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FAST Needs Volunteers For Research Study



FAST, The Foundation for the Advancement & Support of the Tennessee Walking Show Horse, has been asked by the University of Minnesota to help them obtain information from the owners of Tennessee Walking Horses who have had laminitis or who have shown symptoms of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).  The next part of their study is being done on Tennessee Walking Horses, Morgans, Welsh Ponies and Paso Finos. 

The University is looking for 500 hundred more participants in their study.  The following is a press release that goes into detail on what you can do to participate in the study.  FAST is  happy to assist the University of Minnesota in obtaining information for the long range health and well being of the Tennessee Walking Horse.  Please help us continue to invest in the future of this wonderful breed.  FAST is a 501(c)3 foundation with all donations being tax deductible. Make your donation to FAST today at www.FASTwalkingshowhorse.org

Horses needed for metabolic syndrome and laminitis research
 
The Equine Genetics research group at the University of Minnesota-College of Veterinary Medicine is collaborating with Drs. Ray Geor (Michigan State) and Nicholas Frank (University of Tennessee) to investigate the occurrence and genetics of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).  EMS is a condition characterized by obesity and/or regional adiposity (cresty neck), elevation of blood insulin levels, and increased risk of laminitis.  Certain horses seem to be predisposed to EMS, and are often referred to as "easy keepers.”  These horses are very efficient at using calories and often require a lower level of nutrition to maintain body weight than other horses.  This difference in EMS susceptibility among horses managed under similar conditions is likely the result of a genetic predisposition.

The goal of this investigation is to better understand the role of breed, gender, age, environment (diet and exercise) and genetics in EMS.  The success of the study depends on the collection of data from as many horses with EMS as possible; therefore, assistance of horse owners and their veterinarians is critical.  We have been fortunate to have received help from over 500 horse owners thus far who have taken the time to provide us with information about their horses.  The contribution of these horse owners has already proven to be helpful in increasing our understanding of EMS and laminitis.  However, in order to meet all of our research goals, the help of many more horse owners is needed.  We aim to identify genetic markers that will predict a horse’s risk for developing EMS and laminitis before they have clinical signs, allowing management practices to be initiated that better protect them from developing disease.
  
Participation in the study involves 3 steps: 
1. The first step is to fill out a brief, 10 question survey located at www.cvm.umn.edu/equinegenetics/EMS/home.html 
2. If the horse is selected as a potential candidate, the owner will be sent a link to a second online survey requesting additional information regarding diet and exercise, a few simple body measurements, and photos of the horse suspected of EMS in addition information about another horse on the property not suspected of having EMS to serve as a “control.” 
3. Owners of horses selected for inclusion in the genetic study will be asked to work with their veterinarian to provide 1) a blood sample that will be analyzed free of charge and include testing for insulin, glucose, ACTH, and lipids, and 2) feed, hay, and pasture samples that will also be analyzed free of charge.  Both owner and veterinarian will receive notification of the results.  A portion of the blood sample will be used for DNA isolation and stored for genetic research.  
 
Horse owners assisting in the project will be providing information essential to further understanding EMS and ultimately determining ways to better manage and treat horses suffering from EMS.  To learn more about the equine metabolic research project and how you can help make a difference in the welfare of many horses, please visit: www.cvm.umn.edu/equinegenetics/EMS/home.html

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