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Guelph, ON April 18, 2019 - Researchers at the University of Guelph are leading the way in equine research again, this time with studies looking at tools that may help predict disease spread in horse populations.   The studies were published in early January. In the first study, researchers looked at using small, non-invasive radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, placed under vet wrap on each horse's halter, to collect data on which horses came into contact with one another on horse farms. In the second study, researchers used data collected with the RFID tags to help create and compare contact networks (see explanation below) at horse facilities in Ontario.   Scientists use contact networks to help understand how a disease might spread in a population. To understand what a contact network is, picture a big map with different dots. Each dot represents a person. When one person comes into contact with another person, a line is drawn to connect them. So, if Kathy met Laura for coffee, there would be a line between Kathy and Laura's dots. There would also be lines connecting Kathy's dot and Laura's dot with the people they interacted with while they went for coffee, like the cashier at the coffee place. It's like a scientific "connect the dots", where the lines you draw are based on who comes into contact with who. Now try picturing this for your horse. What lines would you draw between your horse and others at your facility?   Rachael Milwid, a former OVC PhD student and the lead author of the studies, comments on several important findings from the work, "Groups of horses that are turned out together had the most contact with one another which was to be expected, however the data also suggests that even horses that are not turned out together or that are not neighbours in the barn actually have significant contact with one another over the course of each day. These results imply that in the case of a disease outbreak, extra care should be taken to keep the horses separate to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the entire farm."   To learn more about how the researchers used the RFID tags and other results from the studies, read the articles Validation of modified radio-frequency identification tag firmware and Comparison of the dynamic networks of four equine boarding and training facilities.   The authors of the studies are Rachael M. Milwid, Terri L. O'Sullivan, Zvonimir Poljak, Marek Laskowski, and Amy L. Greer. The work was supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and the Ontario Veterinary College.   Find out what you can do to prevent disease spread at your facility with Equine Guelph's online Biosecurity course (https://thehorseportal.ca/course/sickness-prevention-in-horses-f19/).   by: Nicole Weidner

Guelph, ON March, 28, 2019 - Milton Fire Chief Dave Pratt recalls the fire at First line Training Centre in Milton, ON , Dec 21.    The call came in the middle of the night, around 1:30 am. The scene upon arrival was that of a front-end loader tractor beside a barn engulfed in flames. The tractor block heater plugged into the barn appeared to be the cause of the fire and the side of barn next to the tractor was fully involved. Crews of fire fighters from both Milton and Halton responded. Milton put hot spots out, Halton worked on suppression (knocking down the fire with water) and then all hands were on deck evacuating horses from barn.     Rescue fire fighters were on air (SCBA Self-contained breathing apparatus equipment) to rescue horses in the barn. They worked quickly to get 35 of the 37 horses out.   Horse owners and staff had halters and lead ropes at the ready as horses were handed off to be put in secure areas. “We were really lucky to have so many horse handlers at the scene,” said Chief Pratt “It was a team effort not only from fire department staff, but from everyone who led horses away from danger and into safe containment areas.”     Horse owners and first responders on site worked quickly to arrange transport. Many horses were received by Woodbine Mohawk Park, who supplied temporary stabling, after initial assessments and first aid was delivered by the team of vets and vet techs who came together including - Drs. Liz Shiland, Abigail Stovman and Marisa Markey. EMS and police on the scene all worked diligently with community effort. Huge acknowledgements must be given to all who sprung from their beds in the dead of the night to support the rescue.   In a very well attended presentation to horse owners at System Equine Mar 19, Riley McGilloway from Halton Hills Fire Department outlined some of the reasons they were able to save the majority of horses at the First Line fire. He also gave a clear run down of what a barn owner can do in emergencies, starting with that first deep breath to give clear information to the dispatcher.     Calmly relaying the problem and location of an incident at the first sign of a problem is key and always remembering to give your name and phone number. McGilloway explains that information from dispatch reaches the team already in transit. Important details help them prepare a plan, such as how many are involved? If a human becomes a casualty by rushing into a burning barn, they know their priority has shifted from saving livestock to saving human life.   McGilloway elaborated, educated/experienced horse people including Joe Stutzman, on the scene at the first line fire, did not pull open the doors until fire and rescue arrived so the fire did not receive additional oxygen further fueling it.   A brilliant diagram aided review of the owner’s role after the call to dispatch: Send someone to the road to meet the firetruck and give directions on exactly where to go.   Help with the scene survey giving first responders the layout of the barn and letting them know what is connected that could be further ignition sources.  Move anything that may be in the way so the firetrucks can get to where they need to be.     A rescue team effort becomes faster and more effective when those arriving on the scene are informed what they can and cannot do to help. The many owners who arrived at the First Line fire quickly became an asset to the rescue, helping with containment of the horses pulled from the burning barn and then holding and assisting as the veterinary team sprang into action. The System Equine Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening was also broadcast via webinar and the recording is available at: https://www.facebook.com/systemequine/videos/1665571347083745/   Wendy McIsaac-Swackhamer, recently appointed, manager of Emergency Preparedness and Fire Prevention at Woodbine Entertainment, was also on the scene on the night of Dec 21. Amazed from the moment she arrived by the sight of fire fighters and police officers with horses in their hands, she quickly became part of the massive team phoning and arranging relocation of horses. “Everyone came together, knew they had a job to do and got it done,” said Swackhamer of the well-coordinated effort.   