Research

Research, Promotion of young researchers and provided services … for the benefit of the horse

ISME carries out horse-related research in collaboration with leading national and international partners in:

  • Hereditary backgrounds, prevention and therapy of respiratory, muscular, dental and skin diseases
  • Reproduction methods, fertility and well-being of breeding animals
  • Prevention and fighting of infectious diseases
  • Equine sports medicine, performance physiology and rehabilitation
  • Animal welfare and well-being

The results gained from these research projects can be applied in practice. Specialized services are offered in both clinics across the two locations.

Research projects at ISME

Pulmonary diseases

Horses which are kept in permanent stabling are exposed to a variety of allergens and irritants, which do not occur in a natural environment. In first place is hay dust, which contains mould spores and so-called endotoxins (toxins produced by microorganisms), which can trigger allergies. Such allergens and irritants are responsible for a series of wide-spread, non-contagious pulmonary diseases. As a connection with stabling clearly exists, these diseases are in a way civilization diseases.

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Fertility disorders

Fertility disorders in breeding animals with a high breeding potential are not a rarity and of significance technically, emotionally as well as economically. In spite of most modern breeding methods and – management, foal rates are still lower than in nature.

ISME has conducted controlled studies with mares which had permanent contact with stallions and significant changes in their sexual behavior as well as an improved fertility could be detected.

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Equine sarcoid

In most cases the effective treatment of sarcoids is a big challenge for veterinarians, horse-, donkey- and mule owners and the affected patients. These skin tumors are characterized by a high chance of recurrence and depending on localization on the animal (eyelid, on joints...) removal is often very difficult.

At ISME, continuative experimental and clinical studies are in progress at present with the goal to research the still unexplained origin and spreading of this disease and to develop new treatment approaches.

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Gait analysis

Lameness causes massive losses in horses of all breeds and disciplines. The diagnosis and treatment is often extensive and frustrating for horse owners and veterinarians alike. Until recently, all lameness cases were diagnosed by subjective analysis of the examination. ISME is newly working on an objective analysis method.

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Metabolic disorders

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is a condition particularly prevalent in horses and ponies that are referred to as “easy keepers”. EMS shows many parallelisms with Metabolic Syndrome in people. In people, the main concern of metabolic syndrome is an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease (hypertension, stroke, myocardial infarct heart failure etc.). In contrast, the main risk of EMS in horses lies in the propensity to develop laminitis.

The risk for developing cardiovascular disease in horses with EMS has not been thoroughly studied, however. In cooperation with dedicated owners and referring veterinarians, the ISME is conducting a clinical study to determine possible cardiovascular effects in horses and ponies with EMS.

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Electromyography

High-degree ataxia without failure of the central nervous system, with or without clearly reduced flexibility of the neck in grown horses and foals shows together with medical history in most cases the localization of the cause: the neck.

At ISME, we examine in a clinical study, if and how well the results of the quantitative electromyography (qEMG) of the neck muscles of the horse corresponds with imaging and pathological findings.  The reliability of this method is being examined herewith.

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Joint diseases

Joint diseases are a common cause for lameness in horses. In most cases diagnoses can be made via conventional lameness exams with conduction- and joint anesthesia and subsequent X-Rays, resp. ultrasound. Articular cartilage and other soft parts can be depicted in more detail via magnetic resonance tomographic exams. Other lesions however cannot be diagnosed with an imaging method. For such a diagnosis an arthroscopy is necessary.

At ISME continuative experimental and clinical studies are in progress at present to make this technique useful for other joints like the tarsal joint, the fetlock joint and the carpal joint as well as for the podotrochlear bursa.

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Atypical myopathy in grazing horses

Fohlen mit atypischer WeidemyopathieWe don’t have any current projects on Equine Atypical Myopathy. Please find further information about the disease here:

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