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Abortions in horses continues to be a very frustrating problem for breeders and veterinarians. So much time and effort is put into producing quality horses and it is heartbreaking when it does not work out; even more so when you don’t know why. “About 40% of abortions in horses that are submitted to the lab come back with no diagnosis, and an unknown cause; this means we are missing a significant number of potentially infectious and potentially preventable abortions in horses” shares Dr. Tracey Chenier at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   Dr. Chenier has been a researcher in equine reproduction at the OVC for almost 18 years, investigating equine infertility, reproductive efficiency, and embryo freezing. Her next project will investigate the exposure rate or the seroprevalence of a parasite, Neospora caninum, and its potential link to equine abortions.   Neospora caninum is the single most important cause of abortions in cattle in Ontario and has a significant impact across North America. Previous studies have looked at the seroprevalence of this parasite in Europe and the United States but no studies have been conducted in Canada. Recently, this parasite was found in an aborted equine fetus in Israel. This discovery sparked the interest of researchers in Israel who then reached out to Dr. Chenier to conduct a collaborative study. This amazing team of researchers includes Dr. David Pearl and Dr. Robert Foster from the OVC who have special expertise in disease surveillance and Neospora caninum in cattle, as well as Dr. Amir Steinman and his lab in Israel who are very familiar with the detection of this parasite.   This collaborative study will be the first of its kind in horses in Canada, and will be focusing on Ontario broodmares. Research begins this September taking place over the course of three years thanks to industry partners and OMAFRA. “It’s not possible without both industry funding and industry involvement,” says Dr. Chenier. The first step is to collect blood samples from broodmares on randomly selected breeding farms across Ontario. The owners will be involved in a comprehensive survey, so researchers can have a full understanding of the horses’ history, farm management practices, and risk factors like dogs and coyotes on or near the farm (known to increase risk levels in cattle). Next, the researchers will be looking at aborted fetuses for the presence of the Neospora caninum parasite.   This study will provide insight on the unknowns surrounding the seroprevalence of the Neospora caninum parasite in Ontario broodmares, risk factors for exposure, and if it plays a role in equine abortions. It’s important to address these unknowns in order to take precautions and work towards minimizing unknown diagnoses.   Planning on breeding your mare? Dr. Chenier has great tips and videos in Equine Guelph's Mare & Foal Care Tool sponsored by PFERA to make sure you are prepared!   https://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/Mare-&-Foal-Care.php   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.   Story by: Melissa McGilloway

Guelph, ON June 12, 2019 - Equine Guelph’s education partner, Merck Animal Health, recently launched its national Equine Biosurveillance Pilot Program to fill an unmet need in Canada. Although there are some initiatives at provincial levels, there was currently no nationwide equine biosurveillance program in the country, until now!   In event of an outbreak of common equine respiratory diseases, this program is designed to support equine clinics with the diagnosis. It will also enable collection of information at the national level on the epidemiology of the main equine respiratory pathogens. This information can then be communicated to the horse industry to promote a better knowledge and understanding of the ever-evolving nature and dynamics of those pathogens.   ‘’At Merck Animal Health, we are both very excited and proud about this new and unique initiative which will not only benefit participating clinics but the whole equine industry,” says Dr. Serge Denis DVM, Equine Consultant for Merck Animal Health. “By sharing the information collected through the program, we hope to contribute to a better knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology of the main equine respiratory diseases by the various stakeholders be it veterinarians, horse owners, barn managers or trainers.’’   In the initial phase, Merck’s Equine Biosurveillance Program will be offered to a limited number of equine clinics. Future plans include rolling it out to a significant number of practitioners.   Pathogens tested through the program:   Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is available for: Equine Herpesvirus types 1 & 4, Equine Influenza Virus, Equine Rhinitis A and B Viruses, and Streptococcus equi subsp. equi.   Participating clinics are provided with a diagnostic kit containing all necessary material to collect and submit samples to the Diagnostic Service of the Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire in St-Hyacinthe, University of Montreal.   There is no cost for participating clinics. All costs of the program are covered by Merck Animal Health.Veterinarians interested in this initiative can contact their local Merck representative.   ‘’This innovative program is a powerful addition to our unique value offering and reflects Merck Animal Health’s commitment to support the Canadian equine industry through science-based products and services,’’ says Douglas Wong, Product Manager, Farm Animal Business Unit with Merck Animal Health.   Equine Guelph supports this national program as it aims to benefit overall welfare of horses in Canada. "The possibilities for developing best vaccination strategies through information gathered in this biosurveillance program are quite exciting,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "We encourage all horse owners to learn more about the importance of vaccinating by visiting our vaccination resource at EquineGuelph.ca/vaccination tool."  Should you have any questions or concerns about the health of your horse, please speak to your equine veterinarian.     by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

