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Guelph, ON April, 11, 2018 - Researchers at the University of Guelph are searching for clues to better manage a virus that can cause late gestation abortion in mares.   Horses carrying equine herpesvirus (EHV) may exhibit signs as minor as a runny nose and mild fever, but the virus is a major cause of neurological, respiratory and reproductive disease, including abortions, in the equine industry.   Horses often are infected early in life and EHV can remain in the body for life, reactivating at any time, but it’s not clear what causes this to happen. Something pushes it over the edge to disease manifestation, explains Dr. Brandon Lillie, a pathologist in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   While vaccination is recommended to protect against EHV, the virus continues to occur in vaccinated herds. Affected horses may abort their foals or foals may be born apparently healthy only to die a short time later.   Lillie and Dr. Luis Arroyo, a clinician and researcher in OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies, along with their research team are trying to better understand how the virus exists in the horse population, uncover what triggers the virus to cause disease and assess ways to maximize current EHV vaccination efficacy and minimize the virus’s effect on the horses’ health. In particular, they are focusing on the abortive affect of the virus.   EHV can present in a number of ways, explains Arroyo. Horses may demonstrate neurological signs; they may have difficulty walking, they may have difficulty urinating because the nerves to their bladder are inflamed, or they may exhibit milder symptoms like a runny nose, or no symptoms at all.   A mare may not show clinical signs of the virus at all, but could lose a foal who is loaded with the virus, he adds. Conversely, some mares may be clearly diseased but their pregnancy isn’t compromised.   The cyclical nature of the virus is part of the challenge. Farms may report no abortions for a couple of years and then suddenly they have two or three.   The researchers began with a survey of Ontario horse farms to better understand the current state of the industry, looking at herd sizes, abortion rates and prevalence of EHV-related diseases.   Beginning in December 2016, they began sampling horses on farms across Ontario – from Ottawa to Windsor and Sudbury to the Niagara Region.    The farms include large racing operations with dozens of mares to smaller farms with two, three or six mares. Says Lillie, “We are focusing on the mares because that is the major way that foals get infected. We think that’s an important area to look at and understand.”   Horses on each farm will be sampled six times over 12 months, essentially covering the entire gestational cycle of horses.   Lillie and Arroyo are also examining the best way to sample for the virus, looking at nasal swabs, vaginal swabs and blood samples.   “If a mare is shedding are there different levels in different places, are you better to swab a horse’s nose or to take a blood sample?” asks Lillie.   They will test the samples for presence of the virus or viral DNA levels and also look at serology, the mare’s antibody level or immune response to the virus. Using this information, researchers can then determine how prevalent the virus is, the impact of vaccines on the virus and the mare’s ability to mount an immune response.   On the farms being studied, there is also a fairly even split between those who vaccinate and those who don’t.    “Hopefully we’ll start to see some trends,” adds Lillie. “Ultimately, when abortions occur, we can look back and see if the shedding pattern changed and if one type of sampling was a key indicator.”   Another area they will assess is how the antibody response pattern changes with horses throughout the year. Preliminary evidence suggests not all mares respond the same way to the virus or have the same antibody level patterns over the year.   The host, the pathogen, the farm’s management strategy and the environment all contribute to the occurrence of disease particularly when a virus is there all the time, adds Lillie.   Ultimately, the researchers hope to make some changes in how the disease is diagnosed and managed. “Maybe vaccine protocols need tweaking,” he says. “Maybe the current vaccination schedule isn’t the best as far as timing or maybe another one is needed in there, or perhaps the virus has evolved a bit.”   Funding for the study has come from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and a University of Guelph Catalyst Grant, as well as funding from Equine Guelph and the Zoetis Investment in Innovation Fund.   Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=541    by: Karen Mantel  

