University of Missouri, Stephens College and the Saint Louis Zoo are planning a study of lameness, according to a press release.
"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, in a statement.
The horses of Stephens College, a women's school in Columbia, Mo. with an extensive riding and equine studies program will serve as guinea pigs for the study, which will study how to identify lameness problems earlier. The students get hands-on experience-they will be taking blood and urine samples as well as performing gait analysis.
"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, in a statement. "We are looking for biological markers with the hope that we can help horses with arthritis."