Equine Research


Introduction

The Faculty of Veterinary Science has a long-standing tradition of excellence in equine studies. Scientists in the Faculty have international reputations in the fields of equine infectious diseases, behaviour, welfare and equine exercise physiology. Additionally, the Faculty has maintained a Horse Unit at Camden for over 20 years, which has provided teaching and research opportunities for students and staff.

Currently, the group is broadening their outlook and diversifying their range of collaborations. Research will continue into the health and performance of horses, as will A/Prof Paul McGreevy’s work into the behaviour and welfare of horses, with the advent of equitation science, a field in which he specializes. In addition to this, new areas of expertise are opening up in respiratory and reproductive diseases with the commencement of Dr Gary Muscatello’s lectureship at the Faculty. Two more new academics in the group will also allow further widening of research topics, with Dr Peter Knight and Dr Darian Feary hoping to look at pharmagenetics amongst other things.

The group has members of staff who are actively involved in the equine breeding, racing and equesterian industries, who have official roles in these areas. Industry and University-based collaborations have been increased since new members of staff have been appointed and include such links as with the Olympic Games, Racing New South Wales and the Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre.

During 2007, the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital (formerly UVCC) at Camden received new state-of-the-art equipment for the treatment of large animals, particularly horses. These include digital radiography equipment, a high speed treadmill, a standing MRI scanner, a new facility for nuclear scintigraphy and two digital ultrasound machines which allow the centre to diagnose poor performance and lameness with greater accuracy.

One of the keys to the success of the equine research at the University is the commitment and enthusiasm of postgraduate students who have been involved in a wide range of research projects in various areas of equine veterinary science. Furthermore, because of the horse's unique physiology as a great natural athlete, comparative physiological studies undertaken in the Faculty have been important for better understanding of human exercise and training. However, the overriding aim is to improve the welfare of horses and act as a resource to an industry that has great economic importance for Australia.