N WSU equine veterinarians studying new treatments for navicular disease

COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE | WINTER 2008 | VOLUME 5, NUMBER 1
WSU equine veterinarians studying new treatments for navicular disease
N
“We have learned that navicular
avicular disease, or inflammation
disease is not one disease, but in fact
of the heel, is one of the most
many different problems that cause
common causes of performancethe same clinical signs in horses,” she
limiting lameness in the front legs of
said. “We have learned that MRI is
many different types of horses. Though it
often necessary in making appropriate
is common and veterinarians have long
treatment decisions in many horses.
recognized and treated it, the cause of
It allows us to determine the source of
navicular disease is poorly understood.
inflammation and pain in more than 90
“A wide variety of treatments have
percent of horses with pain that has been
been used on horses with clinical signs of
localized to the foot.
navicular disease, which can be described
“Although we still treat horses with
as heel pain,” said Dr. Sarah Sampson,
foot lameness without an MRI, our
a Washington State University equine
experience with it has taught us that we
veterinarian with expertise in navicular
greatly increase the chances of helping
disease and magnetic resonance imaging.
A horse having its foot examined for navicular disease in WSU’s MRI.
horses return to performance once we
“But most treatments have proven
know the cause of the problem and can
ineffective in stopping the chronic,
apply an appropriate treatment,” Dr. Sampson said. “For example, a
progressive degeneration that occurs in the navicular bone of affected
horse with tendonitis of the deep flexor tendon may need to be treated
horses. Many treated horses have repeated episodes of lameness that
for tendonitis, not just navicular disease, which may have seemed
eventually result in retirement if they are performance horses.”
An important advancement in diagnostic technology is changing
appropriate based on a radiograph alone. Many horses with clinical signs
this scenario—the use of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. WSU’s
of navicular disease need an MRI.”
College of Veterinary Medicine pioneered the clinical use of MRI
in live horses beginning in 1996. It is currently one of only a few
New Treatments
veterinary hospitals in the world equipped with this technology, and
Because of the information learned from MRI evaluations of horses
it has moved WSU to the forefront of veterinary medicine in the
with navicular disease, new treatments are being developed and used.
evaluation of lameness and neurological disorders.
In recent years, veterinarians have evaluated many bone and soft
tissue problems with MRI technology, many of which have not been
diagnosed in live horses before.
“MRI has allowed us to see tendons, ligaments, and bones in the
horse’s foot in ways never before possible,” Dr. Sampson said. “The use
of MRI to evaluate the feet of affected horses has been the biggest single
step forward in understanding navicular disease in the past 50 years. Our
eleven years of experience with MRI evaluations has taught us much
about the disease.
Continued on page 6
IN THIS ISSUE
■ Procedure reduces behavioral problems
■ WSU helps establish new horse association
■ WADDL tests for causes of equine abortion
■ 2008 WSU Equine Health Advisory Board members
■ New equine pain medication
Equine News is published four times a year by Washington State
University, PO Box 645910, Pullman, Washington 99164-5910.
Volume 5, Number 1. To subscribe, contact Emmy Widman at
[email protected] or 509-335-3100.
2/08 121755
Equine NEWS
Laparoscopic procedure
reduces problem behaviors
in mules and mares
L
acey is beautiful, full of personality, and very athletic—for a
mule that is. Her owners plan on showing their cherished mule
when she is ready, but they face an obstacle that all owners of
female mules or mares go through—heat cycles.
A female mule, or “molly,” in estrus (otherwise known as heat)
can make working, showing, or competing more difficult. Mules can
compete in many of the same sports as horses, such as cutting, roping,
or dressage. But both mares and mules experience frequent heat cycles
through the spring and summer, also the season for competitive
equine sports.
These cycles may cause mollies to misbehave, lack focus, or
become uninterested in what their owner wants them to do. They may
also urinate frequently, open and close their mouth frequently, posture
with their tail out, seek more attention, and may instigate injuries
while attempting to socialize with their male counterparts within a
herd or across fences. Mares may also display undesirable behavior
while in heat, such as kicking or biting.
That is why Lacey’s owners, Suzy and Eddie Epler of St. Maries,
Idaho, decided to have her undergo a laparoscopic ovariectomy, a
technically advanced and minimally invasive surgery to remove her
ovaries. “You can’t breed a mule and we wanted to get rid of the heat
cycles,” Suzy Epler said. “She is our pride and joy and we want to keep
her for a lifetime.”
