Among the hot topics this year were nutritional supplements, infectious disease, and metabolism problems.

What do nutritional supplements, infectious diseases, and snake bites have in common? All were considered “hot topics” in equine health at the 2008 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

According to Jenn Armbruster, communications and media relations manager for the ACVIM, “2,566 veterinarians, 375 technicians, and 92 veterinary students attended, and approximately 300 scientific sessions, and more than 350 posters and oral research abstracts, were presented at this year’s conference.”

In this article we will relate the hottest topics presented during the equine portion of the seminar.

Nutritional Supplements

Four speakers contributed information on various aspects of supplementation in the nutrition session, demonstrating the continued popularity and widespread interest in this topic among equine practitioners.

An overview of the use of some dietary supplements, including minerals, herbs, vitamins, and nonherbal organ-specific products, was presented by Meri Stratton-Phelps, DVM, MPVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVN, of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Stratton-Phelps cautioned that many supplements are void of scientific data regarding efficacy or safety, and that only after establishing the overall health of the horse should an individualized supplementation program be developed.

John Caron, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, professor in equine surgery at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, discussed the role of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate-containing nutritional supplements and the potential impact of these products on clinical sign and disease progression in horses with osteoa