Equine Consulting Services is an accredited Animal Research Establishment (NSW Department of Primary Industries) and is actively involved in equine research in Australia.  By holding this accreditation, we are in a position to run independent research projects for clients within the industry.  We also collaborate with major Universities and commercial operations and some of our current projects include:

NUTRITIONAL CAUSES OF OCD IN GROWING FOALS

Equine Consulting Services is part of a group that received a major grant from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) to study the role of insulin and glucose in Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in Thoroughbred foals.  Several studies have identified nutritional factors which influence the incidence and/or severity of OCD. These include mineral deficiencies, excesses and imbalances (e.g. inadequate levels of phosphorus, calcium, zinc and copper in the diet to support the rate of growth); rapid growth and excessive weight-bearing and other biomechanical stresses on bones and joints; and feeding diets excessive in energy and protein.  More recent work has implicated insulin in the disease due to its role in chondrocyte maturation but studies are scarce.  Furthermore, few studies have evaluated the contribution of the mare’s ration to the incidence of skeletal disease in growing foals and little is known about the metabolic changes that occur during pregnancy and how this may play a role in the prevalence of OCD.  Most of the current research has been conducted overseas, so this is a great opportunity for us to obtain some real Australian data of particular relevance to our breeders.  We are doing this work in collaboration with the University of Queensland and have a PhD student on board who has spent a great deal of time over the last year running around the Hunter Valley taking blood samples from mares and foals.  A number of farms are participating in this research and preliminary results are looking very encouraging.  Please refer to our Library for nutritional updates on this work.

TYING-UP

Tying-Up is a common problem in racing stables and we have been working with several trainers to develop feeding programs to reduce the incidence and severity of the condition.  We are working on a new project at present to try and identify causative nutritional factors and methods for treatment.  This work is on-going.

EQUINE GASTRIC ULCER SYNDROME

We are currently involved in a project with Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga to study the effect of nutritional supplements on gastric ulceration in horses.  Initial work with one of the supplements has shown that the product may be associated with improved appetite, body condition score and faecal softening in affected horses.  All the products being tested are in accordance with regulations in horse sports and racing codes. Improved treatment options, especially options which do not involve the administration of a prohibitive substance, are likely to result in more effective management of this condition and hence improved welfare of performance horses.  This work is being carried out on behalf of Probiotec Pty Ltd.  Further information on this work is available in our Library database on this site.

PROTEIN AND INSULIN RESISTANCE

Recent human studies suggest that the protein and amino acid composition of diets is an important factor in modulating the glucose/insulin axis. This aspect of insulin sensitivity has not been examined in horses. It would appear relevant as most equine diets contain an excess of dietary protein. We are involved in a project being conducted at the School of Animal Studies, University of Queensland to examine the influence of dietary protein level on the glucose/insulin axis in the horse in response to feeding of diets low in non-structural carbohydrates.  This work is in progress.

JOCKEY HEALTH AND SAFETY PROJECT

Equine Consulting Services is also involved in a national review of jockey health and safety, a collaborative effort between Racing NSW, Racing Victoria Limited and Racing and Wagering Western Australia.  The work involves the review and analysis of stewards’ reports and insurance claim data for over a twelve year period as part of several projects which examined the significance of injuries to jockeys in Australia and the effectiveness of currently available and alternative protective equipment for riders.  The work is part of a comprehensive project which will review all aspects of jockey health and safety including jockey nutrition, riding techniques and track facilities.  It is envisaged the work will result in several publications in international scientific journals.

