June 2021 The Scoop From the Schools

The Scoop From the Schools is a blog that brings news and information to those in the veterinary industry information from vet schools and equine research facilities. Brought to you by Hilltop Bio
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The Scoop From the Schools focuses on the stars of equine research from vet schools and equine research institutes.

This is a new "semi-blog" of news written by Dr. Stacey Oke that is meant to keep veterinarians up-to-date on goings-on at their alma maters ("What's the chatter at your alma mater?"). This column will also provide information of interest to veterinarians from equine research institutes.

This month we bring you news from Tufts University, Oklahoma State University, Cornell University and the University of Illinois. 

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          The Scoop From the Schools
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Equine Ankle Injuries—That’s a Wrap!

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If only soft-tissue injuries were as easy to wrap up as injuries are at wrapping up a horse’s career. This might soon be the case as novel legwear could facilitate flexor tendon rehabilitation, providing practitioners a Hollywood ending to lameness woes.

Carl Kirker-Head, VetMB, MA, DACVS, DECVS, the Marilyn M. Simpson Chair in in Equine Medicine at Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, together with veterinary student Abby Brisbois, recently published two articles in the prestigious Journal of American Veterinary Research on some new equine legwear.

According to a press release in TuftsNow, Kirker-Head and Brisbois demonstrated the value of this legwear—the FastTrack prototype by Horsepower Technologies—for rehabilitating flexor tendon injuries. This device, described in detail with accompanying images in their publications, is a “variably restrictive legwear intended for use with horses rehabilitating from injuries of the flexor apparatus.”

As we know, tendon injuries can be a nightmare to manage and are associated with lengthy lay-ups.

“Stall rest with controlled gradual return to exercise is the core prescription. But if the tendons and ligaments stretch too much or too soon, re-injury results,” Kirker-Head told TuftsNow.

The first study found that the legwear effectively reduced flexor apparatus load during ambulation as well as in the stall when the horse wasn’t necessary in motion. It was well-tolerated by the horses and “may complement currently accepted rehabilitative interventions.”

The second study confirmed the legwear “results in significant reductions in MCPJ extension” at the walk, trot and canter. This again suggests that the tested legwear “may be beneficial for horses rehabilitating from flexor apparatus injuries.”

Both studies found that the legwear was safe and appeared comfortable and well tolerated.

Gain access to the two full-length articles for free here.

Feel-Good Foalings

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As foaling season begins to wind down for some, now mights be a good time to reflect on the successes—and perhaps even the losses—experienced these past few months. We all know foalings don’t always flow in those three well-described phases culminating in the “explosive” birth of a healthy foal that stands and suckles according to schedule. This is why almost every veterinary school in the country has a well-used NICU and foal team at the ready to help manage late-gestational emergencies like uterine torsions, early placental separation, premature/dysmature foals, and even orphaned foals. 

Many veterinary schools at this time of year, perhaps recognizing that most equine practitioners can use an emotional boost after a grueling foaling season, are posting success stories. One such story was recently recanted in the Spring 2021 edition of Auburn Veterinarian.

In 2020, Rooster, an Oldenburg colt, was born prematurely and with the expected gamut of complications that accompany a pre-term birth. Thanks to the quick action of the owners, the primary veterinarian and the Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital ICU staff, Rooster was able to beat the odds and is now a thriving yearling. 

His owner, Katie Robinson, said, “I hope that any fellow horse owners who notice their mares or foals struggling will act quickly to get them the help they need.”

If you’re looking for a succinct summary of foal emergency preparedness in case your owners find themselves in a similar situation to Rooster’s, Oklahoma State University recently posted this article, “Pregnant Mares: What owners need to know as foaling time approaches.”

Lisa Fortier Changes Leads

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A new barn door has opened in Dr. Lisa Fortier’s life as she begins forging her new path as the Editor-in-Chief for the prestigious Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. This much-deserved and well-earned position follows an already fruitful career as an equine surgeon. 

Fortier, DVM, PhD, DACVS, currently serves as the James Law professor of surgery at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Fortier is also the director of equine programs, associate chair for research and graduate education at Cornell University, a Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialist, the Cornell Equine Park Faculty Director, and operates her own laboratory—the Fortier Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Research Laboratory, a leader in advancing our knowledge of musculoskeletal disease and injury.

Fortier is "long in the tooth" as an author an editor (and yes, she approved us using that term!). She has published more than 150 publications and edited multiple publications, and she already serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Cartilage and Joint Preservation.

While sleep clearly ranks low on her list of life’s necessities, Fortier admits she will need to make room for this new position.

“After 30 years, I will be stepping down from my clinical position at Cornell University to fully embrace the Editor-in-Chief role at the AVMA,” Fortier said.

Fortier is excited and honored to be named Editor-in-Chief, remembering fondly the words of her mentor, first employer and renowned equine surgeon Dr. Joe Foerner at Illinois Equine. “He always said the best way to make a difference in veterinary medicine is through the AVMA. I have never forgotten that and have been a career-long member of the AVMA and couldn't be more proud to be the next Editor-in-Chief,” shared Fortier.

She added, “My vision is to continuously disseminate information to veterinarians that is contemporary and relevant. Strategically, I would like to also provide this information to veterinarians in emergent nations.”

Scollay-Ward’s Career Celebrated by Illinois, AAEP

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The University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine recently celebrated Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward’s distinguished career. This follows hot on the heels of being awarded the 2020 AAEP Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the horse, horse industry, or profession of equine veterinary medicine.

Scollay-Ward, DVM, graduated from the University of Illinois in 1984 with no idea that she would end up working as the Chief Operating Officer of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC).

According to a press release issued by the University, Scollay-Ward also works as an AAEP on-call vet and serves on the AAEP Professional Conduct and Ethics Committee. She “helps maintain the RMTC’s goals of upholding racing safety and integrity for every horse in every race.”

Scollary-Ward also says she speaks to veterinary students, urging them to branch out and look for career opportunities where they are least expected.

“There are other ways to use a veterinary degree that contribute in a significant way,” Scollay-Ward told the college’s news writers. 

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