Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 Equine Science Society Symposium

Recently, the Purina team travelled to Murfreesboro, TN, for the Equine Science Society Symposium. If you’ve never heard of the Equine Science Society, you can learn more about it at their website. The Society is comprised of equine scientists from both academia and industry, and the bi-annual symposium is a place where any significant research in the fields of nutrition, reproduction, exercise physiology, genetics, management, and many other fields pertaining to equine health and management are presented. Basically, anyone doing any “real” research involving equine science will be at this meeting. Many cutting edge ideas and technologies in nutrition and other aspects of horse management are presented here first. This is why I personally had to be there, even if it meant hauling my 8-week old son along with me. He handed the trip very well, by the way, and check out the amount of stuff we needed for just 4 days (good thing we drove and did not fly)!

I also was there to present the data from two of Purina’s research studies in the poster session. One of the studies was entitled “Evaluation of the safety and performance of an enteral diet formulated specifically for horses”. This was the culmination of the research that went into the development of our new liquid diet for sick horses, Wellsolve Well-Gel, which is now currently available to veterinarians. The other study was entitled “Milk composition in mares fed a fat and fiber-added concentrate”. This data was compiled as part of the research that was done for the development of Ultium Growth. Dr. Mary Beth Gordon presented the majority of the data from the Ultium Growth project in an oral presentation, which covered the growth characteristics and the glucose/insulin dynamics of foals on the trial. She did an excellent job presenting the comprehensive data that spanned the course of two years. This data showed that feeding foals a typical sweet feed such as Omolene 300 will not cause them to become insulin resistant. Her final summarizing comment that “carbohydrates are not always evil” was met with hearty applause by the scientists in the audience! Dr. Kathy Williamson also gave a presentation that discussed our use of a GPS tracking system to assess the activity level of the foals on the Ultium Growth research trial. All of these studies were published in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

In addition to me and Drs. Gordon and Williamson, Drs. Raub, Davison, and Young, several members of our sales force, and Mike and Andrea from the research farm were in attendance. I am very proud of the fact that I work for a company that remains active in equine nutrition research and emphasizes proven science over fads and hype, which seems to be the norm for many feed and supplement companies these days. I know it is often hard for horse owners to decipher what is real from what is just a “good story”, because marketers do such a good job of making outrageous claims sound so…legitimate. If you ever question the validity of a claim, just ask to be shown the science that supports that claim. At Purina, I can assure you that we go to great lengths to ensure that any claim we make is backed by solid research and proven results.

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