By Jacqueline Harrison

After spending several years of her academic career dedicated to improving the understanding of equine inflammatory processes, Stacy Anderson, DVM, MVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, knows her fair share about why horses and inflammation don’t mix.

“Horses do not do well with inflammation,” said Anderson, who completed her PhD program on the equine inflammation topic in 2015. Her graduate supervisor was Baljit Singh, BvSc&AH, MVSc, PhD, of the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, in Saskatoon.

“We are trying to better understand the inflammatory process starting at the cellular level,” she explained. “From there, we can work on determining why horses are so susceptible, and how to appropriately deal with equine inflammation in the future.”

With Anderson’s help, I approached the issue of equine inflammation from the unique angle of a simple variable—temperature—during my work as a research student during the summer of 2015.

The specific goal of my research was to better understand how equine neutrophils (a type of circulating white blood cells) function with and without exposure to infectious agents at various incubation temperatures.

Anyone who has experienced a bacterial infection knows that with inflammation comes pain, redness, swelling, and heat. Neutrophils are one of the major players in the process of inflammation.

They’re activated by numerous possible signals—including chemo attractants released from othe