Guelph, ON - April, 4, 2018 - The Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool was performed by over 100 students in the winter 2018 offering of Equine Guelph’s Gut Health & Colic course. Feedback indicates participants were keen to learn the simple management changes that could reduce their chances of colic. Many were surprised to learn that approximately 80% of colic episodes may be related to management and therefore can be prevented. Available on the Equine Guelph website, the free Colic Risk Rater tool provides individual feedback to help horse owners identify risk factors and develop preventative strategies to help reduce the risk of colic.    Spring in particular is a time when many new stresses can impact the horse.  Very often this is a time when riders start to ramp up the intensity of exercise and also feed. Making changes to horses feed slowly is a common topic among horse caretakers but did you know it is even more important to change forages slowly than it is concentrates?   'Concentrates' are broken down by enzymes in the foregut for the horse to digest, while forages are broken down by the microbes in the hindgut and it is the microbes that feed the horse. Therefore, it is even more critical to change forages more slowly than concentrates, in the horse’s diet.    In spring, there is the introduction of grass pasture to consider. If we let the horse out on pasture when the grasses are beginning to grow, Mother Nature helps control the intake of this new, very digestible, 'short forage, as it begins to grow very slowly. Problems arise when the manager waits until the fresh grasses are 3 to 4 inches tall before turning the horses out to eat it. Then the horse can consume too much at one time and cause a digestive upset, i.e., colic.    However, not every farm owner has an ideal ratio of one horse per 1.5 -2 acres of grazing in which case special pasture management includes rotating horses to new paddocks before the grass is eaten down below 3 inches. In these cases, introduce horses to fresh grass with gradual increases in grazing time. If stools begin to loosen, you know that grazing time was increased too much.  Back off the time spent grazing and be sure to provide the horses with extra hay when off the pastures. This allows them to chew more, which will produce more saliva thereby controlling pH levels which helps the good microbial population stay healthy and restore the 'good' bugs in the gut.   During the last Gut Health and Colic course, guest speaker and highly experienced equine nutritionist, Don Kapper was on hand dispelling myths and discussing nutrition as it pertains to horse health and performance. One of the topics Kapper discussed was manure; “this is one ‘visual’ for all horse owners to monitor and learn to manage accordingly.”  Too firm (dry) stools would be an indication of dehydration, a condition that can lead to impaction colic if ignored.   Moist stools could indicate a well hydrated horse, but if it becomes too loose and is accompanied with a strong 'acid' aroma, it could indicate something has happened to the microbial population in the colon. One of the jobs of the colon is to absorb water and form the feces, but the microbes found there are very pH sensitive, therefore, a ‘hindgut irritant’ caused from eating too much starch or sugar; lack of adequate fermentable fiber; or extended treatment of antibiotics, could cause 'Acid Gut Syndrome' that could lead to 'Acidosis'. Unfortunately, acidosis is when the pH of the colon becomes <6.0 and this is when 80% of the horses will founder.   The most common cause of ‘Acid Gut Syndrome’, during a change of season, is a change in the forage they are eating. This could be from: 1)transitioning from mature grass hay to immature grass pasture, or visa versa; 2) feeding a different 'type' of hay (remember it takes different microbes in their fermentation vat to breakdown the different ‘types’ of forage). To make a 100% microbial change in their fermentation vat, i.e. hindgut, takes 21 days. Therefore, to maintain a healthy gut, it is more important to change your 'forage' more slowly than your concentrate feed.   Stay tuned to theHorsePortal.ca for the next offering of Gut Health and Colic.   “The Gut Health and Colic Prevention course was packed full of relevant and useful information along with practical applications that I can immediately implement with my horses.” - student Donna Elkow   The Colic Risk Rater and the Gut Health and Colic Prevention short course are kindly sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services Inc. and CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd. Mike King, National equine industry program manager for Intercity/CapriCMW is familiar with both the financial and emotional costs involved and fully supports colic prevention through education. “With decades of insurance underwriting and claims experience in the horse industry across Canada, we can think of no better risk management tool to prevent colic, than education.“   Colic is the number one killer of horses, other than old age. Knowing your horse and picking up on change is one important factor in colic prevention. The Colic Risk Rater health care tool also takes horse owners through management strategies such as: amount of forage fed, quality of feed and amounts fed at once, turn out time, exercise routine, hydration and parasite control.   Visit Equine Guelph’s interactive Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool to learn how you can reduce your horse’s risk of Colic.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Guelph, ON March 29, 2018 - What would you list as a threat to the welfare of horses in Canada? What actions could we take to fix this? Questions like these may not always be the first thing on the mind of most horse lovers, but they are extremely important to the continued success and growth of Canada’s horse industry. Recent research led by Cordelie DuBois and Dr. Katrina Merkies at the University of Guelph has shed light on the answers to these questions and more, giving us a better picture of the perceptions of welfare in the Canadian horse industry.   The research team asked equine professionals to participate in a survey that consisted of several rounds of questions like the ones above. DuBois explains “In the first round of questions, participants were asked to identify issues related to equine welfare in Canada. In the following rounds, participants were asked to rank the issues by importance. The results revealed that ‘ignorance’ was one of the issues that appeared most often in people's top five ranking.” In other words, a major risk to a horse’s well-being is a care-giver who does not know that what they are doing may negatively impact the health and well-being of the horse. Examples of this could be related to management decisions, such as: inappropriate blanketing or stabling 24 hours of the day, or health decisions, such as lack of a parasite control program or failing to provide proper hoof care. DuBois points out that there are two types of “ignorance” that may apply to the survey responses. The first is simply that people do not know any better, and the second is that people believe they know all they need to know and therefore close the door on learning more. Although it’s tempting to believe that we know all there is to know about a certain subject, the reality is that we very often “don't know what we don't know".  We owe it to our 4-hooved partners to acknowledge this fact, and to remedy it by taking an active role in educating ourselves and staying up to date with evidence-based, scientific findings.   Interestingly, evidence of the important role that education can play in equine welfare was also highlighted in the survey results. Participant’s brainstormed ways to address issues related to equine welfare in Canada, and ranked them in order of effectiveness. Increased education for all people who work with horses was among the solutions that appeared most often in people's top five. Increased education and awareness efforts would provide care-givers with knowledge and understanding of current standards of care, while also highlighting potential dangers to a horse’s well-being.   Overall, DuBois states, “This study provides us with baseline data in the previously under-explored area of welfare perceptions in the Canadian equine industry. Additionally, data from surveys like this can help direct industry-wide strategies to improve welfare as well as future research into areas of concern.”    Stay tuned to Equine Guelph to hear more about DuBois’ PhD work, including the design and application of an on-farm welfare assessment tool. She notes, “Improving equine welfare is not just about changing the horse's environment; it involves understanding the role of the human caregiver and what drives them to manage their horses the way that they do.”  DuBois’ work is funded in part by Equine Guelph.   Test your knowledge of the National Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines with Equine Guelph’s Code Decoder.   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Nicole Weidner

