The mission of the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory at New Bolton Center is to promote the welfare of the working horse and the integrity of sport through pharmacological and forensic research.
Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamics Research and Exercise Physiology
The Equine Pharmacology Laboratory supports PETRL by performing pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies to determine the length of time needed following treatment before a horse can safely and ethically return to racing.
Horses are kept fit on an equine exerciser and high speed treadmill and a variety of physiological parameters can be studied using state of the art diagnostic equipment. Equine calorimiter masks directly measure oxygen consumption in ridden or treadmill exercised horses as a measure of fitness. Cardiac fitness is evaluated using heart rate monitors and an exercising electrocardiogram system. Bloodwork monitoring allows detection of metabolic and physiologic changes associated with exercise and fitness.
Studying the metabolism of a variety of medications in exercised Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses enables more accurate prediction values in the Pennsylvania racehorse population at large.
Some therapies used in racehorses cannot be detected by standard drug testing methods (for example extracorporeal shockwave therapy). Serum biomarkers are being pursued as a means to detect application of such therapies to race-horses. Biomarkers are factors that are objectively measured and serve as surrogate markers of physiological or pathological biological processes or pharmacological responses to a therapeutic intervention. They can be metabolites, lipids, proteins or RNA transcripts. The Equine Pharmacology Laboratory has developed methods to quantify 10 proteins and 25 lipids associated with inflammatory pathways in the horse as well as for isolationof RNA, DNA and proteins from equine blood samples to investigate gene expression, transcriptomics and metabolomics.
Equine biomarkers can be used to monitor the effects of medication treatment and disease progression and have the potential to enable early detection of musculo-skeletal injury which could help prevent catastrophic injuries in racehorses.
Our Facilities & Equipment
In addition to the numerous resources at New Bolton Center, including the Equine Performance and Evaluation Facility, the Jeffords treadmill, and extensive imaging capabilities, the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory offers a full-service lab, along with a round pen facility specifically designed to be used for physiological research of active equines.
Equine Pharmacology Laboratory