A University of Missouri professor is on the Stephens College campus this week collecting blood samples from horses at the equestrian facilities.
The samples serve as comparisons for Dr. Philip Johnson, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, and others at the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
“Stephens' horses tend to be young, healthy and athletic,” Johnson said. “They’re good, normal horses and are easy to work with. At the hospital, we’re working with sick horses, so we use the blood samples as controls.”
The Stephens College Equestrian Studies program has been collaborating with veterinary faculty and researchers at MU for years. The proximity of the Stephens stables to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine makes for convenient partnerships. And that especially comes in handy when a hospitalized horse is in need of a blood transfusion.
“If a horse needs blood to save its life, we have an arrangement that lets us collect from the Stephens horses,” Johnson said, adding that he logs the horses’ blood types in advance. “That’s a great resource.”
Stephens’ equestrian faculty and students have also assisted in lameness locator research, as well as a study determining the benefits of resveratrol—the antioxidant found in red wine—in horse supplements.
For Stephens, the partnership means giving students a broader educational experience, said Becky Clervi, program coordinator.
“Students get to learn from it,” she said, noting that there are currently four research projects happening at the stables. “They’re getting to observe and work alongside researchers and make new types of connections.”
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