Guelph - Now more than ever, we are aware of disease outbreaks with strong lines of communication keeping us up to date. A pivotal part of your sickness prevention plan includes a vaccination program. Only vaccination can prevent death from certain diseases such as rabies, which has seen its fair share of announcements of late in certain parts of Canada. Ontario Veterinary College Dean Wichtel says, “according to new information presented at an Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners (OAEP) meeting, the need for vaccination is greater than ever, with emerging new disease patterns that may be due in part to climate change.”   In times where kids cannot attend school unless they produce up-to-date immunization records, we need to think of horses in the same way. The FEI requires proof of equine influenza vaccinations for horses competing at FEI events. Competing or not, any horse that travels to events, or comes into contact with horses that travel, are exposed to inherent risks of contracting disease.   A great starting point for horse owners and veterinarians to discuss their annual vaccination program is Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner.  Horse owners are asked to complete six questions that help determine individual farm differences and risk factors, including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. This data is then compiled in a program, and a printable customized vaccination schedule is provided for each horse.   Horses tend to receive their first influenza shots of the year in the springtime in anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens. ‘’Equine influenza remains one of the most frequent and contagious respiratory tract disease in horses. As is the case on the human side, the equine influenza virus evolves over time (although at a less rapid pace). Therefore, the use of a vaccine including recent strains of equine influenza which meets AAEP’s and OIE’s recommendations is highly desirable in order to optimize coverage’’, says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health.   “The decision as to whether or not to vaccinate your horse against a particular disease is based on the risk associated with your horse becoming infected with certain disease-causing pathogens, says Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health and Welfare at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Owners of horses that travel for competition need to know the diseases endemic to the areas to which they are travelling to properly protect their horse. Websites such as the Equine Disease Communication Centre (EDCC) (equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks) can help inform owners regarding disease risk in certain areas. Your veterinarian should also be made aware of your travel plans and be consulted regarding which diseases are in your home area so the most effective vaccination program can be designed.”      Beyond vaccinations for diseases such as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile, there are more precautions to help deter the spread of diseases transmitted via insects. Removing breeding grounds can be accomplished by eliminating standing water (e.g. old water feeders, tires around the property) and getting rid of puddles by improving drainage.   Keeping manure storage as far away from the barn as possible but accessible for staff is helpful. Fly zappers and tapes can be beneficial. There are also products that can be fed to horses to interrupt the development of fly larvae in the horse’s manure (feed through fly control). Fly bait can also be useful but should be used with caution if dogs and cats are around. Other options to control flies and mosquitoes include insecticide impregnated blankets/sheets and the traditional fly sprays.   Disease should always be a concern if you are a horse owner and spring serves as a reminder to check your horses’ vaccination records. Equine Guelph’s Vaccination Equi-Planner, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, is a useful tool designed for horse owners to generate personalized immunization schedules for their horses.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=553   FEI rule: https://inside.fei.org/node/3289   Vaccination Equi-Planner: http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/equiplanner.php        Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1 519.824.4120 ext. 54756 jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

Guelph, ON - A high-tech horse model will provide valuable hands-on learning to student veterinarians at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College courtesy of a donation from the Equine Foundation of Canada.   Nancy Kavanagh, secretary of the EFC delivered a cheque for nearly $50,000 to OVC Dean Jeffrey Wichtel and Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, for the purchase of the detailed and life-sized horse model produced by Canada’s Veterinary Simulator Industries.   The model opens to reveal anatomically correct latex organs that can be inflated to mimic colic, the leading cause of premature death in horses, and also certain reproductive challenges.   The detailed model will allow student veterinarians to practice clinical and technical skills, vital to improving confidence and competence. When Foundation President R.J. (Bob) Watson contacted Dean Wichtel for his wish list, the VSI model was at the top.   “The Foundation has been rotating funding proposals annually among the five veterinary colleges in Canada and 2018 is Guelph’s turn,” wrote Watson.   “Great progress has been made in learning technology for veterinary clinical skills development, and this equine model is an excellent example. Our college has committed to the use of high fidelity models and simulations in early clinical training whenever possible. When our students perform their first procedures on a live animal, they will be even better prepared and more confident,” said Wichtel. “We are very grateful to the Equine Foundation of Canada for fostering the health and wellbeing of horses through supporting veterinary medical education in this valuable way.”   The EFC is an outgrowth of the Canadian Morgan Horse Association (CMHA), founded in 1960. The purpose of the CMHA was to assist Morgan breeders and owners with promotion and registry services to protect the integrity of their pedigrees.   In 1983, the Association expanded its interest to concern for the welfare of all horse breeds and created the Foundation to assist in safeguarding their future. N.S. businessman George Wade served as its founder and president from its inception until his passing in 1997. The EFC provides for scholarships and other worthy requests. With a factory in Calgary, VSI was once a recipient of startup funding from the EFC. But the primary focus now is on the purchase of teaching equipment for equine veterinary education.     Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   by: Karen Mantel  

