Evidence-based medicine in equine clinical practice

Smith, Luisa J. (2006) Evidence-based medicine in equine clinical practice. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The principles of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) have been well documented in the medical literature, with many examples of the successful application of these principles to the clinical environment. Despite this widespread acceptance of these principles throughout the medical profession, there has been resistance to adopt such an approach in the veterinary profession. To date, there are. few examples in the literature of the application of the principles of evidence-based medicine to either clinical or scientific research. The aim of this study was to design a series of investigations of equine diseases, and implement them at three private equine hospitals. A variety of study designs were used, providing different classes of evidence when using the classification system proposed by Yusuf et al. (1998). The main focus of this investigation was to ascertain whether it was possible to apply the ethos of EBM to the veterinary profession, and provide good quality research and evidence form private practice. It was found that 85.6% of horses (95% c.l. 81.3 to 89.3) treated for septic arthritis were successfully discharged from the hospital, with 65% of these horses (95% C.l. 57.9 to 71.6) able to return to their previous level of athletic function. When considering those horses treated for septic digital tenosynovitis, 87.8% survived to be discharged from the hospital. However, the prognosis for future soundness was poorer than that achieved following resolution of septic arthritis, with only 50% of horses treated for septic digital tenosynovitis able to return to their previous level of athletic function. Racing Thoroughbreds, both neonates and mature horses, were identified as an important subset of the population. It was found that the occurrence of septic arthritis in neonatal Thoroughbreds significantly reduced the likelihood of those foals going on to make at least one start on a racecourse, with those foals being 3.5 times less likely to start on a racecourse when compared to their siblings. In contrast, when considering mature Thoroughbred racehorses it was found that the occurrence of septic arthritis did not affect the likelihood that they would make at least one start on a racecourse when compared to their siblings, or be able to achieve an Official Rating awarded by the British Horseracing Board's handicappers equal to, or higher than, either the highest rating achieved prior to the onset of sepsis in cases in which horses had raced previously, or equal to the highest rating achieved by their siblings. In a controlled, randomised trial it was found that 31.6% (95% c.l. 17.5 to 48.7) of horses wearing a belly band following an exploratory laparotomy developed incisional complications, compared with 76.6% (95% c.I. 62.0 to 87.7) of horses where no belly band was used. If a belly band was used following an exploratory laparotomy, the risk of developing post-operative incisional complications was reduced by 45% compared to those cases where no belly band was used. Following a clinical audit of elective surgical procedures at three private equine hospitals, there was found to be a higher rate of post-operative complications, when compared to results reported in both the medical and small animal veterinary literature. It was concluded that it was possible to apply the ethos of EBM to the veterinary profession, and provide good quality research and evidence from research performed in private practice. However, in order to be able to achieve sufficient case numbers to provide answers that are directly relevant to practice-based clinical situations, multi-centre studies are likely to be the best way forward.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Love, Professor Sandy and Marr, Dr. Celia and Reid, Professor Stuart
Date of Award: 2006
Depositing User: Ms Dawn Pike
Unique ID: glathesis:2006-5004
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2014 16:00
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2014 16:00
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5004

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