Hands-On Training: AAEP Convention Wet Labs

A series of wet labs was available to veterinarians before and after the scientific sessions. The lab topics included dentistry, lameness diagnosis, neurology, reproduction, ultrasound, advanced ultrasound, and laser surgery.

Juan Samper, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, the immediate past president of the Society for Theriogenology (SFT, a group of researchers and veterinarians specializing in animal reproduction), said the reproduction wet lab was a bit different from the others this year. This year's reproduction wet lab was created and put on by the SFT for AAEP.

"Everyone was happy with the arrangement, and we hope to  keep doing this year after year using different topics," said Samper.

For this year's reproduction wet lab, there were five sessions that attendees rotated through during the day. They were physical examination of the stallion using ultrasound and endoscopy, semen collection, evaluation of raw semen, handling and breeding of mares with frozen semen, and handling of cooled shipped semen.

"Several people said this was the best CE (continuing education) day they had ever spent," said Samper. "Those comments made all the work worthwhile."

The Society for Theriogenology has begun hosting wet labs on various topics across the country. "We are trying to help people understand that 60% of large animal practice involves reproduction of some type," said Samper, who encouraged anyone who is breeding mares or encountering reproductive problems with their horses to seek out someone board-certified in theriogenology (a Diplomate in the American College of Theriogenology, or Dipl. ACT).

"Go to the specialist. In the long run, it is better for the horse and will cost less than not getting focused on the right problem from the start," said Samper.

Others instructing at the lab were John Hurtgen, DVM, Dipl. ACT; Lloyd Kloppe, DVM, Dipl. ACT; Charlie Love, DVM, PhD; Dickson Varner, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT; Joe Manning, DVM, Dipl. ACT; Margo Macpherson, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT; and Ed Squires, MS, PhD. This lab took place at Exclusively Equine Reproduction, owned by Richard K. Tramp, DVM.

Other Wet Labs

Dentistry was instructed by Jack Easley, DVM; B.A. Rucker, DVM; Leon Scrutchfield, DVM; Tom Johnson, DVM; Tom Loafmann, DVM; Alex Wales, DVM; and Mike Lowder, DVM. The purpose of the wet lab was to provide participants with:

  • A working knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the equine masticatory system;
  • Principles of a complete masticatory system examination and a system for recording findings;
  • A basic understanding of the pathophysiology of dental disease;
  • Proper horse handling and equipment safety precautions; and
  • A mastery of the principles of proper dental corrective procedures.

Lameness diagnosis was instructed by Ted Stashak, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS; Joe Foerner, DVM, Dipl. ACVS; Clifford Honnas, DVM, Dipl. ACVS; and Frank Nickels, DVM, Dipl. ACVS. This lab provided participants with current information on the use of perineural and intrasynovial anesthesia for lameness diagnosis. Surgical procedures discussed included palmar digital neurectomy, annular ligament desmotomy, inferior check ligament desmotomy, cunean tenectomy, and medial patellar desmotomy. Participants had the opportunity to perform nerve blocks and intrasynovial (joints, bursae, and tendon sheath) injections on cadaver limbs in the afternoon session.

Neurology was instructed by Stephen Reed, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM; Barrie Grant, DVM, Dipl. ACVS; Jim Robertson, DVM; Norm Rantanen, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVR; and George Bagby, MD. Full neurological examinations were performed using videotaped examples of horses with the most common causes of ataxia. These included head tilt, cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, equine motor neuron disease, and equine degenerative myelopathy.

Ultrasound was instructed by Virginia Reef, DVM; Keith Chaffin, DVM; Ron Genovese, VMD; and Dave Schmitz, DVM. This wet lab allowed practitioners to experience equine ultrasonography using abnormal cases. The emphasis of the course was on musculoskeletal abnormalities in the metacarpal region, pastern, and metatarsal region. Participants were also instructed on how to perform a critical ultrasonographic evaluation of the tendons and ligaments, heart, lung, cranial mediastinum, liver, kidneys, spleen, gastrointestinal viscera, and pregnant mare in mid- to late gestation.

Laser surgery was instructed by Ken Sullins, DVM, MS; and Scott Palmer, VMD, Dipl. ABVP. The lab included all upper airway and general surgical procedures currently performed with lasers. The wavelengths included the diode/Nd:YAG, carbon dioxide, and pulsed-dye lasers. In the lab, specimens were provided for instruction in upper airway endoscopic and general surgery procedures.

The wet lab on advanced ultrasound imaging was conducted by Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD (above left), Norm Rantanen, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVR, and Tasha Werpy. Attendees could hone their skills on live animals with the guidance of experts. The course emphasized routine major tendon and ligament examinations, including the vertebral column. Detailed descriptions of the anatomy and pathology were displayed in video presentations throughout the sessions.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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