OBJECTIVE To compare the efficacy of quinidine and flecainide in treating naturally occurring, recent-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) in Thoroughbred racehorses.
DESIGN Retrospective case series.
ANIMALS 107 Thoroughbred racehorses.
PROCEDURES Medical records of racehorses with AF that were treated with quinidine or flecainide between 1987 and 2014 were reviewed. Signalment, history, treatments, complications, and outcome data were collected. Horses were allocated to 2 groups according to the initial treatment: initial treatment with quinidine (group 1) or initial treatment with flecainide (group 2). Horses in group 2 that did not convert to sinus rhythm with flecainide were then administered quinidine (group 3). Complications, total quinidine dose, and duration of treatment were compared. Rates of conversion for horses treated with quinidine versus flecainide were also compared.
RESULTS Overall rate of cardioversion was 91% (97/107). There was a significant difference in the rate of cardioversion for quinidine alone (91% [71/78]), compared with flecainide alone (41% [12/29]). In group 3, the conversion rate after the addition of quinidine treatment was 82% (14/17). Total quinidine dose and treatment duration did not differ significantly between groups 1 and 3.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Overall rate of cardioversion for Thoroughbred racehorses with AF was similar to that in previous reports. Flecainide treatment was less effective than quinidine treatment, but the frequency of complications did not differ between quinidine and flecainide. Further investigation is suggested to evaluate the efficacy of flecainide for cardioversion in athletic horses.
OBJECTIVE To quantify fatigue-induced electromyographic changes in hind limb muscles in horses.
ANIMALS 8 Thoroughbreds.
PROCEDURES The left and right hind limb longissimus dorsi, tensor fasciae latae, gluteus medius, and biceps femoris muscles were instrumented for surface electromyography. Hoof strain gauges were attached to confirm stride cycle. Each horse was galloped on a treadmill (grade, 3%) at a constant speed (12.6 to 14.7 m/s) to achieve fatigue after approximately 360 seconds. Before and after this exercise, the horses were trotted at 3.5 m/s. At 30-second intervals during galloping an integrated electromyography (iEMG) value for a stride and the median frequency of muscle discharge (MF) in each limb were measured. The mean of stride frequency (SF), iEMG value, and MF of 5 consecutive strides at the start and end of galloping for the lead and trailing limbs were compared. For trotting, these variables were compared at 60 seconds before and after galloping.
RESULTS The mean ± SD value for SF decreased over time (2.14 ± 0.06 to 2.05 ± 0.07 stride/s). In both the lead and trailing limbs, fatigue decreased the iEMG values of the gluteus medius and biceps femoris muscles but not those of the longissimus dorsi and tensor fasciae latae muscles. The MF did not change for any muscle during galloping with fatigue. The SF, iEMG value, and MF did not change during trotting with fatigue.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Fatigue induced by high-speed galloping decreased the gluteus medius and biceps femoris muscles' iEMG values in Thoroughbreds. Fatigue of these less fatigue-resistant hind limb muscles would affect a horse's speed.