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Reply #10: deer wasting disease and mad cow [View All]

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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. deer wasting disease and mad cow
Edited on Mon Jan-18-10 01:23 PM by northernlights
are both protein-based diseases, not dna-based. I did a presentation in my microbiology class last year on prion diseases. Although there is a lot not known about them, a lot is known. They are closely related to sheep scrapie and some rare human diseases that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Essentially, when the cell is manufacturing proteins, after a sequence amino acids is linked into a polypeptide chain, enzyme proteins assist it in folding up into its functional shape. Prions are proteins that somehow become misfolded, and then cause new folding proteins to also become misfolded. If you ingest some prions and they make their way to right place in your body,they start churning out prions instead of functional proteins.

What caused the initial deer-wasting outbreak in the US was the same thing that started the mad cow outbreak. Agribiz was rendering sick animals and feeding them to other animals, spreading the prions through the population. A herd of captive deer in Wisconsin was fed cow feed that included rendered "mad cows" and the disease made its way into the deer population.

To make matters worse, they were either burning or burying the diseased animals. Unfortunately, prions are *so* biochemically stable there is no known way to sterilize against them. Even very hot fires doesn't denature the prion, nor does autoclaving. They haven't found a chemical that will denature them either. Certain soils actually *increase* their bioavailability; when buried they migrate through the soil and spread. Sheep grazed on pastures that had scrapie sheep buried in it developed scrapie at a rate of nearly 100% 2 years after the earlier flock had been buried.

Also, the symptoms are paralytic as well as wasting, and come on somewhat slowly.

From what he described, it sounds like the horses living in the barn picked up an aggressive infection -- either viral or nonresponsive to the antibiotic he was giving them. In the winter, horses burn a lot more calories and the same is true when sick.

The hay around here is just local grass hay that's been tended sometimes for generations. And only the horses living *in* this barn got sick -- the ones living outside in the runout and the ones at the other barn he cared for did not get sick.

He got in over his head caring for someone else's horses -- he should have called the state as soon as his friend stopped being able to pay for her horses instead of trying to do it all herself.

And I still strongly suspect the vet of malpractice, if not worse. I know she caused Jake to start starving right in front of me 18 months ago. The only difference was I had the resources to react quickly and surely. If I had any of that metacam left that she gave me, I'd take it to be tested. Some people up here are nuts and I know 7 years ago a barn tried to hurt Algiers by not giving him a prescribed dose of antibiotics. She may have mis-prescribed....I trust very few around here to be decent.

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