For the past 15 years, Equine Guelph has been a global leader, serving the horse industry with award-winning online educational outreach programs and supporting over 100 equine research projects.   We hope you enjoy our 15th Anniversary Edition of the Equine Guelph Health Studies Newsletter.  Stories include: Internationally Acclaimed Contributions to Embryo Transfer and Reproduction Technologies TVEC Goes Global - treating Atrial Fibrillation Health Studies with an Impact - Reducing Catastrophic Racing Injuries Global Lung Epithelial Response to Inhaled Dust Teaming up to Go with the Gut – looking at links between the gut microbiome and health Research Targets Equine Virus The Link is here.   Equine Guelph is the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph, supported and overseen by equine industry groups, and dedicated to improving the health and well-being of horses.  If you would like more information about our research or extensive programs for horse owners and care-givers, please do not hesitate to contact us.   Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications & Administration Equine Guelph 50 McGilvray Street Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 E-mail: jbellamy@uoguelph.ca Phone: 519-824-4120, ext. 54756

Guelph, ON, March 6, 2018 - As part of Canadian Ag Week from March 11-17, 2018, Equine Guelph reminds horse caregivers to Stop, Think and Act when around horses.   The first person who said only fools rush in must have been a horse person! How many times have we gained experience and knowledge after finding ourselves in the dirt or even worse in the hospital?   In 2016, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services in collaboration with Imperial Oil and Esso, created an outreach message with the potential to prevent injuries that may not occur if we Stop, Think, and Act. Equine Guelph, certainly saw the applications for the horse industry and also came on board. Proper safety gear, planning ahead and staying alert are all key to ensuring riding a horse is a fun activity. There are plenty of occasions to Stop, Think and Act every time you engage in activities involving horses.   In 2017, Equine Guelph’s travelling youth exhibit, EquiMania!, launched a new Stop, Think and Act Hopscotch game to encourage kids to learn a new way of thinking and making good choices when it comes to safety around the farm. The interactive game will be featured next at the Can-Am Equine Expo in Markham, ON, April 6 – 8, where youth can join in the fun and learn about safety.   For kids looking for activities over the March break, they can visit EquiMania! Online on www.TheHorsePortal.ca. Completion of the Stop, Think and Act online activities is rewarded with printable certificates and the know-how to reduce the risk of an accident when working around horses. As well, kids can test their general horse knowledge by taking the EquiMania! Challenge!   When it comes to horses, learning the hard way can be dangerous. Cutting corners around an animal that weighs in at over 1,000 pounds is simply unadvisable. For example – ducking under a horse’s neck when they are cross tied rather than walking around them or leading them around the stable by a halter when you know you should take a moment to find a lead rope. Being alert to horse behavior is another important aspect to avoiding risky situations. Horses communicate with their body language and one needs to pay attention to often subtle cues.   Equine Guelph is hosting two upcoming online short courses on Horse Behaviour and Safety, one for adults and one just for youth between 14 – 17 years of age. Both courses run from March 26 – April 13 on TheHorsePortal.ca and aim to raise awareness of how we can all work safer around horses through understanding how horses think and perceive the world around them.   Stop, Think and Act is a great practice for horse people. We can make equine activities safer for all involved when we:   - Stop long enough to think about what could go wrong in what you're about to do - Think about how you're going to do it. Is it the safest way? If not, how can you do it better? - Act in the safest way possible   Even though Farm Safety Week is only one week in the year, it is important to Stop, Think and Act every day and especially on the horse farm.     Jackie Bellamy-Zions     Notes to Editor: Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=550   National Farm Safety Week March 11-17, 2018 http://www.wsps.ca/Information-Resources/Articles/Achieve-safety-results-with-this-simple-approach   Can-Am Expo April 6 – 8: http://canamequine.com/   EquiMania! Online: https://thehorseportal.ca/equimania/   Horse Behaviour and Safety Courses: https://thehorseportal.ca/courses/    

