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Study may offer therapy for heavey horses

Sucking air through a straw. Those are the words that many people with asthma use to describe their frightening struggle to breathe during an asthma attack. Now imagine a 1,000-pound animal experiencing the same panic-stricken feeling. For a horse, that’s what it’s like during an acute episode of recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) or heaves. This asthma-like condition is a chronic, …

November 12th, 2014 Full story »

Single screw may treat acute laminitis

It’s 2 a.m. and I’m in search of an ice machine in the physiology lab at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). No, it’s not for refreshments after a long day’s work or even in celebration: ice is one of the standard treatments for laminitis in horses, more commonly known as founder. Veterinarians use the ice to fill recycled …

October 14th, 2014 Full story »

Team explores radical therapy for Cushing’s

This summer, Juliane Deubner gave her horse Tina a major “hair cut” so that the 21-year-old fjord mare could beat the heat. Tina’s coat clip isn’t just for looks — it’s out of necessity. The senior horse grows an excessive coat that is a prominent sign of the disease with which she has been diagnosed: equine Cushing’s disease. Abnormal hair growth, …

September 16th, 2014 Full story »

Eliza Hunt and Kalan, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred cross owned by Pat Dumont of Langley, B.C. Pat and Mark DuMont have established a $300,000 fund targeting equine orthopedic research at the WCVM. Photo: Totem Photographics.

Couple donates $300,000 to equine research

A British Columbia couple is investing in the future of equine musculoskeletal research by donating $300,000 toward the establishment of the Mark and Pat DuMont Equine Orthopedics Research Fund at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). The DuMonts have pledged three annual instalments of $100,000 to the fund with the goal of encouraging researchers at the Western College of …

June 12th, 2014 Full story »

During the first few months of their lives, foals are highly susceptible to bacterial infections and toxins because of their immature immune system. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

Study focuses on lung failure in foals

Last summer, I was part of a research group at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) that’s working to gain a better understanding of why young foals often die of respiratory distress and lung failure. During the first few months of their lives, foals are highly susceptible to bacterial infections and toxins because of their immature immune system. As …

March 25th, 2014 Full story »

WCVM researchers are investigating whether a protein called serum amyloid A (SAA) can help veterinarians diagnose joint infection more quickly. Photo: Christina Weese.

Protein may help diagnose septic arthritis

Last summer, I was involved in researching a protein called serum amyloid A (SAA) that may help veterinarians reach a proper and early diagnosis of joint infection — a severe and potential life-threatening illness in horses. Infected joints (septic arthritis) is a particular problem in Saskatchewan, mainly because of the widespread use of barbed wire that’s often the culprit behind puncture …

January 20th, 2014 Full story »

Shelley Ruiters and her Appaloosa mare Annie. Photo: Laurie Klassen.

WCVM scientists focus on moon blindness

Six years ago, Shelley and Ray Ruiters purchased an Appaloosa mare named Annie from friends who thought she would be a great fit for the couple. It turned out that the Ruiters’ friends were exactly right. “From the first day I met her we just rode off on our own and she never missed a beat,” says Shelley. About a …

December 07th, 2013 Full story »

Two ponies frolic on the Sable Island National Park Reserve off of the Nova Scotia coast. Photo courtesy of Philip McLoughlin.

Sable Island ponies “shop” like we do

It turns out that horses and people have a lot in common when it comes to shopping habits, according to Philip McLoughlin, associate professor of biology at the University of Saskatchewan. In a paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology, McLoughlin and his colleagues describe the habits of the famous wild horses at Sable Island National Park Reserve off the …

September 24th, 2013 Full story »

Along with fecal samples, veterinary student Lindsay Rogers (above) collected information about the horses' diet, activity level, housing and medical history. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Rogers.

“SIP project” targets sand colic

I’ve spent a lot of time this summer with my arm up the south end of a lot of northbound horses — all for the sake of finding sand in poop. Nicknamed the “SIP project,” I’m working with Dr. Steve Manning of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) to take repeat fecal samples from a number of horses at equine …

September 20th, 2013 Full story »

Equine acupuncture

Study adds to acupuncture knowledge

Horse owners are increasingly turning to acupuncture and other drug-free alternative medicine practices to control pain for issues such as navicular disease. But do these procedures actually work? Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) recently addressed one aspect of that question, looking at acupuncture as a method of pain control for caudal heel pain (commonly known as …

July 23rd, 2013 Full story »