Equine Medicine/Surgery Congress

Veterinarians worldwide were attracted to the prominent names in veterinary medicine who presented topics at the seventh Congress on Equine Medicine and Surgery held in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 11-13, 2001.

“There were over 500 practitioners in attendance from many countries, and a significantly broader area than Europe,” said Leo Jeffcott, BVetMed, PhD, FRCVS, DVSc, MA, DSc, Chairman of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI, the international governing body for equestrian sport) Veterinary Committee and Dean of the veterinary school at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “There were a lot from Asia and Arab countries, and from the United States. The main thrust of the Congress is to be practical for the practitioners. Held every two years, this is the biggest that it’s ever been.”

A pervading theme throughout the conference was understanding the complexities of the equine back—its mechanics, pain, diagnostic methods, and optimal treatment. According to Jeffcott, Michael Weishaupt, DMV, of Zurich, Switzerland, gave a captivating presentation on evaluating horses with back pain on a treadmill. Sue Dyson, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, of the U.K.’s Animal Health Trust, spoke about sacroiliac (SI, the juncture of the sacrum and ilium) pain, and explained how scintigraphy is the most useful diagnostic measurement to use when considering SI disease.

Diagnostic imaging of joints was a favorite segment that featured French anatomist Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, of the University of Alfort.

Steve Reed, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of The Ohio State University reviewed the various clinical signs of  neurological deficits and the successive diagnostic tests which help a veterinarian determine an etiology. He discussed how breed, age, sex, and use of the horse might be helpful in diagnosing the neurologic problem, before discussing the specifics of equine motor neuron disease, equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, and equine herpesvirus myelitis.

Medication Control in Equestrian Competition

The conference culminated with a roundtable on drug testing, a pertinent topic in every arena of equine sport at the moment. The FEI is preparing to revise their rules since drug testing procedures are becoming more sensitive, rendering old medication thresholds unrealistic. “Anton Fürst (DMV, FVH, Dipl. ECVS) of the University of Zurich’s veterinary school, presented the team vet’s point of view, and then I reviewed the FEI’s point of view,” said Jeffcott. A lively discussion ensued between attendees. “We’re looking to protect the sport and the horse, and essentially level the playing field. It is a very difficult task and we have a fair way to go. But we have a good dialogue going,” he added.

The FEI invited Kent Allen, DVM, and John Lengel, DVM, of USA Equestrian’s (USAE) Drugs and Medications committee to a previous FEI meeting in Budapest. The USAE has examined their medication policy closely over recent years (see p. 22), and the FEI wants to learn from those who have fresh experience in investigating the issue. The FEI’s next meeting is the General Assembly in April.

“The overall strategy of any major changes to the way that the medications policy is run is something that’s going to invoke quite a lot of discussion within the FEI, and it will take time before it’s finalized,” he added.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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