Research Articles
Bleeding 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

•An Analysis of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Content in Oral Joint Supplement Products Marketed to Horse Owners

 

Applications for Grants

State of Equine Research
hile 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.

Current 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 researchers.

 

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