The Eplers heard about the procedure from their local veterinarian,
Dr. Doug Walker, and that it is offered at the WSU College of
Veterinary Medicine. “Male mules and horses are often castrated
to improve their behavior as performance animals and as pets in
general,” said Dr. Claude Ragle, a WSU associate professor and boardcertified equine surgeon. “In females, an ovariectomy operation can
accomplish the same goal, but it is an option often overlooked.”
“Young mollies are the ideal candidate for an ovariectomy because
they are sterile and can’t reproduce,” Dr. Ragle said. “In the past,
there wasn’t a good technique to remove ovaries in female mules and
horses. With laparoscopy, now there is a safe method.”
In fact, laparoscopic ovariectomy is a method Dr. Ragle helped
pioneer as one of the first veterinarians to adapt laparoscopy to
clinical practice and develop useful procedures. Laparoscopy has
emerged in veterinary medicine over the past decade as a type of
minimally invasive surgery that allows for a faster recovery, less
scarring, and less pain.
Dr. Ragle’s interest in laparoscopy was initially spawned in the late
1980s when he was looking for a better way to perform ovariectomies
in horses and mules. Since then, he has performed the procedure on
hundreds of mares and mules, and has been called on to teach the
technique all over the United States and abroad.
Being minimally invasive, the procedure can be done on a
standing horse with local anesthetic blocks, rather than completely
sedating a horse with general anesthesia. And because the incisions
made are so small, many horses are able to return to athletic usefulness
much faster than if traditional surgery had been performed.
Eddie Epler pats Lacey, his favorite mule.
In addition, the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital now utilizes
the most advanced electrosurgical instrument available, called a
LigaSure™, which seals blood vessels during laparoscopic surgery. This
instrument allows ovariectomies to be performed faster and better.
“The LigaSure™ transects the ovary free without loss of blood or
the use of staples or sutures,” Dr. Ragle said. “This procedure is fairly
new to the horse and mule world, so not that many people know
about laparoscopic ovariectomy as an option and its potential benefits.
Not only does it suppress the clinical signs of estrus behavior, making
mollies or mares generally easier to train, it also reduces the chance
of unwanted horses from indiscriminate over-breeding or those with
genetic disorders. It is also an over-looked way for breeders to conserve
valuable genetics by selling spayed, as opposed to fertile, mares. In
addition, the equine ovary is not crucial to bone metabolism like in
humans, so there is no need to worry about estrogen replacement
because their bones are not affected,” he said.
Currently, Dr. Ragle and WSU board-certified equine surgeons Dr.
Kelly Farnsworth and Dr. Julie Cary perform laparoscopic ovariectomies
at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The standing procedure
currently costs about $1,500 in average cases, which is very costeffective compared to the expense and efforts involved with long-term
hormone therapy to suppress estrus in the equine.
Horses and mules that undergo the procedure are held off feed or
are put on a low-bulk diet a few days before the surgery. The surgery
itself lasts about one hour, and the horse or mule is allowed to go
home within a day or two after the procedure. The incisions take
approximately two weeks to heal, and the animal typically can go back
to work within three to four weeks.
“Lacey had the surgery before her first heat, and she recovered really
well,” Suzy Epler said. “It was actually really easy on her.”
“For owners considering an ovariectomy, we like to see the animal
when it is young, as soon as it is trained enough to stand in a stock for
surgery,” Dr. Ragle said. “There are a lot of mule owners that think females
are nicer and less pushy than males, but don’t like them coming into heat.
An ovariectomy may be an ideal option for them.”
For more information about laparoscopy, ovariectomies, or to schedule
an appointment, contact the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital or Dr.
Claude Ragle at 509-335-0711 or [email protected]
2
Winter 2008
WSU helps establish new horse
association in North America
W
hat do you get when you cross a thoroughbred with
an Arabian horse? An Anglo-Arabian, technically. To
Harriet Aiken, a northern Idaho horse breeder, you get an
amazingly athletic and comfortable horse.
