Researchers Unite to Search for Cause of Crisis

By Kimberly S. Graetz

Over and over the refrain has been heard for the past two weeks--the horse industry is lucky to have the equine expertise concentrated in Central Kentucky, especially during this time of all-out war against an unknown killer. Dr. Roger Murphy, president of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association and the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, opened the informational meeting the evening of May 10 with the statement: "I'm proud to be a part of an industry that can unify in the face of adversity."

Dr. David Powell, an epidemiologist with the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center, said he has been coordinating various teams pulled together to investigate the problems in horse health currently happening in Kentucky and other states. He listed the following investigative groups:

Dr. Tom Tobin, an expert in drugs and medications at the Gluck Center, is in charge of a team looking through literature to find individuals with expertise nationally, and internationally, and laboratories capable of conducting testing needed for the current situation.

Dr. Peter Timoney, Director of the Gluck Center, is in charge of ensuring the researchers have the finances to undertake the needed studies.

Roger Allman, pasture consultant at The Farm Clinic in Kentucky, is in charge of collecting pasture samples from affected and non-affected farms. A large number of samples has been stored for future study.

Dr. Lenn Harrison, Director of the Kentucky Disease Diagnostic Center, is responsible for collecting animal samples. Some of those samples also will be saved for future testing.

Dr. Roberta Dwyer, veterinary preventative medicine specialist at the Gluck Center, is organizing individuals to identify risk factors. This might involve farm visits.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture communication department will update the web site, which Powell said was an "integral part of the dissemination of accurate information to ensure everyone locally, nationally, and internationally has access to information." The two addresses given were: and