AAEP Convention Preview: Education for Horse Owners at the AAEP Convention

Horseman's Day

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), enthused by the response to last year's inaugural Horseman's Day, will host a program for horse owners again this year as part of the annual veterinary meeting in San Diego. The day of lectures will begin with registration at 8 a.m. on Nov. 25, and will feature six hour-long presentations by veterinarians on horse health issues.

The concept of Horseman's Day is an outgrowth of the organization's effort to increase horse owner education, says Lori Roberts, Director of Education for AAEP. The decision to stage the first Horseman's Day was made at a board meeting in 1999 and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

"It just made sense to use our greatest resource, our members, to deliver owner education," says Roberts.

A total of 180 horse enthusiasts filled the room at the first Horseman's Day last year, listened attentively, and when the sessions ended, lined up to ask questions and visit with the presenters.

Last year, Horseman's Day was held the day after the AAEP convention closed. This year, it will be held on opening day. Because of this, enrollees are in for an extra benefit--they will have access to the trade show that is held in conjunction with the annual AAEP gathering. This year, more than 300 exhibitors will have booths during the convention.

Some of the topics for this year's Horseman's Day are repeats from what was presented in San Antonio, and there is a reason for that decision. Persons attending last year were asked to rate the presentations in order of interest. Several of the topics received particularly high marks, and it was decided to repeat some of the subject matter in a different geographic locale.

New to the program will be:

"Colic--California Style" will be presented by Jack Snyder, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, chief of equine lameness and surgery and a professor at the University of California-Davis. Snyder says his talk will deal with some of the causes of colic, with an emphasis on problems that seem to be unique to California and other parts of the West.

Among those unique causes of colic are enteroliths or "stones" that develop in the large intestines and sometimes cause blockages that can produce colic. No one knows why the "stones" have a tendency to develop in horses located in California and the West, but Snyder will share information and theories that have resulted from research at UC-Davis.

An important part of his presentation for the horse enthusiast will be a discussion of how to prevent colic from occurring in the first place.

"Is He Lame or Is He Neurologic?" will be presented by Barrie Grant, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, a former professor and head of the equine division at Washington State University, and now in private referral practice at the San Luis Rey Equine Center in California.

The question before the owner when a horse demonstrates signs of lameness, Grant says, is whether the animal is truly lame or whether it is suffering from EPM, herpes, West Nile virus, wobbler syndrome, or some other neurologic disorder.

Grant will describe a series of tests, such as turning the horse in a tight circle, backing him, trotting him up and down hills, etc., to help determine the root cause of the lameness/neurologic problem.

"Recognizing and Managing Equine Emergencies" will be presented by Gary Magdesian, DVM, of Vacaville, Calif. As the topic suggests, he will be telling horse owners how to recognize a true emergency and what to do about it until help arrives.

Subjects and presenters who were on last year's program and will be back this year include:

"Nutrition for the Lifetime of Your Horse" will be presented by Brett Scott , PhD, Dipl. ACAN, a professor and extension horse specialist at Texas A&M University. Last year's presenter, Pete Gibbs, PhD, Dipl. ACAN, a professor and extension horse specialist at Texas A&M University, divided his talk into three parts--feeding the young horse, nutritional management of pregnant and lactating mares, and feeding the performance horse. This year's participants can expect much of the same.

"What's New in the Ongoing Struggle Against Founder?" will be presented by Bill Moyer, DVM, professor and head of the Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery at Texas A&M University. Moyer, a straight-from-the-hip speaker, will first outline what happens when laminitis occurs. He also will define horses considered to be at risk, such as the inactive, overweight horse. He will conclude by recommending what the horse owner should do when a horse founders.

"Trailer Loading Made Easy" will be presented by Andy Anderson, DVM, who operates Equine Veterinary Associates in Broken Arrow, Okla. Anderson, a lanky man with a bushy mustache and a sharp wit, takes the approach that force is counter-productive when loading a horse into a trailer. His method involves gentle persuasion to convince the horse that it is more comfortable inside the trailer than outside. He includes film footage of his method.

For more information or to register for Horseman's Day, contact Lori Roberts at the AAEP office, 800/443-0177; 859/233-0147; lroberts@aaep.org; www.myHorseMatters.com/Events/horsemansDay/HDOwnerPR.html.

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