Objective—To determine between-pony and within-pony variations and interobserver and intraobserver agreements of a technique for measurement of flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) in healthy ponies.
Animals—6 healthy pony mares (weight range, 236 to 406 kg; body condition score range, 3/9 to 7/9; age range, 14 to 25 years).
Procedures—In each pony, the left median artery was occluded with a blood pressure cuff (inflated to > 300 mm Hg for 5 minutes). Two-dimensional ultrasonographic images of the artery were recorded for 30 seconds before cuff inflation and for 2 minutes after cuff deflation. Maximum luminal diameters of arteries were compared with their baseline diameters to calculate FMD (relative percentage increase in luminal size). Images were obtained from 6 ponies 1 time and from 1 pony 6 times. Independent analysis of images was performed by 2 investigators, 1 of whom analyzed images on 2 occasions.
Results—Mean ± SD FMD in 6 ponies (1 time) was 12.57 ± 4.28% and in 1 pony (6 times) was 7.30 ± 2.11%. Between-pony and within-pony coefficients of variation were 34.09% and 28.84%, respectively. Interobserver agreement was fair (intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.47); intraobserver agreement was poor (intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.30).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—FMD was identified and measured in ponies. Measurement of FMD is used to assess endothelial function in humans and has been investigated in dogs. Measurement of FMD in ponies appeared to be feasible and could be used to assess endothelial function (to determine predisposition for development of laminitis or cardiovascular diseases).