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					                                                       SUMMER 2009


EHRF Fellow Dr. Chris Bell’s


                                      A PERFECT MATCH
                                      Gift Doubles in Impact
                                      EHRF 2009-10 STUDIES
                                      E L DE R E QU I N E CARE:
                                      Keeping Seniors Healthy

                                                                                      WCVM’s matching gift program doubles
                                                                                      the impact of a $10,000 gift from the
                                                                                      Equine Foundation of Canada.

                                                                                              ldon Bienert remembers the early days of the Equine Foundation
                                                                                              of Canada when Nova Scotia horseman George Wade and a small
                                                                                              band of volunteers from across the country regularly met in the
                                                                                      early 1980s to set up the fledgling charity.
                                                                                            Wade, a successful Nova Scotia businessman and Morgan horse
                                                                                      breeder, had a simple but ambitious dream for the organization: he wanted
                                                                                      the EFC to improve the health and welfare of all horses — no matter what
                                                                                      breed — across Canada.

            I N S I D E
                                                                                            That dream has led to more than $230,000 in support for veterinary
                                                                                      scholarships, research grants and the purchase of medical equipment over
                                                                                      the past 25 years. The money has been spread across the country through
                                                                                      the foundation’s rotation of annual donations among Canada’s veterinary

    4     Idea	Expands	into	New	Technique
                                                                                            “I always said to George, ‘This is something that we gotta carry on.’
          EHRF Research Fellow Dr. Chris Bell and summer research student             And George said to me, ‘Well, when I’m gone, it’s something that you gotta
          Dane Tatarniuk transform an idea into a new, minimally-invasive             carry on,’” said Bienert, a Morgan horse breeder from Leduc, Alta. “And
          treatment for sinusitis.                                                    that’s what happened. I couldn’t go back on my promise.”
    6     Anatomy Project Goes Live
                                                                                            But keeping that promise to his longtime friend wasn’t always easy.
                                                                                      After Wade died in 1997, Bienert, his wife Peggy MacDonald and others
          A basic anatomy project turned into a golden opportunity for EHRF           struggled to keep the foundation afloat and to attract more interest among
          summer research student Dane Tatarniuk.                                     Canada’s horse owners. “You have your lean years and you have your good
    8     The Future’s Bright for Horse Health Care
                                                                                      years,” said Bienert, who became the foundation’s president after Wade’s
          Meet three young veterinary students at the WCVM who represent the
                                                                                            Last year was one of the EFC’s good years. Through several fund-
          future of horse health care in Western Canada.
                                                                                      raising trail rides in Alberta and Saskatchewan, along with a generous gift
10        EHRF	Studies	Build	on	Research	Experience
                                                                                      from the Alberta Trail Riding Association, the foundation raised $10,000
                                                                                      for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s equine health research
          EHRF invests $69,000 in five WCVM equine health research projects.
12        Horse Health Care Through the Ages
                                                                                            For Bienert, things got even better when he learned that the EFC gift
                                                                                      met the requirements for the college’s matching gift program. Developed
          Tips on how you can keep your older horses healthy and happy.
                                                                                      by the Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé Foundation, the Saskatoon-based
14        Lasting Value                                                               organization will match any new or increased donations to the WCVM’s
                                                                                      equine research programs between 2006 and 2011. In its first two years,
          Paint breeder Shirley Brodsky talks about the health and care of
                                                                                      the program has already helped to raise more than $300,000 in increased
          Double Value, her 25-year-old broodmare.
                                                                                      funding for the WCVM’s horse health activities.
FRONT COVER: Large animal surgery resident Dr. Chris Bell of                                “We think the matching gift program is just wonderful news, and
Airdrie, Alta. Bell is one of three EHRF Research Fellows at the                      we’re very pleased that our donation will bring additional money to the
WCVM.                                                                                 WCVM’s horse health research projects. It makes all of the hard work of
                                                                                      organizing our fundraisers throughout the year even more worthwhile for
ABOVE: A curious colt at Jack and Shirley Brodsky’s farm near                         our supporters,” said Bienert.
Saskatoon, Sask. Foaled by Jackie on April 7, the palomino
Paint’s sire is Far Ute Finale (Finnegan).
                                                                                            The new funding will support the WCVM’s ongoing research investi-
                                                                                      gations of equine sarcoids — the most commonly diagnosed skin tumours
                                                                                      in horses around the world (see sidebar).
                                                                                            “We’re extremely grateful to the hundreds of horse owners and
H O R S E                     H E A L T H                        L I N E S            enthusiasts across Canada who worked together through the EFC and
Horse Health Lines is produced by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s        raised this significant donation for the College’s horse health research
Equine Health Research Fund. Visit for more information. Please     program,” said WCVM Dean Dr. Charles Rhodes. “The EFC’s long-standing
send comments to:
                                                                                      commitment to enhancing the health and welfare of all horses is an
                                      Dr. Hugh Townsend, Editor, Horse Health Lines   impressive example for the country’s entire horse industry.”
                                      WCVM, University of Saskatchewan                      The gift is the largest that the EFC has ever presented to the WCVM
                                      52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4          since the national charity was created in 1983. Altogether, the foundation
	                                     Tel:	306-966-7453	•	Fax:	306-966-7274
                                                                                      has contributed nearly $42,000 to the WCVM for equipment purchases and
                                                                                      research grants, plus it has provided $20,000 worth of scholarships.
For article reprint information, please contact
                                                                                                                  owners can raise money for the EFC by
                                                                                                                  participating in trail rides in Nova Sco-
                                                                                                                  tia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan,
                                                                                                                  Alberta and B.C.
                                                                                                                         “We usually head out at 1:30
                                                                                                                  p.m., ride for a couple of hours and
                                                                                                                  then come back for a big potluck sup-
                                                                                                                  per. We always have lots of good food
                                                                                                                  — it makes an enjoyable evening for
                                                                                                                  everyone,” says Bienert, whose enthu-
                                                                                                                  siasm for the volunteer-run foundation
                                                                                                                  hasn’t waned during the past quarter
                                                                                                                  century. He’s also proud of the fact
                                                                                                                  that 94 per cent of every dollar raised
                                                                                                                  through the EFC goes directly to support
                                                                                                                  horse health and welfare.
                                                                                                                         “A lot of horse people don’t
                                                                                                                  know about the Equine Foundation
                                                                                                                  of Canada, so if we just take the time

                                                                                                                  to explain what we do and why we do
                                                                                                                  it, the light usually comes on. We just
                                                                                                                  need to make people aware of why it’s
                                                                                                                  important to take care of our horses.”
      “The WCVM was our very first recipient of a whopping $500 in 1984. Over        For more information about the EFC and upcoming fundraising
the years, we’ve just been giving and you’ve been giving back,” EFC vice president   events, visit H
Charlene Dalen-Brown told a group of WCVM representatives and researchers dur-
ing the cheque presentation at the veterinary college on April 24.                   ABOVE, left to right: Dr. Gillian Muir, WCVM’s acting associate dean of
      “Twenty-five years — that’s how long the Foundation and the WCVM have been     research, EFC supporters Laurie Friesen and Sharon Elder, researchers
                                                                                     Drs. Janet Hill, Bruce Wobeser and Andy Allen, EFC supporter Anita
in partnership. We’re helping you and you’re helping our horses — so thank you.”     Zadorozny, researchers Dr. Beverly Kidney and Betty Chow-Lockerbie,
      While Dalen-Brown was celebrating the EFC’s latest donation at the WCVM,       Dr. David Wilson, WCVM Equine Health Research Fund chair, EFC
Bienert and MacDonald were already talking about the foundation’s next season of     supporter Nicole Shedden, WCVM Dean Charles Rhodes, EFC vice
fundraisers with visitors at the Mane Event in Red Deer, Alta. This summer, horse    president Charlene Dalen-Brown and her husband, Bill Brown.