“From the thoroughbred, you get speed and substance: a long
neck, more prominent withers and a longer hip than a purebred
Arabian,” she said. “From the Arabian side, you
get intelligence and endurance with stronger legs
and feet. The result is a horse that is not as heavy
Jenny Freeling, a third-year WSU veterinary student, with Marrakech, one
on the forequarters as a thoroughbred, but more
of Aiken’s Anglo-Arabians. Freeling is an apprentice at Aiken’s Greenbriar
forward into the bridle than an Arabian, a back and
Farm, learning to train and competitively ride horses.
withers shaped for a good saddle fit, and a stride
length that should produce a comfortable ride.
At first, his connections in Abu Dhabi helped Aiken identify
That is what makes this breed stand out.”
the right Arabian stallion to purchase, and then he facilitated the
Aiken is hoping she can help make the breed
artificial insemination of one of her mares. Seven years and 12 Anglostand out as well. Recently, she and two other horse
Arabian horses later, Aiken has been very pleased with the results. “I
Dr. Ahmed
enthusiasts in the United States established the
could not have done this without the expertise and friendship of Dr.
Tibary
North American Anglo-Arabian Horse Association.
Tibary. I could not have even gotten started,” she said.
Aiken has been involved in competitive endurance riding for
But their collaboration did not stop there. Dr. Tibary also
nearly three decades, representing the United States in a number of
introduced Aiken to members of the European and North African
international competitions in various capacities. Though endurance
Anglo-Arabian community, which brought her to Spain this
competition is dominated by Arabians, Aiken
past spring for a meeting hosted by the
was looking for something different. While
international Anglo-Arabian association. “There
competing, she began to take note of Angloare 14 countries involved in the international
Arabians due to their comfort and speed.
association, and they really wanted the United
Many European countries have accepted
States to become involved,” Aiken said.
Anglo-Arabians as a recognized breed for
When she got home, she did some
centuries, and there is an international
research online and found two other women
association for Anglo-Arabians, but in North
with interests in the breed—one in Maryland
America the breed is practically non-existent.
and one in Florida. Together, they made the
“I wanted one to ride, but in the United States,
decision to become the three officials needed
they are hard to find,” she said. “So I thought I
to start the nonprofit North American Anglocould breed them.”
Arabian Horse Association.
And so she did, but not without the help
“By working with the Arabian Horse
of Dr. Ahmed Tibary, WSU’s renowned large
Association registry, we hope to showcase the
animal reproduction specialist and head of
unique qualities of Anglo-Arabians,” Aiken said.
the large animal theriogenology program
“We are working on setting up an award system
at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
to recognize this breed in sporting events such
Not only was he a short drive from her ranch
Aiken’s Calcutta (“Cutter”), a three-year-old as endurance riding, eventing, and for those
outside of Troy, Idaho, but Dr. Tibary was also
competing in Arabian youth shows and Arabian
Anglo-Arabian gelding.
very familiar with Anglo-Arabians due to his
sport horse shows.
background in his native Morocco.
“Right now, we don’t know how many
“This is what my family used to breed, and I have also worked
breeders there are in the United States,” she said. “We want to reach
with some of the largest Arabian stud farms in the world, including
out and find breeders, riders, owners, and anyone interested in
the Royal Stables in Morocco and the Amiri Stables in Abu Dhabi,”
Anglo-Arabians and bring them together.”
Dr. Tibary said.
I
Count Me In
t is our privilege and desire at WSU to provide the best
veterinary care to the many formidable equine athletes and
companions who are treated at our hospital. Through the
generosity of many individuals who support quality health
care and the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s mission of
teaching, research, and service, we are able to continue our work
and plan for the future with confidence.
The largest part of what we do is made possible by the
encouragement, collaboration, and financial contributions of our
generous public. Through each thoughtful gift, WSU is making a
difference in the lives of our students and the equine industries
of Washington and the region. These gifts enable us to greatly
enhance the scope of our equine veterinary services and allow
us to continue to provide world-class health care for horses
throughout the Pacific Northwest.
We would be honored if you would choose to become a partner
in the important work that goes on here. If you are interested in
supporting the advancement of Washington State University’s
renowned equine medicine and surgery section, please contact
Dr. Richard DeBowes, DVM, associate dean of veterinary
development, at 509-595-8015 or [email protected], or
Lynne Haley, director of veterinary development, at 509-335-5021
or [email protected]
3
Equine NEWS
WADDL offers testing to discover causes of equine abortions
W
hen a mare aborts a foal, it can be a traumatic event
for both horse and owner. While emotionally and
financially expensive, it is not terribly uncommon in the
equine breeding business. As many as 30 percent of broodmares fail
to produce a live foal.
