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  • Author or Editor: Natalie A. Norton x
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Objective—To compare daily endogenous cortisol production rate and the pharmacokinetics of an IV bolus of hydrocortisone between neonatal foals and adult horses.

Animals—10 healthy full-term 2- to 4-day-old foals and 7 healthy adult horses.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from each horse every 15 to 20 minutes for 24 hours for determination of 24-hour mean cortisol concentration. Afterward, dexamethasone (0.08 mg/kg) was administered IV to suppress endogenous cortisol production. Twelve hours afterward, hydrocortisone sodium succinate (1.0 mg/kg) was administered as a rapid IV bolus and serial blood samples were collected to determine hydrocortisone pharmacokinetics. Cortisol concentrations, daily cortisol production rate, and hydrocortisone pharmacokinetics were determined, and results were compared between adult horses and foals.

Results—The mean ± SD 24-hour cortisol concentration was significantly lower in foals (20 ± 4 ng/mL) than in horses (26 ± 6 ng/mL), but the daily cortisol production rate was significantly greater in foals (6,710 ± 320 ng/kg/d) than in horses (2,140 ± 400 ng/kg/d). For hydrocortisone, foals had a significantly greater volume of distribution at steady state (1.92 ± 1.11 L/kg) and total body clearance (1.39 ± 0.108 L/kg/h) and significantly lower peak plasma concentration (1,051 ± 343 ng/mL) than did horses (0.58 ± 0.15 L/kg, 0.349 ± 0.065 L/kg/h, and 8,934 ± 3,843 ng/mL, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Important differences were detected in cortisol production and metabolism between neonatal foals and adult horses consistent with lower plasma protein binding of cortisol in foals. This decrease may contribute to cortisol insufficiency during prolonged critical illness in neonatal foals.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To compare tear cortisol concentrations between horses and ponies with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) and healthy nonaged (≤ 15 years old) and aged (≥ 20 years old) horses and to determine whether serum and tear cortisol concentrations were correlated.

ANIMALS 11 horses and ponies with PPID and 20 healthy control horses and ponies (11 nonaged and 9 aged).

PROCEDURES Paired tear and serum samples were obtained from PPID and control animals. All animals were free of active ocular disease. Tear and serum cortisol concentrations were measured with an ELISA and chemiluminescent assay, respectively. Groups were compared with Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests, and Spearman correlation analysis was used to examine relationships between tear and serum cortisol concentrations within groups.

RESULTS Median tear cortisol concentration was significantly higher in PPID animals than in aged control animals, despite comparable serum cortisol concentrations in PPID and aged control animals. Median tear-to-serum cortisol concentration ratios were also significantly higher in PPID animals than in aged control animals. Serum and tear cortisol concentrations were not significantly correlated in PPID or control animals.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Some horses and ponies with PPID had increased tear cortisol concentrations, compared with concentrations in healthy aged animals. Localized cortisol production in the tear film or altered cortisol binding dynamics could have contributed to this increase. Further studies are warranted to evaluate these mechanisms and to determine whether increased tear cortisol concentrations are associated with delays in corneal wound healing in horses and ponies with and without PPID.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research