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Guelph, ON - May, 15, 2018 - In emergencies with life and death situations where most people would flee, how is it that firefighters, paramedics and other first responders stay calm and methodical? Training and the right equipment are two of their most important tools.   Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue program has been presented at six venues already since the start of 2018 with the same message. This training is critical for first responders faced with emergencies dealing with large animals. For the animal’s owner, it is valuable knowledge to stop a highly emotional situation from turning into catastrophic one.   Since 2014 Equine Guelph has made significant progress in establishing a Large Animal Rescue program in Ontario with its qualified team of instructors. 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 Large Animal Rescue Awareness Course was very educational and informative,” says Chuck Lobsinger, Fire Chief at South Bruce Fire Rescue Service. “All the firefighters that participated gained valuable knowledge and experience using Equine Guelph’s training aids and equipment. Very positive feedback was received from all participants. I would recommend every fire department to have personnel take this type of training.”   Participants from this latest training in Large Animal Rescue Awareness Level Course, at Mildmay Fire Department (South Bruce) April 21 – 22 also said the hands on portion taking step by step walkthroughs of the rescues were really helpful. Feedback also relayed valuable lessons were learned in the overall approach to instances involving large animals including animal behaviour, anatomy and best practices for large animal manipulation techniques such as forward and rear assists, sideways drags, sling arrangements and how to work safely in confined spaces.   There are plenty of “rescue” videos out there showing dangerous methods of pulling animals out of situations which result in tragic loss and further injury. In her anatomy lesson, Gayle Ecker director of Equine Guelph emphasizes, “tails, legs, heads and necks are not appropriate handles!”  Equine Guelph demonstrates techniques and best practices for rescuing large animals that promote positive outcomes and safety for all. This includes proper use of specialized equipment and positioning of webbing around the body of the animal to lift or drag it to safety.   Rob Wells of Rob Wells Trucking in Mildmay kindly provided a 53' livestock trailer and bays for training. “I was pleased to supply a 53' livestock trailer and have my son Devin explain the capabilities of the equipment and safety aspects of hauling animals,” said Wells. “I would also look forward to helping out at future offerings as it is so important to have both livestock haulers and first responders learn to work together in the event of an emergency.”   Sponsorship for the Large Animal Rescue Awareness Level Course delivered by Equine Guelph in Mildmay, ON was kindly provided by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.   “The Nuclear Waste Management Organization and the Municipality of South Bruce are pleased to support the Bruce County Fire School,” said Relationship Manager, Paul Austin. “The training is an investment in not only building awareness, but also the skills and knowledge that are key to supporting community well-being now and in the future. Agriculture has a huge presence in our community and the Large Animal Rescue Awareness course helps prepare our first responders for the unique needs of our communities.”    Other events since the beginning of 2018 include:   January 19, 2018 – Seneca Lake (ice/water) Large Animal Emergency Rescue Awareness presentation) – hosted by Central York Fire Department   March 1, 2018 – University of Guelph – Large Animal Emergency Rescue presentation to Clinton undergrad students   March 3, 2018 Equine Research Day (University of Guelph) An introduction to large animal rescue training   March 20 and 21, 2018 - Training for Puslinch Fire Department - Large Animal Rescue Training   March 26 and 27, 2018 - Organization of Racing Investigators training conference - Large Animal Rescue Training   People who have attended training alongside firefighters have said it was interesting to see how things are done and they gained insight on what they could do if they were ever involved in an emergency situation. The incident command system is one of the standard approaches covered and it gives a clear understanding of roles and working together effectively.   All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders. The way to improve the odds of a favorable and safe outcome for both animals and responders is through proper training of best practices and how to use rescue equipment. Equine Guelph thanks the hosts, supporters and participants of these important workshops. For more information or to bring a course to your location visit TheHorsePortal.ca and contact Dr. Susan Raymond at slraymon@uoguelph.ca   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions   Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada

Guelph, ON, May 10, 2018 - Ah Spring; when countless materials are covered in shedding horse hair including your clothes, car, perhaps even your couch if you don’t change out of barn clothes immediately when you get home. But what if you are not covered in your horses shedding coat? Delayed shedding or regional hypertrichosis can be early warning signs of Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) – a metabolic condition that suppresses the immune system when high cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels.  Look for abnormal hair coat including patches of long hair on the legs, wavy hair on the neck, changes in coat colour or shedding patterns and unusual whisker growth.  Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge healthcare tool contains useful resources to practice identifying metabolic issues.   Did you know horses seen for laminitis have frequently been found to have PPID or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)? Laminitis can be a sign of both metabolic issues yet it is often treated without identifying the underlying cause.   There is a fair bit of confusion in the horse world over mixing up PPID and EMS as they share many of the same clinical signs. Horses with PPID may also have some of the features of EMS. Equine Metabolic Syndrome had many previous names: peripheral Cushing’s Syndrome, pseudo Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance syndrome.   Horses with EMS do not display hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) or delayed shedding. New research studies are investigating changes in gut microflora as another possible early warning sign of EMS. PPID cases are more common in horses over 15 where EMS tends to be seen in horses over 5 years of age. Laminitis and obesity are often the first clues in identifying both disorders. Working with a veterinarian who can perform diagnostics is necessary to conclude which disorder you are dealing with and determine the best treatment options. Early warning signs can be subtle and of course early diagnosis is important.   “Every year Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a PPID testing campaign in partnership with Animal Health Laboratory in Guelph,” says Guillaume Cloutier, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. “In 2017, out of the 442 horses that were tested, 273 (62%) had a positive result for PPID.”   