Research Updates

The research articles in this section have been selected from hundreds of equine scientific articles published in the past year.  We have selected these publications for their practicality and scientific merit.  Join us monthly for practical equine health information that you can count on!

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Early exercise in foals - Is it harmful or helpful?

Effects of early exercise on metacarpophalangeal joints in horses.

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Kawcak CE, McIlwraith CW, Firth EC., Am J Vet Res. 2010 Apr;71(4):405-11.

From the Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.


Take Home Message: Exercise at a young age may be protective to joints, although more research is needed to characterize changes in articular cartilage matrix. Results suggested that exercise can be safely imposed at an early age.  As might be expected, when it comes to exercise moderation is the key.  In this study a modest amount of exercise in foals was found to be helpful to promote healthy cartilage development.    




Dormosedan gel - What you need to know!


Bioavailability of detomidine administered sublingually to horses as an oromucosal gel.

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Kaukinen H, Aspegrén J, Hyyppä S, Tamm L, Salonen JS.  Orion Corporation, Orion Pharma, Turku, Finland Agrifood Research Finland, Ypäjä, Finland.  J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Feb;34(1):76-81.


Take Home Message: This article compared intramuscular injection and sublingual administration of a gel formulation of detomidine in horses.  The investigators found that slightly more of the drug was found in the blood following intramuscular administration, but that both routes caused safe sedation in horses.  The slower absorption from the sublingual administration produced fewer adverse effects.



Efficacy of sublingual administration of detomidine gel for sedation of horses undergoing veterinary and husbandry procedures under field conditions.

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Gardner RB, White GW, Ramsey DS, Boucher JF, Kilgore WR, Huhtinen MK.  BW Furlong and Associates, 101 Homestead Rd, Oldwick, NJ 08858, USA.  J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2010 Dec 15;237(12):1459-64.


Take Home Message: This study demonstrated the effectiveness of sublingual administration of detomidine gel for facilitation of common veterinary and husbandry procedures in horses.


The Rest of the Story: In order for detomidine gel to be effective, it must be correctly placed under the tongue.  If the horse swallows the gel, it will not work.  In this study the gel was correctly administered by both veterinarians and laypersons to 98% of the horses.  The degree of success in completing these veterinary and husbandry procedures varied with the type of procedure.  The detomidine gel was more effective in enabling completion of floating teeth and farrier procedures and was less effective for use of electric clippers.  Detomidine gel is a prescription medicine and the veterinarian who prescribes it must determine appropriate use under a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.  This means that indiscriminate dispensing of Detomidine gel is unethical.  Wear impermeable gloves when handling this drug and if you get any of this blue-colored gel on your skin, be sure to wash it off!