“I am thrilled to be picked as the recipient of the inaugural Roger L’Heureux Award,” says harness racing Standardbred groom, Cameron Lago. “I am looking forward to another two courses, as my experience taking Equine Guelph courses has been amazing.” Lago was first introduced to Equine Guelph online courses when he won the Stuart Stocks Memorial Tuition Award in 2016 – an award that is currently accepting applicants to find the 2017 recipient. “Having the opportunity to take Equine Genetics and Equine Exercise Physiology in the first quarter of 2017 was an educational experience second to none,” says Lago. “The two courses I completed gave me lots of opportunity within the racing industry; such as, allowing me to teach others knowledge that I gained, in addition to allowing myself to implement innovative practices on my families breeding farm. Furthermore with these next two courses, I am certain there will be an increased amount of opportunities arise within the industry by talking to colleagues regarding animal welfare and methods of care to ensure the racing industries athletes are always cared for to the highest degree.” In 2016 Lago was part of the Wannadrive team, a Hands on Horses Program, offering a unique horse racing experience to fans that would otherwise not have the opportunity to interact with horses. Described as a calm and professional role model by his supervisors, Lago’s talent for working with horses and educating newcomers to the world of horses was apparent. Lago certainly fulfills the criteria for both of these award received, demonstrating a love of horses, commitment to horse welfare and the Standardbred racing sector, and a desire not only to learn more but also to share that knowledge. Equine Guelph thanks the L’Heureux family, David L’Heureux and Crystal Fountains Inc., for establishing this memorial award in loving memory of Standardbred driver, trainer and groom Roger L’Heureux. Roger was the son of Ephraim L'Heureux, a Standardbred driver, who won the first Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine in 1950. Equine Guelph would like to remind grooms there is still time to apply for the Stewart Stocks Memorial Award. The next offering of Equine Guelph 12-week online courses begins January 15th. Will you join Cameron in his commitment to equine welfare and see what doors it will open for you in the racing industry? Details at Tuition Awards Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit EquineGuelph.ca.

Guelph - ON The unfortunate disasters in Alberta, California, and Florida clearly show that many people were willing to go to great lengths to rescue their animals -- many risking serious personal injury or worse. When any disaster strikes, an "incident involving animals" can quickly become an "incident involving people who are trying to save the animals". The public has strong expectations when it comes to animal welfare and proper training for emergency rescue of large animals is a crucial element. First responders in Ontario now have an increased level of knowledge thanks to over 30 keen, hardy participants and an experienced team of trainers.   Presented by Equine Guelph and the Meaford Fire Department, Nov 17 - 19, their large animal rescue course covered many topics including animal behavior in stressful situations and how to keep handlers and first responders safe. Attention was also paid to keeping the people who own and care deeply about their animals out of harm's way. Major topics covered included best practices for large animal technical rescue, fire prevention plus personal safety and related animal behavior and care issues.   "We feel strongly that this training is of benefit for all fire departments to help their communities, and we are very proud of the strong relationship that Equine Guelph has developed with Chief Granahan and the Meaford Fire Department and Training Centre so that this training can be offered and developed, says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "The facility at Meaford is excellent and we had a wonderful team of instructors and support crew."   Classic Towing made $1.25 million worth of equipment available for the course plus very experienced tow operators including the well-known Bubba Semple from the TV show Heavy Rescue 401. McKinnon Transport brought a livestock hauler. Allan McKinnon and Bubba Semple both took part in class presentations explaining the capabilities of their equipment and safety aspects of hauling animals.   "All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders," says course facilitator, Dr. Susan Raymond in her presentation on best practices. "Through proper training and the use of specialized rescue equipment we significantly mitigate these risks and improve the odds of a favorable outcome for both animals and responders. By keeping responders safe, we improve our capacity to keep animals safe."   Knowledge, practice and application was the goal attained over the 3-day course. After learning about the incident command system and the equipment they would be using, participants worked through "real-life" scenarios including a mud rescue and several different ways to perform drags, lifts and assists. The anatomy lessons made it clear that tails, legs and necks are not handles and thinking otherwise can produce dreadful or fatal results. Safe attachment methods for straps and support were explained by lead instructor Victor MacPherson,Adjala-Tosorontio District Fire Chief and the assistant instructors.   "The instructors were knowledgeable in their fields and it truly was one of the best courses I've ever attended," said Kris McCarthy, Toronto Mounted Police.   Participants came from Fire Departments in Chatsworth, Ramara, Burlington, Fort Erie, Rideau Lakes, Meaford, Searchmont as well as Mounted Police from Hamilton and Toronto and Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit. Students also included a veterinarian, veterinary technician and horse owners. The hands-on large animal rescue course certainly delivered realistic conditions that first responders might encounter including rain, snow and wind but the damp muddy conditions did not dampen anyone's enthusiasm to participate in the situations as teams worked together planning and executing safe rescue techniques.   "Equine Guelph has been hosting Large Animal Rescue workshops for four years and this is our second successful course held in Meaford," says Ecker. "We are pleased with the positive feedback and inquiries for more training coming from communities committed to proactive training to support the health and welfare of horses and livestock in Ontario."   Equine Guelph extends its thanks to Scott Granahan, Chief of Meaford Fire Department and the team of knowledgeable instructors for the incredible 3-days of training: Victor MacPherson, Susan Raymond, Beverley Sheremeto, Robert Nagle, Wendy McIsaac-Swackhamer, Katherine Hoffman and Chris Watson.   Stay tuned to EquineGuelph.ca for the next course offering announcement.   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