To learn more about detecting early warning signs for metabolic issues and other important factors in maintaining health as your horse ages, visit Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge Healthcare Tool, kindly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Guelph, ON, First released by Ontario Racing April 16, 2018 - There’s no doubt Cameron Lago has charted a successful course in the Standardbred industry, thanks to an unmistakable passion for the harness racing sport and an exceptional educational experience through Equine Guelph.   “I started my appreciation for horses when I was about 9-10, when I attended the OHHA Youth camp at Flamboro Downs,” recalled the 20-year-old. “My love for horses and racing kind of all started with that. I’ve been hooked on it ever since.”   Lago admits that might be somewhat of an understatement.   “Yes, it probably is,” he said with a laugh. “My grandfather has had a couple of broodmares around as part of his retirement project, so he and I kind of kick-started things here on our farm after I attended the youth camp. Ever since then, we’ve just continued to grow, slowly, but surely, getting involved in the horse racing industry, overall just building our broodmares.   “We currently have four broodmares at home here,” continued Lago. “I’m working in partnership with my grandfather for the moment, slowly starting to buy into some of them. Buying new mares is the goal for myself over the next couple of years, to expand my own herd and get more involved in the breeding side. I have a passion for it – the genetics – and I want to pursue that.”   His fascination with and appreciation for Standardbreds continues to grow.   It’s what eventually drew Lago to Equine Guelph, specifically, the vast array of online educational courses that are offered. He applied for and won the Stuart Stocks Memorial Tuition Award (Equine Guelph Tuition Awards) through Equine Guelph in 2016.   “I was thrilled to be chosen,” he said. “I knew there was some tough competition. I think education within the industry will continue to grow. It’s extremely important.”   His association with Equine Guelph turned out to be twice as nice one year later.   Lago, who was part of the 2016 Wannadrive team, a Hands on Horses Program, also received two online courses through Equine Guelph (valued at $549 each) after being selected as the recipient of the inaugural Roger L’Heureux Award in 2017. Certificates were available in Equine Science, Equine Welfare and Equine Business.   “Getting to take the Equine Genetics and Equine Exercise Physiology in 2017 was an amazing experience,” said Lago, who is set to take the Health & Disease course out of the University of Guelph this May. “My main motive behind it all was to gain more experience. Horses, at one point, they were an unknown to me. I was going to Agricultural school (Business and Livestock Production) at the time in Olds, Alberta. There wasn’t much focus on racehorses, of course, so I wanted to further my education in that, so by taking these courses through Guelph, it’s really helped me in so many ways and helped me increase my knowledge of racehorses. It’s opened a lot of doors.”   He’s hoping other young people get the same opportunities.   “I want to keep giving to this industry to the fullest extent,” offered Lago. “By doing interviews, talking to people, it’s just tremendous because it really shows off the sport. Any positive publicity that harness racing can get is great. The sport has a lot of room for growth and I believe there are a lot of positive outlooks for the industry.”   An industry that Lago believes offers a little bit of everything, with the exception of tedium. Why would he encourage people to consider a horseracing life?   I would say it’s thrilling, that you’re always doing something new every day and you never know what your day will be like,” said Lago. “When you go into a barn, someone always has a story and someone always teaches you something. Working with the equine athletes is something in itself. I’ve really come to appreciate them even more after taking these Guelph courses. It’s fueled my passion even more. To work with them every day, it’s a privilege. You get hooked.   “I would encourage anyone to apply with Equine Guelph because there is so much to learn about these amazing athletes. They’re very complex animals, so to better care for them and understand them is so important. Whether they are racing or they’re a broodmare, they all have a purpose. I would highly encourage anyone to get connected with Equine Guelph and Ontario Racing. There’s a lot to learn from one another.”   Cameron Lago would certainly know.   Story by: Chris Lomon

Guelph, ON, May, 3, 2018 - With a hefty focus on emergency management, this year’s annual conference for the Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI), at Woodbine racetrack in Toronto, included Large Animal Emergency Rescue training provided by Equine Guelph. On the morning of Tuesday March 27th, Racing Investigators from as far afield as Australia received Awareness Level presentations on the technical aspects of rescue and then participated in hands-on practical exercises.   “The Equine Guelph Large Animal Emergency Rescue (LAER) course that was provided for the Organization of Racing Investigators at their 2018 annual conference was excellent,” said Racing Investigator/Firefighter, Troy Moffatt. “The content and delivery methods were accurate for the audience and there were numerous positive comments from our international partners claiming that this conference was one of the best. Having been a past student of this (LAER) course at both Mohawk and Meaford in 2017, I knew it was one not to miss.   I would encourage anyone involved in the equine world to attend and gain this valuable practical knowledge. I would also encourage any first responder to seek out this training and take it home to their departments.”   In this highly condensed version of the LAER program the key points stressed that successful rescue techniques follow an incident command system, mitigating risks and improving the odds of a favorable outcome for both animals and responders. All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders. That is why proper training of best practices and how to use rescue equipment is of the utmost importance for the safety of all involved.   “The feedback from participants was that the demonstrations were extremely interesting, informative, and practical,” said Tyler Durand, Racing Investigator from Toronto. “This was an excellent program provided by knowledgeable instructors."   A highly engaged group of racing investigators, security officers, racing officials and police officers were taken through the basics of animal behaviour and handling techniques, restraint and confinement techniques, basic anatomy and the roles of others at an animal incident. The working relationship with a large animal and equine veterinarian was discussed as an important part of a successful rescue as well as aftercare.   The participants were then put to task practicing rescue scenarios using a 600 pound horse mannequin with a focus on safety for both humans and animals and the general welfare of the animal. Remembering the anatomy lessons clarifying that tails, legs, heads and necks are not appropriate handles, they practiced several different ways to perform drags, lifts and assists with safe attachment methods using specialized webbing for straps and proper support.   “Prevention of such incidents is key,” says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker, “but response to the incidents involving animals through knowledge and best practices is an important part of the health, welfare and safety of animals and first responders. We thank AGCO chairman, Jeremy Locke for organizing this event and bringing this important training to the 2018 Organization of Racing Investigators Training Conference.”   Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1 519.824.4120 ext. 54756 jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

