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Equine sessions

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Monday 6 April

A discussion with a focus on mild equine asthma (IAD) and EIPH, two very common causes of poor performance in athletes.

An overview of the anatomy of the equine head and teeth relevant to modern equine dental practice. Descriptions of human and veterinary terminology, gross and ultrastructural anatomy will be presented with a particular focus on the relevance to pathologies of equine teeth and modern therapies.

A summary of the commonly encountered equine dental pathologies, with particular reference to development and presentation, expected clinical signs and diagnosis. Progression of pathologies will be discussed and why ‘end stage’ pathologies are common in equine practice, and therefore how they may be diagnosed at an earlier stage.

Strangles is one of the most prevalence contagious diseases of horses worldwide and causes significant welfare and economic impact. It is a vilified disease surrounded by misconception and is often associated with blame, guilt and secrecy – all of which present significant challenges to the horse industry and veterinary profession. The last decade has seen significant advances in understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of this disease and, in particular, in molecular diagnostic techniques. This interactive talk will work through a series of actual outbreak scenarios to illustrate logical approaches to outbreak control that can be taken in the field. The talk will review the appropriate selection and interpretation of diagnostic tests, formulation of management plans and how to work with horse farms to reduce risk of future outbreaks.

Equine veterinarians are seeing more older horses within their practices. How are these horses being manged, what diseases are common in equine geriatrics and can they be treated?

Transporting horses, particularly over long distances carries some risk. This presentation will be a discussion around the common respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases associated with transporting horses.

Tuesday 7 April

A presentation of the most effective and useful methods of sedation, anaesthesia and analgesia for equine dental procedures. Sedation protocols, regional nerve blocks, tips for use in practice and experiences in the use of the varying techniques will guide practitioners towards the safest and most effective methods for performing routine through to advanced dental procedures.

A guide to taking better equine dental radiographs with modern equipment. Principles of radiography, simple guidance for practice, common errors of positioning and exposure will be discussed. Methods for diagnostic radiographs of incisors, canines, cheek teeth and the sinuses will be described and explained along with a guide to interpretation of the common radiographic changes seen with dental and sinus disease.

They may share ancestral origins but have evolved differently over millions of years. For the donkey add ‘dullness’ to the list of emergency conditions you keep for horses - continuous rolling, significant haemorrhage, dystocia etc. The listless ‘stoic’ donkey may have an intestinal impaction, is at significant risk of hyperlipaemia, may already have a terminal illness. There are significant differences in behaviour, physiological parameters, haematological/biochemical markers of disease, the drug metabolism and surgical anatomy.

Preserving and restoring teeth has become the mainstay of human dentistry over the last 100 years. Longer life expectancies of domesticated horses and better routine dental care, including regular clinical dental examinations means that pathologies may be identified early and treatment options offered, including restorative therapies. This presentation summarises current advanced techniques and which appear promising for now and the future, and which do not.

Cheek tooth extraction is now a procedure that may be performed in the standing horse in almost all cases with all presentations of cheek teeth pathologies requiring exodontia. All techniques require a similar logical approach and the speaker will describe all the currently available techniques including how they may be adapted to challenging or extreme cases. When used appropriately, all techniques can have very low complication rates but procedure selection and sequential treatment plans are essential for success.

The recent outbreak of equine influenza across West Africa highlighted the potentially devastating consequence of this preventable disease. The naïve donkey population saw high levels of morbidity and mortality with the disease spreading rapidly across the region due to the lack of available healthcare and diagnostics. With the donkey population already in decline owing to the demand for skins for export in the donkey hide trade, many people have been left without the working livestock critical to their livelihoods. A coordinated response between an international NGO and government organisations is developing the healthcare systems in the region for disease surveillance and containment in the event of future occurrences.

Against a backdrop of a vocal animal rights movement, society is increasingly questioning the ethics of the horse-human partnership. To have a future, equestrian sport and racing need to maintain their social license to operate, meaning they must have the support of their stakeholders and the public. This requires everyone involved to act with transparency and accountability, and put the welfare of the chief stakeholder – the horse – first. Here the veterinary profession plays an important role.

The presentation will outline the development process and practical application of the 5 Domains Model of animal welfare as a basis for the welfare guidelines for thoroughbreds in the New Zealand Racing and breeding sector. The topic will include the utility of the model’s framework of provisions and affects in indicating minimum and optimal standards.