Swackhamer, has been involved with the fire service, horses and technical large animal rescue for a number of years now. She was quick to join in organizing a hands-on Barn Fire Safety Seminar at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, ON, Wednesday April 10 from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm.     “We were tremendously proud of everyone involved in the rescue and the quick decisions that were made,” says Jessica Buckley, President, Woodbine Mohawk Park. “The importance of barn fire knowledge cannot be underestimated and we are pleased to help facilitate barn safety training for horse people.”   Milton fire department will attend on April 10th and play a role in the mock set up of hazards in the barn to help participants identify them. Participants will also practice using fire extinguishers and come away with a greater understanding of barn fire prevention, evacuation procedures and animal safety. Register by April 5 for the Barn Fire Safety Seminar at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   Equine Guelph will also be launching a Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short courseon TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15     Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON March, 18, 2019 - Responding to research needs of the Ontario racing commission (now AGCO), a recent study led by Dr. Janice E. Kritchevsky, at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, reveals use of thyroxine supplementation is deleterious to racehorse's performance and may result in cardiac arrhythmias. Researcher Dr. Janice E. Kritchevsky was selected to do this work by the Equine Guelph Research Committee with AGCO support.   Kritchevsky explains, "Thyroid disorders are actually rare in horses." The concentrations of thyroid hormones, including thyroxine, can be measured in blood. Blood thyroid hormone concentrations outside the normal ranges can lead one to believe hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormones) may be the cause of a horse looking a little lethargic. However, abnormal thyroid hormone concentrations can occur after a high grain diet meal, after trailering fatigue, training stress, or if a horse is ill. In actuality, administering thyroid medication to a horse fighting a respiratory infection can compromise the animals natural response to the infection.   Horses that benefit from thyroid hormone supplement tend to be suffering from Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or insulin resistance, neither syndrome is recognized in fit racehorses and they are both quite rare in other performance animals. Thyroxine supplementation may have a place in treating some over-conditioned (obese) horses at risk for laminitis. To diagnose a thyroid disorder, it is not enough to perform a one-time blood test; instead, a function test must be conducted. In a function test, two thyroid hormones are measured in the blood, then the horse is given a releasing hormone, and the two hormones are measured again. If the thyroid hormone concentrations do not respond normally, then there may be a true thyroid disorder. Kritchevsky adds, "In the case of over conditioned horses, thyroxine supplementation is to be used only until the horse reaches a normal body weight."   The misconception over thyroxine supplement use among horse owners and trainers may stem from the initial reaction to the drug, which can cause a flat or less spirited horse to appear more alert and hypersensitive. In Kritchevsky's study using fit Standardbreds, they did find a behaviour change after administration of Levothyroxine. The horses became quite alert and more difficult to handle but then they fatigued quicker.   When Dr. Kritchevsky gave Levothyroxine (a thyroid supplement) to the horses, it resulted in changes to blood concentrations of all thyroid hormones. Horses given 0.25mg/kg Levothyroxine went to maximum heart rate quicker, but the horse's blood lactate concentration did not change post-exercise, which told the researchers that they had the same level of fitness. The drug was not found to be performance enhancing. In fact, four out of the six horses in the study developed cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) when treated with Levothyroxine and one developed atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a serious performance limiting condition that can be career ending.   Kritchevsky thanks Equine Guelph and AGCO for providing the lion's share of the funding for this important research on thyroxine supplementation. This research was done in response to reports of open containers of thyroxine supplement that were observed during barn visits as part of out of competition testing by ORC (now AGCO). Elevated blood concentration of thyroxine has been documented on numerous occasions on post-race blood testing of horses from Ontario tracks.   Kritchevsky says, "This is an important problem anywhere! People are using thyroid supplement and it does not do what they think it is doing. This research is important for all, including racing commissions. While thyroxine is not a foreign substance, as this study indicates, high levels render the horse unfit to race."   Some officials believe thyroxine should be regulated and next steps in research may include developing an assay to test for a carrier protein that is excreted indicating a high thyroid.   Stay tuned to Equine Guelph E-News for more updates about this study.     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=610     Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON - March 14, 2019 - “You never think it would happen to you, and one of your horses, until one day you wake up to a phone call in the middle of the night,” recounts Sarah Scott, member of the horse racing community for over 20 years, and owner of Fork.    Since the first line fire in December, Sarah has not only been busy with her horse’s recovery but also spreading awareness of fire prevention programs.   Sarah works as an account manager specializing in equine rehabilitation, at System Equine in Rockwood and they will be hosting a Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening on March 19 at 6 pm. Special guest speakers will include: TJ Snow of Milton Fire Department, Riley McGilloway of Halton Hills Fire Department, and Dr. Liz Shiland DVM (one of several vets who assisted at the First Line fire). Sarah will also be sharing her experience as a horse owner.    They will discuss: barn fire prevention, what to do in case of fire with horses and/or animals, fire safety and caring for horses after they have been exposed to smoke inhalation and fire trauma.  Barn owners need to be ever vigilant with barn fire prevention, never get complacent and always prepare themselves for emergencies.    