Strong Attendance by Horse Owners Shows Enduring Popularity of Annual Equine Wellness Forum

Friday, February 23, 2024

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Equine enthusiasts demonstrated the value of continuing education about equine wellness by turning out in force for the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine’s 2024 Equine Wellness Forum at Lynn Hall.  The all-day program Saturday, February 10, attracted 155 attendees from across Indiana and five other states. 

The forum is designed to inform horse owners and equine industry professionals about horse health issues ranging from basic preventative healthcare to the latest medical advancements. In addition to talks on a variety of topics, the program also featured three live demonstrations that included the college’s high-speed equine treadmill and sessions on saddle fitting and trailer safety.

The program attracted attendees of all ages, including about a dozen high school students.  Presentations were given by equine specialists on the college’s faculty as well as several outside speakers.  The forum began with a welcome and introductory remarks by the head of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Dr. Catherine Scott-Moncrieff.  The program was moderated by Dr. Tim Lescun, professor of large animal surgery. 

Other speakers and their topics included:

  • Dr. Kelsey Dawson, a sports psychologist for Purdue Counseling & Sports Psychology Services, who spoke about the basics of sports performance skills, such as breathing techniques and meditation. Attendees also had the opportunity to engage in activities allowing them to practice the learned skill.
  • Dr. Janice Kritchevsky, professor of large animal internal medicine, gave a presentation on the topic, “What’s new with old horses,” which provided guidance on how to best care for a senior horse. Diseases that are common in aged horses such as equine asthma, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, and chronic lameness also were discussed.
  • Dr. Erin Wilson, (PU DVM 2008), a nutrition consultant for Cargill Animal Nutrition and a Purdue alumna, spoke on the topic of the nutritional management of senior horses, beginning with senior horse identification and demographics.  Special nutritional and management considerations of senior horses were discussed, including dental issues, impaired nutrient absorption, environmental and herd stress, and common concurrent diseases.
  • Dr. Michelle Tucker, assistant professor of large animal surgery, discussed the most common communicable diseases of show horses, and how to prevent them. Her presentation included background about the pathogens, how they are transmitted, and general disease-specific strategies to prevent bringing any infectious diseases home from shows or events where horses are mixing.
  • Dr. Sara Waxman, a clinical assistant professor who works with the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital’s Equine Field Service, explained Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, describing when it is used and basic techniques for moving and lifting horses.

Five Purdue veterinary students in the college’s Equine Club assisted with the demonstrations and gave tours of the David and Bonnie Brunner Equine Hospital at the end the day.  The forum attracted horse enthusiasts with a variety of interests and backgrounds, including racing, jumping, showmanship, dressage, Western, English, and trail riding.  Also represented among the attendees were mounted police.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

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