Aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships of exercise and tendon injury with Doppler flows appearing in the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) of young Thoroughbreds during training periods. The forelimb SDFTs of 24 one- to two-year-old Thoroughbreds clinically free of any orthopaedic disorders were evaluated using grey-scale (GS) and color Doppler (CD) images during two training periods between December 2013 to April 2015. Twelve horses per year were examined in December, February, and April in training periods that began in September and ended in April. The SDFT was evaluated in 3 longitudinal images of equal lengths (labelled 1, 2, 3 in order from proximal to distal), and 6 transversal images separated by equal lengths (labelled 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B in order from proximal to distal) of the metacarpus using both GS and CD. The running (canter and gallop) distance for 1 month before the date of the ultrasonographic examinations was increased in December, February, and April in both of the two training periods. CD flows defined as rhythmically blinking or pulsatory colored signals were found in 56 of 864 (6.4%) transversal CD images, in 28, 12, 13, and 3 images of 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B, respectively, and in 7, 14, and 35 images captured in December, February, and April, respectively. There were no longitudinal or transversal GS images indicating injury in the SDFTs in either of the two training periods. The increase of CD flows in the proximal regions of the SDFT are possibly related to the increase of the running distance during the training periods of the one- to two-year-old Thoroughbreds. Because no injury was diagnosed in the SDFTs by GS images during the training periods, the increase of CD flows in the proximal parts of SDFT is not necessarily predictive of tendon injury in the near future during the training period of young Thoroughbreds.
The present experiment was performed with the aim of investigating the effect of season on behavioral activities of donkeys during the rainy and harmattan seasons in the Northern Guinea zone of Nigeria. Sixteen apparently healthy donkeys were used as subjects and divided into four groups based on age. During each season, behavioral activities of each donkey were evaluated for three weeks using the focal animal sampling technique. The dry-bulb temperature (DBT), relative humidity (RH), and temperature-humidity index (THI) were obtained three times each day during the experimental period using standard procedures. In the rainy season, the mean DBT (31.65 ± 0.49°C), RH (73.63 ± 1.09%), and THI (84.39 ± 0.71) were significantly (P<0.0001) higher than the corresponding values of 24.00 ± 0.44°C, 36.80 ± 0.92%, and 64.80 ± 0.62 in the harmattan season. During the rainy season, the donkeys spent 60.00 ± 0.77%, 25.40 ± 0.69%, and 2.94 ± 0.21% on grazing, resting, and grooming, respectively. During the harmattan season, the donkeys spent the most time on grazing (76.76 ± 0.43%), less time on resting (11.97 ± 0.38%), and the least time on grooming (0.89 ± 0.05%). In conclusion, season and seasonal variations affect the daytime behavioral activities of donkeys in the zone, and this should be considered in husbandry practices for donkeys.
One- to two-year-old Thoroughbred colts and fillies being reared in Miyazaki (warm climate) and Hidaka (cold climate), Japan, were administered extended photoperiod (EP) treatment between December 20 and the following April 10, and its effect on growth, endocrine changes, gonadal activation, and hair coat condition was investigated. In colts reared in Miyazaki, no effect of EP treatment was noted on the growth indices, including body weight (BW), height at withers (HW), girth, and cannon circumference (CC), whereas the BWs and CCs of fillies were significantly higher in the EP treatment group than the control. In Hidaka, the BWs and HWs of colts and HWs of fillies were significantly higher in the EP treatment group. Gonadal activation characterized by an increase in circulating hormone concentrations was earlier in the EP treatment group for fillies reared in Miyazaki [luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), progesterone (P4), and estradiol-17β (E2)] and in colts (LH, testosterone, and E2) and fillies (LH, FSH, P4, and E2) reared in Hidaka. Regardless of sex and climate, prolactin was significantly higher in the EP treatment group, whereas insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) was not. Initial ovulation occurred before April in more of the EP treatment group than the control regardless of the climate. Molting of the hair coat, examined in March, was advanced in the EP treatment group regardless of sex and climate. These results suggest that EP treatment may promote growth and gonadal activation in fillies reared in Miyazaki and in colts and fillies reared in Hidaka and that the effect may be mediated by prolactin.