Equine Guelph will be offering a new Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short course on TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15   Sarah’s Story:   We celebrated our staff Christmas party at Mohawk raceway December 20th, having a great time filling the night with Christmas cheer. I arrived home, around 12:30 am and settled into bed shortly after 1 am. I was awoken by my husband to the words “the barn is on fire and there is nothing we can do.” I was instantly numb. I felt almost robotic as I grabbed some clothes, and drove to what was our horses’ home, now land marked by police cars directing fire trucks. The car did not even come to a complete stop before I jumped out.    When I arrived no one knew where my own horse was, but we knew he was out. It was dark, raining and the most unsettling of sights, with red and blue flashing lights intermingling with the mist. I was told it took two firefighters and one of the second trainers to move my horse Fork from his stall, with singed facial and mane hair from the inferno he escaped and was taken to another barn on the property and placed in an empty stall.   Emergency response:   Sarah quickly joined the growing team of fire fighters, owners and veterinarians triaging the scene. They were fortunate to have a number of containment areas with other barns close by, a pool area that held three horses, and paddocks to hold the horses after they were removed from barn seven. Other factors that aided the rescue were: rain, wind blowing away from the barn and educated/experienced horse people, on scene that did not pull open the doors until fire and rescue arrived.   Each horse was evaluated and treated by the attending veterinarians before they were given the “ok” to go to Mohawk.  When the horses arrived at Mohawk (for temporary stabling) they were all bathed and once again looked over for burns or distress. Black soot was embedded in the horses’ hair, leading to the conclusion the lungs must also be compromised. Fears of smoke inhalation damage were confirmed with the first scope.  The owners were worried if their horses would be ok, racked with questions if they were suffering and if they would ever race again. It was a quick paced day with lots of decisions.   Sarah’s expertise served her well, having worked with clients, vets and owners whose horses were affected by the encroaching wild fires in BC and Alberta, supplying them with nebulizers from System Equine that were donated by Nortev Flexineb and assisting the equine practitioners in developing treatment cycles. Never had she imagined she would be implementing a similar treatment plan for her own horse who had won his race just a few short weeks before.   The team worked diligently with the vets following up on the temperatures, discharge, vitals and overall observation. Sarah is very grateful to everyone involved with the rescue and rehabilitation, including her employers at System Equine and Nortev for supplying the nebulizers aiding in the recovery of many of the horses.   Sarah’s prayers have been answered as subsequent testing and scoping showed no signs of soot and no residual inflammation in the lungs. Sarah is also very grateful to her husband Mark who was so supportive, working tirelessly caring for both of them.  “He truly is the reason Fork has returned to the racetrack,” says Sarah. Fork is in the clear and qualified to race at Mohawk on January 24 2019.   Final thoughts:   Sarah will forever be a fire prevention crusader and advocate of having a plan. No matter how busy life gets, she will never turn her phone off at night. Much reflection takes place after an incident, from the simple things like having emergency numbers in your phone to having the fire department out to do a pre-plan. Having halters, leads, pens and paper quickly accessible, clear barn aisles, feed tubs positioned so they are not in the way of exiting a stall are some of the little details that can make a big difference in an emergency.   And of course, looking back on the chaos, there is much gratitude for the community who rallied together. Thanks, and huge acknowledgements must be given to the first responders, the community who all sprung from their beds in the dead of the night and for everyone who came together to support the rescue.   Sarah hopes sharing her story will move people to take preventative measures and looks forward to seeing large attendance both at the Fire & Emergency Preparedness online short course on TheHorsePortal.ca– Apr 8 – Apr 15 and at System Equine’s Barn Fire Prevention and action plan evening on March 19 at 6pm, also available by live feed at: https://imp.easywebinar.live/registration-2    

March 11, 2019 (Guelph, ON): Planning is well underway for the 15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university, on August 19-21, 2019.   The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable”, highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed.   Abstract submissions opened on January 18, 2019 and are due by April 1, 2019.   Researchers in the field of equitation science are invited to submit an abstract of their research findings for consideration to present during the conference.   A direct link to the abstract submission form can be found here.   Join our line-up of thought-provoking speakers as we journey through history and into the present, supporting and challenging the way we interact with horses through scientific research.   Early bird conference registration pricing available until June 1.   After that date regular conference fees apply.   Check the ISES website  or the Horse Portal to learn more.   Check our blog regularly for updates, sneak peaks, and local information.   15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science Conference   Equine Guelph | University of Guelph | 

More than 100 racing yards were on lockdown this past Thursday Feb 7 as horse races were called off due to a flu outbreak in Britain. All horse owners need to guard against the very real and present threat of equine influenza. According to a recent FEI health update in response to equine flu outbreaks, the virus can be easily transmitted between horses that are in close contact, such as attending events, group training and hunting, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the home yard. “Vaccinating horses against equine influenza is key to combating the spread of equine influenza,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström said. “It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices.” Plan Ahead The approach of spring and the anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens means it is time to book the vet for shots. How well do you understand the vaccines currently available and the discussions you should have with your vet? Six questions are asked in Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner, kindly sponsored by Merck Animal Health, to help horse owners