The early bird deadline for the 2019 International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) conference is fast approaching! The 2019 ISES conference is being held in Guelph, Ontario, Canada from August 19-21. With the theme “Bringing Science to the Stable” the conference will focus on mankind’s history with horses, what we have learned about horse-human interactions, and how we can continue to improve our relationships with these amazing animals.   Due to a delay in getting abstract acceptances back to authors, the early bird deadline has been extended. Register by June 10 to receive a discount in your registration fees.   All information about the conference is available on the Equitation Science website andThe Horse Portal. Check for updates on the program, registration information, hotel accommodations, transportation options, and local attractions.   Follow the ISES2019 blog for detailed information on speakers, exhibitors, demos and more.   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.   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 is a practical day with demonstrations on the application of learning theory and science from world-renowned experts: Shawna Karrasch (Terra Nova) – positive reinforcement training Nightwatch – Smart halter for monitoring horse biometrics Drs. Katrina Merkies and Cordy DuBois – equine welfare assessment Saddlefit4Life – saddle fitting for improved performance Visualise – technical sportswear to improve rider position IPOS – rein tension sensors equla vert – technical sensor to monitor horse head position Registered delegates can also attend two free pre-conference workshops on Sunday, August 18. Cristina Wilkins and Kate Fenner (Australia) will offer advice 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. For an extra fee, delegates can register for a short course on large animal rescue training. Space in this hands-on workshop is limited, so be sure to register soon!   Early bird conference registration pricing is available until June 10. 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     By Jackie Zions for Equine Guelph

Guelph, ON May, 9, 2019 - "Somebeachsomewhere: Horse of a Lifetime", made its big screen debut Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Mohawk Inn and Conference Centre, Milton, Ontario. The event proceeds were kindly donated to support equine research at University of Guelph. The screening was made possible through the cooperation and generous support of the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA), Eastlink Community TV, and the USHWA Canada chapter.   Eleven years ago today, Somebeachsomewhere qualified at Mohawk Racetrack to start his sophomore season.   On May 4th, a select group of his greatest admirers gathered to share an exclusive film fundraiser celebrating the late pacer's life and career.   "Somebeachsomewhere: Horse of a Lifetime" premiered on Eastlink Community TV earlier this year, and received glowing reviews.   Fans of the Schooner Stable's star enjoyed a one-time-only screening of the film May 4 at Mohawk Inn and Conference Centre, Milton, Ontario.   Ontario Veterinary College Dean Dr. Jeff Wichtel and Equine Guelph Director Gayle Ecker attended and introduced the screening, which raised proceeds through donations and sponsorships. "The industry has continued to work through the challenges of re-structuring within the Ontario racing industry," says Dean Wichtel. "Every donation counts to help support research towards improving the lives of our racing athletes, and we would like to thank all the organizers and participants of this event."   Ron Mervis, Eastlink Regional Manager for Southern Ontario, and Brian Tropea, OHHA General Manager, also gave opening remarks.   Driver Paul MacDonell answered audience questions after the film, generously signing autographs until his departure to drive in race 1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   To learn more about how donations, however large or small, benefit the care and health of racehorses, please visit www.equineguelph.ca.     Equine Guelph

Guelph, ON May, 2, 2019 - Have an older horse? Take a minute this May to learn about the management and health of your loyal companion during their golden years with Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool), developed in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.   There is no standard age to determine when a horse becomes a senior. Instead, factors like breed, health conditions, previous use, and history of care can all affect when your horse is considered senior. Changes that might make your horse a senior can creep up slowly over time and this makes it important to continually assess your older horses.   Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool) can help you learn more about the management of senior horses and conditions that may affect them. Take the Senior Horse Challenge quiz to test your knowledge on issues related to the health and management of senior horses. Then, try out the Click and Reveal Activity and see if you can pick out which horses have Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), a condition that can affect 15-30% of senior horses. Finally, check out the lists of additional resources that feature links to helpful videos and fact sheets on senior horse issues, like nutrition and PPID.   Most horse owners realize that every horse should be treated as an individual when developing a diet to meet their nutritional needs. However, there are four main groups that senior horses can be divided into when categorizing their needs. Check out the Senior Horse Nutrition Fact sheet (under the PDF Resources list) for more information on the category that your senior fits into:   1) The Healthy Senior 2) The Overweight/Obese Senior 3) The Senior that is Losing Condition 4) The Senior with Health Issues (the Geriatric horse)   Some of the horses that fall into the final 'Senior with Health Issues' category may be affected by PPID. You can find a video of horses with PPID before and after treatment and more information on PPID under the Additional Resources list on the Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool).   "Every fall Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a PPID testing campaign in partnership with Animal Health Laboratory." says Doug Myers, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. "Over the past 5 years more than 1700 horses have been tested and 62% were positive for PPID."   Have an older horse that means the world to you? Let us know by sharing this article and telling us about your horse! Let’s thank the senior horses that have spent their years making ours better by spreading the word about the Senior Horse Tool (www.equineguelph.ca/seniorhorsetool) and educating fellow horse lovers on how to give senior horses the best care possible.   Story by: Nicole Weidner

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  

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