Archive for August 17, 2008

Bloggers Searching Woods for Evidence of Caylee

Well, I’m certainly happy that area bloggers are taking the initiative in this. Yeah, I know this could contaminate the scene.  It doesn’t look as though anybody else is interested in the frustration and futility of searching for a tiny unmarked grave which will probably never be found.

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Florida: Casual Yet Serious Approach to Fay

I tuned into the Weather Channel this morning to check out the latest projected track and strength of Fay (which changes hourly) to hear one of the on-air people say that the Floridians were taking Fay casually yet seriously. 

That phrase reminds me of the invitations where the expected attire is listed.  When you get an invitation saying something like semi-formal, beach casual, or business casual, do you know what that means?  I never do.  For me, beach casual means a hat, full sunscreen, and long, baggy clothes covering as many extremities as comfortably possible due to the skin cancer that I had removed.  Other women receiving the identical information may show up wearing a thong.  Business casual, I suppose, would depend on the business.  What do “call girls” wear on casual Friday?  I have no idea.  If I receive an invitation that says “business casual”, I generally just toss it in the trash anyway.

Fay looks as though it’s going to be an inconvenience more than anything else.  Yeah, we’ll probably get a significant amount of rain and it looks like most of us have the possibility of tropical force winds which, with the shallow root systems of Florida trees combined with a few days of rain before the storm arrives, means lots of downed trees and power outages.  Once the winds hit 45 m.p.h., bridges will be closed, so schools will probably be closed as the storm progresses throughout Florida, depending on the strength and track of the storm. Tourists in areas with a possibility of being effected by storm winds will have to evacuate whether they like it or not for their own safety. 

So, Floridians are evaluating whether they need to board up the windows to protect against flying projectiles and deciding how much ice they’ll need to keep their food cold during the electrical outage.  We’ve been there and done that before.  At this point, it isn’t a big deal.

People new to the area need to know that tropical storms are scarier than they might think.

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Florida Horse Euthanized for Equine Piroplasmosis

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson announced Friday that a 7-year-old Manatee County gelding was euthanized after being ill for three weeks. Tests confirmed the presence of equine piroplasmosis, a parasitic blood disorder that causes fever, swelling and often death. Source

Equine Piroplasmosis is present in South and Center America, the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico), Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern and Southern Europe. Only the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, England and Ireland are not considered to be endemic areas.

This disease is a disease of Equidae (horses, donkeys, mules, and zebras), and is caused by two parasitic organisms, Babesia equi and Babesia caballi. Although, Equine Piroplasmosis is primarily transmitted to horses by ticks, this bloodborne disease has been spread mechanically from animal to animal by contaminated needles.

Once infected, an equine can take 7 to 22 days to show signs of illness. Cases of Equine Piroplasmosis can be mild or acute, depending on the virulence of the parasite. Acutely affected equine can have fever, anemia, jaundiced mucous membranes, swollen abdomens, and labored breathing. Equine Piroplasmosis can also cause equine to have roughened hair coats, constipation, and colic. In its milder form, Equine Piroplasmosis causes equine to appear weak and show lack of appetite.

The greatest risk for introduction of this disease is through trading of animals or international equestrian sports, where infected and non-infected animals are in contact. Many disease free countries have the climate suitable for a foreign tick vector, or have ticks which could act as vectors. Source: USDA

This disease has been considered to be eradicated in the United States since 1988. The last known case in Florida was in 1965, 43 years ago. It is very troubling that the horse was *apparently* bitten by a tick carrying piroplasmosis.


Equine piroplasmosis is a tick–borne protozoal infection of horses. Piroplasmosis may be difficult to diagnose, as it can cause variable and nonspecific clinical signs. The symptoms of this disease range from acute fever, inappetence, and malaise, to anemia and jaundice, sudden death, or chronic weight loss and poor exercise tolerance. The disease may be fatal in up to 20% of previously unexposed animals. The tick vectors exist in the United States, and epidemics of piroplasmosis were seen in Florida in the 1960s.

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