start those conversations. Every farm has different risk factors including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. Whether you are the proud owner of a young foal, competition horse, hobbyhorse or broodmare, the Vaccination Equi-Planner (EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool) points out considerations for each and discusses different core and optional vaccines your vet may recommend. Your veterinarian will be up to date on what diseases are endemic in your location. Did you know horses aged 1 - 5 tend to be more susceptible to influenza? Horses that travel or are exposed to travelling horses or new arrivals are also at increased risk. "Equine influenza is one of the most frequent respiratory tract disease in horses. As such, it has a significant impact on equine populations worldwide. Vaccination along with appropriate biosecurity measures remains one of the most effective ways to prevent this highly contagious disease. However, immunity against influenza is rather short-lived, so horses that are at higher risk of getting infected can benefit from a semi-annual booster. Horse owners should discuss with their veterinarian the most appropriate vaccination schedule based on their horses’ specific circumstances. Also, as the influenza virus constantly changes through antigenic drift, best practice calls for using a vaccine that includes recent strains of influenza as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). An influenza modified live virus vaccine can also provide coverage against current strains through broad cross-protection," says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health. What is a Modified Live Vaccine? A modified live equine A/Equine 2 influenza vaccine for intranasal administration is commercially available in Canada. “I have had some interesting conversations with horse owners regarding vaccinations,” says Veterinarian and Ontario Association of Equine Practitioner President Amy Bennet. “There does seem to be some misconceptions regarding specific vaccines, especially the modified live vaccines. By far, the biggest concern I hear from horse owners is that their horse could potentially become sick from the modified live vaccine and they are concerned that their horse could then pass this disease onto other horses. I also hear concerns of unvaccinated horses becoming inadvertently vaccinated from a recently vaccinated horse within the herd.” Bennet explains, a modified live vaccine is derived from the naturally occurring pathogen but is modified in a way that it doesn’t produce clinical disease, while still mounting a strong immune response. Modified live vaccines for influenza are given intra-nasally. When the vaccine replicates in the horse’s nasal mucosa, a rapid local immune response occurs. The horse develops an immune response that combats disease similar to when the horse is exposed to the wild strain equine influenza virus, making sure that the tissues that would be first exposed to the disease have the strongest immunity to it.   By giving a modified live vaccine, your veterinarian is administering a live pathogen, that has been modified so it will not cause the clinical disease but will mount an immune response to help provide protection against the disease, should the animal ever be exposed. More about the science behind modified live and inactivated vaccines can be found at EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool under resources. Know the Rules Given the highly contagious nature of the disease and the impact on horse health and industry economics, some racing regulators, like British Horse Racing Authority, and racetracks, such as Woodbine, as well as organizations including the United States Equestrian Federation, Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and Equestrian Canada have rules requiring vaccination against equine influenza. Check on the records required. For example, Equine Canada passports must be signed and stamped by your certified veterinarian and filled in with the date of administration, name and batch number of vaccine, method of administration (Intra-muscular or Intra-nasal) among other specified details. There are also windows of time before competitions for the administrations of vaccines to be aware of.   Equine Guelph and Merck Animal Health are pleased to provide a comprehensive starting point for horse owners to begin drafting their annual personalized immunization plan with the Vaccination Equi-Planner. This information will help when discussing vaccinations with your vet. Image Caption: The personalized questions in EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtoolhelps horse owners start conversations with their vet for an annual plan.   By: Jackie Bellamy Zions

Given the demanding life of the equine athlete, a high number of racehorses are at risk of digestive tract health concerns such as ulcers and colic. In a new online short course by Equine Guelph on TheHorsePortal.ca, March 11 – 29, you can learn from experts how to reduce the chance of digestive tract issues in your barn, and improve your horse’s performance on the track. High energy concentrates and the need for high energy diets to sustain performance and body condition can contribute to digestive health issues. Highly experienced equine nutritionist Don Kapper (Professional Animal Scientist) will be sharing his wealth of knowledge on feeding for optimal digestive health and performance. Kapper is the author of the chapter on “Applied Nutrition” for the authoritative veterinary textbook: “Equine Internal Medicine”, 2nd edition and was a member of the “Performance Electrolyte Research” team at the University of Guelph.  Dr. Melissa McKee of McKee-Pownall Equine Services, discovered a love of the Standardbred athlete while attending veterinary school. After working as a veterinarian in New Jersey and Alberta, Dr. McKee returned to Ontario in 2002 and now focuses on helping race and performance horses reach their potential. She understands well the stress associated with being a high-level athlete, including race day, transport, and limited turn-out. McKee looks forward to the discussion forums offered in this unique online course.    Dr. Kyle Goldie practices in all areas of equine veterinary medicine, and has a keen interest in quarter horse racing. He looks forward to being a part of this important course that will help horse owners detect early signs and symptoms of ulcers and colic, help assess management plans, and develop preventative strategies.   FREE courses available to trainers, assistant trainers, grooms, jockeys, drivers and other current AGCO licence holders on a first come, first served basis with coupon code. Limited space is available. Join the winning herd improving performance through digestive health. Never taken an online course before? No worries! This course takes a common sense and practical approach to training – no prior online learning experience required. Time online is flexible and at your convenience, working around your schedule. AGCO licence holders can find coupon codes and sign up for Gut Health & Colic Prevention, exclusive to racing industry members. Equine Guelph thanks the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for providing education, training and awareness project funding in support of AGCO licensees.   Image Captions: Don Kapper, Professional Animal Scientist Dr. Melissa McKee, founding partner of McKee-Pownall Equine Services Dr. Kyle Goldie of McKee-Pownall Equine Services   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