Equine abortion describes the loss of a fetus before it is viable—
between 50 to 300 days of pregnancy. Before then, it is considered
an early pregnancy loss, with the embryo reabsorbed in the mare’s
body. After 300 days, the foal is considered stillborn because many
foals born alive at that point are able to survive.
When an abortion occurs, it is important
to find the cause. Some conditions that lead
to abortion occur sporadically and involve a
single mare. Other conditions are infectious
and contagious, which can cause an outbreak of
abortions in mares in a particular area.
Common causes of abortion related to an
individual mare include conformation problems
involving the vulva, cervix, or vaginal canal.
Conformation problems can allow bacteria
to enter the uterus, causing infections like
placentitis (inflammation of the placenta). Other problems include
abnormalities with the placenta or umbilical cord, and twinning.
While twin foals may be an exciting prospect, caution is warranted
because twinning is the most common non-infectious cause of
abortion in mares, and usually occurs early on or after the sixth
month of pregnancy.
Infectious causes of abortions include viral infections like
equine herpes virus (EHV-1) and viral arteritis (EVA), as well as
fungal or bacterial infections such as Streptococcus equi, E. coli, and
leptospirosis. In addition to twining and umbilical cord defects,
congenital defects of the foal and some trace mineral deficiencies
are other potential causes. Abortion may also occur after severe
illness, colic, or surgery.
Signs that a mare is about to abort include mammary gland
development and lactation or “bagging up,” stretching of the vulva,
increased vaginal discharge, overt abdominal edema, or if the mare
displays symptoms of mild colic. If these signs occur in mid to late
pregnancy, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately. If an
abortion does occur, samples of the fetus, placenta, and blood from
the mare can be sent to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic
Laboratory (WADDL) in Pullman for a diagnosis.
“The tissue samples must be obtained fresh from the placenta
and fetus within the first 24 hours after an abortion occurs from
the mare, but the earlier the better,” said Dr. Ahmed Tibary,
WSU associate professor and board-certified theriogenologist
(reproduction specialist). “There are some conditions we can
prevent, and some that we can’t, but the cause should be
determined.
“To get a precise diagnosis, samples must be submitted to
WADDL correctly and in good condition,” he said. “The WADDL
Web site (www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts_waddl)
includes a form that describes what tissues
should be collected and how to submit them.
A veterinarian should always be contacted to
help with this, and to check the mare to make
sure she expelled the entire placenta and that
she is recovering.”
With a diagnosis, owners are in a position
to make decisions about whether to breed
their mare again and to prevent other
abortions from happening to other mares in
their herd or the local region.
“Viral causes can be managed with proper biosecurity measures
and vaccinations. Vaccination is important because infected mares
can easily infect other mares,” Dr. Tibary said. Biosecurity measures
help prevent outbreaks by isolating mares with an infectious
disease and practicing good sanitation while caring for sick mares.
Other non-infectious conditions that lead to abortion may also be
correctable through medical means or through frequent pregnancy
evaluations for mares that are deemed high risk.
“Those with bacterial infections that cause placentitis can be
managed medically if the infection is detected early,” Dr. Tibary
said. “There are also surgical procedures to help prevent ascendant
infections in mares with vulvar/vaginal conformation problems.”
For more information about submitting samples, contact the
Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at 509-3359696 or www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts_waddl. For more information
about equine pregnancy issues or managing a mare with a
high-risk pregnancy, contact the Equine Medicine or Equine
Theriogenology service at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital
at 509-335-0711.
WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Switchboard
Main Hospital Switchboard and Emergencies:.................509-335-0711
Equine Appointments.....................................................509-335-0711
Agricultural Animal Appointments
(Non-Theriogenology).................................................509-335-5377
Theriogenology (Equine and Ag Animal).........................509-335-0741
Small Animal Appointments.................... 509-335-0751/509-335-0752
Dean’s Office..................................................................509-335-9515
Department Chair...........................................................509-335-0738
VTH Fax Number............................................................509-335-3330
Billing.............................................................................509-335-0711
Pharmacy.......................................................................509-335-0736
Pet Partnership Program.................................................509-335-4569
Pet Loss Hotline..............................................................509-335-5704
WADDL; Diagnostic Lab..................................................509-335-9696
Want to know more about our equine clinical services, research,
and accomplishments, or receive our quarterly newsletter online?