SARCOIDS, WESTERN CANADIAN STYLE: The Equine Foundation                                     In a second study, the team developed immunohis-
of Canada’s gift, along with the matching funding, will help to support              tochemical techniques to demonstrate markers of apoptosis
an investigation of equine sarcoids — common skin tumours that can                   (programmed cell death) in archived tumour tissue samples.
seriously impair a horse’s comfort and performance.                                  Based on recent research in human cervical cancer, which is
      Led by Dr. Andy Allen of the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary                   also caused by a papillomavirus, the expression of apoptosis
Pathology, the study is a continuation of work that began two years                  markers can be useful to determine the prognoses of these
ago when Allen, PhD student Dr. Bruce Wobeser and veterinary pathol-                 tumours. WCVM researchers are working to find similar diag-
ogist Dr. Beverly Kidney set out to answer some of the unknowns about                nostic markers in equine sarcoids.
sarcoids and to develop a western Canadian “profile” of the tumours.                        Now, microbiologist Dr. Janet Hill and lab technician
      The team is still analyzing more than 800 biopsies of sarcoids from            Betty Chow-Lockerbie are joining the original research team
horses in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C., but based on preliminary                   for a third study — one that will use molecular techniques
findings, their results may demonstrate some regional variations in                  to further explore the role of BPV in the growth of equine
sarcoid epidemiology.                                                                sarcoids. Based on recent studies, BPV may also play a role
      One difference may be in the breeds that are most susceptible                  in inflammatory skin lesions and non-sarcoid neoplasms — a
to developing equine sarcoids in Western Canada. Another regional                    possibility that the WCVM researchers wants to investigate in
distinction showed up when researchers looked at the link between                    western Canadian horses.
sarcoid development and a common cattle virus called bovine papil-                          Based on their findings, the team hopes to develop more
lomavirus (BPV). In the majority of existing research, BPV-1 is the most             effective methods of diagnosing the skin tumours and to
commonly found virus in about 80 per cent of sarcoid samples taken                   eventually find better strategies for treating the disease. Visit
from horses in Europe and the eastern U.S.                                  for more background information about
      In contrast, the WCVM research team found that in sarcoids from                the College’s equine sarcoid investigations.
which BPV DNA was recovered, 80 per cent was BPV-2 while only 20 per
cent was BPV-1. These results are similar to what researchers have found
in equine sarcoid samples taken from horses living in the western U.S.

                                                                                                                  Western College of Veterinar y Medicine      3
             few years ago, a magazine ar-
             ticle describing a minimally-
             invasive treatment for people
    with chronic sinusitis caught Dr.
    Chris Bell’s eye — and the veterinar-
    ian’s imagination. What if such a
    treatment could be adapted for use
    in horses?
           Last summer, the chance to
    test that theory came up for Bell
    when second-year veterinary student
    Dane Tatarniuk began working on a
    project to define the bony anatomy
    of the horse’s sinus. “Dane was able
    to show through the anatomical
    dissections that there are two separate
    nasal maxillary openings — some-
    thing that’s never been previously
    reported,” points out Bell, a large                                    Stories by Lynne Gunville
    animal surgical resident at the West-
    ern College of Veterinary Medicine

                                                Idea Ex pAnd s
    and a research fellow with the Col-
    lege’s Equine Health Research Fund.
           Out of that information
    emerged the development of a new,

                                                Into New
    minimally invasive treatment for
    sinusitis — a common condition
    that can have an enormous impact

    on horses. “If it isn’t treated, it causes
    a chronic infection in the sinus
    which results in performance-limit-
    ing nasal discharge,” explains Bell.
    “It can actually deform the bone and
    affect all the soft tissues surrounding the sinus cavity.”                                    After considering a couple of options, Bell found that a human esopha-
           Primary sinusitis, caused by bacterial infection, has traditionally             geal dilation balloon was the right size and strength for the equine procedure.
    required surgery using general anesthetic. “We actually flap the bone back             The RUH staff helped him to determine the optimal inflation for the balloon,
    and then go in surgically and punch a hole down through the sinus to                   and he and Tatarniuk began testing the model on horse skulls.
    provide drainage and to flush it,” describes Bell, adding that patients usually               “We would fill both sides of the sinuses with fluid. We wouldn’t use the
    spend about five days recovering in the clinic from this invasive surgery.             balloon catheter on one side, and then we’d balloon catheterize the other
           Now, this new procedure will decrease the recovery time and minimize            side. This allowed us to compare the drainage rates between the two sides,”
    the effect on the animal — addressing key concerns for horse owners and                explains Bell. Through these experiments, they discovered that inserting the
    veterinarians.                                                                         balloon catheter permanently dilated the opening and allowed for increased
           “The major advantage is that it’s minimally invasive and it can be done         drainage.
    in the field. It’ll provide the ability for a practitioner to possibly treat sinusitis
                                                                                           Novel use for AI pipette
    in the field without the horse having to come in to a veterinary clinic,” says
                                                                                                  However, there was a problem with the endoscope: it was just too flex-
                                                                                           ible. What they needed was a rigid introducer that could withstand the back
    Balloon catheters: from humans to horses                                               pressure of the catheter moving past the cartilage. Unfazed, Bell ingeniously
           Bell and Tatarniuk began their research trial with the guidance of Dr.          fashioned a device by shaping and moulding a pipette used for artifical
    James Carmalt, Bell’s graduate supervisor. Their first step was using an endo-         insemination (AI). “Now we run our balloon up through this introducer. It
    scope to determine the exact location of the nasal maxillary opening. “That            has nowhere else to go but right inside there,” says Bell, adding that a patent
    hadn’t been really defined in equine surgery anywhere,” explains Bell.                 for the introducer is now under review.
           Pinpointing the opening’s location would allow them to accurately                      After perfecting the procedure on cadavers, Bell and Tatarniuk tried it
    insert a balloon catheter and dilate the opening under endoscopic guidance,            out on live animals. “I was quite surprised,” says Bell. “I thought they’d resist
    a similar procedure to that used in humans. To learn more, Bell spent a day            it a lot more as we were crushing some cartilage up in their sinuses, but we
    in the Royal University Hospital’s cardiology catheterization laboratory in            found that with basic sedation, they didn’t resist the passage of the introducer.
    Saskatoon where he watched procedures and gained valuable advice from lab              We were able to show that we can do these in the standing horses so they don’t
    director Dr. Colin Pearce and his staff.                                               require general anesthetic.”

