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Science Corner

Equine Sleep Deprivation Study

March 2019

Sleep is essential for life. The quality and quantity of a horse’s sleep directly affects their health and well-being. However, sleep is rarely considered as part of a horse’s management plan. But a new study has found that poor management or physical problems that discourage horses from lying down can lead to horses becoming sleep deprived and at risk of serious injury. Sleep is a naturally occurring state involving both the body and the mind.

The Five Domains as a framework for horse welfare assessment and monitoring

March 2019

Watch Professor Emeritus David Mellor present An understanding of the Five Domains, and explain how to use this state-of-the-art welfare assessment and monitoring framework within the domestic horse context. The presentation took place at Hahndorf, South Australia on 13th February 2019 as part of the Sport Horse Welfare and Social Licence to Operate Professional Development Event, hosted by Horse SA.

Zebra stripes are not good landing strips!

March 2019

Zebra stripes are supposed to provide camouflage, visually confuse predators, signal to other zebras, or help control heat gain, but none of these hypotheses have withstood rigorous experimentation. An alternative - that stripes somehow reduce the likelihood of being bitten by predatory flies - has gained adherents but, until now the mechanism has been unclear. It turns out that zebra stripes reduce horse flies' ability to make a controlled landing!

Why Asian horses don't get the flu

March 2019

Avian influenza viruses infect horses in Mongolia but do not cause large outbreaks of disease because they failed to acquire key genetic changes to enable greater cross-species transmissibility, according to a study published February 7 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Pablo Murcia of the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, and colleagues. Future studies aiming at understanding those blocks to cross-species transmission using avian and equine influenza viruses will provide insight on the mechanisms and determinants that underpin influenza emergence in mammals.

Free Online Access to Latest Research on Endocrinopathic Laminitis

March 2019

Laminitis, a complex, common and potentially devastating disease, remains one of the greatest veterinary challenges in the equestrian world. As knowledge of the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of endocrinopathic laminitis continues to grow, the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) is helping equine vets stay up to speed by giving them free access to a substantial collection of recent articles from around the world. The special collection is available free online here.

PET scan on standing horse for first time

February 2019

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has achieved another milestone in clinical equine imaging with the first successful use of positron emission tomography (PET) on a standing horse. PET is a powerful imaging technique because it shows the activity of bone or soft tissue lesions at the molecular level. Equine PET, pioneered at UC Davis with the first horse imaged in April 2015, has until now required patients to be under general anesthesia.

Fat horses need to lose weight NOW, say UK vets

February 2019

With some studies suggesting that more than half of certain horse populations in the UK are overweight or obese, the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is urging owners to act now to prevent their horses suffering serious weight-related health and welfare risks come the Northern Hemisphere Spring.

Crib biting and ulcers: Not directly related but both linked to stress

February 2019

New research published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior suggests there is no direct inherent link between crib biting and equine gastric ulceration (EGUS) but rather that both conditions are linked to environmental and physiological stress. Study highlights: Crib biting horses did not differ in G-Cell concentrations compared to non-cri biting horses. Crib biting horses did not differ in stomach pH compared to non-crib biting horses. EGUS was observed in crib biting and non-crib biting horses. Environmental and cellular stress are postulated to be the link between conditions.

Some North American prehistoric horses were coastal couch potatoes

February 2019

Much like today's Assateague Horses and unlike today's zebras, prehistoric horses in parts of North America did not make epic migrations to find food or fresh water, according to a new study by the University of Cincinnati. The findings suggest Florida was something of a horse paradise 5 million years ago, providing everything the animals could want in a relatively small area. The study was published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Plains zebras and Mongolian wild horses take on epic migrations each year to find water or green grass.

Diagnostic Imaging Breakthroughs in Fracture Management

January 2019

The Equine Veterinary Journal has published an open access collection of articles to highlight diagnostic imaging breakthroughs in equine fracture management.  With fractures being a common occurrence in horses of all ages and breeds, the development of various imaging modalities over the past ten years is helping significantly to advance management techniques.  

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