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A genetic study of Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotter harness racehorses revealed eight major genes likely related to their success on the track, some of which drive the horses’ abilities to learn and remember. Success on the trot tracks isn’t all about brawn. There’s quite a bit of brain in there, as well. Sure, a harness race winner needs to be fast. But he’s also got to adjust to—and even anticipate—his driver’s demands, navigate around other horses and their sulkies, and, most importantly, not break into gallop even when trotting at high speeds. And there are genes for that—ones that code for intelligence. New genome-wide studies on harness racehorses revealed eight major genes that appear to be related to their success on the track. While most of those genes are related to physical fitness and ability, some drive the ability to learn and remember. “Trotting on a racetrack is not a particularly natural act for the horse compared to how its wild ancestors were moving,” said Gabriella Lindgren, MSc, PhD, of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics. “These horses need to be able to adapt to the handling and interaction with humans, the environment, and also trotting on the racetrack.” Fellow researcher Eric Strand, PhD, of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, in Oslo, agreed. “Most good performance horses not only trust their handlers, but they are smart and learn to adapt to the situations they are placed in,” he said. In their study, the researchers analyzed DNA from 613 Norwegian-Swedish Coldblooded Trotters (NSCT) to look for SNPs (sections of genes) that consistently appeared to be associated with the horses’ performance (wins, earnings, speed, and disqualifications due to breaking into gallop during a race). They chose this breed instead of the Standardbred because it has a small population, making it easier to control for other influences, they said. They identified more than 30 SNPs that appeared to have strong or possible roles in harness racing success, the research team reported. They narrowed the search to eight genes that showed a strong correlation with performance. Among those genes were four with clear physical implications and two with links to intelligence, learning, and memory: ATPase copper transporting beta (ATP7B): Helps get copper out of cells, potentially reducing muscle stiffness; Phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase type 1 beta (PIP5K1B): Might affect neuron development and oxidative stress; Phosphodiesterase 3A (PDE3A): Plays a role in cardiovascular function; Inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase D (INPP5D) & SRY-box 5 (SOX5): Involved in embryonic development and immune responses; Potassium channel regulator (KCNRG): Manages potassium movement in cells, possibly related to learning ability and exercise tolerance; and Dedicator of cytokinesis 8 (DOCK8): Influences intelligence and motor skills, probably including the ability to maintain a gait. Investigating NSCT genes might reveal the significance of the genes coding for mental capacities, they said, as they don’t trot at high speeds as naturally as Standardbreds do. And this might require them to have even more concentration, learning, intelligence, and memory. “NSCTs race in trot, which is not their natural gait when moving at high speeds,” said contributing researcher Kim Jäderkvist Fegraeus, PhD, also of SLU. “Standardbreds, on the other hand, have been selected for harness racing performance for a longer time and do not appear to have the same level of problems with their racing technique when first introduced to training compared with NSCTs. As a result, it is possible that there is a genetic factor influencing how fast some NSCTs learn technique, which ultimately would be correlated with how well and how fast they start their racing career.” For Strand, the mental capacities “maximize the performance potential,” he said. “The NSCT breed includes many individuals which are overly stressed at times and burn unnecessary energy by pulling hard on the bit and reins during racing. This then prevents them from allocating their physiological resources during a race. The current study was able to capture these horses, along with the superior ‘smarter’ horses, which have learned to cope and optimize their physiologic capabilities in front of large audiences.” Brandon Velie, BSc, MSc, PhD, contributing researcher from SLU, added “The current study is just another step in better understanding what makes a horse successful in sport/competition. In this case, we were looking at trotting performance; however, as most equestrians/horsemen would tell you, a similar case can be made for all equine athletic competitions: To be successful, a horse needs not only the right physiology, but also the right mentality.” The harness racing industry in Norway and Sweden welcomes genomics research in their field and views it as a useful tool for enhancing horse performance as well as welfare, he added. “Our recommendations at this time would be to keep working closely with researchers as a continued partnership between industry and academia,” he said. “This is the key to applied research, which can truly have a positive impact on a breed and industry.” The study, “A genome-wide association study for harness racing success in the Norwegian-Swedish coldblooded trotter reveals genes for learning and energy metabolism,” was published in BMC Genetics. Reprinted with permission of The Horse ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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 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 | 