To subscribe to the online newsletter, go to www.vetmed.wsu.
edu/depts-vth/EquineNews/online.aspx.
Check out our equine Web site at www.vetmed.wsu.edu/
depts-equine, or the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Web site
at www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vth/equineServices.aspx.
Also feel free to call 509-335-0711 for equine appointments or
emergency care.
4
Winter 2008
Your 2008 WSU Equine Health Advisory Board Members
T
Jeff Anthony is an investment banker and lifelong horse
enthusiast whose family has been involved with saddlebred, cutting, and hunter/jumper horses in Washington
state for more than three generations. He and his wife
own and manage Potcreek Meadow Farm, an equestrian
boarding and training facility located in Redmond,
Washington. Anthony can be reached at 206-669-3440 or
[email protected]
he WSU Equine Health Advisory Board is a volunteer leadership
committee with equine interests from around the Northwest.
The volunteers’ role is to advise the WSU College of Veterinary
Medicine’s equine section about industry needs, health studies, and other
issues of importance that affect horses and their owners, including long-term
fundraising.
As valued advocates and advisors to WSU’s equine program, the group
works to promote and advance shared interests in equine health care service
and research programs. These programs are significant contributors to
horse health throughout the region, nation, and world. Because the board
is enthusiastic about communicating with horse owners, they are featured
in this issue. We invite readers to contact them with any questions, ideas,
or suggestions you may have. You are also welcome to contact Dr. Richard
DeBowes, associate dean of veterinary development and external relations, at
509-595-8015 or [email protected]
Dr. Richard (Dick) Vetter and Kathy, his wife and
technician, have a mobile equine veterinary dental
practice, Performance Equine Dentistry Inc. P.S. Their
practice covers routine preventative dental care to
periodontal and restorative work. The Vetters can be
contacted at 360-245-3476, [email protected], or
www.perfequinedentistry.com.
Linda Sferra chairs the Equine Health Advisory Board.
She is a life-long horse enthusiast, with interests in racing,
foxhunting, and trail riding, and she competes on the
Northwest hunter/jumper circuit. Located on Vashon
Island, Washington, Sferra can be reached at 206-4637263 or [email protected]
Dr. Susan Bernard is a semi-retired veterinarian and
owns a small animal practice in western Washington.
She also practiced at a private equine veterinary practice
in Woodinville, Washington, for many years. She is a
lifelong horsewoman, and passionately competes in
equestrian show jumping in the adult amateur jumpers
division. Located in Monroe, Washington, Dr. Bernard
can be contacted at [email protected]
Ron Palelek has more than 40 years of experience in
the management, care, breeding, training, and showing
of Arabian and half-Arabian horses. He has owned
and operated Vantage Point Farm II Ltd. since 1964
in Cheney, Washington. He is also an international
judge for the South African and Australian national
championship horse shows, and judges several horse
shows in the United States as well. Palelek can be reached
at 509-456-4057 or [email protected]
Laura Allen and her husband previously owned and
operated Mills Horse and Tack in Bellevue, a supplier
for English style riders. Allen is an experienced rider
in both Western and English styles, and competes
in Circuit A dressage shows. Located in Woodinville,
Washington, Allen can be reached at 206-499-2943 or
[email protected]
Debbie Pabst, along with her husband Rick, owns and
operates Blue Ribbon Farm, a thoroughbred market
breeder business in which they sell yearlings for racing.
Pabst has worked with horses for more than 30 years and
is a member of the board of directors for the Washington
Thoroughbred Association (WTBA). Located in Buckley,
Washington, Pabst can be reached at 253-862-9076 or
[email protected]
Andrea Lorig is the newest member of the WSU Equine
Health Advisory Board. She owns Park Place Farm, a
horse boarding facility in Kirkland, Washington, in
Bridle Trails State Park. She is a life-long horse enthusiast
and for years has taught riding lessons and managed
stables and horse clubs. She has served on the Lake
Washington Saddle Club Board, as a founding trustee
of the Bridle Trails Park Foundation, and as secretary
of the Woodbrook Hunt Club of Tacoma for the many
years. She also maintains memberships in the Masters
of Foxhounds of America and Foxhound Associations.
“My commitment to the WSU veterinary program has
grown courtesy of the four horses I have sent to the
college for diagnostic work in recent years,” Lorig said.