EquiMania! is sure to be hopping with fun new activities for Royal Agricultural Winter Fair visitors this November 3 - 12!  Equimaniacs can expect to don the ever-popular horse hats while learning all about horses in an interactive way.  New this year, is a hopscotch game encouraging kids to Stop, Think and Act, making good choices when it comes to safety around the farm.   While engrossed in the well-travelled, award-winning display, kids and parents will learn more about horses and safety inside the stable and out, around equipment and when handling them.   Equine Guelph, in partnership with Ontario Equestrian, will be promoting "Ticket to Ride" for a fourth time at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The "Ticket to Ride" program is proving hugely popular offering youth an opportunity for a FREE introductory riding lesson (or introduction to horses) at participating OE member riding facilities.  Visit EquiMania! for more details.   "Equine Guelph is proud to be presenting EquiMania! for its eleventh consecutive year at the Royal," says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph.  "We are always educating kids and adults about equines in a fun way, and thanks to the generosity of our loyal partners and volunteers, we are able to keep bringing important safety messages with engaging new activities!"   Equine Guelph would like to thank the Royal Winter Fair for bringing EquiMania to their Education Centre and our sponsors for their continued support:  Esso, Greenhawk, Kubota Canada, Ontario Equestrian, Shur-Gain, Standardbred Canada, SSG Gloves, System Fencing and Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.  Equine Guelph is looking forward to another busy year of touring with EquiMania! in 2018!     To book EquiMania!  for your event in 2018, contact eq4kids@uoguelph.ca  

Guelph, Ontario - Equine Guelph announces the free offering of the new 'Gut Health & Colic Prevention' online course to the first 50 grooms and trainers to register from each racing sector in Ontario: Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. The three-week online course will run this winter from January 22 - February 11, 2018 on Equine Guelph's new online training platform, The Horse Portal.  According to the 2016 Equine Guelph Horse Racing Industry Survey, gut issues were ranked as the number three health issue behind respiratory issues and injuries. Not only is colic the number one killer of horses, but it is a major issue facing the horse racing industry. Excessive amounts of grain in the diet and forage variation are thought to contribute to an increased risk of colic and other gut issues. Changes in stabling, exercise level and stress may also cause an increased risk of colic.  "Educating the horse racing community on how to reduce the risk of colic and gut issues will be extremely valuable to grooms and trainers," says Hugh Mitchell, Chair of Ontario Racing. He adds, "This training will also benefit the health and well-being of the elite equine athletes as well." The three-week online short course will be flexible and practical with content appropriate for the racing industry. The course will be delivered from respected experts from the horse racing community. For the first time, trainers and grooms from the three sectors will come together in discussion groups to share expertise and experience with each other.  "Offering the 'Gut Health & Colic Prevention' course at no charge will be an appealing way to engage the racing community to try out flexible, online learning on The Horse Portal," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. To register, go to www.TheHorsePortal.ca/OntarioRacing and apply the appropriate coupon code for the free course valued at $95. Registration for the 150 free courses will be administered on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 50 trainers and grooms from each sector. This program is an online training partnership between Ontario Racing and Equine Guelph, with funding provided by Grand River Agricultural Society. Project partners include: Central Ontario Standardbred Association, The Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. and Standardbred Canada. The online course is sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services Inc. and Capri Insurance Services Ltd. For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca/Ontario Racing   Story by:  Henrietta Coole      

Don’t let an emergency situation catch you off guard. Having basic training and the right tools at hand can allow you to handle an emergency with the clarity and logic required. Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death for both the large animal in peril and the human intent on saving it. Equine Guelph is pleased to offer a two and a half day Animal Rescue Operational Level Courseheld at the Meaford Fire Department Training Centre in Meaford, ON, November 17 -19, 2017. This Large Animal Rescue course will appeal to a wide audience as it will be offered to hands-on participants for $295 + hst and auditors at $175 + hst. Topics covered will be useful for first responders, pre-service, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, vet. technicians, emergency animal response teams, horse owners, livestock producers and associations. All registrants must be 18 years of age. The course will be subject to registration numbers and the hands-on participants will be limited to 30 students. Topics include: fire and emergency preparedness, trailer safety, containment methods of large animals, introduction to mud and trench rescue, working within the incident command system, medical concerns during emerging situation, and livestock behaviour in stressful situations. What past students are saying: “A successful emergency rescue is about 90 percent preparation and 10% action,” says Ontario SPCA officer Bonnie Bishop. “Pre-incident planning is crucial for any farm owner,” says Deborah Chute, owner and operator of Laurenwood Stables and a volunteer firefighter with the Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department, “Farms by their very nature contain many hazards to humans, animals and the environment, and careful planning before the event of an emergency can save lives and property.   Coverage of a past training course: http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/fire-crews-train-to-rescue-large-animals-during-emergencies-1.3391825 Lead instructor Victor MacPherson looks forward to the training opportunities that will be afforded by running the course in late November, “we will be training in realistic conditions with real life scenarios − both daytime and nighttime operations.” MacPherson has been involved with Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue since 2013 and has completed several training courses in both awareness and operational levels. He has assisted in training and facilitating courses with both Equine Guelph and Dr. Rebecca Gimenez (TLAER Inc.). Victor has been involved in operational rescues. MacPherson has been with the Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department for the past 24 years and District Fire Chief for past 19. This municipality covers 400 kilometers; and runs approximately 250 calls a year, from Community Service to house fires, and car accidents. Victor is also an employee with City of Vaughan Fire as a Master Emergency Vehicle Technician for past 17 years. Victor is Ex-military as a retired Master Corporal, attached to armoured units and acquired his military mechanics license for armoured vehicles. He has serviced with NATO in Europe. If you have questions related to the course please contact Dr. Susan Raymond slraymon@uoguelph.ca or 519-824-4120 ext 54230. To register for this course or get the Course flyer. This course qualifies for continuing education credits Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit TheHorsePortal.ca.  