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  

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – “Feeding and Care of Mare/Foal, Stallion, and Growing Horse” is the over-arching theme of the upcoming Horse Management Seminar hosted by the Rutgers Equine Science Center and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The seminar, scheduled from 8:30 am – 3:45 pm on Sunday, February 10, 2019, will feature presentations by several equine experts. “This year we selected a topic that we have not covered during any of the previous Horse Management Seminars. Even if you don’t currently breed horses, the presentations will have lots of information for everyone!” says Dr. Carey Williams, Extension Equine Specialist and Associate Director of Extension for the Equine Science Center. “Our goal for this workshop is to bring in the leading experts in each of these topic areas. This includes broodmare and growing horse nutrition, care of the stallion, and new reproductive advances. We will also highlight some of the current, and future, research from Rutgers Equine graduate students.” Williams has assembled presenters who are recognized as the leading experts in their field to offer perspectives and personal insight. The morning will start with “Stallion Care” and “Recent Advanced in Equine Reproduction” by Dr. Ed Squires from University of Kentucky’s  Gluck Equine Research Center. “Dr. Squires leads the country in his contribution to the field of equine reproduction” says Williams, “we are honored to have him here at Rutgers courtesy of Vetoquinol USA.” The morning will also include Dr. Dan Keenan from Foundation Equine, a local veterinarian specializing in equine reproduction. Dr. Keenan will present “Care of the Mare and Foal Pre and Post Birth.”  The afternoon will start off with Dr. Amy Burk, who leads the equine breeding program at the University of Maryland, presenting “Feeding the Pregnant/Lactating Mare”, followed by “GI Development and Nutrition of the Growing Horse” by Dr. Paul Siciliano from North Carolina State University. Closing out the day will be a panel discussion from the three main speakers, moderated by Williams. Following the panel Dr. Williams’ doctoral student, Jennifer Weinert, will give a short presentation on some of the current research taking place on campus, as well as what future research has been planned. In addition to these presentations, the seminar will feature informational displays, networking opportunities with industry companies and area organizations, and ample time for one-on-one discussions with the day’s presenters. The complete program, registration information, and seminar brochure are posted on the Equine Science Center website at esc.rutgers.edu, as well as the registration site at: http://bit.ly/2019HMS . Space is limited, and the early bird discount for registration ends on January 28th, so be sure to register early! For questions, please contact Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, carey.williams@rutgers.edu. About Rutgers Equine Science Center The Equine Science Center is a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its mission is Better Horse Care through Research and Education in order to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry. Its vision is to be recognized throughout New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally for its achievements in identifying issues in the horse industry, finding solutions through science-based inquiry, providing answers to the horse industry and to horse owners, and influencing public policy to ensure the viability of the horse industry. For more information about the Equine Science Center, call 848-932-9419 or visit esc.rutgers.edu.   ================================================== Carey A. Williams, Ph.D. Equine Extension Specialist Rutgers University 84 Lipman Dr., Bartlett Hall New Brunswick, NJ 08901   PH: 848-932-5529 Email Replies to: Carey.Williams@Rutgers.edu =================================================

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, 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  