4      Horse	Health	Lines	•	Summer	2009
       According to Bell, the procedure has also proven useful   HOME SWEET SURGERY SUITE: Veterinary surgery became a real career option
in treating secondary sinusitis that often develops along with   for Chris Bell in Grade 11 when he volunteered at a local veterinary clinic that
dental issues. Specifically, the technique is used for packing   specialized in horses. “I was able to watch the surgeons working, and I just thought
the sinus during surgery. “The advantage with our technique      it was really neat — the detail and precision that was required for surgery,” says
is that we don’t have to make an extra hole. We just dilate      Bell, who grew up around horses and cattle on the family farm near Airdrie, Alta.
the normal hole and pass the removable packing through.                 His family also bred Canadian Warmbloods and ran a boarding stable, so Bell
It’s much better for the horse — the healing is a lot better,    often had the chance to meet local large animal veterinarians and watch them in
and the risk of introducing infection is a lot lower.”           action during field visits. “Working with animals just seemed like a really fun job.”
                                                                        By the time he began his own veterinary career at the Western College of
       In October, Bell will present the research team’s work
                                                                 Veterinary Medicine in 2002, Bell planned to go into large animal practice after
at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons’ annual
                                                                 graduation. But during his first year, he spent time in the College’s Large Animal
symposium in Washington, D.C. Over the next year, he plans
                                                                 Clinic with Dr. James Carmalt who was then a large animal surgical resident.
to carry out clinical trials to further confirm the results.            Watching Carmalt perform surgeries reignited Bell’s interest in surgery: “By
“Basically, we’re going to provide the same flushing as we       my second year of vet school, I really decided that I liked surgery and I wanted
would normally do except that I’ll be able to pass the bal-      to pursue it.”
loon catheter on the horses and monitor them.”                          After graduating in 2006, Bell spent a busy and productive year as a clinical
       The research project, which is part of Bell’s Master of   intern at Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Gilbert, Ariz. The internship
Veterinary Science (MVetSc) degree program, has been very        was a valuable experience, especially because it exposed Bell “to a number of
satisfying. “The thrill of designing something new, coming       different ways of doing things — and different ways that different people do things.”
up with something novel that hadn’t been done before in                 In 2007, Bell returned to Canada to begin a large animal surgical residency at
horses and being able to adapt a human surgical technique        the WCVM where his position is financially supported by the Equine Health Research
for horses — that was probably what was the most fun             Fund’s fellowship program. Two years into his three-year residency, Bell says he’s
about it.”                                                       really enjoying the hospital’s clinical case load. “I like getting into surgery and
       Bell also enjoyed working with Tatarniuk. “He’s a         getting my hands dirty and helping a horse get better.”
really good student, really keen, and he really impressed               Besides his clinical and research work, Bell enjoys teaching and working
me.” He adds with a laugh, “I’d hire him if I had a clinic.” H   with veterinary students. “We have a really excellent program at WCVM — I think
                                                                 it’s probably one of the best in North America. I think WCVM students are trained
Lynne Gunville is a freelance writer and editor whose            extremely well, and that’s a testament to the training they get in their first three years
career includes 25 years of teaching English and com-            as well as their clinical year.”
munications to adults. She and her husband live at                      Bell plans to spend his third year working on the clinical trials resulting from
Candle Lake, Sask.                                               his sinusitis treatment research project and hopes to start on another project with
                                                                 Carmalt: developing a technique to treat horses that have Cushing’s disease. He
PRECEDING PAGE: Dane Tatarniuk (left) watches as Dr.             also foresees more possibilities for using the balloon catheters — another avenue
Chris Bell uses a horse’s skull to demonstrate how the           that he hopes to explore.
human esophageal dilation balloon catheter (see                         Once his residency wraps up in 2010, Bell plans to go into private practice.
closeup) is inflated inside the sinus cavity. ABOVE (LEFT):      Although Bell wants to specialize in upper airway surgery, he expects to become
Bell shows how the team uses a modified AI pipette as a
                                                                 a “jack of all trades” with exposure to all types of equine surgeries.
rigid introducer for the balloon catheter. ABOVE (RIGHT):
Once the balloon catheter is inserted into the horse’s                  That’s fine by him, adding that he just likes working with horses. “They’re
sinus cavity, the expanded balloon permanently dilates           amazing athletes and I like trying to get them back to their tiptop shape and
the opening by crushing some of the sinus cartilage.             performing for their owners.”

                                                                                                                   Western College of Veterinar y Medicine   5
    Q: How did your project
    evolve over last summer?
    I started out working with equine
    cadaver heads taking various
    measurements. As we progressed,
    we started to look at different
    disease processes in the sinuses.
    From there, Dr. Bell came up with
    the idea to mimic what’s done
    in human medicine by dilating
    the opening using the balloon
    catheter. By the end of the summer,
    we’d developed a technique that
    surgically helps facilitate drainage
    in a non-invasive manner.

    Q: What did you gain
    from your research
                                                                                             ANATOMy PROJECT

                                                                                             Goes Live
    For one thing, I gained exposure
    to using resources — looking up
    journal articles and searching for
    information on academic websites.
    Then actually writing my paper
    helped strengthen my abilities to

    form thought processes and put ideas into words.
          I also gained a lot of valuable clinical experience just helping out around             hen Dane Tatarniuk began his summer research project
    the clinics. Observing Dr. Bell and Dr. Carmalt performing lameness exams gave                in 2008, the second-year veterinary student wasn’t
                                                                                                  expecting to play a role in developing a minimally-
    me good exposure in developing my interpretive skills. Interpreting radiographs
                                                                                        invasive surgical technique for treating sinusitis in horses.
    was also really good practice for me.
                                                                                              “My initial project was to investigate the normal anatomy
          Another benefit was the chance to watch the veterinarians with the
                                                                                        of the horse’s nasal maxillary opening — the opening that leads
    clients — to see them interact with clients and help them make decisions in         from the nasal cavities into the paranasal sinuses,” explains
    terms of prognosis and cost of treatment. The whole summer was a really good        Tatarniuk, whose summer job was supported by the WCVM’s
    experience. Dr. Carmalt and Dr. Bell are both very determined and driven and        Equine Health Research Fund.
    innovative. It was a really good environment for team work.                               But once he shared the results of his work with his supervisors,
                                                                                        Drs. James Carmalt and Chris Bell, the project took an exciting
    Q: What was the highlight?                                                          new direction when the large animal clinicians began discussing
    When we actually achieved the technique in the live, standing, sedated horse        how they could use Tatarniuk’s fundamental findings to improve
    — that was probably the highlight of the summer. It was pretty close to the end     the actual treatment of sinus problems in horses.
    of the summer for me, and it was a nice conclusion in that we’d started just              By summer’s end, the research team had successfully
    looking at the anatomy and finished with actually having this surgical technique    tested a new technique in a live horse at the WCVM’s Veterinary
    successfully achieved in a live horse.                                              Teaching Hospital. “It’s really exciting for me that I was a part of
                                                                                        helping to develop this technique, and it’s something that I could
    Q: Is research part of your future plans?                                           be using in my future career,” says Tatarniuk, who will begin his
    I really want to pursue an internship, and I’m considering a residency in           third year at the WCVM this fall.
    large animal surgery after that. But I wouldn’t mind returning to research as             Originally from Yorkton, Sask., Tatarniuk’s interest in horses
    a part time thing some day. Doing research along with maintaining clinical          began while spending summers and holidays with his uncle,
    responsibilities would be a nice balance.                                           a racehorse trainer in Vancouver. “It was partially to get the
                                                                                        experience needed to get into vet school, but it was also
    Q: Do you have any advice for students considering                                  really fun to do, and I got the opportunity to hang out with the
    research?                                                                           racetrack veterinarians there.”
    I think it’s really important to know what you want to get out of the experience.         This summer, Tatarniuk will even gain more valuable
    I was very fortunate to work for someone who was active in research but also        hands-on experience with Dr. Dan French in his satellite clinic at
    maintained clinical responsibilities. It’s just a better opportunity for your       Calgary’s Spruce Meadows. As well, he’s still gaining from last
    education — you’re getting two experiences in one shot. H                           year’s research work. Veterinary Surgery recently published a
                                                                                        case study written by Tatarniuk, Carmalt and Dr. Andy Allen of
                                                                                        WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Pathology, and the student is
                                                                                        hoping another journal will publish an article detailing findings
                                                                                        from his research project.
                                                                                        ABOVE: Veterinary student Dane Tatarniuk, WCVM Class of 2011.
6      Horse	Health	Lines	•	Summer	2009
                                                                                                                                            When Kehler died in
                                                                                                                                     August 2003, Gadowsky
                                                                                                                                     and the other Foundation
                                                                                                                                     directors decided to establish
                                                                                                                                     the Bill Kehler Memorial
                                                                                                                                     Scholarship in recognition
                                                                                                                                     of his outstanding efforts
                                                                                                                                     for the rodeo community.
                                                                                                                                     “Education was always
                                                                                                                                     really important to him,
                                                                                                                                     and so we felt the best way
                                                                                                                                     that we could honour him
                                                                                                                                     was to develop a scholarship
                                                                                                                                     specific to the areas that Bill
                                                                                                                                     was passionate about — so
                                                                                                                                     agriculture and broadcast-
                                                                                                                                     ing are the two areas that we
                                                                                                                                     really focus on.”
                                                                                                                                            After consulting with
                                                                                                                                     Bill’s daughters, the rodeo
                                                                                                                                     community and with other
                                                                                      Stories by Lynne Gunville                      announcers, the Founda-
                                                                                                                                     tion directors decided to ask
                                                                                                                                     applicants to submit official

A Living Legacy for the
                                                                                                                      transcripts and two letters of reference
                                                                                                                      along with a short essay — a key part of
                                                                                                                      the application process.

