Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is dedicating $1,239,083 to fund 11 new veterinary research projects, two career development awards and seven continuing studies.
Since 1983, the organization has put more than $26 million towards 358 projects at 43 universities, according to Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s e-newsletter.
“Our ability to report such a positive pattern results from the continuing generosity of individuals, associations and businesses that realize that improvements to horse health and soundness depend on expert equine veterinary research,” says Edward Bowen, president of the organization.
Full veterinarian notes on all of this year’s projects can be found at the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s website.
Six projects are of particular interest to footcare professionals, with objectives including treatment of insulin dysregulation and arthritis, as well as better prevention of racetrack injuries.
International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame member Dr. James Belknap will continue his research at Ohio State University on whether continuous digital hypothermia (CDH) improves or halts the damage caused by endocrinopathic laminitis — the most common form of the disease.
CDH previously has shown to be effective in treating sepsis-associated laminitis. Preliminary evidence suggests that hypothermia can slow the metabolism of lamellar tissue, which can protect against damage caused by reduced blood flow or excessive metabolic activation.
Fellow Ohio State University researcher Dr. Teresa Burns begins a 2-year project testing the efficacy of aspirin and metformin in treating equine insulin dysregulation. While many medications are available for humans to assist in glucose and insulin regulation, the same has not been achieved for horses. Current treatment for equine insulin problems typically includes minimized starch intake and aerobic exercise — the latter often impossible or painful for effected horses.
Burns will conduct a trial with horses on regimens of either aspirin or metformin for 6 days along with a group of horses taking both drugs. Following the regimen, horses will be tested for glucose, insulin and metformin levels to evaluate whether they are suitable treatment options for horses facing insulin dysregulation.
Dr. Linda Dahlgren will continue her research in equine joint therapy at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. She explores bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMNC) as a treatment option to relieve joint pain and inflammation in arthritic horses. In order to obtain BMNC, bone marrow is extracted from the girth area of the horse during a routine laboratory procedure.
Immature BMNC have been used in tissue regeneration, including in the nervous system, pancreas and joints. Study findings will be used in clinical trials testing BMNC as a treatment strategy horses, with potential to expand and be used in dogs, cats and humans.
At North Carolina State University, Dr. Lauren Schnabel will lead a second year of research on how platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can combat bacterial infections in the joint. Joint infections as a result of injections or surgery are often resistant to antibiotics and cause inflammation.
The PRP’s function, in addition to blood clotting, is helping the immune system recognize and fight infections. While PRP is used to treat athletic injuries, this research examines how it can be used to treat infectious arthritis.
This study also earned Dr. Jessica Gilbertie the 2018 Elaine and Bertram Klein Development Award, which will provide her a $15,000 salary supplement for one year as she continues her research with Schnabel and pursues her PhD. The award, funded by the Klein Family Foundation, is designed to support the development of promising researchers.
Dr. Chris Kawcak at Colorado State University (CSU) will begin development of a 3-dimensional imaging technique that can be used in the field to understand and prevent racehorse injuries. The Limited View 3D technology will be designed for the equine distal limb and take limited radiographs to screen and identify equines at risk for catastrophic injury.
Following the Limited View 3D technology’s development, the prototype will be validated and clinically optimized, then brought to the equine market through collaboration with industry partners. Clinicians at CSU would support continuing education with the device.
At the University of Glasgow, Dr. Tim Parkin continues his research on how the Equine Injury Database (EID) can be used to identify horses at an increased risk of fatal injury while racing.
Since it was established in 2008, the EID has allowed for estimates of the frequency of fatal equine injury at racetracks throughout North America, resulting in statistics for different types of horses and racing conditions. For 3 years, Parkin has worked to identify risk factors for fatal injury. His current study aims for specificity: finding how predictable fatal injury might be for horses participating in various types of races, as well as which factors can be attributed to certain causes of fatal injury.