January 21, 2019 (Guelph, ON): Planning is well underway for the 15th Annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university, on August 19-21, 2019.   The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable”, highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed.   Both conference registration and abstract submissions opened on January 18, 2019. All information regarding the conference, including links to conference registration, abstract submissions and accommodations can be found on the Horse Portal websitehttps://thehorseportal.ca/ISES-2019/. Researchers in the field of equitation science are invited to submit an abstract of their research findings for consideration to present during the conference. Abstracts are due by April 1, 2019.   Join our line-up of thought-provoking speakers as we journey through history and into the present, supporting and challenging the way we interact with horses through scientific research. Dr. Sandra Olsen (Curator-in-Charge, Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas) will trace how our relationship with horses began. Dr. Camie Heleski (Senior Lecturer, University of Kentucky) will describe the field of Equitation Science and what we have learned about horse-human relationships. Dr. Nic de Brauwere (Head of Welfare, Rehabilitation and Education, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, UK) will discuss how human behaviour change into the future can improve equine welfare. Dr. Andrew McLean (Equine Science International, Australia) will present similarities and differences in the application of learning theory across species.   The ever-popular Clever Hans talk will be hosted on Monday evening with guest speakerDr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Ethnoecologist and Senior Researcher with Firelight Group. Dr. Bhattacharyya has spent time in the interior of British Columbia, observing the wild horses and their impact on the land and interactions with the indigenous peoples. She will highlight how modern research can fit into other ways of knowing and approaches to managing both wild and domestic horses.   The third day of the conference will include a short course on large animal rescue training (additional fee applies). Space in this hands-on workshop is limited, so be sure to register early. Demonstrations and seminars from equine behaviourists, technology entrepreneurs and saddle fitting experts will fill the remainder of the day.   Registered delegates can also attend two free pre-conference workshops on Sunday, August 18. Cristina Wilkins and Kate Fenner (Australia) will workshop on how to communicate scientific information to equestrian communities. Dr. Marc Pierard(Belgium) will lead a discussion in describing equine behaviours for the equine ethogram.    Early bird conference registration pricing is available until June 1. After that date regular conference fees apply. Check the ISES website https://equitationscience.com/conferences/ or the Horse Portal https://thehorseportal.ca/ISES-2019/ to learn more. Check back regularly to the Horse Portal for updates, sneak peaks, and local information.   About the International Society for Equitation Science The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-rider relationship. www.equitationscience.com   For more information contact: ISES Honorary President Janne Winther-Christensen presidents@equitationscience.com   Local Conference Organizer: Katrina Merkies, PhD Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph (519) 824-4120 x54707 ISES2019@uoguelph.ca     Registration and abstract submission now open for the 2019 ISES conference being held in Guelph, Ontario, Canada from August 19-21.   The theme of "Bringing science to the stable" will explore our relationship with horses through the past, present and future.   Check the website for conference updates and links to the registration and abstract submission pages https://equitationscience.com/conferences/ or https://thehorseportal.ca/ises-2019/. 

Winter is here - Are you ready?   Does this horse kick for no reason or is there an underlying cause?   Cribbing – A behaviour or nutritional deficiency?   Sign up at TheHorsePortal.ca to have your horse behaviour and safety related questions answered.   IMPORTANT ALERTS   Alert: Equine Infectious Anemia - Cariboo Sub. B, B.C   Alert: Rabies - In Canada   Alert: Rabies - Hamilton, ON   Alert: Strangles - New Brunswick   EQUINE GUELPH thanks Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the HEALTHflash program     HEALTHflash - WINTER EDITION 2019      ‌  ‌           IMPORTANT ALERTS       Alert: Equine Infectious Anemia - Cariboo Sub. B, B.C Alert: Rabies - In Canada Alert: Rabies - Hamilton, ON Alert: Strangles - New Brunswick         EQUINE GUELPH thanks Merck Animal Health for sponsoring the HEALTHflash program           FEATURED STORIES               Behaviour & Safety - Q & A     Does this horse kick for no reason or is there an underlying cause? Cribbing – A behaviour or nutritional deficiency?   Sign up at TheHorsePortal.ca to have your horse behaviour and safety related questions answered.                 Take Stock of your First Aid Kit & Update Your Skills     3 items that do not survive sub zero… Don’t forget Equine Guelph’s first aid course online begins Feb 25!                 Gastric Ulcer Prevention     Why you should give hay before exercise is discussed by Kathleen Crandell. Crandel is also the instructor of Equine Guelph’s Advanced Equine Health through Nutrition online course. Pre-requisite Equine Nutrition starts Jan 14!                   Biosecurity Risk Calculator TOOL OF THE MONTH     Start the year reviewing your biosecurity plan in 6 steps! Identify risks, prepare a farm diagram... info from the National Farm Level Biosecurity standard makes it easy to minimize disease risk - Try The Tool of The Month.         EQUINE HEALTH       Vaccination Survey Results     82% of our survey participants vaccinate their horses against influenza. 82% rely on their veterinarian for vaccination information. 73% leave the decision as to the specific brand of vaccine up to the vet. 43% know the benefits of a modified-live vs. a killed equine influenza virus vaccine.   