    “Voice of Rodeo”
                                                                                                                            “It’s about their passion for what
                                                                                                                      they’re doing, their long-term goals and
                                                                                                                      how well they state them,” says Gadowksy.
                                                                                                                      “We look for someone who would be a
                                                                                                                      good ambassador for Bill’s legacy. Is this
                                                                                                                      person somebody that Bill would be proud
Laura Gadowsky remembers                                                         to know and proud to carry on the history in the community that he was
Bill Kehler’s great passion for                                                  involved in?”
                                                                                        Of the 50 to 60 applicants that apply each year, the committee selects
agriculture and rodeo, but she                                                   four winners who are awarded the scholarship at the CFR in Edmonton.
especially recalls his rich, deep                                                Gadowsky is always impressed by the recipients: “They’re the kind of kids
                                                                                 that I hope my two boys will grow up to be. They’re smart, driven, they know
signature voice, the voice of                                                    where they want to go, and they’re well on their path to getting there — and
rodeo for many years. “Anyone                                                    they’re passionate about what they do.”
                                                                                        Gadowsky’s words aptly describe the four 2008 scholarship recipients
over the age of 20 knows                                                         — three of whom are studying veterinary medicine at the Western College
that remarkable voice,” says                                                     of Veterinary Medicine (read their biographies on pages 8 and 9). The fourth
                                                                                 recipient, Jaeda Fedemma of Grande Cache, Alta., is a student in the Univer-
Gadowsky, chairperson of the                                                     sity of Alberta’s Faculty of Education.
Edmonton Rodeo Cowboys’                                                                 Gadowksy says she is pleased with the success of the scholarship.
                                                                                 “Anything we can do to keep Bill’s memory alive, I’m very proud of.” She’s
Benevolent Foundation.                                                           also proud of the Foundation which, since its establishment in 1989, has paid
                                                                                 out over $1 million to people in the rodeo community who are in need. “The
      Bill Kehler, who was well known throughout the agriculture and rodeo       fact that we raise these funds to help the injured cowboys and to help educate
community, announced at many events over the years including the Masters         students along the way just makes me feel pretty good inside.” H
at Spruce Meadows, the Calgary Stampede and the annual Canadian Finals
Rodeo (CFR) in Edmonton, Alta. Gadowsky recalls his incredible background        SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS (left to right): Terry Goslin and Ty Corbiell of the
knowledge of the animals and the competitors as well as his endless patience     WCVM; Laura Gadowsky, chair, Edmonton Rodeo Benevolent Foundation;
                                                                                 Earl Klapstein, Northlands director responsible for the CFR; Jaeda
with children. “Little kids would come up to him and be full of questions, and
                                                                                 Feddema of the University of Alberta and Angela Oakley of the WCVM.
he always took time to answer them.”
                                                                                 Photo courtesy of Northlands, Edmonton, Alta.

                                                                                                                       Western College of Veterinar y Medicine         7
                                                                                                                 rewarding,” says Corbiell, who particularly
                                                                                                                 enjoyed working on the individual animals
                                                                                                                 and interacting with their owners.
                                                                                                                         Realizing that an internship would
                                                                                                                 help him gain the knowledge and experience
                                                                                                                 to pursue that aspect of equine medicine ,
                                                                                                                 Corbiell externed at Idaho Equine Hospital
                                                                                                                 in Nampa, Idaho, and the Arizona Equine
                                                                                                                 Medical and Surgical Center in Gilbert, Ariz.
                                                                                                                 After both equine referral practices offered him
                                                                                                                 internships, Corbiell accepted the internship in
                                                                                                                 Idaho and looks forward to active involvement
                                                                                                                 in cases with senior clinicians available to
                                                                                                                 offer advice.
                                                                                                                         Corbiell then plans to enter private

                                           Dr. Ty Corbiell, Cluny, AB                                            equine practice, preferably working with west-
                                                                                                                 ern performance horses. “I’d like to work on
                                                                                                                 some of these rodeo and higher end western
                                                                                                                 performance horses because they’re great
                                                                                                                 athletes and I’d enjoy doing my part to help

    The Future’s Bright
                                                                                                                  them reach their full athletic potential.”
                                                                                                                         Calf roping is a recent interest, and
                                                                                                                  Corbiell looks forward to doing more: “A lot of
                                                                                                                  veterinarians like to go golfing — I like to go
                                                                                                                  roping or practice roping my roping dummy.

    FOR HORSE HEALTH CARE                                                                                         It’s a nice break to get out of the city and
                                                                                                                  think, ‘Man, this is why I’m actually going to

    Ty Corbiell, Cluny, Alta.                                                       Angela Oakley, Edmonton, Alta.
          Ty Corbiell recalls the excitement of the Bill Kehler Memorial Scholar-         Second-year WCVM student Angela Oakley is living her dream. “Ever
    ship presentation during the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) last November:         since I was a little kid I wanted to be a veterinarian — that was what I’ve
    “They take you right down on the arena dirt at Rexall Place, and on the         always wanted to do,” says Oakley.
    final Sunday (of the rodeo weekend), there’s about 15,000 people there to             The self-described “horse-crazy kid” spent every possible moment on
    see you receive the award.”                                                     Fern Valley Farms, a purebred Appaloosa farm near Edmonton, Alta. Her
          His family was on hand to watch the presentation; in fact, his two        family lived in the city, but Angela lived for summers and weekends on the
    brothers-in-law have competed in calf roping at the CFR. “My sister-in-law      farm.
    had videos of them roping calves and then she’d have a video of me receiv-            By the time she was eight, Oakley was training horses for her mother
    ing the award, so that was pretty neat.”                                        and her Aunt Sherry, co-owners of the Appaloosas. “They needed a light
          Corbiell grew up on a cattle ranch where he used Quarter horses to do     body and I was around. It went really well, actually.”
    the ranch work and belonged to the local 4-H horse club. After high school,           Oakley has worked with training and breeding horses ever since,
    he began competing in team roping at local rodeos. When Corbiell came           always enjoying the management and health aspects. “I like working with
    to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005, he joined the WCVM       them on the ground and the training and learning their behaviours and
    Equine Club and the College’s student chapter of the American Association       what makes them tick. “
    of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). He’s taken every opportunity to expand his            For a girl who loved farm life, attending city schools was tough. “You
    equine knowledge, participating in weekend clinics as well as an AAEP-          meet people who don’t even know where their food comes from — that was
    sponsored equine practice seminar in Lexington, Ky.                             always a big concern of mine,” says Oakley, whose pony Digger also helped
          In 2007 and 2008, Corbiell was selected to attend Florida’s North         her through the rough times. “He was my rock. He never tells secrets, and I
    American Veterinary Conference — an experience that opened his eyes to          could trust him.”
    future opportunities in the veterinary profession. “You look at some of those         After high school, Angela studied animal sciences at the University of
    guys and think, ‘I’d definitely like to be able to have the potential and the   Alberta, joining several clubs including one that promoted agriculture to
    knowledge to do that some day.’”                                                children. She also joined Ceres, a women’s fraternity that promoted agri-
          Corbiell’s passion for horses was fuelled by his summer position with     culture and agricultural education for women. “Ceres was like a gold mine.
    Dr. Dan French of Teradan Equine in the practice’s satellite clinic at Spruce   I loved being able to hang out with people who understood where I came
    Meadows. He recalls working with the performance horses and describes           from and were willing to talk horses with me for hours,” recalls Oakley.
    them as true athletes competing for thousands of dollars. “Being able to              Since entering the WCVM in 2008, Oakley has had the chance to join
    work on horses and then watch them compete and win — that’s pretty              additional organizations and she recently became vice president of the Col-

