LEXINGTON, KY. — Researchers, industry leaders and funding agencies gathered to develop a blueprint for future success in equine research.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation hosted more than 35 participants who are devising ways
to adequately fund advances in equine medical research as the field becomes more technical and expensive.
"Greater advances will require greater funding," explains Nat White, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, chairman of the AAEP Foundation Advisory
Committee, the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center at the Virginia-Maryland
Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. "The treatment of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's life-threatening injury exemplifies
the state-of-the-art advances that have taken equine medicine to a new level. Future breakthroughs will continue to be technologically
driven and will require the funding of state-of-the-art laboratories, to be run by sophisticated investigators."
To meet this funding goal, summit participants recommended a horse-owner education and fundraising campaign about the benefits
of equine research.
An audit of other potential funding sources also will be conducted.
In tandem with the need for increased research funding is the concern that there are not enough researchers to conduct future
equine research projects.
Attendees recommended increasing stipends for graduate students conducting research, and encouraged funding agencies to include
the cost of graduate fellowships in their budgets. To attract more researchers to equine science, recruitment of these individuals
should start in veterinary school.
An additional priority identified at the summit was the need for an equine disease database that will allow for disease tracking
and investigation on a national scale. To make this a reality, a subcommittee of summit participants will investigate how
the practice-management systems used in private equine practice could have integrated software to consistently record key
information about disease developments.
In addition to the AAEP Foundation, other supporting sponsors of the summit were the American Live Stock Insurance Company,
the AQHA Foundation, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, the Havemeyer Foundation and the Morris Animal Foundation.
A complete report of the meeting's outcomes and directives is available on