Guelph, Ontario – With winter around the corner, now is the time for a dental check-up and nutritional status assessment, especially for older horses. Compared to spring and summer, horses burn significantly more calories through fall and winter simply to stay warm. As a result, they need to eat more – placing increased strain on the teeth and jaw. As well, with the dietary shift from pasture to hay, your horse will have to chew with more force to meet its nutritional requirements. Perhaps it’s time for a routine dental float? Or, maybe it’s the season to think about changing from hay to soaked hay cubes to maximize your aging horse’s feed efficiency during the upcoming winter season. Learn more about dental care for your senior horse on Equine Guelph’s online healthcare tool – the Senior Horse Challenge. Check out The Tale of the Teeth Video and read a new Senior Horse Dental Care fact sheet provided courtesy of Alex Bianco, MS, DVM, University of Minnesota Extension. This resource includes frequently asked questions about sedation, aftercare and recommended diets for horses with many missing teeth. Aside from the natural expiration of teeth, geriatric horses are also prone to dental disease that can result in teeth falling out or being extracted by a veterinarian. Because each set of premolars and molars erupts at a different age, they also expire at different ages. These can lead to gaps between teeth and teeth of varying heights (“wave mouth”) which causes abnormal chewing patterns and uneven wear on the teeth. These variations in dentition, combined with the rough nature of forage and the natural bacterial population of the mouth, can lead to secondary infections of the teeth below the gum line, at the tooth root. Bacterial tooth root infections typically result in loose, and/or fractured teeth. If the tooth is an upper molar, the infection may also spread in to the maxillary sinus and cause a secondary bacterial sinusitis. While dental infections rarely lead to systemic disease, dental abnormalities or tooth root infections often result in ineffective or painful chewing which results in decreased feed intake, weight loss, and increased risk of esophageal obstruction (“choke”). Remember that senior horses often need more frequent dental exams than the routine once a year check-up. Signs of dental issues include:  - dropping feed - bad breath - nasal discharge - weight loss While you’re visiting the Senior Horse Challenge to learn more about dental care for your aging horse, take five minutes to answer 20 questions to test your healthcare IQ for general geriatric care. This online tool will provide you information ranging from metabolic disorders to locomotion related concerns − pain recognition to general management including dental care. Equine Guelph thanks Boehringer Ingelheim for sponsoring the Senior Horse Challenge online healthcare tool. Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit TheHorsePortal.ca. by Henrietta Coole   Equine Guelph  

Guelph - ON   Dr. Janet Beeler Marfisi has always had an interest in equine health, as her father owned Standardbred racehorses giving her plenty of exposure to horses from a young age. Her particular interest in equine lung health was piqued while working for mobile equine vet, Dr. John Hennessey, in the summers prior admission to the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College as a DVM student.   After graduation in 2007, she won a scholarship as an American College of Veterinary Pathologists - Society of Toxicologic Pathology Coalition Fellow which allowed her to pursue a DVSc at OVC. Mentored by Dorothee Bienzle, Pathobiology, and Laurent Viel, Clinical Studies, her thesis work focussed on the development of heaves, or severe asthma, in horses.   Beeler-Marfisi, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in Clinical Pathology, joined OVC's Pathobiology department in early 2017, and teaches DVM and graduate courses. Her current research is focused on finding better ways of diagnosing lung disease in cats, dogs, and horses using cell markers and flow cytometry. An additional area of focus is studying asthma in young horses to see if, similar to people in Ontario, there is a cause and effect relationship between air pollution and asthma in horses. Ultimately the research may help trainers and horse owners to modify how and when they train the horses.   She brings extensive experience in diagnostics and teaching to her role at OVC. Beeler-Marfisi was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology and Clinical Pathologist at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, and more recently worked as a Diagnostic Clinical Pathologist in New Zealand.   Being a teacher is helping to guide students, says Beeler-Marfisi, not only teaching them what the laboratory data they will be encountering on a daily basis means, but also "what to do when you don't know the answer."   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.    