New Update in Vaccination Equi-Planner links to an AAEP page explaining the benefits of a modified-live vs. a killed equine influenza virus vaccine                Horse Behaviour & Safety Short Course     January 21 to February 8     Learn to speak horse! Take action to create a safe environment for you and your horse   REGISTER TODAY       MORE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES           New 12-Week Courses Start January 14th     Mgmt of the Equine Environment   Health & Disease Prevention   Equine Nutrition   Equine Functional Anatomy   Equine Exercise Physiology   Marketing & Communications   Equine Event Management   The Equine Industry   Global Perspectives in Equine Welfare   SIGN UP TODAY         Upcoming Horse Portal Short Courses     Horse Behaviour & Safety January 21st to February 8th   Horse Behaviour & Safety (Youth) January 21st to February 8th   Equine First Aid February 25th to March 4th   Sickness Prevention in Horses TBA   Horse Care & Welfare TBA   Gut Health & Colic Prevention TBA   SIGN UP TODAY       OTHER NEWS & EVENTS         When did you last check under that rug for Body Condition Score?   Cold weather riding tips   Winter management of the outdoor horse   First signs of Heaves video   Reduce Respiratory Risk video   How to transition feedstuff in your horse’s diet   Going on Vacation – Post your emergency preparedness plans   Extending your Hay Supply   Video - Stop, Think, Act and be safe around horses  

Guelph, ON Oct, 16, 2018 - The University of Guelph's annual Equine Industry Symposium is fast approaching.   On Saturday October 27th, 2018 from 9:30AM to 4:00PM, students in the Bachelor of BioResource Management degree majoring in Equine Management will once again be hosting the Equine Industry Symposium for horse enthusiasts from all backgrounds to come out and engage in a community-wide discussion about prevalent issues within the equine industry.   As horse people, many of us have borne witness to conflicting ideals for equine welfare and horse care practices across different businesses and disciplines.   These issues, along with what sometimes comes across as a lack of professionalism, compromise our abilities as horse owners, business people, hobbyists and professionals to find the best care practices for the most important member of our community – the horse!   To address this, this year's Equine Industry Symposium is focusing on discussing solutions pertaining to professionalism and industry-wide standards for equine welfare. Symposium attendees can look forward to engaging conversations with veterinarians, researchers, fellow riders and professional equine business people, facilitated by former CEO of Equine Canada, Akaash Maharaj.   The goal of this event is to further unite our community and develop practices that benefit the industry and above all, the horse.   Lunch will be provided and admission is free upon registration at www.eventbrite.ca; search Equine Industry Symposium or go directly to https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/equine-industry-symposium-registration-49997476799?aff=eac2.   Find us on Facebook at Equine Industry Symposium 2018, participate in pre- and post-symposium discussion at thehorseportal.com and we look forward to seeing a wonderful and diverse group of horse people in the University of Guelph’s Thornborough building room 1200 at 9:30 AM on October 27th 2018.   Contact: EQevents@uoguelph.ca for more information   From Equine Guelph    

Guelph, ON Sept, 25, 2018 - A human sneeze can propel around 100,000 germs up to 25 feet according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology! Now imagine the distance and volume a horse can achieve! No elbow or hankie will be raised to contain this potential biohazard but Equine Guelph has you covered with their Sickness Prevention in Horses short online course.   This October 15 -26, you can join a community that will be learning Canada's new Equine Biosecurity standard together and reducing the odds of sickness in their horses. Consider the tips you will acquire as your horse handkerchief!   Just as humans rush out to receive their flu shots before winter, horses can also benefit from a flu/rhino booster performed 6 months after their typical spring vaccinations. Horses that travel to fall fairs or mingle with those that do are at a higher risk of contracting influenza.   With temperatures dropping, horses may be spending more time indoors. The hang time for germs lingering in the air can be up to 10 minutes after a human cough which can expel 3,000 droplets as far as six metres according to Science Focus. Again, get multiplying those statistics for your equine companion and then ponder what steps you can take to protect your horse.   Everyone who comes into contact with horses has a role to play in preventing the transmission of disease from the horse owner to the farrier, vet, guest visitor and barn manager. In a recent study lead by University of Guelph researchers, Dr. Amy Greer and Dr. Terri O'Sullivan, contact patterns were analyzed at an equestrian show in Ontario to study the implications for disease spread. One facet of the study looked at types of horse-to-horse contact occurring at a home facility and while traveling.   While most participants indicated that direct nose-to-nose contact of horses occurred both at their home facility and while away from home (76 and 22%, respectively), participants reported a reduction in sharing equipment, cleaning tools, and water/feed when they traveled away from home.   Equine Guelph's Sickness Prevention in Horses course discusses key points of the Facility Level Biosecurity Standard for the Equine Sector developed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Biosecurity standards are strict in poultry, swine and beef but when it comes to horses, the lack of knowledge and enforcement is surprising and sickness prevention seems to be a topic that is often overlooked.   Dr. Alison Moore, was part of the development committee for the National Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard in the winter of 2014 and will be guest speaker once again for the Sickness Prevention in Horses course. Moore states, "In food animals, the importance of biosecurity standards are recognized in economic trade and for protecting animal health. The equine sector is unique. It is exciting to be a contributor for this new standard for the horse industry which will serve as a guideline for equines at the individual farm level right up to international competitors."   Throughout the course Moore will explain the simple things one can do to protect their herd from disease and that biosecurity is more about diligence than difficulty, with communication being the key.   Past students attest this course is a must for everyone who cares about horse health.   "Bio-security is not a topic that many horse people consider until there is a big problem. This course helped me to see the things that I was already doing well and opened my eyes to some things I can change for the better. A very straight-forward course that guides you to complete your own bio-security assessment," says Kim Woolley (Roadapple Ranch, Finch ON)  EC Certified Coach, Student, Sickness Prevention in Horses.   