PREVIOUS RESEARCH WORK: EQUINE RESPIRATORY DISEASE

Epidemiological studies of Equine Herpesviruses 1 and 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4) and antibody responses to a subunit vaccine (Department of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney).  Research included an epidemiological analysis of EHV-1 and EHV-4 in the Hunter Valley and investigation of the efficacy of the currently available vaccine by examining the antibody response to vaccination in mares and foals.
Evaluating equine immune responses to new Equine Herpesvirus 1 vaccine candidates (Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University).  Research included the evaluation of the efficacy of a new vaccine against EHV-1 in mares and very young foals.  The above projects were both funded by RIRDC.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Dobbs, T.N., Foote, C.E., Cawdell-Smith, A.J., Anderson, S.T., Boston, R.C., Bryden, W.L. (2011) Glucose and insulin dynamics in neonatal foals: Influence of maternal diet.  2011 Equine Science Society Meeting.
Dobbs, T.N., Foote, C.E., Cawdell-Smith, A.J., Anderson, S.T., Bryden, W.L. (2011) Fasting insulin status and OCD occurrence in Thoroughbred yearlings.  2011 Equine Science Society Meeting.
Barton, K.D., Foote, C.E., Cawdell-Smith, A.J., Anderson, S.T., Bryden, W.L. (2011) Dietary protein level and glucose and insulin dynamics in mature geldings.  2011 Equine Science Society Meeting.
Foote, C.E. (2010).  The nutritional value of Australian pastures for growing and breeding Thoroughbreds.  Proceedings of the Australian Equine Science Symposium, p60.
Dobbs, T.N., Foote, C.E., Cawdell-Smith, A.J., Bryden, W.L., Anderson, S. (2010).  Glucose and insulin dynamics of the gestating mare and foal.  Proceedings of the Australian Equine Science Symposium, p28.
Dobbs, T.N., Foote, C.E., Cawdell-Smith, A.J., Bryden, W.L., Anderson, S. (2010).  The relationship between insulin status and the occurrence of OCD in Thoroughbred yearlings.  Proceedings of the Australian Equine Science Symposium, p36.
Foote, C., McIntosh, A., V’Landys, P., Bulloch, K. (2010).  Health and Safety in Autralian Racing.  RIRDC Publication 10-067 (https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/10-067).
Foote, C.E. and Saxon, J. (2008). Jockey injuries in Australian Thoroughbred Horse Racing.  Proceedings of the Australian Equine Science Symposium, p 21.
Foote, C.E. (2006). Nutritional evaluation of the feeding regimens used by Australian Thoroughbred Racehorse trainers. Proceedings of the Australian Equine Science Symposium, p 49.
Foote, C. E., Raidal, S. L., Pecenpetelovska, G., Wellington, J. E., Whalley, J. M. (2006).  Inoculation of mares and very young foals with EHV-1 glycoproteins D and B reduces virus shedding following respiratory challenge with EHV-1.  Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 111, 97-108.
Foote, C. E., Love, D. N., Gilkerson, J. R., Wellington, J. E., Whalley, J. M. (2006).  EHV-1 and EHV-4 infection in vaccinated mares and their foals.  Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology,111, 41-46.
Weerasinghe, C. U, Learmonth, G. S., Gilkerson, J. R., Foote, C. E., Wellington, J. E., Whalley, J. M. (2006).  Equine herpesvirus 1 glycoprotein D expressed in E. coli provides partial protection against equine herpesvirus infection in mice and elicits virus-neutralizing antibodies in the horse. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology,111, 59-66.
Whalley, J.M., Foote, C.E., Raidal, S. (2005) Evaluating equine immune responses to new EHV-1 vaccine candidates.  RIRDC Publication No 05/083.
Foote, C. E., Love, D. N., Gilkerson, J. R., Rota, J., Trevor-Jones, P., Ruitenberg, K. M., Wellington, J. E., Whalley, J. M. (2005). Serum antibody responses to equine herpesvirus 1 glycoprotein D in horses, including pregnant mares and young foals.  Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 105, 47-57.
Foote, C. E., Love, D. N., Gilkerson, J. R., Whalley, J. M. (2004).  Detection of EHV-1 and EHV-4 DNA in unweaned Thoroughbred foals from vaccinated mares on a large stud farm.  Equine Veterinary Journal, 36, 341-345.
Foote, C. E., Gilkerson, J. R., Whalley, J. M., Love, D. N. (2003).  Seroprevalence of equine herpesvirus 1 in mares and foals on a large Hunter Valley stud farm in years pre- and post- vaccination.  Australian Veterinary Journal 81, 283-288.
Whalley, J. M., Foote, C. E., Love, D. N., Gilkerson, J. R. (2003).  Investigations of equine herpesvirus 1 cycle of infection in foals.  Publication No. W03/006  
Foote, C. E., Love, D. N., Gilkerson, J. R., & Whalley, J. M. (2002). Serological responses of mares and weanlings following vaccination with an inactivated whole virus equine herpesvirus 1 and equine herpesvirus 4 vaccine Veterinary Microbiology 88, 13-25.
Foote, C. E., Love, D. N., Gilkerson, J. R., Whalley, J. M. (2001). Serological responses of mares and weanlings following vaccination with an inactivated whole virus Equine Herpesvirus 1 and Equine Herpesvirus 4 vaccine. Australian Equine Veterinarian 19, 68-69.
Gilkerson, J. R., Foote, C. E., Love, D. N., Whalley, J. M. (2001). Epidemiology of Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1). Australian Equine Veterinarian 19, 70.

SYMPOSIUM PRESENTATIONS

“The relationship between insulin status and OCD occurrence in Thoroughbred yearlings”.  The Australian Equine Science Symposium, Gold Coast, 2010.
“The nutritional value of pastures for growing and breeding Thoroughbreds”.  The Australian Equine Science Symposium, Gold Coast, 2010.
“Jockey injuries in Australian Thoroughbred Horse racing”.  The Australian Equine Science Symposium, Gold Coast, 2008.
“Epidemiology of EHV-1 infection in vaccinated populations on a large Thoroughbred stud farm” and “Antibody responses to EHV-1 glycoprotein D in horses including pregnant mares and young foals”.  Dorothy Havemeyer Foundation workshop on equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), Tuscany , Italy, July 2004
“Detection of EHV-1 and EHV-4 DNA in unweaned Thoroughbred foals from vaccinated mares on a large stud farm”.  Presentation and abstract at British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, Birmingham, England, 2003
“Serological responses of mares and weanlings following vaccination with an inactivated whole virus equine herpesvirus 1 and equine herpesvirus 4 vaccine”.  Presentation, poster and paper at the 24th Bain-Fallon Memorial Lectures, 2002
“EHV-1: A continued cycle of infection”.  Presentation at Intervet sponsored Research Day, Sydney University Vet Week, 2002.
“Serological responses of mares and weanlings following vaccination with an inactivated whole virus equine herpesvirus 1 and equine herpesvirus 4 vaccine”.  Presentation and paper in Proceedings of the International Horse Industry Symposium, Sydney 2001