Guelph, ON April, 25, 2018 - EquiMania! would like to extend a sincere thank you to the organizers, supporters, sponsors, volunteers and the attendees at the Can-Am Equine Expo in Markham, ON. It was the 13th consecutive year of participation for EquiMania! at yet another brilliant show! Can-Am is always a must-attend for horse lovers from all disciplines. The April 6 – 8 event offered a multitude of learning opportunities, as well as entertainment and shopping for a well-rounded sensational outing. The staff and volunteers manning the education booth and Equimania! fun zone are always impressed by the dedicated equestrians coming out to Can-Am to further their equine knowledge.   To build on Can-Am’s atmosphere of education, attendees of the Equine Guelph and EquiMania! displays were encouraged to fill out ballots for a chance to win a free short online course from The Horse Portal.   Congratulations to Victoria Ayres, of Queensville, Ontario, who won her choice of one of the following 3-week courses offered to ages 16 and up: Horse Care & Welfare (September 17 – October 5, 2018), Sickness Prevention (October 15 – 26, 2018), Gut Health and Colic Prevention (November 12 – 30, 2018) or Horse Behaviour & Safety (January 21 – February 8, 2019). Congratulations also go out to Teya from Ontario, who won free enrolment into Horse Behaviour & Safety for Youth (July 23 – August 10, 2018). Check out The Horse Portalfor more information on these courses and upcoming 12 week courses.    “My heartfelt thanks go out to Ross Millar and the Can-Am team, especially auction organizer Janice Blakeney, for their dedication to putting together the annual Art Auction featured at the Can-Am Saturday Evening Extravaganza,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. The auction was a resounding success with $4275.00 raised in under 15 minutes, with all the proceeds going to Equine Guelph. Many thanks to the four talented ladies who donated their beautiful pieces of art include: Nola McConnan, Ann Clifford, Kelly Plitz and Shawn Hamilton.    Equine Guelph would also like to acknowledge Heartland star, Amber Marshall for her role in the art auction. Amber provided a gift basket (signed magazines, necklace she wears on Heartland show, horse treats). When a call came out from the crowd to include a selfie, she quickly agreed to add that to the gift pack. The bidding quickly reached $800, and there were still 3 bidders at this level, so Amber suggested she would provide 3 gift packs and selfies if everyone would donate $800.  She tripled the donation with this action! Thank you Amber!   The strength of great partnerships has made EquiMania! a popular exhibit in Ontario and beyond. Equine Guelph thanks the sponsors and volunteers who make it possible to bring EquiMania! to approximately 2 million visitors every year! Thank you ESSO, Greenhawk, Kubota Canada, Ontario Equestrian, Shur-Gain, SSG Gloves, Standardbred Canada, System Fencing and Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.    To book EquiMania! for your next event contact Eq4kids@uoguelph.ca    Kids, visit EquiMania! online to play games online & stay tuned to upcoming events for more EquiMania! outings.   Equine Guelph

Equine Guelph, a leader in equine research and sports medicine, headlines a group of Ontario educators extolling the merits of the Youth Literary Derby.   "The Derby is a wonderful initiative encouraging youth of Ontario to express themselves, engage and celebrate in the wonderful world of horses." Said Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "As an enthusiastic partner in the promotion of the Youth Literary Derby and a strong supporter of education for budding horse enthusiasts, Equine Guelph is pleased to provide online Horse Behaviour and Safety courses for the winners of the Youth Literary Derby." Equine Guelph, well known for their support of the grass roots of the horse industry with their award-winning travelling display, EquiMania, recently added a short course for youth 14 - 17 years old: Horse Behaviour and Safety. "We hope the Derby winners will enjoy furthering their interest in horses and learning the language of the horse during this highly interactive course." Ecker continued. Harness racing legend and Hambletonian Society president, John Campbell weighs in on the Literary Derby: "I read with great interest about the Youth Literary initiative being implemented in Ontario. I believe that exposing children to horses and the excitement of seeing and being around newborn foals will result in some incredible stories from these children. Some of these kids might not know it now but after being around and interacting with these horses their lives will be changed. It will be the beginning of a lifetime love affair as horses are addictive; they make an impression on you and are good for the soul. The project really hit home for me as I have always been an avid reader and feel that even though technology and the way we learn has changed, we should encourage children to read, write and express themselves through literature as much as possible. I have seen firsthand the anticipation and excitement that you see on a child's face when they receive a new book. In addition, my daughter Michelle is involved with KPMG'S Family Literacy program whose mission is to provide new books and educational resources to children in need. As you can see, giving back is a family affair." Standardbreds in the classroom "As an elementary teacher at a rural school I have found the Youth Literary Derby to be a great way to connect students with the Standardbred industry." said Trena Lebedz of the Aldborough Public School in Rodney Ontario. "I look forward to allowing more students the opportunity to share their knowledge and love for horses by including the program in my classes as part of the curriculum" she said. "We are currently learning about the different types of poems, which will be used to create a poetic piece for the contest." Trena Lebedz comes by her love of horses quite honestly. Her great grandfather, J. Russell Miller, was an astute, successful horseman who owned, trained and bred many outstanding Standardbreds for more than four decades. From the St. John French Immersion Catholic Elementary School in London, Ont., "It's (The Youth Literary Derby) a good idea and can work well with our curriculum." "Foals are a fantastic subject for any story. Whether its penmanship or horsemanship, we wish all of the contestants the best of luck and look forward to reading the winning poems and short stories" said Ontario Equestrian, Director , Tracey McCague-McElrea. Ontario Equestrian, is a partner in the promotion and support of the Youth Literary Derby, and is Ontario's provincial support organization for equestrians. It is committed to the highest standards of horse welfare advocacy and pursuits and represents 22,000 members from all sectors of the horse industry. "Having students write poems and short stories about Standardbreds is fantastic. We should follow your lead and do something like this in the States." says Kimberly Rinker, Vice President of the United States Harness Writers Association. "What a great program and incentive to get youngsters involved or interested in harness racing."   