The view from the inside

By Connie Orcutt • Published: July 1st, 2016
Category: Animal Airwaves

Horses have been domesticated for thousands of years, but we still have many questions about their inner workings. For example, how does a horse’s large and intricate digestive tract function hour-to-hour?

By borrowing technology from human medicine, we’ve started to get some answers. A researcher who previously studied the digestive tract of people has turned his attention to horses. He’s using the same type of tiny camera within a capsule that humans swallow. But for horses, the capsule is passed through a tube into the stomach. As camera travels through the digestive tract, detailed images are transmitted.

This unique technology is allowing researchers to construct a map of the horse’s stomach and small intestine for the first time. The goal is to learn what’s normal in order to help horses with medical problems.