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Stephens Helps Study Overall Health, Longevity of Horses

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Researchers at the University of Missouri and Stephens College have joined forces with the Saint Louis Zoo’s Department of Animal Health and Nutrition and a supplement company in a research project for the betterment of horse health. The study examines new technologies in diagnostics, prevention and treatment of lameness in horses, with possible applications for other hoofed mammals.

"The major goals of the collaboration are to deepen the understanding of equine lameness issues, improve the longevity of equine athletes, and improve the overall quality of life for horses," said Dawna Voelkl, clinical assistant professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Researchers will use horses at Stephens College in the study to determine methods by which animals susceptible to joint ailments may be identified earlier. Students and faculty from Stephens College and MU are working closely to prepare the horses for blood, urine and gait analysis. The first portion of the study will focus on establishing baseline values of certain components found in blood and urine, as well as determining the overall soundness of individual horses through wireless techniques.

"The hope is that diagnosis at an earlier stage will assist with treatment and decrease progression of the problem," said Trista Strauch, assistant professor of resident instruction in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "We are looking for biological markers with the hope that we can help horses with arthritis."

The second portion of the study will involve the administration of a patent-pending nutraceutical product – STEADFAST™ EQUINE – marketed by ARENUS, a retail brand of Novus International, Inc. The research is sponsored by Arenus.

STEADFAST™ EQUINE is described as a complete structural support product designed to maintain normal health, performance and longevity of all components of a horse’s framework – including joints, bones, hooves and other connective tissues. These components may be impacted over time due to athletic performance, environmental conditions and aging.

"Arenus is committed to research that will help deliver better results to our customers," said Jeremy Moore, marketing magager for Novus Nutrition Brands. "We are excited about our relationships with the University of Missouri, Stephens College and the Saint Louis Zoo. Hopefully, this is yet another step toward earlier diagnosis of equine joint and bone issues as well as a better understanding of alternative therapies that can help our horses lead longer, more enjoyable lives."

The research satisfies a requirement for a Mizzou student in the Saint Louis Zoo’s Department of Animal Health and Nutrition, supported by Novus International.

"This collaboration of our programs reflects the equine community’s strong commitment not only to research and education, but also to the promotion of equine wellness programs," said Ellen Beard, chair of Stephens College Equestrian Studies.

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