Illness & Injury

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“I used to build props and worked in film and television production, and I had a shop in my garage at home,” says Russ Gray, cofounder of Veterinary Simulator Industries (VSI) in Calgary, Alberta. “My neighbour was the dean for the University of Calgary’s new Veterinary School. He knew that I built weird things, so he asked me if I could build the back end of a cow just to garner some interest for the new school at the agricultural fair in Calgary. He wanted the back end of three cows so that kids could reach up into the rectum and palpate a calf’s head. I contacted my business partner, Bryan Pfahl, and we created them for him. At the time we were doing all kinds of jobs for science centres and things like that during the course of our careers, so we just took it on as another project.”

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We might associate donkeys with Christmas, but new research from the University of Portsmouth shows the animals prefer hotter periods of the year. Donkeys, it seems, love sun and warmth. That’s the finding of the first study to examine the conditions under which healthy (non-working) donkeys and mules seek shelter in hot, dry climates.

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Like humans, horses can be hypersensitive to a wide variety of allergen triggers including insect bites, pollens, dust and molds, chemicals in crop sprays, hay dust, stall bedding materials, wool (sometimes in saddle pad and blanket products), grooming sprays, shampoos, synthetic materials such as neoprene found in boots and pads, medications, supplements, and some ingredients in feed pellets.

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Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) is estimated to affect between 44 – 85 percent of Thoroughbreds and up to 87 percent of Standardbreds worldwide. There is concern in racing circles that EIPH can shorten a racehorse’s career and in rare worst-case scenarios, cause sudden death from massive hemorrhage. Dr. Janet Beeler-Marfisi (Ontario Veterinary College, Department of Pathobiology) and her collaborators plan to use data from air quality monitoring stations and weather stations near Woodbine and Woodbine Mohawk Park racetracks in Ontario, cross referenced with endoscopic exams, to determine if there are patterns between EIPH and horses exercising in areas of increased air pollution or in cooler temperatures.

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Making Electrolytes Smart - Does your horse have a drinking problem? Good hydration is not just about how much a horse drinks, it’s also about how the water is used internally. A properly hydrated horse with balanced electrolytes will be healthier and perform better. A dehydrated horse is at increased risk of impaction colic and reduced athletic potential.

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Evidence Suggests Previously Unrecognized Latex Allergies May Play Role in Equine Asthma - Evidence Suggests Previously Unrecognized Latex Allergies May Plan Role in Equine Asthma - Latex exposure could be detrimental to a horse’s respiratory health. That’s the surprising discovery from Morris Animal Foundation-funded research at the Royal Agricultural University and University of Nottingham.

And what is natural, anyway? The terms “natural” and “organic” are widely used in today’s horse world. The use of the term “organic” in the manufacturing and marketing of products aimed at horse owners is regulated by government agencies. The use of the term “natural” is not, and so a great deal more caution must be exercised by horse owners when sourcing these kinds of products for their horses.

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Riding Vactions in California with Jec Ballou