The Youth Literary Derby is a horse-themed contest for Ontario students grades 5 - 8. It offers $2,000 in prize money and is designed to encourage writing and literacy skills and offers students the opportunity to visit Ontario Standardbred breeding farms during foaling season in April, through June and challenges them to create inspiring prose, or poetry about their close up encounters with Standardbred foals. Entries close June 15th. For complete contest details and a list of Ontario farms available for visiting before writing their entry, students are advised to visit: www.YouthLiteraryDerby.ca. For additional information: Bill Galvin: billgalvin2000@rogers.com    

Guelph, ON April, 11, 2018 - Researchers at the University of Guelph are searching for clues to better manage a virus that can cause late gestation abortion in mares.   Horses carrying equine herpesvirus (EHV) may exhibit signs as minor as a runny nose and mild fever, but the virus is a major cause of neurological, respiratory and reproductive disease, including abortions, in the equine industry.   Horses often are infected early in life and EHV can remain in the body for life, reactivating at any time, but it’s not clear what causes this to happen. Something pushes it over the edge to disease manifestation, explains Dr. Brandon Lillie, a pathologist in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   While vaccination is recommended to protect against EHV, the virus continues to occur in vaccinated herds. Affected horses may abort their foals or foals may be born apparently healthy only to die a short time later.   Lillie and Dr. Luis Arroyo, a clinician and researcher in OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies, along with their research team are trying to better understand how the virus exists in the horse population, uncover what triggers the virus to cause disease and assess ways to maximize current EHV vaccination efficacy and minimize the virus’s effect on the horses’ health. In particular, they are focusing on the abortive affect of the virus.   EHV can present in a number of ways, explains Arroyo. Horses may demonstrate neurological signs; they may have difficulty walking, they may have difficulty urinating because the nerves to their bladder are inflamed, or they may exhibit milder symptoms like a runny nose, or no symptoms at all.   A mare may not show clinical signs of the virus at all, but could lose a foal who is loaded with the virus, he adds. Conversely, some mares may be clearly diseased but their pregnancy isn’t compromised.   The cyclical nature of the virus is part of the challenge. Farms may report no abortions for a couple of years and then suddenly they have two or three.   The researchers began with a survey of Ontario horse farms to better understand the current state of the industry, looking at herd sizes, abortion rates and prevalence of EHV-related diseases.   Beginning in December 2016, they began sampling horses on farms across Ontario – from Ottawa to Windsor and Sudbury to the Niagara Region.    The farms include large racing operations with dozens of mares to smaller farms with two, three or six mares. Says Lillie, “We are focusing on the mares because that is the major way that foals get infected. We think that’s an important area to look at and understand.”   Horses on each farm will be sampled six times over 12 months, essentially covering the entire gestational cycle of horses.   Lillie and Arroyo are also examining the best way to sample for the virus, looking at nasal swabs, vaginal swabs and blood samples.   “If a mare is shedding are there different levels in different places, are you better to swab a horse’s nose or to take a blood sample?” asks Lillie.   They will test the samples for presence of the virus or viral DNA levels and also look at serology, the mare’s antibody level or immune response to the virus. Using this information, researchers can then determine how prevalent the virus is, the impact of vaccines on the virus and the mare’s ability to mount an immune response.   On the farms being studied, there is also a fairly even split between those who vaccinate and those who don’t.    “Hopefully we’ll start to see some trends,” adds Lillie. “Ultimately, when abortions occur, we can look back and see if the shedding pattern changed and if one type of sampling was a key indicator.”   Another area they will assess is how the antibody response pattern changes with horses throughout the year. Preliminary evidence suggests not all mares respond the same way to the virus or have the same antibody level patterns over the year.   The host, the pathogen, the farm’s management strategy and the environment all contribute to the occurrence of disease particularly when a virus is there all the time, adds Lillie.   Ultimately, the researchers hope to make some changes in how the disease is diagnosed and managed. “Maybe vaccine protocols need tweaking,” he says. “Maybe the current vaccination schedule isn’t the best as far as timing or maybe another one is needed in there, or perhaps the virus has evolved a bit.”   Funding for the study has come from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and a University of Guelph Catalyst Grant, as well as funding from Equine Guelph and the Zoetis Investment in Innovation Fund.   Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=541    by: Karen Mantel  

Guelph, ON - April, 4, 2018 - The Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool was performed by over 100 students in the winter 2018 offering of Equine Guelph’s Gut Health & Colic course. Feedback indicates participants were keen to learn the simple management changes that could reduce their chances of colic. Many were surprised to learn that approximately 80% of colic episodes may be related to management and therefore can be prevented. Available on the Equine Guelph website, the free Colic Risk Rater tool provides individual feedback to help horse owners identify risk factors and develop preventative strategies to help reduce the risk of colic.    Spring in particular is a time when many new stresses can impact the horse.  Very often this is a time when riders start to ramp up the intensity of exercise and also feed. Making changes to horses feed slowly is a common topic among horse caretakers but did you know it is even more important to change forages slowly than it is concentrates?   'Concentrates' are broken down by enzymes in the foregut for the horse to digest, while forages are broken down by the microbes in the hindgut and it is the microbes that feed the horse. Therefore, it is even more critical to change forages more slowly than concentrates, in the horse’s diet.    