Join the herd of students looking to protect their herds October 15 -26.   Register at TheHorsePortal.ca for Sickness Prevention in Horses short online course.   From Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON - Sept, 17, 2018 - Just in time to kick start the upcoming Equine Industry Symposium hosted by the University of Guelph on October 27, 2018, a new discussion group has started on theHorsePortal.ca website.   In response to one of the suggestions that arose from the second Equine Industry Symposium held last February, the organizing committee has created this discussion group as a platform for anyone to share resources and knowledge, network, collaborate, identify common issues, discuss common solutions, and promote actions based on evidence and professionalism.   Discussion topics revolve around the six key themes that emerged from the first Equine Industry Symposium held in November 2016:  i.      Marketing – how can we promote our industry as a viable profession? ii.    Education vs employment – what challenges do we face in finding skilled employees? iii.   Industry standards – does our industry have standards? Do we need standards? iv.   Joining forces – can we gain some common ground with others through our connection with the horse? v.     Youth involvement – how do we attract and retain youth in our aging industry? vi.   Industry research – what research is needed to push our industry forward?   Registration to the Equine Industry Symposium discussion on theHorsePortal.ca is free. Simply go to https://thehorseportal.ca/course/eis/, click on register, and use the coupon code EISforum2018 for your free registration. Then start participating in the discussion and let’s see where we can take our industry!   Don’t forget to register for the Equine Industry Symposium happening on October 27, 2018 at https://equineindustrysymposium2018.eventbrite.ca. Or check out our facebook page for more details https://www.facebook.com/Equine-Industry-Symposium-154102655279646/ .   From Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON Sept, 4, 2019 - Equine Guelph celebrates 15 years of serving the horse industry with online courses for those looking to optimize the health and welfare of the horses in their care. Students from over 40 countries continue to enroll in the 20 + courses on offer, every September, January and May.   “With top instructors teaching evidence-based knowledge, our students enter the horse industry as well-prepared, confident professionals,” says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker, “and with the flexibility of our online programs - everyone with a love for horses can find their learning pathway.”   In 2003, Equine Guelph became the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph and launched the first online equine studies program in the world! 15 years later, the award-winning programs continue to be in demand, with many accolades for the quality of instruction, level of interactivity and flexible online study that fits into busy lives. Students benefit from leading instructors, industry experts, internationally renowned guest speakers and join a community of horse enthusiasts around the globe keen to share their experiences and learn from one another.   Tuition Awards for Ontario Racing Industry Members  Thanks to the support of families and organizations providing support to educate future industry professionals to be champions for the health and welfare of horses, Equine Guelph has two tuition awards on offer: The Stuart Stocks Memorial Equine Award and the Roger L’Heureux Memorial Equine Award.   “Knowledge acquired in Equine Guelph online courses has opened doors for me in the industry,” says, Standardbred breeder, and past recipient of both awards, Cameron Lago. “The racing industry is a tight-knit community and since taking the courses, I have seen a few big name trainers pushing towards hiring Equine Guelph students and have motivated a few friends to look into them.”   After taking the online Exercise Physiology course, Lago says he gleaned important information on how different muscle fibers are being used and how their composition will reflect on how well the horses perform at the track. Learning about bone remodeling has had an impact on how he will train his foals; walking at increased rates progressively as they grow up to ensure bone structure can handle training while maintaining a balance of not pushing so hard that it becomes an animal welfare issue.   Entries for the next Stuart Stocks Memorial Equine Award accepted until Nov 15, 2018. Entries for the next Roger L’Heureux Memorial Equine Award accepted until Nov 27, 2018.   Apply for Tuition Awards today!   Certificate and Diploma Programs or a Special Interest Course Whether you are interested in taking one course to improve your knowledge as a horse owner or looking for a pathway to a professional career in the horse industry, Equine Guelph has a course to suit you.    From Equine Guelph

Guelph, ON Aug. 28, 2018 - "Possessing evidence-based horse care and welfare knowledge will save you money and reduce your horse's risk of injury and illness," says Equine Guelph director and course instructor, Gayle Ecker. Covering a broad array of topics, every horse owner and caregiver will come away having learned something new about horse care and welfare after the Sept 17 to Oct 5, three week short online course.   The best news is with 24/7 access to the site and no set times to be online, it fits into a busy schedule and costs less than a visit from the veterinarian. It is very true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!   Whether you run an equine business, have owned a horse for years or are just starting to think of buying a horse and if you are 16 years of age or older this horse care and welfare course is for you! Offered online by Equine Guelph in a unique Canadian partnership with each of the provincial equestrian federations and Equestrian Canada (EC), this course has been accepted for PD credits for EC’s coaching program. It also qualifies for Ontario Association of Veterinary Technician's (OAVT) continuing education credits.   Students come from a multitude of backgrounds: educators, new horse owners, youth leaders, boarding farm operators, future equine professionals and more. Here is what they have to say:   "The Horse Care and Welfare short course was phenomenal! All aspects of equine care are explored and discussed in an online community. You are doing yourself and your equine partner(s) a disservice if you don't take the time to educate yourself about the Five Freedoms, The Code of Practice and corresponding Scientific Reports."   