published report, a daily dose of paste given every day for 25 to 30 days before foaling will safeguard the mares without having to remove the mares from the fescue," Freeman said.

Broodmares pulled off fescue 30 days before foaling reportedly can be given the paste 10 to 14 days before foaling to safeguard the mares.

Domperidone is distributed through veterinarians, so those wanting more information should contact their local veterinarian.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Oklahoma State University for allowing us to provide you with this information.


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