Tuesday, March 26, 2024

New aid to wound healing?

Polymerisation of the synthetic
epidermis spray (c) Paindaveine et al
Recent research suggests that a synthetic skin spray could aid in wound healing by limiting the
formation of exuberant granulation tissue. 

Due to their nature, horses are prone to injuring themselves. Wounds on the lower legs are particularly likely to heal slowly, often involving exuberant granulation tissue (EGT). This excessive tissue growth, commonly known as "proud flesh," poses a significant challenge to equine wound management, as it hampers further healing by protruding from the wound site. 


A team of researchers based in France has been investigating the efficacy of a novel synthetic epidermis spray (SES)* in promoting wound healing. Led by Charlotte C Paindaveine from the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, the researchers conducted a small-scale clinical trial to compare the healing outcomes of experimental surgical wounds treated with SES spray versus those treated with a standard bandaging technique. 


The study, detailed in a report published in PLoS One, involved creating standardised surgical wounds on the lower limbs of six adult Standardbred mares. These wounds were then subjected to treatment with either SES or a traditional bandaging method.


Hypergranulation and exudation of
the lateral wounds (right leg) treated
with bandaging, compared with wounds 
on left leg treated with spray.
(c) Paindaveine et al 

For the SES treatment, the spray, which comprised  ultraviolet polymerizable methacrylate monomers, comonomers, crosslinker and a photoinitiator was applied to the wound. The researchers explain that this layer was then polymerised using a 395 nm, 20 x 30 cm, 40 mW/cm2 UV light for 60 seconds at a distance of approximately 30 cm (Fig 1). They repeated the same procedure to fix a second layer of the product. The SES was only applied on day 0. No further application was made.


The control treatment consisted of a nonadherent permeable dressing secured with conforming cotton gauze and held in place with a cohesive bandage, which would be a common treatment of choice for superficial wounds in a field setting. The control treatment was repeated every 4 days until the end of the study to mimic field veterinary follow-up.


Wounds were assessed daily for the SES treatment group, and every 4 days for the control / bandaged group.


The researchers report that the synthetic epidermal spray allowed healing without the production of EGT but it did not reduce the median wound healing time compared to a standard bandaging technique.


They add that the exuberant granulation tissue observed in the control group that did not receive the SES decreased without any trimming procedure during the 60-day period.


They conclude: “The SES is potentially an interesting alternative for the management of secondary intention wound healing of superficial and non-infected distal limb wounds in adult horses because of its economical and practical aspects. 


*Novacika®, Cohesive S.A.S, France




For more details, see: 


Charlotte C. Pandaveine, Benoit Bihin, Olivier M. Lepage (2024) 

The effects of a synthetic epidermis spray on secondary intention wound healing in adult horses. PLoS ONE 19(3): e0299990. 


Saturday, March 23, 2024

Effect of antibiotics on gut microbiome

Recent research has shown that even a short course of antibiotics can affect the microorganisms in the
gastrointestinal tract of horses. 

While antibiotics play a vital role in combating infectious ailments, their potential misuse has come under scrutiny, primarily due to concerns surrounding the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Consequently, there's a growing consensus to restrict antibiotic usage to essential cases.


Moreover, there's a growing recognition of the susceptibility of the equine gut microbiota to antibiotic-induced disturbances, which can lead to adverse, and occasionally severe, consequences. Although instances of severe, life-threatening diarrhoea in horses post-antibiotic treatment have been infrequent, they highlight the potential risks.


Now recent work has shown that even short-term courses of commonly prescribed antibiotics can bring about detectable changes in the gut microbiome.


A study conducted by Joseph L Parker from the Gluck Equine Research Center, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, University of Kentucky, in collaboration with colleagues, aimed to explore the impact of antibiotic administration on the gut microbiome of healthy horses. They evaluated this impact through assessments of faecal consistency, bacterial population counts, and qPCR panel analysis to detect specific disease-associated organisms.