“A mountain range may separate us, but I’ve always felt
in close, immediate contact with the WSU staff caring
for my creatures. It is a wonderful program and I plan to
support it in every way I can.” Located on Mercer Island,
Washington, Lorig can be reached at 206-232-4118 or
[email protected]
Ed Armstrong is a life-long horse enthusiast and horse
industry lobbyist in Washington state. He also chairs the
Ride for Research Benefit to support WSU. Located in
Olympia, Washington, Armstrong can be reached at 360352-5883.
Dick Monahan is an attorney and horseman who
has been involved with quarterhorse racing for
more than 30 years. For 20 years, he has served on
the national board of the American Quarter Horse
Association, including as the association’s chair of
the racing committee and the racing council, which
oversees quarterhorse racing worldwide. Monahan
can be reached at 509-529-5700 or [email protected]
roach-monahan.com.
5
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
PO Box 646610
Pullman, WA 99164-6610
New equine pain medication offers fewer side effects
D
uring the past year, a new pain medication for horses
called Equioxx® has become available through veterinary
prescription. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for
oral use in horses only.
“Equioxx is in the same category of drug as ButeTM or BanamineTM,
the most common pain-relieving medications for colic or pain,” said
Dr. Debra Sellon, a WSU professor and board-certified equine medicine
specialist. “Its advantage is that it seems to give the same pain relief as
the others with fewer side effects. If Bute or Banamine is given at high
doses, or for a long period of time, or to a sensitive horse, stomach
ulcers or kidney damage may occur,” she said. “The risk for Equioxx
seems to be a lot less.”
Equioxx is marketed by Merial Limited and is available in an oral
paste formulation for use once a day in adult horses. “It is approved
for treatment of osteoarthritis in horses, but can be used for other
painful conditions as well,” Dr. Sellon said. “Studies on the drug have
only been done on adult horses at this point, but it may be indicated
for use in foals in the future. For those that are concerned about
potential side effects of other pain medications for their horse, talk to
a veterinarian to see if Equioxx would be an option.”
For more information, contact the WSU Veterinary Teaching
Hospital at 509-335-0711 or Dr. Sellon at [email protected]
Continued from the cover
funding to provide free MRI evaluations on at least 100
“Now that we are recognizing other locations of
Horses that qualify
horses,” Dr. Sampson said.
damage in the horse’s foot, new treatments are being
for navicular studies
Horses involved in the studies can be any sex
developed for specific problems,” Dr. Sampson said.
will receive lameness
or breed, but must be four years of age or older, and
“These treatments need to be adequately evaluated
workup and MRI at
cannot be pregnant, lactating, or have systemic disease.
before they can be recommended for routine use in
no cost to the client.
They must also have clinical signs typical of horses with
performance horses.”
navicular disease and have radiographs of their front
Two studies are currently being conducted at WSU
feet without defects on the flexor cortex.
on two new treatments for horses with navicular
“Horses that meet these criteria will receive an MRI
disease. The first study involves assessing and treating
evaluation on the front feet at no charge to the owner, once their clinical
affected horses with a new therapeutic drug for those that have navicular
findings are confirmed at an appointment at WSU,” Dr. Sampson said.
disease with bone edema, and the second involves a surgical procedure to
Owners that receive a free MRI must agree to participate in the
help horses that have affected ligaments in the navicular region.
drug treatment study if their horse meets the criteria based on the
Dr. Sampson is a key researcher on the project along with Dr. Robert
MRI findings. “If a horse received a free MRI, but the evaluation
Schneider, a WSU professor and board-certified equine surgeon. Another
showed it would not fit into either study, the owner would get all the
member of the team is WSU equine intern Dr. Chad Marsh, who was
information from the diagnostic evaluation at no cost, and the horse
would then be treated like any other patient,” she said. “If the horse
qualified for the study in which drug treatment is provided, all costs
are covered by the study.”
For horse owners who would like to become involved in the studies,
or for more information, contact the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital
at 509-335-0711 or Dr. Sarah Sampson at [email protected]
brought on staff specifically for these studies. The American Quarter Horse
Association has partially funded one of the studies.
Free MRI evaluations
Here’s where the public can also help. The studies will be conducted
for approximately one year on at least 100 horses. Horses with clinical
signs of navicular disease are needed for the studies. “MRI is essential
to select horses for these studies, and because of our support, we have
6