A new handler to test the function of the equine lung

It is a new tool for equine health

At Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Ananya Mahalingam-Dhingra (left), V22, and Jillian Minuto, a resident at the Hospital for Large Animals, test Melissa Mazan’s work on an equine patient. Silver: Melissa Mazan

When it comes to medical procedures, horses are like little children, said Melissa Mazan, V93, a specialist in veterinary medicine at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Horses don’t have to comply with requests to sit still or hold their breath – it’s very difficult to test their speed, which is important in the career of equine athletes.

“Equine asthma is a major cause of poor performance for high -performance horses, second only to lame, and poor quality of life for older horses with chronic disease that can become “Horses with advanced disease are not difficult to see on the farm, but in young horses, it is almost impossible to see,” said Mazan.

It was a quiet place, and the ride was not too slow, because these horses were very fit. But, he added, they win and lose races by a percentage of the second, so “it’s only a small insult to the respiratory system to bring a horse from the front to the back of the bag.”

The Hospital for Large Animals is one of the centers in the United States that is working on testing the function of the lungs in equine cases, but customers need to go to Grafton because the details are so specific. Test system. This is a problem that has plagued Mazan for many years: How can the hospital see how light works on horses that they can’t take into the gym?

“What we’re looking for is if the horse’s airflow is stronger than normal air flow,” Mazan said. “If the resistance is high, then the breathing function will increase, which is the process by which the horse is unable to engage in running and jumping.”

In human medicine, lung function can be measured using portable tests called peak flow meters, which measure how much air enters and exits the lung. . They need the victim to take a deep breath and exhale until they lose consciousness. But with children, the test is often done using a method that does not require them to follow instructions.

This is called the interrupt system, which means that when a child enters the barrier or mouth and perceives the air in and out, and their breathing is interrupted. a very rapid shutdown of the breath for a fraction of a second. It’s so fast the kids don’t know.

“The idea is that if you cut your breath for a very short time, the pressure in your lungs is the same as the pressure in that mask,” Mazan said. “To get the resistance, you have to measure the flow of air and the pressure. The interrupt path allows you to do both.”

He thought he could work like horses, and the idea began for a portable toy to test the workings of the equine.

Creating an animal maker

In 2018, Mazan took his attention to Kristen Wendell, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the School of Engineering, looking for programs that her four -year students could complete for their careers. capstone design. She tries to find customers who need mechanical design but don’t need the resources, knowledge, or time to do it themselves, and her students work on the project as a service of sorts. customer.

“When Dr. Mazan told me about his idea, I was very happy to compare it with the kinds of problems I wanted my students to solve,” Wendell recalled. “It’s a very big design problem that deals with the engineering concepts that need to be addressed, such as fluid flow, mechanical design, weight and geometry, electrical information, and computer software.”

Wendell’s students had the opportunity to choose between a small number of possible programs, but a very strong sense of the complexity of the problem and working with live horses. Some students agreed with Mazan’s challenge, including Thomas Coons, Christopher Simotas, and Brian Barrows, all E19s. The first goal is not to make the whole game; rather than developing pieces to meet the requirements described by Mazan.

The team is divided into two small groups – one focusing on air flow and the other on pressure. Coons and Simotas were on the smelting team and ran into two major problems. The first is that volumetric flow sensors are more commercially available. The second method is to measure the volumetric flow of air, or the amount of air that travels, with the greater the variability of the air velocity. Barrows is in the press unit, where the main idea is to have the replacement system, which stops breathing, to work slowly until the press release reads correctly.

“Our job was to create a system that could take a breath for only 300 milliseconds,” explains Barrows, who works for the Robot. “It’s hard to get the main valve to move that fast, but we have to stay calm to avoid threatening the horse.”

While the team twisted their wheels a little on those issues, they ended up getting psychological results in surprising places. For example, the company is looking for a large pneumatic valve, and several engineering companies tell Mazan that it didn’t get what he wanted. However, he ended up looking for important parts through a fun car store, using large pneumatic valves in RV systems, and from a Halloween hardware store, because he often uses Halloween decorations use pneumatics to achieve their spooky effect.

“What’s so hard about planning is that you don’t solve a problem with a clear answer,” Coons said.

The company gives their prototype to Wendell and Mazan each season for demonstrations and response rounds, and Wendell said they earned an A in their capstone program.

“At the end of the semester, Professor Wendell created a matrix on the board with each grade level listed against a variety of engineering techniques such as equipment, design, and heat transfer. “.. interface with. To our surprise, we touched on each of them,” said Simotas, who works for Raytheon Technologies. “We are very proud of how much we have been able to accomplish and are appreciated by all the staff we have had in our tool belt over our four years.

While they accomplished the difficulty that Mazan set, the game wasn’t far off. The Coons, Simotas, and Barrows came out in the spring of 2019, and Mazan is happy with how long they have taken the initiative. He asked if they wanted to continue the interaction on the game, and they all said yes, because they wanted Mazan’s infectious energy and passion while doing this “action. The fun side. “

For the rest of the year, they built more of the manufacturer and visited the Grafton campus to meet with Mazan and test the prototype in equine diseases. Horses can only breathe through their noses, but a clean plastic wrap over their noses and mouths helps the shield stay in place. “Horses are used to wearing things, like halters or halters, and they accept this, very well,” Mazan said. “On the front of the mask is a hole where the flow meter and the valve stand. The horses just rest in it, the valve closes, and a pressure transducer is on each side of the mask. measuring the difference between internal and external pressure.. the mask. “

Before the team tried on horseback, Mazan used himself as a guinea pig. She gives the mask and gives her husband power over the button to close the valve to stop breathing, so she can’t imagine the future. He did not see any problem, she said. And after testing the game on live horses, which are much faster and slower than humans, the team found they didn’t know how to finish.

In early 2020, Mazan and engineering alumni will meet with experienced financial lawyers to see if they can patent their system. When COVID-19 was diagnosed, the association was suspended for some time. Mazan installs the system from home, responding to advice from lawyers to secure the app and prepare the patent.

For the engineers who worked with Mazan, it was amazing to be able to get their name on a medical patent early in their engineering career. “I was at Tufts faculty for six years, and at that time, this was the only patent I saw on the issue of capstone mechanical engineering,” Wendell said. “There were a few things before I arrived, but this was a rare thing to do.”

Where it stands now

These days, with the help of eyeglasses, dentures, and quick tests, teamwork has resumed, even though the team is much smaller while Coons is looking for a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. Mazan was deep in the experiment. Now, the results are much better.

“When we compare our gold standard, called the esophageal balloon pneumatic method, the accuracy is much higher. We have the same measurements for resistance with both types,” Mazan said. “You might ask, if that’s the gold standard, why don’t you do it all the time?” Because there is a lot of pain in the neck. You need to put the balloon over their nose and they need to swallow it down the esophagus. Horses that are not accustomed to this process will resist. “

Mazan plans to round back up with the law firm to finalize the patent on the app and hopes to find a company willing to sell it. “I always tell engineers there’s no value in this,” he laughed. “It’s just fun, and I hope it’s worth it.”


Trying out a new treatment for horses that are struggling to breathe


Presented by Tufts University

Directions: A new hand-held test of equine lung function (2022, April 5) downloaded April 5, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-portable- device-equine-lung-function.html

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