INVESTIGATION of poor athletic performance in equine athletes is often challenging. Frequently, conditions resulting in reduced athletic performance are sub-clinical and not readily evident at rest, necessitating in-depth investigations including exercise testing which may require referral to specialist centres.
New advances in technology, however, mean that more emphasis is now being placed on field-based exercise testing. At BEVA Congress 2009, which will be held in Birmingham from 10th to 12th September, we will have an exciting session on “poor performance”, which will be devoted to new and up and coming techniques to aid veterinary surgeons in the diagnosis of poor performance.
The session, to be held on Thursday afternoon, will involve a panel of international speakers. It will start with a talk from Dr Anne Courouce-Malblanc from The National Veterinary School of Nantes on field exercise testing. Dr Courouce-Malblanc has many years experience in this area and will review how measures of heart rate and blood lactate levels during field exercise may be used in the evaluation of a horse’s performance ability, to assess a horse’s fitness, and in the early detection of underlying diseases.
Following on from this will be an update on the exciting new technique of “overground endoscopy” where I will be discussing its use for the diagnosis of dynamic collapse of the upper respiratory tract in exercising horses.
Also in this session, Dr Emmanuelle Van Erck-Westergren from the University of Liege will be speaking on two different topics. In the first, she will discuss the use of impulse oscillometry as a non-invasive method for the early detection of subclinical lower airway disease.
Later, Dr Van Erck will be discussing the role of oxidative stress in poor performance. Finally, Dr Mary Durando from the University of Pennsylvania will be discussing the use of stress echocardiography and its role in performance assessment for determining the significance of cardiovascular abnormalities.
Following on from the “poor performance” session we continue the respiratory theme with an in-depth look at disorders of the pharynx and larynx. Dr Jon Cheetham from Cornell University will start the session with a review of the neuro-anatomy of the region and will explain why the pharynx and larynx are prone to collapse during exercise.
Dr Heather Chalmers from the University of Guelph will then describe how ultrasonography may be a useful aid in assessment of laryngeal disorders. Following on from this there will be two lectures on recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN). In the first, Dr Paddy Dixon from Edinburgh University will be providing an update on the pathogenesis of this common disorder and will be describing recent work carried out by his group that strongly suggests RLN to be a mononeuropathy rather than a polyneuropathy.
Dr Cheetham will provide an update on treatment of RLN and will discuss current research directed at refining the nerve-muscle pedicle graft technique and the possible use of laryngeal pacemakers to stimulate the cricoarytenoideus dorsalis muscle.
Finally, Dr Mary Durando will be speaking about pharyngeal wall collapse, a common form of dynamic airway collapse that to date has received little attention in the literature. Dr Durando will review our current understanding of this condition and will discuss treatment options and the prognosis for affected individuals.
Elsewhere at BEVA Congress 2009, the clinical research sessions will provide us with further opportunity to catch up with cutting edge advances in various aspects of sports medicine.