Equine pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) generally occurs in older horses showing hirsutism, delayed molting, weight loss, polydipsia, polyuria, laminitis, and reproductive disorders (in broodmares), but there have been no reports on stallions. This report presents a case of a 21-year-old Thoroughbred stallion that developed hirsutism and experienced delayed molting. There were no abnormal findings for semen quality or the stallion’s sexual desire. The horse was diagnosed with PPID based on dexamethasone suppression test and plasma levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone. It was then medicated with pergolide mesylate. Since the horse died due to humerus fracture, an autopsy was conducted, and pituitary adenoma was confirmed. No pathological findings were defined in the testicles; therefore, reproductive activity might not have been impaired.
Fungal placentitis is an infectious disease inducing abortion in pregnant mares. In the present report, we describe a field case of abortion caused by fungal placentitis with consecutive examinations. The progesterone level and combined thickness of the uterus and placenta (CTUP) were abnormal before the onset of clinical signs. Additionally, the estradiol level started to change before the appearance of clinical signs. Abnormal serum amyloid A values and an abnormal fetal heart rate were observed after the onset of clinical signs. The present report demonstrates that the progesterone level and CTUP may be adequate as early diagnostic markers of fungal placentitis and bacterial infection. Endocrinological evaluation based on cutoff values or serial measurements were also useful for early diagnosis.
The objective of the present study was to verify the seasonal luteal activity of racehorses in training in Japan from March to August. We allocated 102 horses into a luteal activity group and non-luteal activity group. The luteal activity group included horses with serum progesterone levels that were consistently >1 ng/ml and changed by ± 1 ng/ml. In contrast, the progesterone levels of the non-luteal activity group were consistently <1 ng/ml. In late spring (from May 1 to June 30) and summer (from July 1 to August 31), the percentage of horses in the luteal activity group was significantly higher than in early spring (from March 1 to April 30, P<0.01). These findings demonstrate clear seasonal variations in ovarian activity. The present study also suggest that training for a race may not affect ovarian activity in female racehorses.
In the doping tests currently used in horse racing, prohibited substances or their metabolites are usually directly detected in urine or blood samples. However, despite their lasting pharmaceutical effects, some prohibited substances are rapidly eliminated from horse urine and blood, making them difficult to detect. Therefore, new indirect biomarkers for doping, such as plasma proteins that are increased by the prohibited substances, have recently attracted much attention. Here, a fluorogenic derivatization-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (FD-LC-MS/MS) method was adopted for horse plasma proteomics analysis, in order to identify plasma proteins whose concentrations were altered in response to xylazine in Thoroughbred horses. Xylazine, which is rapidly absorbed and eliminated and has possibility of the change in the levels of plasma proteins, was selected as a model drug. Of the ten plasma proteins identified, four proteins, including three acute phase proteins (haptoglobin, ceruloplasmin, and α-2-macroglobulin-like), were significantly increased after xylazine administration. Therefore, our present approach might be useful in identifying indirect biomarkers of drug administration.
The effects of an extended photoperiod (EP) treatment (14.5 hr light, 9.5 hr dark) on Thoroughbred colts and fillies from December 25 at 7–9 months old to the following May at 12–14 months old on coat condition and gonadal functions were investigated. Coat condition was evaluated in April. The colts and fillies in the EP treatment group changed from winter to summer coats (molting of winter coats), whereas those in the control group did not. To determine the day of first ovulation, the plasma concentrations of progesterone were measured once a month in fillies. The day of first ovulation was advanced in the EP treatment fillies compared with the control fillies. The present study clearly demonstrated that the EP treatment advanced the molting of winter coats and advanced ovulation in fillies, even in weanlings.