In spring, there is the introduction of grass pasture to consider. If we let the horse out on pasture when the grasses are beginning to grow, Mother Nature helps control the intake of this new, very digestible, 'short forage, as it begins to grow very slowly. Problems arise when the manager waits until the fresh grasses are 3 to 4 inches tall before turning the horses out to eat it. Then the horse can consume too much at one time and cause a digestive upset, i.e., colic.    However, not every farm owner has an ideal ratio of one horse per 1.5 -2 acres of grazing in which case special pasture management includes rotating horses to new paddocks before the grass is eaten down below 3 inches. In these cases, introduce horses to fresh grass with gradual increases in grazing time. If stools begin to loosen, you know that grazing time was increased too much.  Back off the time spent grazing and be sure to provide the horses with extra hay when off the pastures. This allows them to chew more, which will produce more saliva thereby controlling pH levels which helps the good microbial population stay healthy and restore the 'good' bugs in the gut.   During the last Gut Health and Colic course, guest speaker and highly experienced equine nutritionist, Don Kapper was on hand dispelling myths and discussing nutrition as it pertains to horse health and performance. One of the topics Kapper discussed was manure; “this is one ‘visual’ for all horse owners to monitor and learn to manage accordingly.”  Too firm (dry) stools would be an indication of dehydration, a condition that can lead to impaction colic if ignored.   Moist stools could indicate a well hydrated horse, but if it becomes too loose and is accompanied with a strong 'acid' aroma, it could indicate something has happened to the microbial population in the colon. One of the jobs of the colon is to absorb water and form the feces, but the microbes found there are very pH sensitive, therefore, a ‘hindgut irritant’ caused from eating too much starch or sugar; lack of adequate fermentable fiber; or extended treatment of antibiotics, could cause 'Acid Gut Syndrome' that could lead to 'Acidosis'. Unfortunately, acidosis is when the pH of the colon becomes <6.0 and this is when 80% of the horses will founder.   The most common cause of ‘Acid Gut Syndrome’, during a change of season, is a change in the forage they are eating. This could be from: 1)transitioning from mature grass hay to immature grass pasture, or visa versa; 2) feeding a different 'type' of hay (remember it takes different microbes in their fermentation vat to breakdown the different ‘types’ of forage). To make a 100% microbial change in their fermentation vat, i.e. hindgut, takes 21 days. Therefore, to maintain a healthy gut, it is more important to change your 'forage' more slowly than your concentrate feed.   Stay tuned to theHorsePortal.ca for the next offering of Gut Health and Colic.   “The Gut Health and Colic Prevention course was packed full of relevant and useful information along with practical applications that I can immediately implement with my horses.” - student Donna Elkow   The Colic Risk Rater and the Gut Health and Colic Prevention short course are kindly sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services Inc. and CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd. Mike King, National equine industry program manager for Intercity/CapriCMW is familiar with both the financial and emotional costs involved and fully supports colic prevention through education. “With decades of insurance underwriting and claims experience in the horse industry across Canada, we can think of no better risk management tool to prevent colic, than education.“   Colic is the number one killer of horses, other than old age. Knowing your horse and picking up on change is one important factor in colic prevention. The Colic Risk Rater health care tool also takes horse owners through management strategies such as: amount of forage fed, quality of feed and amounts fed at once, turn out time, exercise routine, hydration and parasite control.   Visit Equine Guelph’s interactive Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool to learn how you can reduce your horse’s risk of Colic.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Guelph, ON March 29, 2018 - What would you list as a threat to the welfare of horses in Canada? What actions could we take to fix this? Questions like these may not always be the first thing on the mind of most horse lovers, but they are extremely important to the continued success and growth of Canada’s horse industry. Recent research led by Cordelie DuBois and Dr. Katrina Merkies at the University of Guelph has shed light on the answers to these questions and more, giving us a better picture of the perceptions of welfare in the Canadian horse industry.   The research team asked equine professionals to participate in a survey that consisted of several rounds of questions like the ones above. DuBois explains “In the first round of questions, participants were asked to identify issues related to equine welfare in Canada. In the following rounds, participants were asked to rank the issues by importance. The results revealed that ‘ignorance’ was one of the issues that appeared most often in people's top five ranking.” In other words, a major risk to a horse’s well-being is a care-giver who does not know that what they are doing may negatively impact the health and well-being of the horse. Examples of this could be related to management decisions, such as: inappropriate blanketing or stabling 24 hours of the day, or health decisions, such as lack of a parasite control program or failing to provide proper hoof care. DuBois points out that there are two types of “ignorance” that may apply to the survey responses. The first is simply that people do not know any better, and the second is that people believe they know all they need to know and therefore close the door on learning more. Although it’s tempting to believe that we know all there is to know about a certain subject, the reality is that we very often “don't know what we don't know".  We owe it to our 4-hooved partners to acknowledge this fact, and to remedy it by taking an active role in educating ourselves and staying up to date with evidence-based, scientific findings.   Interestingly, evidence of the important role that education can play in equine welfare was also highlighted in the survey results. Participant’s brainstormed ways to address issues related to equine welfare in Canada, and ranked them in order of effectiveness. Increased education for all people who work with horses was among the solutions that appeared most often in people's top five. Increased education and awareness efforts would provide care-givers with knowledge and understanding of current standards of care, while also highlighting potential dangers to a horse’s well-being.   Overall, DuBois states, “This study provides us with baseline data in the previously under-explored area of welfare perceptions in the Canadian equine industry. Additionally, data from surveys like this can help direct industry-wide strategies to improve welfare as well as future research into areas of concern.”    Stay tuned to Equine Guelph to hear more about DuBois’ PhD work, including the design and application of an on-farm welfare assessment tool. She notes, “Improving equine welfare is not just about changing the horse's environment; it involves understanding the role of the human caregiver and what drives them to manage their horses the way that they do.”  DuBois’ work is funded in part by Equine Guelph.   Test your knowledge of the National Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines with Equine Guelph’s Code Decoder.   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: Nicole Weidner