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Bisphosphonates — a class of drugs that prevent the bone-density loss —might have some therapeutic value for older racehorses but speakers at the Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity warned of the potential harm caused by such treatments for young horses such yearlings and 2-year-olds.  That was among the takeaways from Wednesday’s Animal Welfare Forum of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 84th annual conference, being held through Friday at the Hotel Hot Springs. The related discussion included how pari-mutuel racing’s regulators might address abuse of bisphosphonates and at what stage should horses come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority. ARCI members are the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. Dr. Jeff Blea, a Southern California veterinarian who is the past chair of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and heads its racing committee, called bisphosphonates “a nuclear button right now, not only in the racing industry but in the breeding industry.”  Dr. Lynn Hovda, the Minnesota Racing Commission’s equine medical director, said bisphosphonates don’t just impact what could be a sore bone or joint, but they go throughout the skeletal system.  Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said the rational for giving young horses bisphosphonates is to ward off stress fractures, joint problems and some abnormalities. “Ultimately it was just the silver bullet of preventing all these problems,” she said. However, Stover said that bisphosphonates in young horses actually interfere with the development and growth of bone, reduce bone’s ability to heal and makes bone more susceptible to cracks. One study of Israel military recruits showed bisphosphonates did not prevent stress fractures when given before training, she said. One of her major concerns is that bisphosphonates, as analgesics, have the potential to mask pain. Conference attendee Carrie Brogden — a breeder and consigner whose Machmer Hall Farm in Paris, Ky., bred champion Tepin — said she and husband Craig do not treat horses with bisphosphonates but that the panel opened her eyes about what could be an industry problem. “You’re talking about horses who may have been treated as yearlings coming down the race pipeline,” she said. “I guess it’s a small sample right now. But this is being kind of pushed in Lexington as like the safe cure, not as something to be avoided.” Blea said taking a page from the British Horseracing Authority’s ban on bisphosphonates in race horses under 3 1/2 years old and requiring a 30-day “stand down” from racing “would be a good place to start.” He said the AAEP recently assembled a committee to discuss bisphosphonates and mentioned a talk on the subject that he gave two years ago to several hundred veterinarians. “I asked, ‘How many people are using bisphosphonates in their practice?’” Blea said. “There might have been five or six people raise their hands. After the talk, 25 people came up to me asked me, ‘Is there a test for it?’ “The reality is that we don’t know enough about it. I’ve spoken to practitioners who have told me it is rampant in the thoroughbred yearling industry, rampant in the 2-year-old training sales. I know it’s being used on the racetrack, though I don’t believe it’s being used as much on the racetrack as people think. I think it’s one of those things that have come and gone.” But John Campbell, the legendary harness-racing driver who last year retired to become president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, said the standardbred industry has had “great luck” using bisphosphonates to treat young horses with distal cannon-bone disease with “no adverse affects that I can see.” He noted that thoroughbreds are much more at risk of catastrophic injuries than the gaited standardbreds. ARCI president Ed Martin urged racing regulators to start working on a model rule as to when jurisdiction over a horse begins, which could allow them to address  the concern over bisphosphonates. One of ARCI’s missions is to create model rules that provide the member regulatory groups a blueprint for their own laws or legislation dealing with all aspects of horse racing. “I think it would behoove all of us to work on a model regulatory policy so we have uniformity in terms of when the horse should come under the jurisdiction of the racing commission,” Martin said. “When we talk about out-of-competition testing or questioning the use of certain medications, the first thing somebody is going to say is, ‘You don’t have jurisdiction over this horse, and you don’t regulate the practice of veterinary medicine.’” Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president, said that about 75 percent of thoroughbreds will make a start by age 4, leaving a 25-percent “leakage rate.” He suggested a more cost-effective and logical place to put horses under regulatory control is once they have a timed workout, indicating an intent to race. “You’ve probably taken that 75 percent to 90 percent,” he said. Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, agreed with starting regularity control with a horse’s first published work. He expressed hope for a common-sense rule that would be fair to everyone, while cautioning of bisphosphonates, “There is a lack of facts and research being done. We don’t want to go after writing rules just to write rules. Finding out exactly, if there is a concern — and what that concern is — to me is the most important first stage. And then where we’re going to attack and fix the problem.” Identifying risk — and protective — factors in horses  Dr. Scott Palmer, the equine medical director for the New York Gaming Association, discussed identifying risk factors in racing, including those at “boutique” meets such as Saratoga, Del Mar and Keeneland, with the inherent demands to get owners’ horses to those races because of their exceptional purse money and prestige. Palmer cited some risk factors as being on the “vets” list for an infirmity, not racing at 2, trainer change, switching to a different track’s surface and dropping in class. He said protective factors also must be identified. Palmer said changes that have established themselves as diminishing risks would not all be popular and could require a change in mindset, such as writing fewer cheap claiming races, limiting the claiming purse to twice the value of the horse, consolidating race meets, biosecurity and limiting the number of stalls given the large outfits. He said racetrack safety accreditation by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is important. Also mentioned: continuing education for veterinarians, trainers and assistant trainers, along with increased scrutiny of horses seeking removal from the vets list after a long layoff. “We’re not going to get rid of fixed risk factors, but we can mitigate them,” Palmer said. Dr. Rick Arthur advises the California Horse Racing Board on equine medication and drug testing, veterinary medicine and the health and safety of horses under CHRB’s jurisdiction. After a rash of fatalities in 2016, Del Mar’s actions included allowing only horses having timed workouts to be on the track for the first 10 minutes following a renovation break and giving up a week of racing to allow additional time to get the track in shape for the meet after the property was used for the San Diego County Fair Arthur cited a study that determined horses scratched by a regulatory veterinarian did not race back for 110 days on average, while the average horse ran back in about 40 days. “The bottom line is we’re actually identifying the right horse,” he said of vet scratches. “The real issue is: are we identifying all the horses we should?” Sports betting: “Amazing potential” Horse racing, professional sports leagues and casinos are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision this spring on New Jersey’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which for the last quarter-century effectively has made sports betting illegal except in Nevada and a few other states. The consensus of a conference panel was that sports betting could be on us extremely quickly and that racetracks and states, as well as racing regulators who in some states might oversee betting on sports, must be prepared.  Jessica Feil, a gaming law associate with Ifrah Law in Washington, D.C., said she thinks racing and sports betting will fit well together and could open up new kinds of wagers on horses, including parlays that span sporting events and races. “I envision amazing potential,” she said. Alex Waldrop, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said one advantage for horse racing is that the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 allows bets to be made across state lines, which paved the way for simulcasting into commingled pools. “We have some leverage,” he said. "If sports waging goes forward, you won’t be able to bet across state lines” without passage of enabling federal legislation. Attached photos: Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, discusses bisphosphonates on a panel that included moderator Dr. Corrine Sweeney (far left) of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and Dr. Lynn Hovda, equine director for the Minnesota Racing Commission, with the ARCI's Kerry Holloway on the computer launching a visual presentation. A panel Wednesday discussing at what point horses should come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority (left to right): National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback; Tom DiPasquale, executive director of the Minnesota Racing Commission, and Matt Iuliano, executive vice president of The Jockey Club. The Association of Racing Commissioners International

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  

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