8     Horse	Health	Lines	•	Summer	2009
lege’s student chapter of the AAEP. “It’s just I’m
here — this is something I’ve wanted my entire
life and you only get out of something what you
put into it.” She adds that the activities help
veterinary students develop good people skills:
“For every animal you treat, there’s a person
      Oakley’s summer experiences have
included working on poultry and dairy research
projects. This summer, she’ll live at Fern Valley
Farms and split her time between two nearby
businesses: the Onaway Veterinary Clinic
where she’ll work during the day and Excell
Warmbloods where she will help with breeding
and artificial insemination during the evening.
Her second horse, Eurus, is a Dutch Warmblood                             Dr. Terry Goslin, North Battleford, SK
that she eventually hopes to train for dressage
      Oakley’s future definitely includes large                                       “I’ve gone to the Strathmore Rodeo since I was 10, and I’ve been there
animals, particularly horses. “I like being outside, doing farm calls and      every single year since then,” explains Goslin.
meeting the clients. There’s usually a 16-year-old girl attached to the side          Although his family moved around as he was growing up, Goslin
of the horse. It makes an interesting dynamic — the people attached to         and his sister always spent their summers on their grandparents’ farm in
horses.”                                                                       Alberta. “During the summers, I would go and spend piles and piles of time
                                                                               with my grandparents,” says Goslin, whose grandfather has always been a
Terence (Terry) Goslin, North Battleford, Sask.                                big influence in his life. “We did a lot of fencing . . . I did so much fencing
     As Terry Goslin was reading through the Western Producer one day,         with my grandpa.”
he saw an advertisement for the Bill Kehler Memorial Scholarship. The                 Another important influence was Goslin’s older sister Sylvia (WCVM
name took him right back in time to when he was a kid, sitting beside his      ’06) who was already going through the paces of getting into veterinary
grandpa in the stands at the Strathmore Rodeo and listening to the trade-      medicine when her brother began volunteering at a North Battleford veteri-
mark voice of rodeo announcer Bill Kehler.                                     nary clinic during Grade 10. “In Grade 11, I decided that I was going to be a
                                                                               veterinarian and that was just the way it was going to be,” says Goslin, who
                                                                               even arranged his Grade 12 schedule so he could spend his mornings at the
                                                                               veterinary clinic.
                                                                                      Goslin also worked four summers at a feedlot in Coronation, Alta.,
                                                                               where he learned a lot about cows and horses. He especially enjoyed the
                                                                               range work: “They had about 2,500 head on grass and they treated the old
                                                                               cowboy way where we’d go out and head and heel the cattle so we could
                                                                               treat them.”
                                                                                      In 2005, after two years at University of Saskatchewan’s College of
                                                                               Agriculture, Goslin was accepted into the WCVM. During his time at the Col-
                                                                               lege, his focus was on large animals, and his summer jobs reinforced that.
                                                                               In 2007, Goslin worked at a large animal ambulatory practice in Yorkton
                                                                               then spent the summer of 2008 at a mixed practice in North Battleford —
                                                                               the same clinic where his sister now practises.
                                                                                      After graduating from the WCVM in May 2009, Goslin and his wife
                                                                               Erin headed to Moose Jaw where he now works at Bellamy Harrison Animal
                                                                               Hospital. Although he hasn’t had much time to ride his two horses, Goslin
                                                                               plans to do some team roping this year. Some day, he also hopes to enlarge
                                                                               his herd of four cows and get more heavily involved in cow-calf production.
                                                                                      And of course, Goslin still plans on making his annual trip out to the
                                                                               Strathmore Rodeo. Some things should never change. H

                                                                               To find out more about the Bill Kehler Memorial Scholarship and the
                                                                               application process, please visit and
                                                                               conduct a search for “Bill Kehler.”

Angela Oakley, Edmonton, AB
                                                                                                                    Western College of Veterinar y Medicine      9
                                                               EHRF Studies Build on
                                                               Research	Experience
                                                                      What’s the best way to characterize and localize
                                                                      bovine papillomavirus (BPV)?
                                                                      Drs. Andy Allen, Bruce Wobeser, Janet Hill and Beverly
                                                                      Kidney, WCVM
                                                                            Many scientists consider bovine papillomavirus (BPV) as the cause of
                                                                      sarcoids, benign skin tumours that are often diagnosed in horses. However,
                                                                      recent studies have shown that BPV DNA is also found in the normal skin and
                                                                      in non-sarcoid skin lesions of horses. These findings compromise researchers’
                                                                      understanding of the cause and transmission of sarcoids.
                                                                            Determining the role of BPV in sarcoids and developing effective non-
                                                                      invasive tests will have a positive impact on diagnosis and treatment. During
                                                                      the next year, a WCVM research team will detect and determine the genotype of
                                                                      BPV in 100 biopsies of inflammatory skin lesions taken from equine patients in
                                                                      Western Canada. Next, researchers will compare the data with BPV information
                                                                      that they previously collected during an investigation of sarcoid tissue biopsies
                                                                      taken from western Canadian horses.
                                                                            The research team will examine all BPV-positive samples using three
                                                                      novel techniques — laser capture micro-dissection followed by polymerase
                                                                      chain reaction (PCR), in situ PCR, and in situ loop mediated isothermal
           The Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s Equine        amplification (LAMP) — for the purpose of determining the precise location
     Health Research Fund has allocated a total of $69,000 to         of BPV within each biopsy. These three techniques will be evaluated as possible
     five new equine health research projects — all of which          test methods for sarcoids and may potentially benefit other studies at WCVM.
     cover topics of vital importance for researchers and for
     horse owners.                                                    Are there better ways to block the equine flu virus?
           This year’s studies focus on several critical conditions   Drs. Matthew Loewen and Hugh Townsend, WCVM
     in horses including equine sarcoids, equine influenza,                  Equine influenza A virus is a common respiratory disease that causes
     endotoxemia and endometritis. A fifth study is an analysis       fever, cough, runny noses and sometimes death in affected horses. Although
     of a new analgesic (pain killer) — an investigation that         its effects are usually short term, the virus is considered a serious threat to the
     focuses on WCVM’s continued efforts to improve the               horse industry. This is especially true for the racing sector where flu outbreaks
     effectiveness of anesthesic protocols for horses and other       can cause huge financial losses. The influenza virus is highly contagious,
     species.                                                         spreading very quickly through an equine population, and it easily mutates,
           Dr. Gillian Muir, acting associate dean of research at     developing resistance to current antiviral medications. Four antiviral medica-
     the WCVM, says all of the projects will help to advance          tions are currently available, but their effectiveness for prevention and treat-
     ongoing investigations of these health issues and take           ment decreases as the virus mutates.
     things to the next step.                                                In this study, Drs. Matthew Loewen and Hugh Townsend of the WCVM
           “Backed by the team members’ extensive knowledge           will analyze millions of commercially available compounds and identify those
     of the subject and their experience, our research teams          possessing the characteristics needed to combat the virus. Specifically, the
     will quickly reach the point where they’re exploring             researchers are seeking compounds that effectively block the M2 proton-
     new possibilities for solving key issues related to these        selective ion channel whose function is essential for viral replication.
     conditions.”                                                     Within that group, future testing will determine their viability as antiviral
           What does that mean for horse owners and equine            medications. The researchers will also develop a physiological screening tool
     veterinarians? As Muir points out, the College’s scientists      for the purpose of generating new compounds with antiviral capabilities that
     are continuing to make significant research contributions        can be developed into medications.
     toward the world’s development of new diagnostic                        This study’s findings and future research will establish an arsenal of
     and therapeutic options for horses. At the same time,            antiviral medications that can provide additional options as the virus gains
     EHRF-supported studies provide graduate students with            resistance to current drugs.
     specialized training in equine health research.

