Current Research Areas
The CEVR supports researchers with a wide variety of interests. Current areas of strength for the Center are outlined below:
Laminitis is a painful condition of the foot that causes severe lameness and damages attachments that hold the hoof in place and support the weight of the horse. This condition is commonly known as founder and many horse owners have encountered this problem. It affects horses of all breeds and disciplines – from the show horse to the family pony. Once the process has started, laminitis can damage the attachments of the foot so severely that the horse is unable to be ridden and may have to be euthanized. Laminitis is a devastating disease that has been identified as the number one priority for equine research nationally.
University of Tennessee researchers have been studying laminitis in horses since 1994 when Dr. Dallas Goble and Dr. Steve Adair published their new technique for measuring blood flow within the equine foot. Dr. Adair continues this work and is measuring blood flow to assess new treatments for laminitis. New shoeing and trimming techniques for managing chronic laminitis are also being developed in collaboration with Mr. Dudley Hurst, who is a registered farrier with extensive experience in the area of laminitis.
Dr. Tom Doherty and residents from his section conduct research to improve anesthesia protocols for horses. They have examined drugs to reduce pain sensation during surgery and different combinations of anesthetics.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy research
Researchers from the CEVR have assessed the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for the management of skin grafts and for the prevention of systemic illness caused by bacterial infection. Researchers in this area include Dr. Jim Schumacher, Dr. Steve Adair, Dr. Tom Doherty, Dr. Carla Sommardahl, and Dr. Madhu Dhar. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been established at the University of Tennessee through the work of Dr. Dennis Geiser. Click on the following link to find out more information about HBOT.
Several members of the CEVR perform research to study problems occurring in horses that are receiving treatment in our Veterinary Medical Center. Dr. Jim Schumacher has recently performed a study to examine suspensory ligament desmitis, which is a cause of lameness in horses. This study has improved our understanding of the condition and helped us develop methods for treating the problem in horses. Laminitis is another important cause of lameness and, as stated above, clinical research and experimental studies are ongoing at the University of Tennessee.