The Horse

APR 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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Page 8 of 51 | The Horse April 2019 9 Scientists Define How Horses 'Smile' Recent study results confirm horses have specific facial expressions that reveal positive emo- tions akin to happiness. "And while in our scientific jargon, we don't really use the adjective 'happy,' the emotion we're picking up from that 'smile' does strongly resemble a positive welfare state," said Léa Lansade, PhD, of the French Horse and Riding Institute and the National Institute for Agricultural Research's behavior science depart- ment, in Tours. "Improving horse welfare can't be limited to just avoiding negative emotions," she said. "We need to strive toward a maximum of positive emotions." In the current study they groomed horses in two ways: standard (in a traditional manner, regardless of how the horse reacted) and gentle (stopping certain movements if the horse showed signs of discomfort and continuing others when the horse showed signs of enjoyment). They recorded the horses' body language and facial expressions for analysis. Lansade said the team observed a set of expressions that tended to suggest "happiness," including hav- ing "their necks moderately raised, their eyes half-closed, their upper lips extended and either immobile or twitching, and their ears pointing backward almost in line with the nose." Being able to recognize even the slightest signs of an equine "smile" can lead to better welfare and a better horse-human relationship, she said. Likewise, she added, missing subtle signs of discomfort can cause the opposite. "Few people know how to recognize that little tightening up of the corner of the lips (from discomfort), which is relatively subtle if you're not paying attention for it," she said. "But when you know it's there, it's easy to recognize. … Being able to read our horses' facial expressions helps us improve communication considerably." Read more at—Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA ISTOCK.COM WEVA Holds Vet Education Event in Uzbekistan In late 2018 the World Equine Veterinary Associa- tion (WEVA) held an educational intermediate meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Richard Corde, DVM; Eric Richard, DVM, PhD, HDR; Kirill Manuilov, DVM; Anna Shaf- ranovskaya, DVM; and I spoke on WEVA's behalf at the event. I began the first day of the conference with a brief presentation about WEVA activ- ity around the world. Corde followed with a detailed presentation on prepurchase inspections of the horse, a topic which was also the focus of the practical workshop on the third day of the meeting. Richard's presentations—"Respiratory Pathophysiology of the (Athletic) Horse," "How to Sample Respiratory Fluids in the Horse," and "Environment as Risk Factor of Equine Asthma"—garnered interest and questions from attendees. Manuilov presented on equine dentistry, and Shafranovskaya shared her equine physiotherapy experience. In addition, Shafranovskaya translated from English to Russian during the conference. My second talk focused on World Organization for Animal Health and Fédération Equestre Internationale requirements for international horse movement. Read more about the meeting and the organizations that teamed up to make it happen at —Ekaterina Zabegina, DVM, DBSc, PhD WEVA Ambassador to Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Republics of Middle Asia Back Pain in Horses: Then and Now A recent comparison of back pain diagnoses and treatments highlighted the way riders and veterinarians have evolved in their awareness and management of this condition. Andrea Bertuglia, PhD, of the University of Turin Department of Veterinary Science, in Italy, and colleagues compared surveys about back pain sent to European equine veterinarians in 2006 and 2016. Survey results revealed several trends, he said. The response rate suggested greater interest in back pain—47 vets responded to the survey in 2006, while 168 did in 2016. Veterinarians administering cortico- steroid injections increased from 80% in 2006 to 92% in 2016. And whereas only 20% of the respondents prescribed complemen- tary therapies in the first survey, 40% prescribed osteopathy, 29% kinesiotherapy, and 22% acupuncture in 2016. A future study might involve equine veterinarians from North America for the sake of comparison, Bertuglia added. For additional news items, see Laminitis as Common as Colic in British Horses Researchers have confirmed that one in every 10 horses and ponies in the U.K. develops at least one laminitis episode each year, making it just as common as colic in Great Britain. Further, owners reported most laminitic animals displayed nonspecific and mild clinical signs, including difficulty turning and a stilted gait or lameness at the walk. Less than a quarter of affected animals displayed the more classically recognized signs, such as the rocked-back-on-the-heels stance. Finally, of concern, the team said, only half the owner-reported laminitis epi- sodes were confirmed by a veterinarian. So, despite vets considering laminitis a medical emergency, many affected equids aren't receiving initial vet attention. "Horse and pony owners should … be particularly aware of the perhaps more subtle, but as evidence indicates also more common, clinical signs of laminitis which are a better representation of the majority of laminitis episodes," said Danica Pollard, MSc, of the Animal Health Trust and the Royal Veterinary College, both in the U.K. weva Half-closed eyes, an extended upper lip, and a moder- ately raised neck are signs of a positive welfare state, researchers said.

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