Twenty-four healthy horses, comprising 12 mares and 12 geldings, with no prior exposure to antibiotics or anthelmintic treatment within the preceding three months, were selected for participation in the study. They were grouped into four treatment cohorts, one serving as a control while the others underwent a brief course of distinct antibiotic regimens: potassium penicillin/gentamicin via intravenous injection, ceftiofur via intramuscular injection, and trimethoprim sulphamethoxazole orally.


The research team collected faecal samples before treatment began,  on the day after treatment finished, and at 10, 14, 21, and 28 days after the start of treatment. 


They found that the response to antibiotic administration varied among the horses. However, all horses administered antibiotics had notably softer faeces compared to the control group. One horse developed severe diarrhoea and was consequently withdrawn from the study.


Bacterial population counts revealed that Lactobacillus spp. levels showed a marked reduction in all samples collected from horses the day after antibiotic treatment finished

Furthermore, horses subjected to antibiotic treatment demonstrated a significantly higher likelihood of testing positive for C. difficile or C. perfringens via faecal qPCR analysis.


The researchers suggest that more work is needed to explore the consequences of antibiotic-microbiota interactions in the horse.



For more details, see: 


J.L. Parker, A. Page, O. Jacob, V. Stanton, B. Davis, M. Flythe, E.N. Adam,

Equine fecal microbiota response to short term antibiotic administration,

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (2024) 133, 104993


Sunday, March 03, 2024

Advances in endocrinology take centre stage in latest EVJ

The endocrine system plays an essential role in balancing the horse's health. Unfortunately, it is
prone to malfunction.

The March issue of the Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) highlights the latest work advancing veterinary understanding of equine endocrinology.


In a press release, EVJ guest editor Melody de Laat, said “Knowledge, diagnosis and treatment of equine endocrinopathies has improved dramatically over the past 25 years, with progress driven by the publication of peer-reviewed papers and the application of evidence-based medicine.” 


Obesity, PPID (Equine Cushing’s), insulin dysregulation (ID), thyroid disorders and the effects of corticosteroid administration are all covered. Articles include:


  • ·     The BEVA Primary Care Clinical Guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and management of PPID, directed at equine practitioners in an ambulatory setting. The evidence review supports clinical signs such as hyperhidrosis, regional adiposity, epaxial muscle atrophy, laminitis, weight loss, recurrent infections or delayed healing, behaviour changes, or polyuria and polydipsia as prompts for moderate suspicion of PPID in animals of more than 10 years of age. The review supports the assessment of basal plasma ACTH concentrations or ACTH responses to exogenous thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) administration. It also supports the use of pergolide as a therapy for PPID.

  • ·   Lumbar vertebral bone density is decreased in horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction explores the infrequent finding of pathological fractures in aged horses with advanced PPID.

  • ·       Influence of feeding and other factors on adrenocorticotropin concentration and thyrotropin-releasing hormone stimulation test in horses and ponies and Clinical implications of imprecise sampling time for 10- and 30-minute thyrotropin-releasing hormone stimulation tests in horses stresses the importance of exact timing when these samples are collected. 

  • ·      Obesity and obesity-associated metabolic disease conditions in Connemara ponies in Ireland showed a 50% prevalence of laminitis in obese ponies. 

  • ·       Development of a body condition index to estimate adiposity in ponies and horses from morphometric measurements presents an alternative method for measuring adiposity.

  • ·          Associations between feeding and glucagon-like peptide-2 in healthy ponies looks at the role of glucagon-like peptide-2 in the development of hyperinsulinaemia in ID.

  • ·         Expression of the GCG gene and secretion of active glucagon-like peptide-1 varies along the length of intestinal tract in horses demonstrates that both the large and small intestines are sites of equine GLP-1 secretion and that the genetic coding is identical in horses with and without ID.

  • ·            Relationships between total adiponectin concentrations and obesity in native-breed ponies in England and Short-term induced hyperinsulinaemia and dexamethasone challenge do not affect circulating total adiponectin concentrations in insulin-sensitive ponies show that total adiponectin is not as strongly correlated with body condition, body shape and breed as expected and inducing short-term ID does not alter total adiponectin concentrations. 

