Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Rehab results and research - 2015 update

Freya and I have spent a really busy few weeks grinding through the Project Dexter information - the original data on the rehab horses along with the updates owners have sent us since they went home.

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.
* We follow horses for as long as we have information on them - as little as 6 months for recent horses to more than 5 years for horses who were here in 2009 - and during that period 2 horses (3%) were retired or put down for reasons unrelated to lameness (e.g: colic).
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.
The number of horses who come here diagnosed using MRI has increased steadily since the last update with just over 60% of horses having an MRI. Of those horses, 88% returned to full work.

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.


Ligeda said...

I would very much like to share your results with my vet. I would be perfectly happy to pay a "donation" for my copy (or download). Thanks, Leigh :)

cptrayes said...

You need to compare tyres results with those of conventional shoe and drug approaches. From my own knowledge, these results are about four times as good.

I can also tell you that one of your rehabs, George, that is recorded as in light work is only in light work because his owners are too scared to work him and not because he cannot do the work.

Keep those results coming, they are stunning.


Nic Barker said...

Ligeda, email me and I will add you to the list.

C - thank you :-) The original project proposal was for a 3 way comparison between us and conventional treatments, using a control group supplied by a veterinary school. We've supplied our results, I'm just waiting for theirs (and this is 6 years down the line...!).

Alexandra said...

I'm a vet from New Zealand, currently doing a Master of Veterinary Medicine (epidemiology), and a long time observer of the barefoot realm, especially the work of Pete Ramey. I am extremely interested in your results, and am surprised that it's taken me so many years of reading to find them. The rest of the equine podiatry world will be too. Have you had any communication with Dr. Debra Taylor about these findings? Attempted publication in another journal? What progress has been made in the two years since this update? I look forward to reading and hearing more. Kind Regards

Nic Barker said...

Hi Alexandra,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, Deb Taylor is aware of this - I was in touch with her about the time this update was posted though I have not heard anything recently and am not sure if she has moved on.

I have twice submitted the results to BEVA in the UK but on neither occasion were they interested in publication nor did they contact me for more information.

Vets at various UK institutions, including universities and veterinary hospitals have also been sent this information.

Individually, of course, many vets over here are aware of what we do as they have sent horses to us or have consented to horses coming here. Do feel free to email me - nic@rockleyfarm.co.uk - if you'd like any more information.