SPARAO Intern- Kaitlyn Ford


This week there was not very much going on, however, the horses still had to be scored every morning between 7 and 8 AM and the horses must be let out for exercise (if their score is below a 4.5) on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s. This past week I assisted the student workers in scoring the horses and have become very comfortable with it! I also helped a student worker, Melissa, let the horses out for exercise on Wednesday evening. I am having a very fun time working with the horses, student workers, and the doctors! I can’t wait to learn more!

Kaitlyn F._1


This week I went to score the horses on Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday mornings! I can now score the horses all by myself. {Yay!} It does take me a lot longer to score than the more experienced workers but I am sure I will become more efficient as the semester goes on! For most of this week all of the horses were in the pasture (which is very exciting for them)! However, now only Cassie and Zaney Cat are in the pasture. Glitter, Max, Blue, and Chico got moved back to the stalls at scales. I am really enjoying getting to know all of the horses different personalities including their likes and dislikes!


SPARAO Intern- Kaitlyn Ford


This week was a very interesting one for me! I got to see and do many things that I have never done or seen before!

On Monday I assisted with a bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), which is a procedure in which an endoscope is passed through the nose of the horse into the bronchioles of the lungs and saline is administered then collected for examination. During this procedure I held the horses (Tigger) head to make sure his neck stayed straight. After the procedure was over we walked Tigger back to his stall at Scales and cleaned the endoscope!

On Wednesday I helped Melissa (one of the student workers for the project) let the horses out at Scales. Each horse is supposed to be let out into a pasture for 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for exercise.

On Friday, I assisted with a bronchiolar biopsy which is a procedure in which we take a piece of tissue from the site where saline was administered in the BAL procedure and it is examined and tested. We did two of these today on Emma and Spyder. This time, I got to pass the endoscope and it was a very weird, but cool experience! I also got to administer drugs to the horse by way of the jugular vein. After the procedure was over we walked the horses back to their stalls at scales.

I can’t wait to see what next week has in store!


This week was much slower than last week as we didn’t have as many procedures to do on the horses. On Tuesday I helped Melissa (a student worker) score the horses. It is now my duty to go score horses with her every Tuesday morning! I am also going to start helping her let the horses who score well for the week out into the pasture for 30 minutes each Wednesday evening around 5 o’clock. When scoring horses we measure reputation rate, and also score medial and lateral nostril flare as well as abdominal lift. The total score is found by the following formula: (lateral aspect of nostrils + medial aspect of nostrils)/2 + abdominal lift. If the horse has a score of lower than a 4.5 and respiratory rate of 28 or below then he or she will be able to go out into the pasture for exercise! On Thursday of last week I was able to assist in Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT), which is a group of tests that measure how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they move gases such as oxygen from the atmosphere into the body’s circulation. PFT’s are used to detect the presence of a respiratory disease (SPARAO in this case) In order to test this a mask is placed over the horses face (see picture below) and the changes in pressure within the mask determine the air pressure in the lungs. That is pretty much all that I was able to participate in but this week I hope to participate more in scoring the horses and letting them out for exercise now that I know what I am doing better.

Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary Function Testing

Case Study: Navicular Disease – Ayla O’Neal

My name is Ayla O’Neal. I am a Senior in Animal and Dairy Sciences and plan to Graduate in May 2015. For this class, I have decided to do a Directed Individual Case Study on Therapeutically treating Navicular Disease, and I will be using my own horse to do so. This idea came about while I was a student worker in the Equine Department of the Animal Health Center here at Mississippi State when I was helping Dr. Ben Nabors as he reset shoes on client horses. My horse had been having lameness problems, and I had previously found out that he had developed a cystic lesion on his right front navicular bone and had experienced remodeling of both front navicular bones as well. We had tried injecting his coffin joints, and there was no improvement. He continues to be bilaterally lame, and while there were some days he seemed sound, Ice still was uncomfortable which was noticeable in his movements as well as in his facial expressions. Dr. Nabors and I began discussing the possible ways of trying to help Ice become more comfortable by shoeing him. This is when the idea of a Case Study came about. Since I do not have unlimited cash flow to pour into my horse (Ice), Dr. Nabors and I began discussing ways that could help Ice move more comfortably just through shoeing him a certain way in order to improve over time. We thought that it would be interesting to write about Ice’s progress as a case study to see what we could find. Since Ice had been lame for an extended period of time, we thought slowing the healing process down might be better for him so that he could adapt slowly. We then created a plan where Ice would be reset every 4-5 weeks with light progressive working routines to help him slowly become accustomed to the changes in his movements. We planned to start by adjusting the angle of his hoof with flat shoes to see if any improvement would be made, and if not higher grade shoes would be used.

SPARAO Intern- Kaitlyn Ford


My name is Kaitlyn Ford. I am a junior Animal and Dairy Sciences major with a concentration in Science/Veterinary Science. I also intend to obtain two minors: Biology and Agricultural Economics. After college, I hope to become a veterinarian because I have a passion for helping animals, as well as the people who own them.

