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Monday, March 05, 2018

Virginia Farrier Travis Burns Elected American Farrier's Association President

American Farrier's Association Past President Donnie Perkinson passes the symbolic presidential gavel to incoming president Travis Burns at last week's AFA Convention in Reno, Nevada.

Veterinary college farrier Travis Burns, CJF, TE, EE, FWCF of Virginia has been elected president of the American Farrier’s Association. The results of the 2018 election were announced on Friday during the AFA's 47th annual convention in Reno, Nevada.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

First All-Women Farrier Class Training at Cornell Vet School

Kerry Spain, right, and Kahlan Schramm shape horseshoes as part of the Cornell Farrier Program. (Photo by Lindsay France, University Photography)

In early January this year, three women walked through the farrier shop doors at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. They weren’t vet students checking on a lameness case or horse owners picking up a freshly shod horse. These women started up the forges and went to work at their anvils--without a male in sight.

Cornell announced this week that the farrier program’s 2018 class is the first to be comprised entirely of women. Paige Maxxam, Kahlan Schramm and Kerry Spain will complete the four-month program in April.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Racing Research: Can ultrasound predict whether an injured Thoroughbred will return to racing?

Arrogate during training at 2017 Dubai World Cup

"Will he race again, Doc?" That's the question you hear trainers ask their veterinarians when a racehorse is sidelined with a tendon injury.

Veterinarians don't carry crystal balls in their trucks. Advances in equine imaging have made it possible to be much more accurate in diagnosing the severity of an injury, but it's often a matter of wait-and-see.

But now, a new tendon injury scoring system utilizes diagnostic ultrasound technology to predict a racehorse’s likelihood to return to racing. It was developed by veterinarians at Great Britain's University of Nottingham and Oakham Veterinary Hospital in Leicestershire, England in conjunction with the Hong Kong Jockey Club in China.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Black History Month: Was Huntsman/Slave William Lee the Black Smith in George Washington's Forge?

"American Cincinnatus" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris depicts George Washington at work at the anvil. But who is the smiling black man in the background?  The artist likely added Washington's slave valet, Will Lee, who rarely left the President's side.

Black History Month on The Hoof Blog begins with the father of our country, George Washington. As most readers already know, Washington owned more than 100 slaves. Sadly, many are only names on paper but several are well-documented and one who stood out.

Today we will meet William Lee. He probably wasn't a farrier or a blacksmith, but he was never far from Washington's side, and if Washington was working in the forge, Will would have been there, too. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Laminitis research: Feeding a high starch diet can influence PPID (Equine Cushings Disease) test results

Summary: New research, conducted in collaboration with the British horse feed company SPILLERS®, has shown that the equine diet, and more specifically, a starch rich food, can influence adrenocorticotropin hormone ,or ‘ACTH’, test results. This could potentially lead to an incorrect disease diagnosis in some horses when ACTH is used to test for Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID).

Key point: The threshold values for diagnosis of the disease currently vary dependent on the season, but these new findings suggest that diet should also be considered. 

Hoof Blog note: Laminitis in older horses is commonly blamed on PPID, but a definitive diagnosis by hormonal test results is required to determine if an underlying endocrine condition is the cause of laminitis. Some horses with PPID may lose weight, which might lead owners to increase feed or change to a higher-starch diet to counter weight loss. Horse owners and veterinarians should communicate about a horse's feed intake before testing; future research may reveal more specific guidelines about how feed type influences test results.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hidden Anatomy: Researchers Make a Case that Modern Horses Have Five Toes--Even If We Can't See Them

One of the keys to the Solounias research is the leafy construction of the Eponychium hoof covering in the fetal horse. The researchers dissected fetal hooves and paid close attention to the construction of the Eponychium. From left: Medial view of fetal horse hoof;  Dorsal view of the fetal hoof, showing a smooth singular surface, representing the dominant digit III; Ventral view of a fetal horse specimen, showing four distinct infoldings that depict evidence of the Solounias paper's proposed digits I, II, IV and V.  (Detail from one of the many figures in the article.)

Scientists have long wondered how the horse evolved from an ancestor with five toes to the animal we know today. While it is largely believed that horses simply evolved with fewer digits, researchers at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) pose a new theory suggesting that the remnants of all five toes are still present in the distal limb of the horse.