Guelph - Now more than ever, we are aware of disease outbreaks with strong lines of communication keeping us up to date. A pivotal part of your sickness prevention plan includes a vaccination program. Only vaccination can prevent death from certain diseases such as rabies, which has seen its fair share of announcements of late in certain parts of Canada. Ontario Veterinary College Dean Wichtel says, “according to new information presented at an Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners (OAEP) meeting, the need for vaccination is greater than ever, with emerging new disease patterns that may be due in part to climate change.”   In times where kids cannot attend school unless they produce up-to-date immunization records, we need to think of horses in the same way. The FEI requires proof of equine influenza vaccinations for horses competing at FEI events. Competing or not, any horse that travels to events, or comes into contact with horses that travel, are exposed to inherent risks of contracting disease.   A great starting point for horse owners and veterinarians to discuss their annual vaccination program is Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner.  Horse owners are asked to complete six questions that help determine individual farm differences and risk factors, including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. This data is then compiled in a program, and a printable customized vaccination schedule is provided for each horse.   Horses tend to receive their first influenza shots of the year in the springtime in anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens. ‘’Equine influenza remains one of the most frequent and contagious respiratory tract disease in horses. As is the case on the human side, the equine influenza virus evolves over time (although at a less rapid pace). Therefore, the use of a vaccine including recent strains of equine influenza which meets AAEP’s and OIE’s recommendations is highly desirable in order to optimize coverage’’, says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health.   “The decision as to whether or not to vaccinate your horse against a particular disease is based on the risk associated with your horse becoming infected with certain disease-causing pathogens, says Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health and Welfare at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Owners of horses that travel for competition need to know the diseases endemic to the areas to which they are travelling to properly protect their horse. Websites such as the Equine Disease Communication Centre (EDCC) (equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks) can help inform owners regarding disease risk in certain areas. Your veterinarian should also be made aware of your travel plans and be consulted regarding which diseases are in your home area so the most effective vaccination program can be designed.”      Beyond vaccinations for diseases such as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile, there are more precautions to help deter the spread of diseases transmitted via insects. Removing breeding grounds can be accomplished by eliminating standing water (e.g. old water feeders, tires around the property) and getting rid of puddles by improving drainage.   Keeping manure storage as far away from the barn as possible but accessible for staff is helpful. Fly zappers and tapes can be beneficial. There are also products that can be fed to horses to interrupt the development of fly larvae in the horse’s manure (feed through fly control). Fly bait can also be useful but should be used with caution if dogs and cats are around. Other options to control flies and mosquitoes include insecticide impregnated blankets/sheets and the traditional fly sprays.   Disease should always be a concern if you are a horse owner and spring serves as a reminder to check your horses’ vaccination records. Equine Guelph’s Vaccination Equi-Planner, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, is a useful tool designed for horse owners to generate personalized immunization schedules for their horses.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=553   FEI rule: https://inside.fei.org/node/3289   Vaccination Equi-Planner: http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/equiplanner.php        Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1 519.824.4120 ext. 54756 jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

Guelph, ON - A high-tech horse model will provide valuable hands-on learning to student veterinarians at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College courtesy of a donation from the Equine Foundation of Canada.   Nancy Kavanagh, secretary of the EFC delivered a cheque for nearly $50,000 to OVC Dean Jeffrey Wichtel and Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, for the purchase of the detailed and life-sized horse model produced by Canada’s Veterinary Simulator Industries.   The model opens to reveal anatomically correct latex organs that can be inflated to mimic colic, the leading cause of premature death in horses, and also certain reproductive challenges.   The detailed model will allow student veterinarians to practice clinical and technical skills, vital to improving confidence and competence. When Foundation President R.J. (Bob) Watson contacted Dean Wichtel for his wish list, the VSI model was at the top.   “The Foundation has been rotating funding proposals annually among the five veterinary colleges in Canada and 2018 is Guelph’s turn,” wrote Watson.   “Great progress has been made in learning technology for veterinary clinical skills development, and this equine model is an excellent example. Our college has committed to the use of high fidelity models and simulations in early clinical training whenever possible. When our students perform their first procedures on a live animal, they will be even better prepared and more confident,” said Wichtel. “We are very grateful to the Equine Foundation of Canada for fostering the health and wellbeing of horses through supporting veterinary medical education in this valuable way.”   The EFC is an outgrowth of the Canadian Morgan Horse Association (CMHA), founded in 1960. The purpose of the CMHA was to assist Morgan breeders and owners with promotion and registry services to protect the integrity of their pedigrees.   In 1983, the Association expanded its interest to concern for the welfare of all horse breeds and created the Foundation to assist in safeguarding their future. N.S. businessman George Wade served as its founder and president from its inception until his passing in 1997. The EFC provides for scholarships and other worthy requests. With a factory in Calgary, VSI was once a recipient of startup funding from the EFC. But the primary focus now is on the purchase of teaching equipment for equine veterinary education.     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: Karen Mantel  

