More on research - I feel that the themes for this week will focus almost exclusively on rehab and snow, because I think those will be the boundaries of my world for the next few days :-) The horses, as you can see, are quite happy but its bizarre weather...especially for November.... :-0
I came across an interesting article in the Equine Veterinary Journal this week - it was actually published earlier this year - the abstract is here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00081.x/abstract
The research looked at horses who had been diagnosed with foot pain and undergone MRI. It was a retrospective study, looking at 56 horses who had been given prescribed remedial farriery, a period of box rest followed by hand-walking and anti-inflammatories. The researchers then followed up the horses a year later, using an owners questionnaire, to find out whether the horses had returned to their previous level of work.
You won't be surprised to learn that most horses did not return to their previous level of work, and horses who had DDFT and collateral sesamoidean ligament lesions were the least likely to improve: 78% of the horses with DDFT lesions failed to return to work; 83% of the horses who had collateral sesamoidean ligament damage failed to return to work.
Here are the conclusions in the researchers' own words:
"Horses with multiple foot lesions managed with conservative therapy have a guarded prognosis for long-term soundness. Deep digital flexor tendinopathies negatively influence prognosis."
Two things leapt out at me out from this.
Firstly, that the Project Dexter research is a lot more credible - even without veterinary re-assessment - than I had previously realised; if follow-up data based on phone calls to owners can be published in the EVJ, then there is surely hope for the Dexter data?
Secondly, given that our results - even on a preliminary basis - are significantly better than conventional therapies, perhaps we can start to really interest vets in what we are doing...? I am redoubling my efforts to get someone interested in reviewing and publishing the Dexter results - its been an uphill battle so far, so if any of you have suggestions or advice on getting this done, please let me know!