Equine Science Update e-news
  Reports from the world of equine research. April 2003  
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Ragwort: a growing problem.

Significance of heart murmurs.

Thermography predicts injuries.

Cold water spa hydrotherapy.

What is a curb?

Glue on shoes: the next generation

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  • Ragwort: a growing problem.
  •    New evidence points to the ingestion of ragwort at pasture as an important cause of ragwort poisoning, contrary to the widely held view that the plant`s bitter taste prevents the horse eating it. Research conducted by Ragwort-UK has identified that continuous low-level poisoning occurs through two routes. Both are caused by seedling ragwort plants in good dense grass.

    Read on...

  • Significance of heart murmurs.
  •    A recent study shows that only 10% of horses with heart murmurs have reduced performance. Nevertheless, heart murmurs detected at pre-purchase examinations have a significant effect on the sale price. Between 1997 and 2002, Dr Marianne Sloet and her colleagues at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, assessed the significance of murmurs that were found during prepurchase examinations or at long distance rides.

    They found murmurs in sixty two horses at prepurchase examination, and in fifteen at long distance rides. Horses that had murmurs were given a full cardiological examination. An ECG (electrocardiogram) was used to check heart rate and rhythm. Echocardiography allowed the researchers to assess valvular function , and to take various measurements of the heart such as the diameters of the aorta and the pulmonary artery, the main arteries leaving the heart. They also recorded the left atrial dimensions. The researchers recorded whether the horses were sold or not. And if sold, whether they sold for the asking price or at a reduced price. They also recorded whether the abnormalities had any effect on performance

    Full Story...

  • Thermography predicts injuries.
  •    Thermography provides an excellent means of screening racehorses for early signs of injury, according to recent research in the USA. Dr Tracy Turner, of the University of Minnesota, describes a two-year study, conducted with colleagues Jennifer Pansch and Julie Wilson. "We wanted to show that the technique could provide meaningful results in a practical situation." says Turner. "We also wanted to find out how well the thermographic findings agreed with the trainers` concerns and with the vets` findings."

    Full Story....

  • Cold water spa hydrotherapy.
  •    A traditional therapy for soft tissue injuries is poised to make a come back according to Prof Evan Hunt. For the past 4 years Hunt, of the University of Sydney, Orange campus in Australia, has been researching the use of cold water hydrotherapy for treating soft tissue injuries. He claims it gives more rapid healing of tendon strain injuries compared with other methods. .

    According to Prof Hunt numerous cases of soft tissue injury have responded more rapidly than expected. Because of the nature of the cases it was not possible to carry out controlled trials. He points out "in all of the cases I`ve looked at I`ve had to compare the rate of response with my previous experience. Hydrotherapy is certainly helping in tendon and ligament cases, and in soft tissue injuries"

    More on this topic

  • What is a curb?
  •    Curb is not an individual condition but a collection of soft tissue injuries according to researchers in America. A two-centre study was conducted by Michael Ross, Ron Genovese and Virginia Reef to investigate the different causes of curb. They reported their findings at the annual convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

    The researchers reviewed the outcome of ultrasound examinations of horses with curb that had been seen at the New Bolton Center, Pennsylvania and the Randall Veterinary Hospital, Ohio, in recent years. Not all of the horses were lame. In those that were lame, the lameness was usually mild. Horses were more likely to be lame if the damage involved the plantar ligament, superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendon or deep digital flexor (DDF) tendon. Some horses had minor damage to the SDF tendon without being lame.

    Read more..

  • Glue on shoes: the next generation
  •    For many years farriers and veterinary surgeons have sought alternative means for applying horse shoes for situations in which nailing on is not practical. Glue-on shoes are available.To apply them correctly requires stringent attention to detail, making it a time- consuming, and sometimes uncertain process.

    Now Wiltshire-based farrier Andrew Poynton has designed a new hoof care system which he claims overcomes many of the difficulties encontered with other glue-on shoes. I had certain criteria in mind when I was developing the system. I wanted to minimise trauma, have a perfect fit, and maximise support without compromising the natural functions of the foot. The shoe had to stay on the foot for the duration of the treatment, and had to produce a result."



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