Go with Your Gut: Learn from the Racehorse Gut Health & Ulcer/Colic Prevention Course on TheHorsePortal.ca

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For the third year in a row, Equine Guelph has partnered with Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), Ontario Racing and Standardbred Canada to offer three online courses in Winter of 2024 in priority healthcare areas of lameness, respiratory and gut health. Sponsored by COSA, the Racehorse Gut Health & Ulcer/Colic Prevention course is the second course in the series to digest after the lameness prevention course offering.

The two-week online short course, developed specifically for the horse racing industry, will be offered from February 12 – 23, 2024 and will be available FREE (value of $95) to the first 100 AGCO licence holders and/or Standardbred Canada members who enroll.

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Participants in 2023 enjoyed the new material added on stomach ulcers and learned how underdiagnosed they are, especially among racehorses. The 2024 offering will contain new material again with a special video interview with forage specialist Dr. Paul Sharpe discussing the importance of hay testing to your horse’s gut health and dispelling some common nutrition myths.

Course participants learn how to detect early signs of colic, assess management plans and develop preventative strategies.  They will be able to identify risk factors and understand different types of colic and gastro-intestinal issues including ulcers.  They have ample praise for this short course that is packed full of practical information.

I enjoyed learning about the role of stress, exercise, and the anticipation of being fed on increased stomach acid. Specifically, the role anxiety plays in contributing to ulcers. The buffering effect of alfalfa hay and specifically how grazing position behaviour (head below the withers 15 degrees) greatly reduces ulcers.”

It was an excellent informative course which provided me a much better understanding of colic and ulcers and what I can do to lessen the chances my horse gets either!”

Dr. Nicole Weidner will act as course instructor and Dr. Sarah Shaw will be on-hand in week two as guest expert with expert knowledge on ulcers. 

Dr. Weidner completed an MSc and PhD in animal nutrition at the Ontario Veterinary College. Her research examined links between nutrition and disease in animals.  She’s worked as a guest lecturer and instructor in courses offered through the University of Guelph and has also been involved in the development of courses and educational tools. She’s interested in scientific outreach and communication, especially when it’s related to horse nutrition, health and/or welfare.

Dr. Sarah Shaw is a private practice owner and a large animal internal medicine specialist working in Ontario, Canada. After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College, she spent one year in a large animal ambulatory practice and then completed an internship at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala. She then pursued a large animal internal medicine residency at Texas A&M. In 2016, Dr. Shaw began working at Rotenberg Veterinary P.C. and has developed a diverse equine internal medicine referral caseload. As part of her referral medicine, Dr. Shaw performs a large number of gastroscopies in racehorses and sport horses and frequently works up gastrointestinal issues in horses.

Weidner and Shaw will be discussing common causes of gut health issues and recent research updates for racehorses as well as early detection and prevention.  You will also learn about the practical ways you can reduce your colic risk, best practices for detecting GI issues, how to manage an afflicted horse and the latest research.

Weidner and Shaw will also be joined by Industry Ambassadors, Ruleen Lilley and Renée Kierans, who will be on-hand as peer helpers to assist students and ask questions on hot topics.

In the 2017 Ontario Horse Racing Industry Survey conducted by Equine Guelph, ‘colic and gut issues’ was ranked the number as one of the top three health issues of concern.

“We at COSA feel privileged to be able to provide a course in the education of the health and welfare of horses,” says Bill O’Donnell, President, Central Ontario Standardbred Association.

Trainers, Grooms, Owners – Sign up now for the free Racehorse Gut Health & Ulcer/Colic Prevention starting February 12. Help your racehorses reach their full potential. For those who have never taken an online course before, no prior online learning experience is required. Limited registrations available.  Be sure to hold the dates and register now for these two-week racing-exclusive online courses! 

Racehorse Injury/Lameness Prevention & Care:  Jan 22 – Feb 2, 2024

Racehorse Gut Health & Ulcer/Colic Prevention:  February 12 – 23, 2024

Racehorse Respiratory Health:  March 4 – 15, 2024