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  • Author or Editor: Pat A. Harris x
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Objective—To determine the pulmonary epithelial lining fluid (ELF) concentrations and degree of oxidation of ascorbic acid in horses affected by recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) in the presence and absence of neutrophilic airway inflammation.

Animals—6 RAO-affected horses and 8 healthy control horses.

Procedure—Nonenzymatic antioxidant concentrations were determined in RBC, plasma, and ELF samples of control horses and RAO-affected horses in the presence and absence of airway inflammation.

Results—ELF ascorbic acid concentration was decreased in RAO-affected horses with airway inflammation (median, 0.06 mmol/L; 25th and 75th percentiles, 0.0 and 0.4 mmol/L), compared with RAOaffected horses without airway inflammation (1.0 mmol/L; 0.7 and 1.5 mmol/L) and control horses (2.2 mmol/L; 1.4 and 2.2 mmol/L). Epithelial lining fluid ascorbic acid remained significantly lower in RAOaffected horses without airway inflammation than in control horses. Moreover, the ELF ascorbic acid redox ratio (ie, ratio of the concentrations of dehydroascorbate to total ascorbic acid) was higher in RAO-affected horses with airway inflammation (median, 0.85; 25th and 75th percentiles, 0.25 and 1.00), compared with RAOaffected horses without airway inflammation (0.04; 0.02 and 0.22). The number of neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was inversely related to the ELF ascorbic acid concentration ( r = –0.81) and positively correlated with the ascorbic acid redox ratio ( r= 0.65).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Neutrophilic inflammation in horses affected by RAO is associated with a reduction in the ELF ascorbic acid pool. Nutritional supplementation with ascorbic acid derivatives in horses affected by RAO is an area for further investigation. ( Am J Vet Res2004;65:80–87)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To develop proxies calculated from basal plasma glucose and insulin concentrations that predict insulin sensitivity (SI; L·min–1 ·mU–1) and beta-cell responsiveness (ie, acute insulin response to glucose [AIRg]; mU/L·min–1) and to determine reference quintiles for these and minimal model variables.

Animals—1 laminitic pony and 46 healthy horses.

Procedure—Basal plasma glucose (mg/dL) and insulin (mU/L) concentrations were determined from blood samples obtained between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. Minimal model results for 46 horses were compared by equivalence testing with proxies for screening SI and pancreatic beta-cell responsiveness in humans and with 2 new proxies for screening in horses (ie, reciprocal of the square root of insulin [RISQI] and modified insulin-to-glucose ratio [MIRG]).

Results—Best predictors of SI and AIRg were RISQI (r = 0.77) and MIRG (r = 0.75) as follows: SI = 7.93(RISQI) – 1.03 and AIRg = 70.1(MIRG) – 13.8, where RISQI equals plasma insulin concentration–0.5 and MIRG equals [800 – 0.30(plasma insulin concentration – 50)2]/(plasma glucose concentration – 30). Total predictive powers were 78% and 80% for RISQI and MIRG, respectively. Reference ranges and quintiles for a population of healthy horses were calculated nonparametrically.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Proxies for screening SI and pancreatic beta-cell responsiveness in horses from this study compared favorably with proxies used effectively for humans. Combined use of RISQI and MIRG will enable differentiation between compensated and uncompensated insulin resistance. The sample size of our study allowed for determination of sound reference range values and quintiles for healthy horses. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:2114–2121)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare effects of oral supplementation with an experimental potassium-free sodiumabundant electrolyte mixture (EM-K) with that of oral supplementation with commercial potassium-rich mixtures (EM+K) on acid-base status and plasma ion concentrations in horses during an 80-km endurance ride.

Animals—46 healthy horses.

Procedure—Blood samples were collected before the ride; at 21-, 37-, 56-, and 80-km inspection points; and during recovery (ie, 30-minute period after the ride). Consumed electrolytes were recorded. Blood was analyzed for pH, PvCO2, and Hct, and plasma was analyzed for Na+, K+, Cl, Ca2+, Mg2+, lactate, albumin, phosphate, and total protein concentrations. Plasma concentrations of H+ and HCO3, the strong ion difference (SID), and osmolarity were calculated.

Results—34 (17 EM-K and 17 EM+K treated) horses finished the ride. Potassium intake was 33 g less and Na+ intake was 36 g greater for EM-K-treated horses, compared with EM+K-treated horses. With increasing distance, plasma osmolarity; H+, Na+, K+, Mg2+, phosphate, lactate, total protein, and albumin concentrations; and PvCO2 and Hct were increased in all horses. Plasma HCO3, Ca2+, and Cl concentrations were decreased. Plasma H+ concentration was significantly lower in EM-K-treated horses, compared with EM+K-treated horses. Plasma K+ concentrations at the 80-km inspection point and during recovery were significantly less in EM-K-treated horses, compared with EM+K-treated horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increases in plasma H+ and K+ concentrations in this endurance ride were moderate and unlikely to contribute to signs of muscle fatigue and hyperexcitability in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:466–473)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To investigate equine squamous gastric disease (ESGD) and equine glandular gastric disease (EGGD) in Icelandic horses moving from pasture into training.


81 horses (median age, 3 years; interquartile range, 1 year) from 10 farms representing 4 different Icelandic regions.


Initial gastroscopy was undertaken within 2 weeks of moving from pasture into a training establishment. A total of 71 horses underwent endoscopic examination again 8 weeks later. Various management and behavioral factors were assessed through face-to-face questionnaires with the owners or trainers. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine factors contributing to any change in ESGD and EGGD severity score during the 8-week training period.


Incidence of EGGD and ESGD in this feral population was similar to that found in domesticated horses. ESGD incidence (severity score, ≥ 2; score range, 0 to 4) reduced from an initial 71.6% (58/81) to 25.4% (18/71). On multivariable analysis, sex (ie, being a stallion or a female vs gelding) increased the likelihood of ulcer grade reduction. Being fed preserved forage 3 or more times a day also improved the likelihood of ESGD reduction (odds ratio, 17.95; 95% CI, 1.67 to 193.40; P = .017). Overall, the farm explained 35% of the variance, confirming the importance of management factors. Incidence of EGGD (severity score, ≥ 1; score range, 0 to 2) reduced from 47% (38/81) to 40.8% (29/71) during the same period. No measured variables were associated significantly with EGGD incidence or reduction.


Pasture provision (without supplementary feed or forage) does not result automatically in a low incidence of gastric ulcers. Regular provision of preserved forage is a key factor in reducing ESGD incidence.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association