AHA Advisory Panel

The American Hoof Association is honored to have several distinguished equine professionals on the AHA Advisory Panel.  Advisory Panel members are frequent speakers at AHA educational events, participate on the AHA Members Forum, and make recommendations pertaining to the Association’s use of the healthy horse paradigm in educational and certification programs.

The AHA is greatly appreciative of the Advisory Panel’s involvement in furthering the education of AHA members, and, on a much larger scale, expanding the understanding of holistic equine care nationally and globally.

Dr. Robert Bowker | Website

Robert Bowker, VMD, PhD earned his veterinary degree at the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1973, and later began additional PhD research in the anatomy department at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school. He completed his PhD in 1979 and began his career at Michigan State University in 1988. As a result of teaching gross anatomy to MSU veterinary students, Bowker became interested in the equine foot, as he knew that the texts commonly used by students and veterinarians were often incorrect on this subject. As his PhD training was in neurobiology, Bowker began to look at the nerves of the foot; his research expanded from there to blood vessels, cartilage, and bones of the foot, and more recently to hooves and their laminae in both health and disease.

More than ten years of intensive, scientific research at Michigan State University has resulted in new recommendations that are leading to relief from navicular syndrome and other chronic foot ailments in the horse. Bowker’s research in all these areas led to the breakthrough of a wholly different theory of how the equine foot responds to ground impact. His research has focused on blood flow to and from the hoof, and the role it plays in energy dissipation. These study results led Bowker to believe that the modern-day horse should be trimmed so that more of the back part of the foot–including the frog– bears the initial ground impact forces and weight. His research demonstrated that if the foot was trimmed so that the frog rests on the ground, the back part of the foot would be stimulated to grow more fibrous and fibrocartilaginous tissue in the digital cushion, which appears to be protective of the more chronic foot problems.

Robert Bowker, VMD, PhD, is currently director of the Equine Foot Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University and is conducting further research on the physiological function of the equine foot. Most of his research efforts are supported by the American Quarter Horse Association, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Inc., and private donations.  Dr. Bowker also lectures internationally, and consults with veterinarians and hoof care providers worldwide.

Dr. Eleanor Kellon | Website | Blog

An Honors Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Eleanor Kellon received special training at the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery. Owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions, Kellon is one of the few experts in the field of applications of nutraceuticals for horses, is an authority in the field of equine nutrition and matters pertaining to performance horses.

An established best-selling author, Dr. Kellon’s books include The Older Horse, Keeping the Older Horse Young, Equine Drugs and Vaccines, Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals and Dr. Kellon’s Guide to First Aid for Horses, as well as a compilation of Dr. Kellon’s nutrition articles, Guide to Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals. Dr. Kellon has also collaborated with equine experts in two books, Equine Podiatry, and the 2011 release, Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot.

Throughout her career Dr. Kellon has had a strong interest in the impact of nutrition on health and performance. It was two Horse Journal field trials – one on magnesium supplementation effects in horses and ponies with cresty necks and laminitis (2000), and one on the effects of Vitex agnus-castus (Chastetree berry) in Cushing’s horses (1999 – 2000) – that got her interested in exploring options to better care for horses with Insulin Resistance and Cushing’s Disease. In March 2006, Dr. Kellon was a guest speaker at the European Equine Health and Nutrition Congress in Belgium. Her presentations included “The Use of Jiaogulan and Spirulina in Horses” and “Iron Status of Hyperinsulinemic/Insulin Resistant Horses”.

In 2008, Dr Kellon began offering ten-week online courses in equine nutrition and Equine Cushing’s/Insulin Resistance. These intensive courses were so well received she has expanded available subjects to include Nutrition for the Performance Horses, Nutrition As Therapy, Managing for Pregnancy and Growth, Comprehensive Care for the Older Horse, Basics of Reading Radiographs, Nutrition for Cats and Dogs and several others.

www.drkellon.com

Dr Kellon launched her ezine, The Horse’s Mouth, in September of 2011. Offering a unique approach, it is the only monthly horse publication where readers direct the content. Additionally, all subscribers have immediate access to a related forum where they can post questions at any time. In 2011 Dr Kellon joined Uckele Health and Nutrition as Equine Specialist, providing input for ongoing development and fine tuning of supplements to support equine health. Dr. Kellon lives on a farm in Pennsylvania where she and her husband raise, train and race Standardbreds. She is available for private consultations.

Dr. Debra Taylor

A faculty member at Auburn University, Dr. Debra Taylor’s passion is equine podiatry – the professional study, care, and treatment of the foot. Dr. Taylor’s interest lies in discovering methods to readjust the load of a laminitic foot to promote healing. Understanding the mechanics of blood flow, weight distribution, and local anatomic structures of a healthy foot compared to that of a laminitic foot will allow for treatment management options to be developed to improve the prognosis of horses suffering from laminitis.

Research Interests

The focus of Auburn’s podiatry research is to investigate the natural adaptations of bone and soft tissue to load and imposed demands on the equine hoof. We hypothesize that the collateral cartilages and digital cushion of horses remodel in response to certain types of exercise. If this is true, exercise protocols may be designed to improve overall hoof health. We have established a method to evaluate the volume of the collateral cartilages and digital cushion and the fibrocartilage percentage of the digital cushion with advanced imaging and computer analysis software. We collaborate extensively with the private sector hoof care industry and hope to make big advances in this area with the presence of a new state-of-the-art MRI facility on campus.