Abstracts: Equine welfare during exercise: an evaluation of breathing, breathlessness and bridles

Horses engaged in strenuous exercise display physiological responses that approach the upper functional limits of key organ systems, in particular their cardiorespiratory systems. Maximum athletic performance is therefore vulnerable to factors that diminish these functional capacities, and such impairment might also lead to horses experiencing unpleasant respiratory sensations, i.e., breathlessness. The aim of this review is to use existing literature on equine cardiorespiratory physiology and athletic performance to evaluate the potential for various types of breathlessness to occur in exercising horses. Continue reading Abstracts: Equine welfare during exercise: an evaluation of breathing, breathlessness and bridles

Noseband nastiness highlighted by USyd research

A welfare issue for horses fitted with tight nosebands has been highlighted by new research from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science.

‘The Effect of Noseband Tightening on Horses’ Behaviour, Eye Temperature, and Cardiac Responses’ was published in PLOS ONE journal in early May, and finds that horses experience physiological stress responses when prevented from moving their jaws.

The study reveals instances of horses’ resting heart rates rising from 34bpm to 100bpm following noseband tightening.

The use of restrictive nosebands to bind the jaws of sport horses is a common practice according to the study’s lead author, horse trainer Kate Fenner. Continue reading Noseband nastiness highlighted by USyd research

Jump horse safety: reconciling public debate and Australian thoroughbred jump racing data, 2012-2014

Thoroughbred jump racing sits in the spotlight of contemporary welfare and ethical debates about horse racing. In Australia, jump racing comprises hurdle and steeplechase races and has ceased in all but two states, Victoria and South Australia. This paper documents the size, geography, composition, and dynamics of Australian jump racing for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 . . . → Read More: Jump horse safety: reconciling public debate and Australian thoroughbred jump racing data, 2012-2014

Sequence analysis of the Equine ACTN3 Gene in Australian horse breeds

The sarcomeric α-actinins, encoded by the genes ACTN2 and ACTN3, are major structural components of the Z-line and have high sequence similarity. α-Actinin-2 is present in all skeletal muscle fibres, while α-actinin-3 has developed specialized expression in only type 2 (fast, glycolytic) fibres. A common single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the human ACTN3 gene (R577X) has . . . → Read More: Sequence analysis of the Equine ACTN3 Gene in Australian horse breeds

Abstracts: Hendra virus and horse owners – risk perception and management

Hendra virus is a highly pathogenic novel paramyxovirus causing sporadic fatal infection in horses and humans in Australia. Species of fruit-bats (genus Pteropus), commonly known as flying-foxes, are the natural host of the virus. We undertook a survey of horse owners in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia to assess the level of adoption . . . → Read More: Abstracts: Hendra virus and horse owners – risk perception and management