  • ·            Factors associated with insulin responses to oral sugars in a mixed-breed cohort of ponies and Epidemiological investigation of insulin dysregulation in Shetland and Welsh ponies in Australia determine that the insulin response to oral sugar is associated with multiple variables but cannot be predicted from the physical appearance. 

  • ·            Insulin, but not adiponectin, is detectable in equine saliva using an automated, commercial assay in a pilot study in the UK demonstrates that insulin is measurable in equine saliva, but this method is not currently a viable alternative to blood. 

  • ·        The effect of pre-dosing with metformin on the insulin response to oral sugar in insulin-dysregulated horsesshows the lack of efficacy of metformin (dosed at 30 mg/kg) on the insulin response to an oral sugar test.

  • ·           Intra-articular trimacinolone acetonide injection results in increases in systemic insulin and glucose concentrations in horses without insulin dysregulation shows that intra-articular triamcinolone does not result in circulating insulin concentrations likely to induce laminitis in insulin-sensitive animals. 

  • ·           Diagnosis and management of thyroid disorders and thyroid hormone supplementation in adult horses and foals reviews thyroid gland pathophysiology in adult horses and foals, blood thyroid hormone concentrations and the use of T4 supplementation in equine practice. 


“This robust collection reflects the continual dedication of equine veterinary researchers to developing our understanding of equine endocrinology,” said Professor Celia Marr, Editor of the EVJ. “Such work is enabling the application of evidence-based medicine to improve the diagnosis, management, treatment and quality of life of animals with endocrine disorders.”


The March issue is available to read free:



Friday, March 01, 2024

Funding offered for Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance research

The Equine Cushing's and Insulin Resistance Group Inc. (ECIR Group) is now accepting
 funding requests for 2024. These proposals should focus on researching Equine Metabolic Syndrome/Insulin Resistance (EMS/IR) and Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID). 

The ECIR Group's mission is to improve the well-being of equines with metabolic disorders through a blend of basic research and practical clinical experience. Their primary objective is to prevent laminitis. 


"Quality scientific research is critical to the continuous advancement of knowledge to benefit metabolic equines." said Dr. Kathleen Gustafson, ECIR Group Inc. Research Director. "Our goal in 2024 is to fund research and encourage collaboration between scientists, scholars, veterinarians, and hoof care professionals to positively affect the health and welfare of these equines."


"Through the sharing of their in-the-barn experience, ECIR Group supporters have helped build effective protocols for metabolically challenged equines." said current President, Nancy Collins. "It is an honor that now, through member financial support, the ECIR Group has expanded to also fund equine metabolic research."


Proposals seeking funding should focus on EMS and PPID, covering topics such as diagnosis, diet, hoof care, exercise (referred to as DDT/E) and preventing laminitis. Any proposals meeting these criteria will be considered.


Applications must be submitted via the ecirhorse.org research portal. Deadline for submission is May 31, 2024.


Researchers will find more information at https://www.ecirhorse.org/research-proposals.php

Joint Helicopter Command Horse Rider Safety Survey

 Are you a horse rider? Do you have friends or family members who also enjoy riding horses?
You can help promote horse and rider safety by completing an online survey.

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) is collaborating with the British Horse Society (BHS) to raise awareness about a crucial initiative concerning horse and rider safety.


Helicopters present a significant risk of startling horses. Due to their flight instincts, horses can easily become alarmed by sudden movements or loud noises, prompting them to flee from potential threats. The sudden appearance and noise of a helicopter can trigger such a response in horses, potentially leading to hazardous situations for both the animals and individuals involved.


Understanding the natural instincts and sensitivities of horses is crucial, as it allows pilots and horse owners to take necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of horses in areas where helicopters are present.


As part of ongoing efforts, JHC, in partnership with The British Horse Society, has developed the Horse Riding Safety Survey aimed at collecting valuable insights from riders across the UK. 


As a member of the horse-riding community, you can help to shape future safety measures by completing the survey.

To take part, go to: