Horse

Clinical trials for horses

  • Description:

    The oral sugar test (OST) has been developed as a new test for diagnosing the glucose and insulin problems involved in the development of laminitis (founder) in horses.  This new test is easily performed and provides more information than just a single blood sample.  However, we do not know enough about the consistency of results, so this study is being conducted to compare results of two tests performed 7 to 14 days apart.

    The OST involves fasting your horse and then collecting 3 blood samples (20 mL each) from the jugular vein using a needle before and 60 and 90 minutes after giving corn syrup (0.15 ml/kg) by mouth.  Our fasting procedure is as follows:

    •         For an OST beginning between 8:00 and 10:00 AM, we ask you to bring your horse into a dirt paddock or stall and leave only one flake of hay at 10 PM the night before.
    •         For an OST beginning between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, we ask you to bring your horse into a dirt paddock or stall and leave only one flake of hay at 6:00 AM the same morning.

    Inclusion Criteria:

    Horses with suspected or confirmed glucose and insulin problems associated with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) or Cushing’s disease (also called pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction).

    Horse owners must allow their horse to be tested twice 7-14 days apart.

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Horses that are currently suffering from other diseases.  For example, any medical problem causing fever.

    Blood samples must be collected without causing significant stress, so horses with a fear of needles are excluded.

    Client Benefits:

    This study covers the cost of measuring glucose and insulin in the blood samples collected, but horse owners are financially responsible for costs associated with two veterinarian visits to farm and professional time for performing the tests.

    Contact Information:

    Diane Welsh, Clinical Trial Technician   clinicaltrials@tufts.edu                                                               ‘

     

     

     

  • Description:

    The thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test is used to diagnose Cushing’s disease (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction; PPID) in horses.  It is particularly useful for detecting PPID in the earliest stages before signs become obvious.   Thyrotropin-releasing hormone is naturally produced in the body and is also synthesized by companies for research and diagnostic purposes.  There are two forms currently available – one that has been used for many years to develop the test (but is only available to researchers) and a product that has been used in human medicine called protirelin.  This study compares the two forms of TRH and we hope to establish that protirelin can be used for this test in horses.  It has not been possible for veterinarians to purchase TRH in the past, but protirelin has recently become available.  We will therefore perform one stimulation test with the TRH that we have been using for many years and a second test with protirelin, spaced 7 days apart.

    The TRH stimulation test involves fasting your horse and then collecting 3 blood samples (10 mL each) from the jugular vein using a needle before, and 10 and 30 minutes after, injecting TRH in the vein.  Concentrations of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) are measured.

    This study involves two visits to your farm or two appointments at the Hospital for Large Animals, 7 days apart.

    Inclusion Criteria:

    Barns with multiple horses with suspected or confirmed Cushing’s disease.

    Horse owners must allow their horse to be tested twice exactly 7 days apart.

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Horses that are currently suffering from other diseases.  For example, any medical problem causing fever.

    Blood samples must be collected without causing significant stress, so horses with a fear of needles are excluded.

    Client Benefits:

    This study covers the cost of measuring ACTH in the blood samples collected, but horse owners are financially responsible for costs associated with two veterinarian visits to farm (or appointments in the Hospital for Large Animals) and professional time for performing the tests.

    Contact Information:

    Diane Welsh, Clinical Trial Technician clinicaltrials@tufts.edu

     

  •  Description:

    The purpose of the study is to determine the correlations between skin temperature at various locations on the leg and the potential change with injury to a soft tissue structure.

    Inclusion Criteria:

    The horses must have no prior disease or injury other than their current tendon/ligament injury.

    The horses must also be Hunter/Jumper competition horses.

    The horses will be >5 years and undergoing training and weigh > 300 kg (660 pounds)

    Client Benefits:

    Your horse’s participation will allow us to gain information, which will help in the understanding of skin temperature as a physiological indicator and may have uses as diagnostic/management/treatment tool.

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at:  clinicaltrials@tufts.edu

     

  • Antibiotic use in the aged horse: Do we need to adjust our treatment?

    It is well documented as humans age (starting at 65 most notable at > 70 years old) that physiological changes take place in particularly a decline in kidney function. These changes may affect drug therapy with a decreased elimination of a drug secondary to decreased kidney elimination, placing the patient at increased risk of drug toxicity. In clinical practice is it common to adjust the treatment dose and interval accordingly for older humans taking medications that are cleared by the kidney.

    Animals similar to the human experience physiological changes during aging.  However there is little information available concerning changes in kidney function in the older adult horse. The purpose of this clinical study is to answer the question of whether we should be adjusting the dosage of particular drugs in the older horse due to a subclinical decline in kidney function. One of the common antibiotics used in horses of all ages is the drug gentamicin.  It is an effective antibiotic that is eliminated through the kidneys. Our goal is to see if the dosage or frequency of drug delivery should be changed in the older horse in order to avoid toxicity.

    The study that will be conducted at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine by the Dorothy Havemeyer Foundation will look at the levels and elimination of a single dose of gentamicin in both young horses (5-10 years) and older horses ≥25 years of age. Horses in the study will receive a physical examination, blood and urinalysis free of charge to determine the eligibility for entry into the study. The study will take place at the Hospital for Large Animals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The animals would be housed in the hospital for 2 nights. Owners will be compensated for transportation costs. The study will require a single dose of gentamicin followed by multiple blood collections via an intravenous catheter, to determine the elimination of the drug by the kidneys. A single dose is considered safe for the use in the normal horse. Intravenous catheters will be placed to avoid multiple blood sticks.

    Please contact Drs. Mary Rose Paradis or Daniela Bedenice at 508-839-7926 (Daniela.bedenice@tufts.edu) for more information regarding enrolment of either young (5-10 years) or older horses (≥25 years).

     

  • Comparison of histamine bronchoprovocation using respiratory inductive plethysmography (RIP) and forced oscillatory mechanics (FOM) to measure airway hyperreactivity in horses with inflammatory airway disease (IAD)

    Description:

    Inflammatory airway disease (IAD) is a non-infectious lung condition which often manifests as intermittent coughing, nasal discharge, and increased mucus in the airways of horses. IAD, similar to human asthma, affects many horses of varying age, resulting in chronic poor respiratory health and exercise intolerance. Improvements in diagnosing and monitoring responses to treatment of IAD would improve horse welfare and benefit the equine industry.

    IAD is diagnosed by either semi-invasive (bronchoalveolar lavage – BAL or “lung wash”) or non-invasive techniques (lung function testing using FOM/RIP). Forced oscillatory mechanics (FOM) testing is performed to non-invasively measure the horse’s respiratory system resistance as an indicator of airway obstruction or narrowing. In contrast, RIP or “Respiratory Inductive Plethysmography”, non-invasively measures the disparity between the horse’s breathing efforts and the amount of airflow actually moving out of the lungs, which would indicate inflammation or obstruction. Both tests are performed before and after nebulization with histamine for the assessment of airway reactivity or ‘twitchiness’ of the airways, which is a common feature of IAD.

    The use of FOM is limited to the hospital setting; whereas the RIP system is portable and thus highly applicable to clinical field practice and stall-side research use. However, the two methodologies have yet to be compared directly; although each has been validated against a conventional method to measure airway resistance (esophageal balloon-pneumotachography). This study is therefore essential in validating the use of portable lung function testing (RIP) by substantiating that comparable results may be achieved using either RIP or FOM.

    Inclusion Criteria:

    Horses of any sex, aged 2-20 years, and weighing 300-600 kg, with clinical signs suggestive of inflammatory airway disease (poor performance, exercise intolerance, cough or nasal discharge); a condition similar to asthma in people.

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Horses that show signs of infectious disease (as determined by history, fever or physical examination), upper respiratory tract abnormalities (such as increased airway noise during exercise) or recurrent airway obstruction (signs of respiratory abnormalities at rest).

    Client Benefits:

    The study will cover most of the costs associated with any testing related to the study (the overnight stay, both forms of lung function testing, and the lung wash will be covered by the study). You will thus have the benefit of a physical examination, lung function testing, and bronchoalveolar lavage cytology to inform you of your horse’s health status. Your horse’s participation will also allow us to gain information which will help in the diagnosis and management of other patients with IAD.

    Contact information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: clinicaltrials@tufts.edu

     

     

  • Description:

    Standard MRI protocols in small animals use contrast material (gadolinium) via intravenous administration to fully assess a disease process. The dose of the contrast material is generally based on body weight; however, in horses this makes the use of contrast cost prohibitive.

    This study will add information about equine MRI and will determine if regional limb perfusion is a feasible way to deliver contrast medium and allow for better characterization of common injuries in equine athletes. The goal is to determine if this method of contrast material administration will allow increased sensitivity of lesion detection while keeping the overall price of contrast administration reasonable

    Inclusion Criteria:

    • Horses: any sex, age, weight
    • Any horse undergoing MRI as part of its lameness work up for lameness localized to the foot/distal limb.

     

    Client Benefits:

    The study will cover all of the costs associated with the regional limb perfusion as well as the additional anesthesia time and additional MRI sequences. Your horse’s participation will also allow us to gain information about any current injury and will help in the diagnosis of other horses with injuries in the hoof capsule. You understand that your animal’s participation in this study may not alleviate or cure his/her ailment.

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: clinicaltrials@tufts.edu