Karen Pearson - Student, Horse Care and Welfare   This was an amazing course to get you started, as a refresher, and to build library materials. I can't wait to share what I have learned with students and other barn staff and horse enthusiasts. The best part, it was only 3 weeks and fit right into my busy schedule!"   Patti McGonigal, Stable Hand (Echo Bay, ON)  Student, Horse Care and Welfare   "I think the Horse Care and Welfare course is a wonderful learning tool for ALL horse owners or potential owners. The Code of Practice contains valuable information regarding the welfare of all equines."   Debbie Simpson, Competition Coach/ Judge (Regina, SK)  Student, Horse Care and Welfare   Join the herd and get ready for some lively discussions with horse caretakers that put the health and well-being of their animals first.   Register for the Horse Care and Welfare online course before Sept 17th.   From Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON, Aug, 1, 2018 - Meaford Fire Department Training Centre in Ontario is opening its doors once again, for intensive training on what to do in emergency situations involving large animals. Over sixty fire fighters and first responders took advantage of the training at Meaford in spring and fall 2017 to build expertise and resources within their respective communities.    Registration is open to first responders for the next offering of Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Rescue Awareness/Operational Training to be held October 12 (evening), 13 & 14, 2018 (If capacity allows registration will be open to non-first responders).   When a large animal emergency occurs it is big news that all too often ends in tragedy. Trailer roll-overs, ice rescues, mud or trench rescues and the dreaded barn fire are among the greatest fears and how the situation is handled by first responders will also feature heavily in the press.    “Emergency rescue training is essential for first responders, and anyone involved with transporting livestock, to provide them the expertise they need to focus on the welfare and safety of animals and people in these sorts of emergency situations,” says Ontario Veterinary College Dean Jeff Wichtel.   Since 2014 Equine Guelph has made significant progress in establishing a Large Animal Rescue program in Ontario with its qualified team of instructors helping train for such emergencies. Over 360 people have attended training events including fire fighters, first responders, pre-service, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency animal response teams, horse owners, livestock producers and associations.   The incident command system is one of the standard approaches covered and it gives a clear understanding of roles and working together effectively. Rescues involving large animals pose several challenges. “It is invaluable to have first responders who understand the basics of animal behaviour and handling techniques, restraint and confinement techniques and basic anatomy,” says Meaford’s Chief Scott Granahan.   All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders. The aforementioned knowledge combined with proper training of best practices and how to use rescue equipment mitigate risks and improve the odds of a favorable outcome for both animals and responders.   Register at https://thehorseportal.ca/   For more information or to sign up for the non-first responder waiting list contact slraymon@uoguelph.ca    From Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON, June, 2018 - Thanks to a team of University of Guelph researchers, we are one step closer to having a welfare assessment tool tailored for horses in Canada.  The research team, headed by Cordelie DuBois and Katrina Merkies, recently designed and tested an on-farm welfare assessment tool. The tool aimed to evaluate whether the National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) Code of Practice standards are being met on equine farms in Canada, while helping farm managers learn about the current standards. The results were recently published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Major advances in equine welfare in Canada were made when NFACC released the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines in 2013. In other countries, documents outlining welfare guidelines are often paired with the development of welfare assessment tools that can be used to determine whether guidelines are being followed on farm. In Europe, there are multiple tools that exist, like the Assessment Protocol for Horses and the Animal Welfare Indicators approach.  Differences between industries in other countries and Canada, particularly related to welfare legislation, are part of the reason that developing a Canadian-specific tool was important. This, and ultimately, the tool’s ability to support the use of the NFACC Code of practice as Canadian welfare standards, is what makes DuBois’ work so monumental for Canadian equine welfare. Researchers tested the assessment tool on 26 farms in Southern Ontario. The farms had various primary uses including boarding facilities, riding schools, private farms and trail riding facilities. The farms had different numbers of horses and kept the horses under different management conditions.  While the assessments conducted by DuBois and her team revealed dry stalls and well-stored feed, some of the typical findings not in compliance with the Code of Practice included: structural aspects, cleanliness of outdoor water troughs, provision of outdoor shelter, segregation of new arrivals and emergency preparedness. The assessments took an average of 144 +/- 15 minutes to complete. Researchers noted that differences in management practices between and within farms (such as some horses being on 24/7 turnout vs. other horses being on day time turnout) added challenges to the assessment procedure. Farm managers were also asked about their familiarity with several documents related to equine welfare. Interestingly, managers were most familiar with Equine Guelph’s biosecurity handout (54%) followed by the NFACC’s Equine Code of Practice (50%). The researchers conducted follow up interviews with assessors and participants to evaluate their experience with the tool. DuBois notes, “These interviews helped to identify areas where a welfare assessment program would be useful to the Canadian industry and areas where implementing a program might be challenging.” The feedback will be used to refine the tool for future work. DuBois provides a nice summary of the importance of their work, “This study provides an initial look at the logistics of doing an on-farm welfare assessment in Canada, knowing the diversity of the industry. Our findings give us a foundation for future work investigating an on-farm assessment tool such as this.” This study was funded in part by Equine Guelph. Read more about the study here. About Equine Guelph Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca. by Nicole Weidner, for Equine Guelph  

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