from the Lungs and Its Relationship to Performance in Racing Horses
Morphological studies on the pathophysiology of dorsal displacement
of the soft palate: Development of a disease model
Improving Diagnosis of Joint Disease In Horses
Analysis of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Content in Oral Joint
Supplement Products Marketed to Horse Owners
of Equine Research
equine medicine and surgery has traditionally held a position of importance
in academic clinical veterinary institutions, actual dollars devoted to
equine research is relatively paltry in comparison to other economically
important species. There are probably many reasons which might lend an
explanation for this discrepancy. The equine species rapidly lost economic
importance around 1900 when automobiles became a significant means of
transport. However, sport horses have probably increased in relative value,
and certainly in number, since this time.
Probably most significant is the fact that the government, the major source
of animal research funding, has until only recently considered the equine
species to have little agricultural value. That is, the horse was not
considered a production commodity, as are swine, cattle, etc. The U.S.D.A.
has only begun funding horse research over the past 15 years. Virtually
no industry generated research dollars until about this same time. Since
then, the Jockey Club and the Center for Equine Health at U.S. Davis (through
funds provided by the pari-mutuel industry and mandated by state law)
represent two examples of industry-based dollars for research.
Other factors contribute to an underrepresenatation of equine
research. The horse has only rarely been used as a model for human disease.
Many advancements in our knowledge of sheep and cattle (not to mention
rats and mice) have come from use of these species as models for normal
human physiology as well as disease. Overall, much less basic research
is carried out in horses versus other domestic species. Research projects
in horses are chronically under funded and too often aim to repeat original
works which has shown "proof of principle" in another species.
The net result of all of this is that we too often lack a strong foundation
of basic understanding in many areas of equine research. A lack of basic
physiological research often hampers the implementation of technological
advances worked out in other animal models.
Finally, a general lack of funding leads directly to a deficiency
in numbers of capable investigators to carry out research. Researchers
need funding to build and sustain their research programs. If reliable,
consistent and significant sources of funding are not available, researchers
will choose not to focus a career on equine problems.
Areas of Quality Equine Research
Fortunately, over the past two decades some areas of equine research have
managed to prosper in certain respects. These deserve mention because
they represent areas where the greatest amount of progress is being made
per research dollar expended. Infectious disease is probably the most
advanced area of equine research in terms of the quality of investigators
and their programs. The reasons for this seem clear. Infectious disease
researchers are typically virologists, microbiologists and epidemiologists
who are trained in advanced molecular techniques and/or epidemiological
methods which are not species dependent. That is, once a disease is identified
in the horse, these investigators can make significant headway towards
understanding pathobiology and disease control while encountering few
species-specific problems. For example, our understanding of Equine Protozoal
Myelitis (E.P.M.) West Nile virus and Potomac Horse Fever is currently
growing dramatically as a result of excellent work by infectious disease