THE desire to demonstrate the importance of the fetlock joint, and to help veterinary colleagues understand and treat its myriad of potential problems, will bring Professor Peter Clegg from the Liverpool veterinary school to the 2009 BEVA annual congress in Birmingham this month (9th to 12th).
Professor Clegg will lead a team of international orthopaedic experts in indepth, specialist sessions and discussions lasting for the whole of the Friday morning.
The fetlock is the joint which causes the most problems for competition horses. The conditions seen in racehorses, however, are very different from those seen in horses involved in other sporting disciplines.
Pathologies in both the racing thoroughbred and other competition horses will be detailed. The morning’s sessions will integrate current research with clinical practice, forming a combined approach to the fetlock joint.
By thoroughly investigating the basic pathogenesis of conditions in the fetlock, delegates will have a better understanding of consequent clinical diagnosis and treatment protocols.
They will be shown how to integrate the results of cutting-edge research of the underlying causes of fetlock pathology with clinical practice, in order to achieve earlier recognition, diagnosis and also prevention of various conditions.
Professor Clegg is also keenly awaiting Chris Pollitt’s presentations on laminitis, which will be featured on the Thursday afternoon of the congress. Professor Pollitt is the director of the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit at the University of Queensland, and has overseen significant ground-breaking research in the management of laminitis.
He is also well known for giving inspirational presentations that are both challenging and clinically extremely relevant.
Laminitis is a huge problem for many horses, and can be a major cause of mortality. Important advances have been made recently in understanding the aetiology and pathogenesis of laminitis and, consequently, more information is now available to facilitate significant improvements in the clinical management, treatment and prevention of this condition.
These two important parts of the congress are hugely relevant to anyone in equine practice, and will provide practitioners with the most up to date clinical information based on the latest in-depth scientific research.
Debbie Archer, senior lecturer in equine soft tissue surgery at Liverpool, is directly involved with two areas of the BEVA congress this year.
She will be chairing a session on the Friday morning focusing on care of the geriatric horse. “Older horses form an increasing proportion of the equine vet’s caseload these days,” comments Debbie, “and people with pleasure horses, in particular, are becoming more willing to care for the needs of their older horses, and really want to improve their quality of life.”
An entire morning is being devoted to this subject, focusing on common disorders in this group of horses and current options for treatment and management.
The demographics of the geriatric population in the UK will be presented to begin with. Following on, the problems associated with various body systems will be covered in detail, including the cardio-respiratory, endocrine, ocular, and gastrointestinal systems. The conditions that will be covered are either specific to, or more common in, older horses and ponies.
Two presentations will focus on dental care and nutrition of geriatric horses and another will focus on neoplastic conditions that are more common in older horses and ponies. Debbie will also give a presentation on colic in the geriatric horse, including the common forms of colic and, for horses which undergo surgery, survival rates and morbidity following surgery.
The talks will aim to discuss ways in which geriatric horses and ponies suffering from various conditions can be treated or managed with the aim of maximising their lifespan whilst optimising their quality of life. Debbie is confident that this session will provide a useful update on conditions of the geriatric horse together with current best practice on how common conditions in the older horse and pony can be managed.
Debbie will spend Friday afternoon in the “Research into practice” session chaired by Dr Gina Pinchbeck. The first two talks will discuss how to go about undertaking clinical research, including the pitfalls to avoid, and how to design a study.
Four talks will follow highlighting examples of clinical questions relevant to equine clinicians and how some of these have been answered. These talks will coverarandomised controlled trial, case-control, longitudinal and cohort studies. Debbie comments: “This session will be invaluable to anyone with an interest in trying to conduct research in clinical practice or those who have limited experience of different study designs and hopefully will provide some practical tips on how to run these types of studies as best as possible.”