Horse-human interactions undoubtedly influence both the subjective emotional experience and the behavioural expression of the horse. Methods of training and handling which provoke negative emotions and states such as fear, or where the individual experiences pain, may lead to short term success in relation to behavioural change, but will also produce fearful horses which are not desirable for the horse or human safety, nor successful for performance in the longer term. When frightened or anxious, horses will show escape responses ranging from agitation involving a raised head and neck to extreme reactions including bolting. A report looking at horse related injuries, found that 70% of the reported accidents involving horses, were attributed to the horse’s behaviour and training. There is therefore a need to understand how to avoid provoking negative emotions in horses during handling and training to reduce fear, improve welfare and enhance human safety. Equine veterinarians carry a particularly high risk of sustaining an occupational injury, with the behavioural responses of the horse to handling and treatment being the main cause. In a survey of UK based equine veterinarians, many report regularly treating horses who perform unwanted and at times, dangerous behaviour. Equine veterinarians are at significantly more risk of personal injury because the animals they are trying to help are experiencing negative emotions such as pain, fear and stress as well the fact that they are often reliant on the handling ability of the owner and the previous training and learned associations of the horse. Horse behavioural indicators, equine learning and motivation and the skills for managing difficult/fearful horses are not usually taught in most veterinary schools, and yet they could be argued to be essential tools for ensuring a safe and effective working environment. In this paper we will discuss research results demonstrating how understanding learning theory and implementation of ‘equine-centred’ handling approaches serve to reduce equine stress responses in a hospital setting, and improve the efficacy and safety of veterinary intervention.

The Gouldie Hour was initiated at the 2013 NZEVA Conference to recognise the considerable contributions made by Dr. Brian Goulden to education and to continuing equine veterinary education in New Zealand. In continued celebration of Brian’s superb input to equine veterinary science, Cristy Secombe, Chris Pearce and Joe Mayhew will attempt to titillate, annoy, stimulate, entertain, challenge and hopefully edify colleagues on papers and issues from the current equine veterinary literature. A bit of science, a bit of blarney, a bit of wrangling - and even a wee bit of scepticism?

Management of diastemata and periodontal disease is one of the most common procedures that equine dental practitioners will perform. Even severe cases can be treated very successfully due to the inherent potential of the periodontium to repair. Success depends on understanding the aetiology and progression of the disease, then following some guidelines on therapy. Remedial odontoplasty and equilibration techniques, food removal from diastemata and periodontal pockets, diastema widening, partial widening, bridging and onlay splinting will all be discussed.

Mild equine asthma, previously known as inflammatory airway disease is a common cause of poor performance in equine athletes. Although most clinicians treat this disease in a similar manner there is some variability. This presentation is one clinician’s thoughts on maximising treatment efficacy.

Wednesday 8 April

Diseases affecting the equine foot are frequently the result of trauma, either the repetitive stress or a single event. Knowledge about the structure and function of the distal limb and the distribution of the stresses within the limb is therefore useful in understanding why injuries might occur, and how to aid their recovery. Examination can provide insight into the distribution of stresses in the limb, which may both point towards likely injury and suggest therapeutic approaches, particularly with respect to farriery.

In this lecture we will review mainly the palmar pastern anatomy from the base of the sesamoids to the heel bulb region and demonstrate how it translates into a practical ultrasonographic approach. This will prepare the participant for the following wetlab. We will illustrate disease entities using a combination of imaging techniques highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each modality.

The clinical examination of the equine foot has been well documented and is part of thorough equine lameness evaluation. Evaluation of the hoof capsule (emphasis on conformation and biomechanics) during the lameness evaluation provides additional diagnostic information, and also serves as a guide to most appropriate treatment including therapeutic farriery and other preventive measures to maintain a healthy hoof.

Distal limb analgesia is a supplement to the physical examination. They are used either when visual observation, palpation, manipulation, and the application of hoof testers fail to isolate a focus of pain or when confirmation that the examination findings are the sole/primary source of pain. The relative merits and and pitfalls in the use of perineurial and intrasynovial analgesia will be discussed.

Acquisition of standard and specialised views to be taken during radiography of the horse with foot/pastern lameness are discussed, along with a guide as to how to achieve diagnostic radiographs for various hoof conditions. Radiology, including a summary of artifacts and changes diagnostic of various hoof conditions, completes the discussion.

Hoof distortions are an undesirable shape change in the hoof capsule, which can lead to discomfort and lameness. They can be both a consequence and a cause of abnormal biomechanical forces and attendant lamenesses. The causes and treatments associated with hoof capsule distortions will be discussed.

Shoeing horses is primarily performed to decrease the wear associated with exercise, enhance performance, but is also integral part of therapy for many diseases of the lower limb. There are many modifications that can be made to a horseshoe and all have biomechanical consequences for the structures in the distal limb. Understanding these biomechanical implications that shoeing modifications might have offers a rational basis for applying therapeutic shoes.

Hoof wounds can be classified in a similar manner as other wounds. The principle differences in how they occur and heal are related to the varied types of epithelium from which the hoof capsule is derived and the structural function of the hoof capsule in weight bearing. These affect both the manner in which wounds can be examined and treated, and the functional outcome.

A variety of specific hoof problems seen by veterinarians (either alone or in consultation with a farrier) is discussed including White Line Disease (WLD), sheared heels, quarter cracks and canker. Opinions on the most effective treatment of specific conditions can vary controversially. Recognition of the condition is reviewed, as well as application of evidence-based treatments (or combination of veterinary treatment and farriery).