Monday, April 29, 2019

New Equine Soundness Professionals Organization Adds Key British and Australian Biomechanics and Veterinary Advisors, Plans Membership Programs

In its first 100 days, the new Equine Soundness Professionals vet-farrier group has built a solid base for future growth and membership benefits. Founder and farrier David Gilliam of Texas reports interest from around the world in the new organization, and enthusiasm from farriers and veterinarians who plan to participate in both the proposed testing program and the in-depth seminars planned for members and colleagues.

New advisors are being added, as well.

Ridden Horse Ethogram: New Sue Dyson study confirms viability of behavioral observation system to identify musculoskeletal pain in horses under saddle

Sue Dyson's ridden horse ethogram
This horse is demonstrating signs of musculoskeletal pain as described by the Ridden Horse Ethogram: 1) Ears are behind the vertical for more than five seconds; 2) Intense stare; 3) Mouth is open, exposing teeth for ten seconds; 4) Hindlimb toe drag.
As flight animals, horses instinctively remain silent in the face of pain, A new study, published earlier this month by Dr Sue Dyson in the peer-reviewed journal Equine Veterinary Education, shows that they however do have a "voice" if observers are trained to "listen".

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Thank you and good-bye: US laminitis research charity Animal Health Foundation ceases operation

Did you feel a little shudder pass through the barn today?  Laminitis research lost one of its main lifelines with the closing of the Animal Health Foundation, a charity in Missouri, USA today. A big page of hoofcare history turned as one of the most trusted equine health charities in the world closed its doors. It's time for us all to sit up straight and realize that nothing lasts forever, no matter how well-meaning, successful, and respected it is. The decision to close was a personal one and the Board of Directors opted not to continue. The closure comes with funds still in the bank. Who'll pick up the slack? Don and Diana Walsh deserve a resounding "Well done!" salute but the job they started 35 years ago is still a work in progress. But progress it has been!

• • • • •

If your horse survived laminitis, or if you have struggled successfully to prevent laminitis in your horse, you may owe some degree of gratitude to a veterinarian and a generous group of horse owners from St. Louis, Missouri.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Did horse feet evolve for endurance travel at the trot rather than speed at the gallop?

paleobiology research on horse toe and gait

Fight or flight. Run or be eaten. We were all taught that horses evolved to have single toes because they were the prey of predators. A single hoof made them one of the fastest animals on earth. The successful survivors were the fastest ones, because they could outrun lions and tigers and bears. But a new group of researchers published an alternate point of view on April 12, which we share thanks to the University of Bristol in England. According to the authors, they weave "together information from equid evolutionary history, foot anatomy, and locomotion, which provide the essential background information that informs our novel proposition". They suggest that horses' feet evolved for efficient trotting during grazing, rather than for speed to evade predators. But isn't it possible that the single toe aided both survival gaits?