10    Horse	Health	Lines	•	Summer	2009
Is long pentraxin-3 (PTX-3) a therapeutic target?                                       In this study,
Drs. Baljit Singh and Sarabjeet Suri, WCVM                                       Dr. Tanya Duke and
      Horses are extremely susceptible to sepsis-associated multiple organ       anesthesia resident
inflammation and mortality — one of the major causes of economic losses          Dr. Peter Brassel will
to the horse industry. Sepsis and endotoxemia are generally associated with      work with six research
acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Blood-borne           horses to compare
bacteria and endotoxins activate neutrophils — blood cells that act as first     the effectiveness of
responders in bacterial inflammations and are central to acute lung injury       remifentanil to that of
and tissue damage. These neutrophils contain long pentraxin-3 (PTX-3),           morphine. They will
a newly identified protein that has been recognized as a factor in human         assess its usefulness
lung injuries but has not yet been characterized in horses.                      as an analgesic,
      Because PTX-3 may play an important role in this inflammation,             observe any side ef-
investigating its structure as well as the signalling mechanisms that            fects during surgery
regulate it may lead to effective new therapies. In this two-year study, Drs.    and recovery, and
Baljit Singh and Sarabjeet Suri will compare normal and activated blood          analyze the process
neutrophils as well as normal and inflamed lungs of the horse. They will         by which it leaves
investigate the gene code of PTX-3 and will study cytokines, the proteins        the circulatory
that signal immune cells, to determine their role in inducing production         system. Based on
of PTX-3. Researchers will also investigate the cell signalling pathways that    their findings, the
regulate the structure of PTX-3.                                                 researchers will
                                                                                 be able to deter-
Is remifentanil a useful analgesic for horses?                                   mine whether
Drs. Tanya Duke, Peter Brassel and Joe Bracamonte,                               remifentanil is a
WCVM; and Dr. Jane Alcorn, College of Pharmacy and                               suitable opiod analgesic for horses.
Nutrition, U of S
       Because general anaesthetics like isoflurane don’t have strong
                                                                                 How do TLRs and cytokines regulate immune
analgesic properties, surgical teams must administer additional analgesic
                                                                                 response in the uterus?
drugs intravenously during surgical procedures such as bone fractures            Drs. Claire Card, Sarah Eaton, Baljit Singh and Manuel
that require intense surgical stimulation and can be extremely painful for       Chirino-Trejo, WCVM
equine patients. Although morphine has been widely used for this purpose,              Endometritis (excessive uterine inflammation) is caused by a mare’s
it often triggers undesirable side effects in horses such as excess excitement   immune response to sperm, debris and to bacteria such as Streptococcus
during the recovery period.                                                      equi subsp zooepidemicus and E. coli. This condition, which affects more
       Finding an effective analgesic with minimal side effects, particularly    than 15 per cent of broodmares, costs the equine industry millions of dol-
in horses, is critical. Remifentanil is a potent opiod currently used in dogs    lars each year from high veterinary costs, poor conception rates, late foals
that has a fast and unique metabolism and quickly leaves the system, thus        and more barren mares.
minimizing side effects and speeding up the recovery period. This new drug             Recent research points to the role of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and
could potentially provide adequate pain relief and reduce recovery time of       cytokines in regulating immune responses in the uterus. TLRs recognize
horses without compromising them during or after surgery.                        conserved molecular structures of bacterial pathogens and activate down-
                                                                                 stream production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
                                                                                       During the next two years, WCVM researchers will continue to
                                                                                                 investigate the role of TLRs and pro-inflammatory cytokine
                                                                                                expression in mares receiving intra-uterine challenges with
                                                                                                S. equi subsp zooepidemicus, E. coli, seminal plasma or
                                                                                               sperm. Specifically, the research team will compare TLRs and
                                                                                               pro-inflammatory cytokines of mares resistant or susceptible to
                                                                                              endometritis to these common uterine challenges.
                                                                                                    By gaining a better understanding of the role of TLRs
                                                                                             and cytokines and learning more about the reactions of mares
                                                                                             resistant or susceptible to endometritis, the WCVM research
                                                                                            group hopes to develop more effective treatment strategies for the
                                                                                           disease. H

                                                                                         PRECEDING PAGE: A yearling filly at the 2008 Prairie Lily Yearling
                                                                                         Sale. LEFT: Charlotte takes a drink from her dam, Special Violet
                                                                                        (Violet). The 2009 Paint filly’s sire is Far Ute Finale (Finnegan),
                                                                                        owned by Jack and Shirley Brodsky. ABOVE: The eye of a
                                                                                        Quarter horse-Welsh cross mare.

                                                                                                                        Western College of Veterinar y Medicine   11

                                        Through the Ages
        Horses are living long lives on acreages, farms and           FOOD AND WATER
 ranches across North America. That reality is reflected in statis-         A common challenge in caring for older horses is maintaining their
 tics: it’s estimated that geriatric horses (animals more than 20     weight. Several factors can cause a horse to lose pounds or adequate body con-
 years old) account for somewhere between seven and 20 per            dition: underfeeding, protein-calorie malnutrition, nutrient loss, the inability
 cent of the entire equine population.                                to eat, a lack of appetite, or a physiologic condition or illness.
        Owners and veterinarians are growing more aware that                In many cases, it’s not enough to simply increase the amount of feed: it
 proper management and medical care can expand the                    may take some research to understand the root of the problem. For example,
 lifespan of these horses. Many age-related issues like dental        if an older horse is underfed with protein-calorie malnutrition, the animal
 disease or parasite problems can also be prevented through           may have trouble eating the existing feed. In that case, you may need to find
 regular veterinary care that’s provided throughout a horse’s         an alternate feed that’s easier for the horse to chew or digest. Or, if younger
 life.                                                                herdmates are preventing the senior horse from getting enough access to food,
        Dr. Katharina Lohmann is an internal medicine special-        you may need to rearrange the herd and provide more accessible feed sources
 ist and an associate professor in the Western College of             to avoid competition.
 Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Large Animal Clinical
 Sciences. Since many of her regular patients at the College’s        Q. How much fuel does a senior need?
 Veterinary Teaching Hospital are equine senior citizens, Lohm-             An older horse’s feeding regimen generally needs little or no adjustments
 ann has gathered together a wealth of health management              as long as the animal maintains its weight and body condition. The National
 tips that are specific for geriatric horses.                         Research Council’s (NRC) energy recommendations for adult horses equates
        The following story is an abridged version of a compre-       to about 7.5 to 11 kilograms of hay per day — depending on feed quality and
 hensive article that Lohmann wrote for a national veterinary         energy content. However, these ration estimates are only a starting point and
 publication called Large Animal Veterinary Rounds that’s             need adjusting to account for exercising, chronic illness or conditions, or cold
 written at the WCVM. Visit            weather.
 larounds (click on “Archives” for the complete title list) to read         Use body conditioning scoring systems or weight tapes to monitor an
 the entire article that was published in June 2007. Plus, make       older horse’s body condition. While weight loss is a common concern, you also
 sure to read another helpful article called “Diseases Affecting      need to be sure that obesity doesn’t become a problem.
 the Geriatric Horse” (published in September 2007).