Guelph, Ontario - On October 2-22, 2017, Equine Guelph will bring together horse enthusiasts from across Canada and beyond with its new Horse Safety & Behaviour course.     The three-week online short course has already caused a stir in the equine industry with adults who have benefitted from this invaluable information for anyone involved with horses.   When hearing this offering was also going out to youth between age 14 and 17, safety crusader Jacqueline Brooks was quick to lend her support promoting education on rider safety.     Canadian Jacqueline Brooks was one of the first Grand Prix dressage riders to routinely wear a helmet in international competition.     Learn more about staying safe around horses in Equine Guelph's Behaviour and Safety 3 week online course. Offerings for Adults and Youth (14 - 17).   Course Topics:    The Horse in the Wild - A Herd and Flight Animal  The Modern Day Horse  How Horses See and Hear  Herd Behaviour - How Horses Interact with Each Other  Horse Handling/Approaching a Horse  Rider/Helmet Safety  Trailer Loading Safety Basics  Safety around the Barn and Paddocks  Fire Safety  Returning from an Injury   The course will be delivered on The Horse Portal - Equine Guelph's new e-training platform designed to provide a practical, common sense community approach to learning for horse enthusiasts of all ages.   "We are proud that our first online course for youth will deliver safety training to this grassroots segment of our industry," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "The Horse Portal will bring together our young people in a safe, online community where they will learn how to 'speak horse' - and, ultimately, stay safe around horses and on the farm!"   Made possible by a grant from the Grand River Agricultural Society, Equine Guelph has developed the course for youth aged 14-17 and will also offer an adult version scheduled to run at the same time, Oct 2 - 22, 2017.   Equine Guelph has partnered with all English-speaking equestrian federations across Canada and a special 10% course discount is available for both adult and junior members. In addition, 50 free courses are on offer to 4-H Horse Club Members and 50 for Ontario Equestrian Federation Junior Members on a first-come-first served basis.   For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca  

The registrations are starting to roll in since Equine Guelph announced its popular Horse Behaviour and Safety online course is now available for youth (14 – 17)! This October, the young and keen will have their own special community to learn the language of horses. The adult offering, also available this October, has brought together horse enthusiasts from across Canada and all over the globe in past offerings. “Through learning how horses perceive the world around them, their human handlers can develop safe best practices for working with them,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. A hefty percentage of horse related injuries are due to human error and could be prevented if the handler had basic education in safety. TheHorsePortal.ca community has plenty to say so far about the Horse Behaviour and Safety course: Internationally recognized, past and future guest speaker for the adult offering, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez is no stranger to importance of preparedness and awareness around horses. Bringing her wealth of experience from Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc (TLAER), she has plenty of illuminating stories to share. Gimenez says, “The best part of teaching in these online courses is imagining their faces - you can practically SEE their AH-HA! moments over their participation - they really start getting it when they read all the threads and comment on each other's experiences.   I actually had a student contact me personally about meeting me when I came up to Guelph for the course - he had experienced so many of these situations in his working life at a racetrack and eventing barn then western gymkana / barrel racing situations. It was neat to put a name to a face and discuss these in person!” Omar from Orangeville, ON attests to the quality of instruction and is a firm believer in the continuing learning required in the horse industry. “The Horse Behaviour and Safety online course was a great introduction to equine education. Being able to connect with likeminded equine enthusiasts only made me enjoy my passion more. The instructors were excellent and laid out a lot of very important and enlightening material that could easily be managed while tending to outside work within the few weeks of the course period. They were always on top of any questions the class had and encouraged discussions. The expert guest speaker was wonderfully selected.   Taking part in discussions from day one, she made it her goal to be a part of the class and not just as a guest speaker for the few days she was scheduled for. I've been in and around the equine industry in some way for the past 25 years, and I'm still having myths dispelled and fresh points of view brought to light by a course like this. Clearly, I haven't stopped learning! I definitely made the right choice in taking part in the short course!” Julie from Australia looks forward to more from TheHorsePortal. “I really enjoyed the short course; the course material was insightful and easy to read. The quizzes were a great way to go over learned information and the guest speaker was quite helpful. All in all I am really happy with the course and will be looking at taking more.” Sharron from Ashton, ON, already an Equine Guelph lifetime learning student, found great value in this short course. “I am a graduate of the Equine Science Certificate and also a graduate of the Equine Science Diploma. I gained knowledge from this course which was new and useful...you can never know too much nor do you ever know everything!” Sorrel from Armstrong, BC vouches for the broad audience for this and all Equine Guelph courses. “The courses offered by Equine Guelph are invaluable to anyone who is involved with horses, from beginners to experts. I'd recommend them to anyone.” Thanks to a grant from the Grand River Agricultural Society, the adult and youth offerings of Horse Behaviour and Safety will run October 2–22, 2017 Equine Guelph has partnered with all English-speaking equestrian federations across Canada and a special 10% course discount is available for both adult and junior members. In addition, 50 free courses are on offer to 4-H Ontario Horse Club Members and 50 for Ontario Equestrian Federation Junior Members on a first-come-first served basis. Join the Herd, go to TheHorsePortal.ca. Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit EquineGuelph.ca. By Jackie Bellamy-Zions

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