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Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of immersion in warm springwater (38° to 40°C) on autonomic nervous activity in horses.

Animals—10 male Thoroughbreds.

Procedure—Electrocardiograms were recorded from horses for 15 minutes during a warm springwater bath after being recorded for 15 minutes during stall rest. Variations in heart rate (HR) were evaluated from the power spectrum in terms of low frequency (LF, 0.01 to 0.07 Hz) power and high frequency (HF, 0.07 to 0.6 Hz) power as indices of autonomic nervous activity.

Results—Mean (±SE) HR during stall rest and immersion in warm springwater was 31.1 ± 1.7 and 30.3 ± 1.0 beat/min, respectively. No significant difference was found between the HR recorded during stall rest and that recorded during immersion in warm springwater. The HF power significantly increased from 1,361 ± 466 milliseconds2 during stall rest to 2,344 ± 720 milliseconds2 during immersion in warm springwater. The LF power during stall rest and immersion in warm springwater was 3,847 ± 663 and 5,120 ± 1,094 milliseconds2, respectively, and were not significantly different from each other. Similarly, the LF:HF ratio did not change during immersion in warm springwater. The frequency of second-degree atrioventricular block, which was observed in 2 horses, increased during immersion in warm springwater, compared with during stall rest.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increases in HF power indicates that the parasympathetic nervous activity in horses increases during immersion in warm springwater. Thus, immersion in warm springwater may provide a means of relaxation for horses. ( Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1482–1485)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To examine the distribution of water in hoof wall specimens of horses via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) microscopy and determine changes in water distribution during hydration.

Sample—4 hoof wall specimens (2 obtained from the dorsum and 1 each obtained from the lateral quarter and lateral heel regions) of the stratum medium of healthy hooves of 1 horse.

Procedures—Equine hoof wall specimens were examined via NMR microscopy. Proton density–weighted 3-D images were acquired. Changes during water absorption were assessed on sequential images.

Results—The inner zone of the stratum medium had higher signals than did the outer zone. Areas of high signal intensity were evident in transverse images; these corresponded to the distribution of horn tubules. During water absorption, the increase in signal intensity started at the bottom of a specimen and extended to the upper region; it maintained the localization pattern observed before hydration. The relationship between the local maximal signals in areas corresponding to the horn tubules and minimal signal intensities in areas corresponding to the intertubular horn was similar and maintained approximately a linear distribution.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Based on the premise that signal intensity reflects water content, hydration in the equine hoof wall during water absorption occurred concurrently in the tubules and intertubular horn, and there was maintenance of the original water gradients. This technique can be applied for the assessment of pathophysiologic changes in the hoof wall on the basis of its hydration properties.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research