Its a really time-consuming job to compile and assess it all and the last time I had the chance to update the results was in February 2012 - which went up on this blog page - so the most recent update is long overdue.
For those who are new to the blog, Project Dexter is our research project on the horses who come here diagnosed with palmar hoof pain (including navicular, DDFT and related injuries). We record details of their diagnosis and level of lameness and, crucially, follow up their progress once they are back home.
We have had over a hundred horses here since 2009 (when Project Dexter started) and the new update includes all the horses who are at least 6 months or longer into their rehab (79% of owners responded).
So here are the key results:
- 85% of horses* returned to full work after rehab - "full work" being defined as the same level of work or higher than before they went lame. What "full work" comprises will depend on what each particular horse was doing before its lameness - it could be hunting, eventing, jumping, dressage or simply hacking out over all terrain.
- 15% of horses returned to light work after rehab - "light work" being defined as work at a lower level than before they went lame. Of this group, 3 horses were retired or put down for reasons which were linked to their original lameness.
Looking at those results in more detail:
- 91% of horses were in full work 1 year after their rehab.
- 85% of horses were still in full work 2 years after their rehab.
- 89% of horses were still in full work 4 years after their rehab. However as the project only started in 2009 there is a relatively small numbers of horses who were here 4+ years ago.
I will be sending abstracts and the details and methodology to the various vets and equine professionals who have contributed to or expressed an interest in these results and I hope that it may be a stepping stone to further research - perhaps the MRI project I blogged about last year. Whatever happens, you will hear it here first.
Many thanks not just to Freya, without whom this would never have been completed, but also to all the owners who have taken the time to send updates on their horses. Huge thanks also to all of you who have given (invaluable!) actual and virtual support and encouragement since 2009.