For the past 15 years, Equine Guelph has been a global leader, serving the horse industry with award-winning online educational outreach programs and supporting over 100 equine research projects.   We hope you enjoy our 15th Anniversary Edition of the Equine Guelph Health Studies Newsletter.  Stories include: Internationally Acclaimed Contributions to Embryo Transfer and Reproduction Technologies TVEC Goes Global - treating Atrial Fibrillation Health Studies with an Impact - Reducing Catastrophic Racing Injuries Global Lung Epithelial Response to Inhaled Dust Teaming up to Go with the Gut – looking at links between the gut microbiome and health Research Targets Equine Virus The Link is here.   Equine Guelph is the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph, supported and overseen by equine industry groups, and dedicated to improving the health and well-being of horses.  If you would like more information about our research or extensive programs for horse owners and care-givers, please do not hesitate to contact us.   Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications & Administration Equine Guelph 50 McGilvray Street Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 E-mail: jbellamy@uoguelph.ca Phone: 519-824-4120, ext. 54756

Guelph, ON, March 6, 2018 - As part of Canadian Ag Week from March 11-17, 2018, Equine Guelph reminds horse caregivers to Stop, Think and Act when around horses.   The first person who said only fools rush in must have been a horse person! How many times have we gained experience and knowledge after finding ourselves in the dirt or even worse in the hospital?   In 2016, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services in collaboration with Imperial Oil and Esso, created an outreach message with the potential to prevent injuries that may not occur if we Stop, Think, and Act. Equine Guelph, certainly saw the applications for the horse industry and also came on board. Proper safety gear, planning ahead and staying alert are all key to ensuring riding a horse is a fun activity. There are plenty of occasions to Stop, Think and Act every time you engage in activities involving horses.   In 2017, Equine Guelph’s travelling youth exhibit, EquiMania!, launched a new Stop, Think and Act Hopscotch game to encourage kids to learn a new way of thinking and making good choices when it comes to safety around the farm. The interactive game will be featured next at the Can-Am Equine Expo in Markham, ON, April 6 – 8, where youth can join in the fun and learn about safety.   For kids looking for activities over the March break, they can visit EquiMania! Online on www.TheHorsePortal.ca. Completion of the Stop, Think and Act online activities is rewarded with printable certificates and the know-how to reduce the risk of an accident when working around horses. As well, kids can test their general horse knowledge by taking the EquiMania! Challenge!   When it comes to horses, learning the hard way can be dangerous. Cutting corners around an animal that weighs in at over 1,000 pounds is simply unadvisable. For example – ducking under a horse’s neck when they are cross tied rather than walking around them or leading them around the stable by a halter when you know you should take a moment to find a lead rope. Being alert to horse behavior is another important aspect to avoiding risky situations. Horses communicate with their body language and one needs to pay attention to often subtle cues.   Equine Guelph is hosting two upcoming online short courses on Horse Behaviour and Safety, one for adults and one just for youth between 14 – 17 years of age. Both courses run from March 26 – April 13 on TheHorsePortal.ca and aim to raise awareness of how we can all work safer around horses through understanding how horses think and perceive the world around them.   Stop, Think and Act is a great practice for horse people. We can make equine activities safer for all involved when we:   - Stop long enough to think about what could go wrong in what you're about to do - Think about how you're going to do it. Is it the safest way? If not, how can you do it better? - Act in the safest way possible   Even though Farm Safety Week is only one week in the year, it is important to Stop, Think and Act every day and especially on the horse farm.     Jackie Bellamy-Zions     Notes to Editor: 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.     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=550   National Farm Safety Week March 11-17, 2018 http://www.wsps.ca/Information-Resources/Articles/Achieve-safety-results-with-this-simple-approach   Can-Am Expo April 6 – 8: http://canamequine.com/   EquiMania! Online: https://thehorseportal.ca/equimania/   Horse Behaviour and Safety Courses: https://thehorseportal.ca/courses/    

“I am thrilled to be picked as the recipient of the inaugural Roger L’Heureux Award,” says harness racing Standardbred groom, Cameron Lago. “I am looking forward to another two courses, as my experience taking Equine Guelph courses has been amazing.” Lago was first introduced to Equine Guelph online courses when he won the Stuart Stocks Memorial Tuition Award in 2016 – an award that is currently accepting applicants to find the 2017 recipient. “Having the opportunity to take Equine Genetics and Equine Exercise Physiology in the first quarter of 2017 was an educational experience second to none,” says Lago. “The two courses I completed gave me lots of opportunity within the racing industry; such as, allowing me to teach others knowledge that I gained, in addition to allowing myself to implement innovative practices on my families breeding farm. Furthermore with these next two courses, I am certain there will be an increased amount of opportunities arise within the industry by talking to colleagues regarding animal welfare and methods of care to ensure the racing industries athletes are always cared for to the highest degree.” In 2016 Lago was part of the Wannadrive team, a Hands on Horses Program, offering a unique horse racing experience to fans that would otherwise not have the opportunity to interact with horses. Described as a calm and professional role model by his supervisors, Lago’s talent for working with horses and educating newcomers to the world of horses was apparent. Lago certainly fulfills the criteria for both of these award received, demonstrating a love of horses, commitment to horse welfare and the Standardbred racing sector, and a desire not only to learn more but also to share that knowledge. Equine Guelph thanks the L’Heureux family, David L’Heureux and Crystal Fountains Inc., for establishing this memorial award in loving memory of Standardbred driver, trainer and groom Roger L’Heureux. Roger was the son of Ephraim L'Heureux, a Standardbred driver, who won the first Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine in 1950. Equine Guelph would like to remind grooms there is still time to apply for the Stewart Stocks Memorial Award. The next offering of Equine Guelph 12-week online courses begins January 15th. Will you join Cameron in his commitment to equine welfare and see what doors it will open for you in the racing industry? Details at Tuition Awards Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. 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 EquineGuelph.ca.

