Welcome once again to the Equine Science News blog – I hope you’ve all had a good week with your four legged friends and are now ready to hear about the latest science news from the equestrian world.
A fortnight ago you may remember that I mentioned the concerns some vets have equine roundworms developing resistance to worming drugs.
Well earlier this week it was announced
that £1.2million worth of research was being funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and one of the 6 projects that will be looked at is how much worms are resistant to drugs.
Image copyright of TheBluZebra (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License)
The HBLB have long helped fund equestrian research and since 1945 have funded £45million-worth of equine veterinary studies and education from the horserace betting levy income. Although their main aim is to improve the health of racehorses, many of the findings of the research will have direct implications for every day horses too.
Five institutions will benefit from the funding and, in addition to the resistant worm study, the research projects will look at equine tendon injuries, risk factors of jump racing, the geographical variational transmission of African Horse Sickness and various respiratory diseases.
A breeding story now – many of you have probably heard of the legendary Suffolk Punch breed.
The gentle giants who are slowly fading away and are now listed as “critical” by the Rare Breed Survival Trust. There are now thought to be less than 300 breeding Suffolk Punches and fears are abound that they may one day disappear entirely.
So now genetic researchers are trying to help this native UK breed. At present there are worries that inbreeding may reduce genetic diversity and the foals bred could suffer from health problems. But researchers at the Animal Health Trust are working with the Suffolk Horse Society to “preserve them for future generations”, according to the EquineScienceUpdate blog
The scientists are analysing how genetically diverse the current Suffolk Punch horses are and then creating computer models to “predict the outcome of various breeding strategies. They hope that their work will help influence breeders in the future and minimise the number of problems that will occur with breeding from such a small population of horses. Hopefully, all of this work will help maintain the long-term future of this famous draught horse breed.
Image copyright of Amanda Slater (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License.)
The final story for this blog is again a follow-up post to something I’ve previously discussed – you may remember a piece I did on wild poppies contaminating horse feeds?
Well, now the British Equestrian Trade Association have introduced a voluntary “feed code” in Britain which horsefeed manufactures can commit to in response to an increase in the number of racehorses testing positive for traces of morphine which are likely to be due to naturally occurring substances in the feed.
Naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) include morphine and caffeine and these NOPS contaiminations can come from human food ingredients, weeds, commercial waste and residues.
By both FEI rules for competition and racing rules, there is a “no-threshold policy” for almost all naturally occurring substances and the consequences of a positive dope test can be disqualification and loss of prize money.
Feed manufacturers who have now signed up to the code will ensure their packaging has labels reassuring owners and trainers of the quality assurance steps they take during the entire manufacturing and transporting process of their feeds. They will regularly train their staff and audit the suppliers of their raw materials. A list of the manufacturers who have signed up to this voluntary code can be seen on Horsetalk.co.nz
where this article was reported yesterday.
Now it’s time for this week’s trivia question, which takes a slightly different style this week and is a true or false question.
True or False: Horses cannot breathe through their mouths?
Visit my profile page
to see if you got the right answer!