12   Horse	Health	Lines	•	Summer	2009
Q. What are the                         Geriatric horses may be more susceptible                                                          EXERCISE
best energy                              to infections based on declining immune                                                                Regular exercise can
sources?                                                                                                                                  improve a horse’s mobility
       While good quality        responses with age, concurrent diseases, general and slow down the effects
forage is the ideal main-                   debilitation and poor nutritional status.                                                     of age on cardiopulmonary
tenance feed source, older                                                                                                                and musculoskeletal func-
animals with dental issues                                                                                                                tion, but exercise regimens
may need alternate feed to maintain body condition. Complete pelleted feeds         should be tailored to the horse. As well, be aware that older horses may be
meet all dietary requirements for senior horses including higher protein and        prone to overheating during strenuous exercise and may become dehydrated.
fat content along with balanced mineral supplementation. If a horse doesn’t         As the horse’s body changes, it may also be necessary to adjust the animal’s
have a condition like recurrent choke, you can also feed supplemental hay to        regular saddle and tack.
satisfy your horses’ chewing needs and to prevent boredom or bad vices.                     Common causes of reduced athletic capacity in older horses include:
       Make the switch from hay to pellets gradually, and adjust feed amounts       • musculoskeletal problems that are caused by the cumulative “wear and 
for the individual horse. As well, consider cost before deciding to make the        tear” of athletic activities versus acute conditions.
switch: based on maintenance requirements, a horse will need about 15 to 20         • decreased range of joint motion that can lead to further lameness problems 
pounds of complete feed per day.                                                    if a horse tries to perform strenuous exercise.
       One cheaper alternative: feed energy-packed beet pulp and grains             • age-related changes in body conformation such as swayback. 
or sweet feeds to senior horses along with their daily hay ration. But these                Some musculoskeletal conditions in older horses can’t be cured. Instead,
high-carbohydrate diets aren’t recommended if a horse has chronic laminitis         they require long-term management and pain control through the use of
or insulin resistance (a common condition associated with pituitary                 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other systemic medica-
dysfunction).                                                                       tions, supplements (such as glucosamine or hyaluronic acid) or arthrodesis of
       While supplemental feeds with higher fat content are available in feed       low-motion joints. Specialized trimming and shoeing can also be helpful in
stores, you can also add vegetable oils to your animals’ diets. You can feed up     managing musculoskeletal issues.
to two cups of oil to an average-sized horse in two or more daily feedings with
small amounts of beet pulp and grain, but start with smaller volumes and            PREVENTIVE CARE AND VACCINATIONS
gradually increase to oil amounts over two to three weeks.                                  Geriatric horses may be more susceptible to infections based on declin-
                                                                                    ing immune responses with age, concurrent diseases, general debilitation
Q. What are changes in digestive capacity?                                          and poor nutritional status. Researchers have demonstrated that declining
       The energy requirements of older horses may not change, but their            immune responses with age primarily affect the adaptive immune responses,
ability to digest certain nutrients may be reduced. Geriatric horses may prefer     specifically antibody formation, while the innate immune system remains
feeds with higher protein concentrations with less fibre content, and it may        relatively stable throughout life.
also be advisable to increase mineral supplementation so the horse gets                     Here are some recommendations about vaccinating older horses:
enough phosphorus. But be careful about making these kinds of changes if            • routine vaccination against viral diseases like influenza should continue 
horses have been diagnosed with renal or liver disease.                             throughout life.
       Since chronic parasitism can cause decreased feed digestibility in older     • continue vaccinating against life-threatening conditions like encephalomy-
horses, it’s important to maintain a good deworming program. If a horse has         elitis, tetanus and rabies. In contrast, some scientists recommend that owners
trouble maintaining its body condition, use extruded feeds or add Brewer’s          discontinue vaccination against equine herpes virus infection since it may
yeast that has the added benefit of providing supplemental B-vitamins.              provide little benefit and may favour reactivation of latent infections.
                                                                                    • inactivated vaccines are thought to be safer for geriatric horses compared 
Q. What are changes in water intake?                                                with attenuated live vaccines.
       Dental pain or decreased thirst perception may cause older horses to         • optimizing a horse’s overall health status can help to achieve the maximum 
reduce their water intake. That can cause low-grade chronic dehydration that        benefit of vaccination.
leads to reduced exercise tolerance and a predisposition to impaction colic or              Since chronic parasitism is a common problem in geriatric horses,
renal dysfunction. As well, older horses can develop choke if they don’t drink      review your deworming strategies — especially in animals with a perceived
enough water along with alfalfa pellets or other pelleted diets.                    loss of body weight and/or condition, or with pituitary dysfunction. Monitor
       How can you increase your horses’ water intake? One option is to soak        parasite load in an older horse through regular examinations of body weight,
their hay or roughage, but that’s not a long-term solution since it reduces the     body condition and fecal egg counts.
feed’s nutrient content. Adding salt to a horse’s diet may increase thirst, but             Lohmann, Katharina L. “Management and Care of the Geriatric
animals must have free access to water and it’s advisable to test for adequate      Horse.” Large Animal Veterinary Rounds 7(5), 1-6.
renal function before using this option. Another suggestion: feed mashes or                 Published with permission from Large Animal Veterinary Rounds, a
slurries to geriatric horses — a good way to ensure that they ingest some           publication produced by the WCVM’s Department of Large Animal Clini-
fluids.                                                                             cal Sciences. Visit for more
       If horses aren’t drinking as much because of oral pain, it’s important to    information. H
correct the dental problem. Heated water sources will also help to reduce the
pain of cold water on a sensitive mouth. If an older horse has a chronic condi-     PREVIOUS PAGE (left to right): Joni (seven), Val (25), Heathen (20) and Babe
tion like laminitis, it’s also important to make it as easy as possible to give the (11). All are registered Paint mares owned by Jack and Shirley Brodsky of
                                                                                    Saskatoon, Sask.
animal ready access to clean water.

                                                                                                                          Western College of Veterinar y Medicine   13
                                                                        Q. Has Val had any age-related health problems?
                                                                              No, Val has always been quite healthy. When she was about 17, we found that
                                                                        we had to supplement her with progesterone because she was reabsorbing early
                                                                        on in pregnancy. Dr. Sue Ashburner (our veterinarian with the WCVM Veterinary
                                                                        Teaching Hospital’s Field Service) suggested injectable Regumate® and that was
                                                                        her recipe for success. We supplemented her for her last pregnancies.
                                                                              Val did have laminitis during one earlier pregnancy, and it looked like we
                                                                        might have to put her down. But our farrier, Norm Kohle, came out and worked
                                                                        with her. She pulled through: she had a healthy delivery and spent a year with
                                                                        special shoes. Afterwards, we debated whether we should breed Val again, but she
                                                                        was so sound in every way that we went ahead. Now she’s fine — barefoot and
                                                                        back in the pasture.

                                                                        Q. You run your older mares with the younger horses?
                                                                              I run all ages together as soon as all of my mares have foaled out and
                                                                        have a few weeks to get used to their babies. I think old mares are really good at
                                                                        teaching the young mares — our future broodmares. When they run all together,
                                                                        the younger ones learn what a foal is and how to treat them so it’s not such a big
                                                                        surprise when they have their own. The older mares also teach the younger ones
      L A s t i n g                                                     about life lessons, and I just find that they make really good horses down the road
                                                                        if they get an understanding of all those social situations.

      V              A                   L      U             E         Q. Any special tips on feeding Val?
                                                                               With all of my horses, I try to manage them as close to what would be natural
                                                                        as possible. Throughout the winter, they’re on unlimited hay, they run on an
                                                                        80-acre pasture and they have shelter from the wind. They have access to a heated
           One of the first registered Paints that Shirley and Jack     water bowl and salt, and sometimes I’ll give them a little grain — whole oats
     Brodsky ever brought home to their 160-acre farm near              — when I think they need it. I give them a supplement block with trace minerals
     Saskatoon, Sask., was a flashy, black and white mare               every second week or so. That’s about it — it’s nothing very fancy.
     named Double Value — or simply Val.                                       One of the tricks that I’ve learned over the years is that the horses really have
           “She was six years old and in foal when we bought her,”      an appetite in the fall: I think they’re laying down a layer of fat in preparation for
     says Shirley, recalling the day she first saw Val at a farm near   the winter. That’s why I really try to make sure that they have all they can eat in the
     Brooks, Alta. “I picked her because she was a nice horse.          fall. Once the pastures start to burn off, I’ll start hauling in hay — that can be as
     I liked the look of her — and we liked her working horse           early as August, especially for the nursing mares.
     bloodlines. She was the first trailer load home when we
     started breeding Paints.”                                          Q. How did Val and your older mares fare during this past winter?
           What Shirley soon discovered was that her new horse                 The older mares seemed to handle it well — I was more concerned about the
     already had a following. “Apparently, as a young mare,             new foals when we kept getting cold weather in April and May. I build a lot of wind
     Val had earned quite a show record. She had been shown             shelters with round straw bales, and long as they can get out of the wind and have
     successfully in cutting, reining and working cow horse             lots to eat, they seem to be able to cope. I did supplement our horses with grain
     events, and she was well known on the show circuit. I really       toward the end of winter. I like to soak whole oats with beet pulp, hot water and
     didn’t realize how special she was until we got her home.”         some canola oil — it just seems to give them a head start on digestion.
           Special is the perfect adjective to describe Val. Now 25
     years old and retired, Val has produced nine outstanding           Q. How does your feeding regime change in the spring months?
     foals for the Brodskys — including True Value Too (Trudy), the            Since the pasture isn’t very good yet after all of the cold weather, the horses
     dam of their present-day stallion, Far Ute Finale (Finnegan).      still get hay. Actually, I usually give them free choice hay until the pastures are
     “We have four generations here,” says Shirley with quiet           good enough that they leave the hay. That way, we never get that jump between hay
     pride. “There are horses that can never produce as well as         and fresh grass. We’ve had a little bit of colic but not very much considering the
     themselves, but this is a family line of really good producing     number of horses that we’ve had over the years.
     mares that out-produce themselves. Every generation gets
     better than the one before.”                                       Q. What value do you see in keeping Val and her older herdmates?
           Even after the long, hard winter of 2009, Val’s black coat         These horses are very valuable to us. Val and Heathen don’t owe me anything
     gleams in the afternoon sun as she and her herdmates               — they’ve earned their spot on the farm. They also add a real balance to the herd
     — including 20-year-old A Heathen — graze on clumps of             and they really teach the young ones to be good horses. They know where the fence
     rye grass. Horse Health Lines asks Shirley to talk about the       lines are, they know the rules of the road, and they keep everybody on track. H
     health of her quarter-century mare — and her advice on
     taking care of older horses.

