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  • Author or Editor: Flávio D. De La Côrte x
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Objective—To determine the effects of 3 rations (low grain, fat, high grain) on plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity and lactate concentration in Thoroughbred horses with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER).

Animals—5 Thoroughbreds with RER and 3 healthy Thoroughbreds (control horses).

Procedures—Rations were formulated to meet (lowgrain and fat rations) or exceed (high-grain ration) daily energy requirements. Each ration was fed to horses in a crossover design for 3 weeks. Horses were exercised on a treadmill Monday through Friday; maximum speed on Monday and Friday was 11 m/s (6% slope), on Tuesday and Thursday was 9 m/s, and on Wednesday was 4.5 m/s. Plasma CK activity and lactate concentration were determined before and after exercise.

Results—Horses with RER fed the high-grain ration had significantly greater CK activity and change in CK activity 4 hours after exercise, compared with those fed the low-grain ration. Horses with RER exercised at the trot or canter had significantly greater increases in CK activity, compared with those exercised at the gallop. Plasma lactate concentrations after exercise were similar in control and affected horses. Lactate concentration and CK activity were not correlated in horses with RER.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Rations high in grain and formulated to exceed daily energy requirements may increase episodes of rhabdomyolysis in Thoroughbred horses susceptible to RER. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1390–1395)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To develop a diagnostic test for recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) in Thoroughbreds that relied on in vitro contracture of muscle biopsy specimens and determine whether the inheritance pattern of RER diagnosed on the basis of this contracture test was consistent with an autosomal dominant trait.

Design—Clinical trial.

Animals—8 adult horses with RER and 16 control adult horses for development of the contracture test; 23 foals for inheritance of RER.

Procedure—External intercostal muscle biopsy specimens from the 24 adult horses were tested for contracture in response to halothane and caffeine, and criteria for a positive test result were determined. These criteria were then applied to results for the 23 foals to determine whether they had RER. Simple segregation analysis was performed to determine whether results were consistent with a dominant pattern of inheritance.

Results—Results of the contracture test were positive for 5 of the 12 colts and 4 of the 11 fillies. Results of segregation analysis were consistent with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Two sires with RER produced colts with RER, supporting the hypothesis that RER had an autosomal, rather than an X-linked, inheritance pattern. In addition, in 1 instance, an unaffected colt was produced by 2 affected parents, which was not consistent with a recessive mode of inheritance.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although the expression of the RER trait is influenced by sex, temperament, and diet, among other factors, results from the in vitro muscle contracture test and this breeding trial suggest that RER in Thoroughbreds can be modeled as a genetic trait with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:762–767)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association