This semester I got the opportunity to have an internship with Dr. Bowser and Dr. Swiderski, who are both veterinarians that specialize in equine. The research project I am participating in deals with 8 horses who have SPARAO (Summer Pasture Associated Recurrent Airway Obstruction). SPARAO is comparable to asthma in horses. The main goal of this project is to help the horses with this disease live longer, happier lives. The research done with this project will also be used to help humans with asthma type diseases.

My duties throughout this semester will include: conducting daily morning evaluations on 8 horses, assisting with clinical research procedures and animal enrichment and husbandry.

I am very excited for this internship opportunity because I know I will learn a lot about the disease, horses and myself.

Beef Cattle Research Intern – Juliana S.


As the summer is just about finished, so is my internship. I have learned and experienced so much more than I could’ve imagined and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. Coming into the internship with zero experience with cows, I never would have thought I would have become this comfortable around them. I’ve learned a lot about how to act around them and handle them, how to bleed them and nutritional information as well. Not to mention all of the other things I’ve gotten to do such as running blood tests, doing nutritional analysis tests, grinding hay, and handling calves. I cannot wait to further my education and hopefully go to vet school after I graduate and having this knowledge will help me tremendously. I’m sad to see the internship end but excited to continue the journey on my newly declared Animal and Dairy Science major. Thank you to Rachel and Austin for making the all the hard work fun in the process!

Juliana_angus cow


SPARAO Intern – Ashton C.


This is my last week of my internship. I have enjoyed this working on the SPARAO Project this summer. Dr. Swiderski and Dr. Bowser have been great. I would do the internship again if I had the chance. So on my last week, I ended up scoring horses. I put out four of our horses because they were doing so well. The next day they all had to come back in, just because it is just so hot outside. They are doing fine now at Scales keeping cool as they can.


Summer Reserach Intern – Leanne C.


This week, I finally got to present my poster at the undergraduate research symposium. I had never done anything like this, so I was really nervous, but I think it went well. Basically, people came by and asked questions about my project. Not only were there professors there, but there were also several freshmen students who were interested in getting into research. My poster was very popular with the freshmen because they saw the word marijuana on the poster. At one point, I was surrounded by several people looking for more information.

The cool thing about the symposium was that I got to meet some of the other students doing research on campus. I honestly had no idea what other projects other students were working on. I was very excited to learn more about different research projects on this campus.


Beef Cattle Research Intern – Austin W.


This will be my last blog post for my internship so instead of telling you all exactly what we did this week I want to use this blog to tell you about all that I have learned. When I started this journey 2 months ago I was an agribusiness major with little to no cattle handling experience. I am now writing this post as an agribusiness/animal and dairy science double major with quite a bit of cattle handling experience under my belt. I have worked diligently for 2 months straight morning and night sorting, feeding, and bleeding cows. I will have to say, at first I never dreamed I would be able to accomplish all that I have but here I am. I was remembering when we first started I thought there is no way I will ever be able to sort these cows into their pens, yet I do it every day now. I can basically do everything now, from scraping pens to doing blood and nutritional analysis. It has been an experience of a lifetime and I would not trade it for the world. I have got to meet and work with some awesome people that have taught me so much. I have had one of the greatest bosses and friends, Rachel Coley, who made this all possible for me and taught me everything I know. This internship helped me realize that you should do what you love and do it well. You only get one life so you need to make the most of it. I used to think I was so ready to graduate and adding years onto my schooling was never something I wanted, at first, but then I knew if I wanted to be successful, doing something I love, then I needed to change my major, so I did. I am now looking forward to taking animal reproduction and beef cattle production, classes that interest me and do not bore me. I am now even considering graduate school after graduation to get my masters in animal and dairy science. This internship has opened my eyes to so many wonderful opportunities and has really given me a sense of belonging.

Sunrise on South Farm

South Farm Sunrise

Equine Research Intern – Courtney F.


This week I got to assist with Dr. Rude’s new study involving the weanling groups. We are still working on getting them used to the new feed but some are already well on the way. Much like Lauren’s study each weanling has its own feed bag. The horses were randomly selected to either be in the control, which is only being fed Omolene-100, Omolene-100 plus ShowBloom, or Omolene-100 plus ShowBloom and a fat additive. ShowBloom contains Brewer’s Yeast which is generally marketed to the cattle industry to improve muscle definition. This study will evaluate whether the horses exposed to ShowBloom have more muscle definition, better coat and hoof quality than those who are not.

Beef Cattle Research Intern – Juliana S.


The first few days of this week were definitely interesting. On Monday, not only did we have to bleed cows just like every other week, but we also had to do calves. Cows went pretty well, except for the few that always cause trouble. Cruella, our grumpy old cow who doesn’t like anyone, always finds a way to pull her ear out of the head catch and make it so difficult for us to take her blood. Austin and I then had to leave to go to class, leaving Rachel to catch and bleed the calves on her own. My class was cancelled for the day so I came back out to the farm to help Rachel finish the calves. On Tuesday, our second load of hay finally ran out and so we helped William chop up the bales. We used 6 round bales this time, since the cows are eating more and more every week. It was definitely a dusty procedure and the dust gets everywhere. Hopefully this load of hay lasts us for a while!

chopped hay

chopped hay