A new equine research grouping is to be established at the University of Adelaide's Roseworthy Campus, building on successful research into non-invasive diagnostic techniques of the last two years.
Professor Phil Hynd, Head of the Department of Animal Science, says the new focus has the enthusiastic support of Thoroughbred Racing South Australia, South Australian Thoroughbred Breeders Inc and high profile racing and breeding experts, Lindsay Park Racing Stables.
"The equine industry is worth over $8 billion annually to Australia," says Professor Hynd. "It's a significant industry and success is very much driven by the health of the animal, which is also a key focus of the Livestock Systems Alliance based at Roseworthy Campus."
Lindsay Park Racing Stable's Veterinarian, Dr Campbell Baker, has assisted with recent research projects and says racing connections will benefit from an increased focus on equine health research.
"The close partnership between the industry and researchers will support the development of research programs focusing on finding ways to directly improve equine health and nutrition and enable more efficient management for breeders and trainers," Dr Baker says.
Preliminary research undertaken at Roseworthy Campus in the last two years has included development of new testing protocols for lung and digestive tract problems that have the potential to cut short a promising racing career if they go undetected.
The equine research group will work within the Livestock Systems Alliance (LSA), the largest gathering of livestock researchers in Australia. LSA partners include the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Research and Development Institute, Primary Industries and Resources SA, and the Murray Institute of TAFE Faculty of Primary Industries.
"The protocols being developed by the University's researchers are groundbreaking in that they are non-invasive, which is good for the horse, and cost-effective, benefiting the owner," says Professor Hynd.
"Our goal is to develop tests that can be simply and cheaply used by trainers, breeders and owners of horses. This will provide them with tools for detection and monitoring of health problems in high performance animals."