BEVA Congress: Opening Events and Horse Owner Take-Homes

Editor's note: This article is part of's ongoing coverage of the 51st British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress, taking place Sept. 12-15, 2012, in Birmingham, U.K.

The 51st British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Congress kicked off today, Sept. 13, in Birmingham, U.K., with a light-hearted opening address from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Patron of BEVA.

Princess Anne first applauded the many veterinarians in attendance for their efforts tending to equine athletes during the recent London Olympic Games. She then noted how the equine veterinary profession has changed over the decades, with modern-day clients now having access to a vast body of knowledge via the Internet. She tasked the veterinarians with continuing to help owners understand what they read about online and in print for the well-being of the equine patient.

"Those horses, whatever shape or size, will benefit greatly from your knowledge and from you being here (at the Congress)," The Princess Royal concluded.

John Walmsley, MA, VetMB, CertEO, Dipl. ECVS, HonFRCVS, of Liphook Equine Hospital, then took the stage to share his observations about the past 40 years' technological advances in equine practice. These developments range from sedation and anesthesia methods to diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound, fiber optics, radiography, scintigraphy, and MRI. His overarching message, however, was that veterinarians must continue to critically appraise the technologies they have access to and how they use them.

"Our responsibility is to use this technology in the best interest of the horse and clients," he said. "But nothing replaces the clinical examination."

While sat in on several of the preliminary day’s presentations, a couple that might be of particular interest to horse owners included:

  • Rhiannon Morgan, BSc, BVSc, MRCVS, who worked at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket but is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Liverpool, compared incomplete fractures of the third metacarpal bone (e.g., stress-related bone injury) between sport horses and racehorses. These injuries are often attributed to both acute trauma and fatigue damage (particularly in racehorses); however, in a retrospective study she determined they are not influenced by breed, riding discipline, or age.
  • Graham Munroe, BVSc(Hons), PhD, CertEO, DESM, Dipl. ECVS, FRCVS, RCVS, of Flanders Veterinary Services, in Scotland, discussed different equine neck conditions and how specific diagnosis can be difficult. He differentiated between the types of neck problems that cause lameness signs (e.g., fractures, cystlist lesions, or osteoarthritis), neurologic signs (e.g., “Wobbler’s” syndrome), and neck pain (e.g., trauma or inflammatory processes).
  • Richard Hepburn, BVSc, MS, CertEM, Dipl. ACVIM(LA), MRCVS, from the Willesley Equine Clinic, in Gloucestershire, addressed articular process joint disease (which can result in cervical vertebral compressive myelopathy, or Wobbler’s syndrome) and why it’s an increasingly recognized problem in horses.
Summaries of these presentations and more with be available in the Jan. 2013 issue of The Horse as well as on

About the Author

Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor

Alexandra Beckstett, Managing Editor of The Horse and a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as Assistant Editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse.

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