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A couple of months ago, reality shifted as the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped our lives. We were all left facing challenges beyond anything we could have imagined. The equestrian community is no different from any other community in finding itself cut off from normality, but we are dealing with the added emotional challenge of being disconnected from the thing that grounds us in difficult times: our connection with our horses. We may also face distress over the financial impact of this unprecedented event on our lives, businesses, and the welfare of our animals.

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A possible new treatment for foal pneumonia that doesn’t risk causing multi-drug resistance has been discovered. Researchers at Texas A&M University and the University of Georgia found that gallium maltolate (GaM), a semi-metal compound with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, could be a viable alternative to overprescribed antibiotics. The research, funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, has been published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

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Those who care for horses are encouraged to take part in a worldwide study of equine behaviour. “The increase in popularity of having a horse as a recreational companion has stimulated a diversity of opinions as to what constitutes normal and abnormal equine behaviour, and what defines effective and humane training,” says Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Welfare and Behaviour at the University of Sydney, in a letter to the Veterinary Record, the official journal of the British Veterinary Association.

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It would be better to base heart rate recovery tests in endurance competitions on each individual horse’s resting heart rate, according to the authors of a recent study. Veterinary check points (vet gates) are set up at various points along the route of an endurance race, to ensure that each horse is fit to continue the competition.

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November 17, 2019 was a normal day in Canada. With the show season over, riders, coaches, trainers, and barn owners were settling in for some downtime over winter, and anticipating the upcoming holiday season. They had no idea that, half a world away, a 55-year-old resident in Hubei province, China, had fallen sick with a novel coronavirus.

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