14    Horse	Health	Lines	•	Summer	2009
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      How are we doing? Does Horse Health Lines give you
insight into new horse health projects at the Western College of
Veterinary Medicine? Do you find useful horse health manage-
ment tips between our covers? Have you enjoyed reading about
                                                                     October 1-4, 2009 • WCVM
some of our faculty, students and donors in past issues?
                                                                     Ever wondered about what you’ll find inside the doors of the Western
      To help us ensure that Horse Health Lines continues to be
                                                                     College of Veterinary Medicine? Curious about the hectic life of a
a vital resource for our readers, we want to hear from you! Please
                                                                     veterinary student? Intrigued by the world of veterinary medicine?
take about five to 10 minutes to visit, respond
                                                                     Eager to learn more about animal health care? Come to Vetavision
to the Horse Health Lines survey questions and let us know what
                                                                     2009 and you’ll find answers to all of your questions — PLUS all kinds
you think. We look forward to hearing from you!
                                                                     of creatures to visit!
      Complete and submit your survey before August 15,
2009, and we’ll enter your name in a draw for one of several         Dates: Thursday to Sunday, October 1-4, 2009.
horse health care books including the Merck-Merial Manual            Admission: $2 for preschool children, $5 for seniors and students, $10 for
for Pet Health and the University of California Davis Book of        adults and $20 for families. Groups: $3 per student.
Horses — A Complete Medical Reference Guide for Horses and           Location: WCVM, University of Saskatchewan campus, Saskatoon, Sask.
Foals.                                                               What is Vetavision? A	four-day	veterinary	exposition	that’s	organized	for	
                                                                     the public by WCVM veterinary students.
                                                                     Who can come? Children, students and adults of all ages are welcome

    WANT MORE HEALTH                                                 to	visit	the	newly	expanded	and	renovated	veterinary	college.	Bring	the	
                                                                     whole family!
                                                                     What will we see? A wide range of displays,
    NEWS? SIGN UP FOR                                                demonstrations and talks that showcase

     e-Horse Health Lines!                                           animal health care, research, veterinary
                                                                     careers and public health. Of course, you’ll
                                                                     also see plenty of animals — including
       All you need to do is to visit                                horses!
                                                                     Where can I find more details? Visit and join                           for a list of displays,
      our mailing list for our regular                               maps, and a Vetavision brochure.
                                                                     What about student tours? yes! It’s
         e-newsletter. Once you                                      not too late to book a tour. Please
    register, we’ll deliver more vital                               call 306-966-5020 or send a message
      horse health news and useful                                   to to arrange a
                                                                     tour for your group. Admission is $3 per
     links	right	to	your	email	box	—	                                student for group tours.
             FREE OF CHARGE!                                         ABOVE: Vetavision visitors try their hands at the
                                                                     equine reproduction display.
LINK TO MINERAL DEFICIENCY? This                        100 liver samples from female horses submitted to      EQUINE WELFARE AWARDS: In March 2009,
year, WCVM researchers are working with the Uni-        the LDDC for postmortem examinations this year.        the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan and the Sas-
versity of Kentucky to investigate a deadly problem           The samples, which will be included in one       katchewan Horse Federation honoured representatives
in pregnant mares. Led by veterinary pathologist Dr.    of four study groups, will then be analyzed for        of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in three of
Andy Allen, this study focuses on the potential asso-   mineral concentrations. If researchers find an         the four categories for the 2009 Awards of Distinction for
ciation between liver concentrations of copper and      association between the condition and copper and       Equine Welfare:
iron and pregnant mares dying of hemmorhage             iron concentrations, supplementing the diet of at-           • Equine Welfare Innovation — Award 
from ruptured uterine arteries.                         risk mares with copper, iron or both minerals may      of Distinction: Dr. James Carmalt, Department of
       While this issue has been recognized as a        prevent future cases.                                  Large Animal Clinical Sciences (LACS). The award rec-
sporadic cause of death among older pregnant and              The study received more than $12,900 from        ognized Carmalt’s innovative work in dentistry and the
parturient mares for years, little research has been    WCVM’s $770,000 share of Canada’s largest class        development of a technique to aid in hock joint repair.
published about this condition’s development and        action settlement. Stemming from the alleged price-          • Equine Welfare Leadership — Award 
its potential link to copper and iron deficiencies in   fixing of vitamins, the $132-million settlement was    of Distinction: Dr. Nathalie Tokateloff, LACS,
affected mares.                                         distributed among universities, research centres and   and Dr. Kristin Poirier, formerly of LACS. The joint
       What researchers want to determine is whether    consumer groups in 2006.                               award recognized Tokateloff and Poirier’s outstanding
mares dying of this condition have different concen-                                                           guidance in addressing the acute needs of horses affected
trations of copper, iron or both minerals in their      EHRF ON DISPLAY: WCVM representatives                  throughout the 2008 equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1)
livers compared to other mares dying for other          have promoted the EHRF at several events:              outbreak in the Saskatoon area.
reasons.                                                • 2008 Mane Event in Chilliwack, B.C.:                       • Equine Welfare Communication 
       The study is a collaborative effort between      Drs. Fernando Marqués and Ryan Wolker,                 – Award of Distinction: Drs. Katharina 
Allen, WCVM toxicologist Dr. Barry Blakley and five     along with veterinary student Hayley Lang, gave        Lohmann and Hugh Townsend, LACS, and Myrna 
scientists at the University of Kentucky’s Livestock    live horse demonstrations and talked about the         MacDonald, WCVM. The SHF and FACS honoured
Disease Diagnostic Center (LDDC) where Allen spent      Fund’s programs with Mane Event visitors.              Lohmann and Townsend for their outstanding com-
a sabbatical leave in 2007.                             • 2009 Alberta Horse Breeders and Own-                 munications skills during the 2008 EHV-1 outbreak.
       The team’s LDDC members include Dr.              ers Conference: Dr. Steve Manning teamed               MacDonald was part of the College’s communications
Cynthia Gaskill, section chief for the Center’s         up with veterinary students Trevor Hook, Dane          team.
toxicology laboratory, along with four veterinary       Tatarniuk and Danyse Lewis to promote                        A fourth award for the Equine Welfare Steward
pathologists: Drs. Uneeda Bryant, Laura Kennedy,        equine research during the Red Deer event. Dr.         of the Future was presented to 18-year-old Shawna
Lynne Cassone and Alan Loynachan.                       Fernando Marqués was one of the conference’s           Sawatsky of Saskatoon, Sask. Sawatsky was recognized
       Based in Kentucky’s Bluegrass region — the       speakers.                                              for her exemplary attitudes and habits in caring for
heart of America’s Thoroughbred breeding industry       • 2009 Saskatchewan Horse Federation                   horses under her charge. For more information about
— the LDDC’s key location enables the research          meeting: Drs. Katharina Lohmann and                    the annual awards program, visit or
team to collect enough samples for this project         Fernando Marqués gave presentations during   
within a short period of time. Allen and summer         the annual SHF conference in Saskatoon, Sask.
research student Jasmine Dhillon will select up to

V i s i t H o r s e H e a l t h L i n e s o n l i n e a t w w w. e h r f. u s a s k . c a

                                                                                                               Printing	Services	Document	Solutions	•	306-966-6639	•	University	of	Saskatchewan	•	CUPE	1975

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