Guelph - ON The unfortunate disasters in Alberta, California, and Florida clearly show that many people were willing to go to great lengths to rescue their animals -- many risking serious personal injury or worse. When any disaster strikes, an "incident involving animals" can quickly become an "incident involving people who are trying to save the animals". The public has strong expectations when it comes to animal welfare and proper training for emergency rescue of large animals is a crucial element. First responders in Ontario now have an increased level of knowledge thanks to over 30 keen, hardy participants and an experienced team of trainers.   Presented by Equine Guelph and the Meaford Fire Department, Nov 17 - 19, their large animal rescue course covered many topics including animal behavior in stressful situations and how to keep handlers and first responders safe. Attention was also paid to keeping the people who own and care deeply about their animals out of harm's way. Major topics covered included best practices for large animal technical rescue, fire prevention plus personal safety and related animal behavior and care issues.   "We feel strongly that this training is of benefit for all fire departments to help their communities, and we are very proud of the strong relationship that Equine Guelph has developed with Chief Granahan and the Meaford Fire Department and Training Centre so that this training can be offered and developed, says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "The facility at Meaford is excellent and we had a wonderful team of instructors and support crew."   Classic Towing made $1.25 million worth of equipment available for the course plus very experienced tow operators including the well-known Bubba Semple from the TV show Heavy Rescue 401. McKinnon Transport brought a livestock hauler. Allan McKinnon and Bubba Semple both took part in class presentations explaining the capabilities of their equipment and safety aspects of hauling animals.   "All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders," says course facilitator, Dr. Susan Raymond in her presentation on best practices. "Through proper training and the use of specialized rescue equipment we significantly mitigate these risks and improve the odds of a favorable outcome for both animals and responders. By keeping responders safe, we improve our capacity to keep animals safe."   Knowledge, practice and application was the goal attained over the 3-day course. After learning about the incident command system and the equipment they would be using, participants worked through "real-life" scenarios including a mud rescue and several different ways to perform drags, lifts and assists. The anatomy lessons made it clear that tails, legs and necks are not handles and thinking otherwise can produce dreadful or fatal results. Safe attachment methods for straps and support were explained by lead instructor Victor MacPherson,Adjala-Tosorontio District Fire Chief and the assistant instructors.   "The instructors were knowledgeable in their fields and it truly was one of the best courses I've ever attended," said Kris McCarthy, Toronto Mounted Police.   Participants came from Fire Departments in Chatsworth, Ramara, Burlington, Fort Erie, Rideau Lakes, Meaford, Searchmont as well as Mounted Police from Hamilton and Toronto and Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit. Students also included a veterinarian, veterinary technician and horse owners. The hands-on large animal rescue course certainly delivered realistic conditions that first responders might encounter including rain, snow and wind but the damp muddy conditions did not dampen anyone's enthusiasm to participate in the situations as teams worked together planning and executing safe rescue techniques.   "Equine Guelph has been hosting Large Animal Rescue workshops for four years and this is our second successful course held in Meaford," says Ecker. "We are pleased with the positive feedback and inquiries for more training coming from communities committed to proactive training to support the health and welfare of horses and livestock in Ontario."   Equine Guelph extends its thanks to Scott Granahan, Chief of Meaford Fire Department and the team of knowledgeable instructors for the incredible 3-days of training: Victor MacPherson, Susan Raymond, Beverley Sheremeto, Robert Nagle, Wendy McIsaac-Swackhamer, Katherine Hoffman and Chris Watson.   Stay tuned to EquineGuelph.ca for the next course offering announcement.   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

EquiMania! is sure to be hopping with fun new activities for Royal Agricultural Winter Fair visitors this November 3 - 12!  Equimaniacs can expect to don the ever-popular horse hats while learning all about horses in an interactive way.  New this year, is a hopscotch game encouraging kids to Stop, Think and Act, making good choices when it comes to safety around the farm.   While engrossed in the well-travelled, award-winning display, kids and parents will learn more about horses and safety inside the stable and out, around equipment and when handling them.   Equine Guelph, in partnership with Ontario Equestrian, will be promoting "Ticket to Ride" for a fourth time at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The "Ticket to Ride" program is proving hugely popular offering youth an opportunity for a FREE introductory riding lesson (or introduction to horses) at participating OE member riding facilities.  Visit EquiMania! for more details.   "Equine Guelph is proud to be presenting EquiMania! for its eleventh consecutive year at the Royal," says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph.  "We are always educating kids and adults about equines in a fun way, and thanks to the generosity of our loyal partners and volunteers, we are able to keep bringing important safety messages with engaging new activities!"   Equine Guelph would like to thank the Royal Winter Fair for bringing EquiMania to their Education Centre and our sponsors for their continued support:  Esso, Greenhawk, Kubota Canada, Ontario Equestrian, Shur-Gain, Standardbred Canada, SSG Gloves, System Fencing and Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.  Equine Guelph is looking forward to another busy year of touring with EquiMania! in 2018!     To book EquiMania!  for your event in 2018, contact eq4kids@uoguelph.ca  

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