This study aimed to evaluate the effects of packing (load carrying) on the diurnal rhythms of respiratory and heart rates in donkeys during the hot-dry season. Twenty 2- to 3-years-old donkeys weighing 93 ± 2.7 kg were divided into two groups to serve as subjects: Group 1 was subjected to packing + trekking, while group 2 was subjected to trekking only. All donkeys trekked 20 km on each experimental day. The procedure was repeated three times at one-day intervals. Thermal environmental parameters were recorded. Respiratory rate (RR) and heart rate (HR) were measured before and immediately (15 min) after the packing and/or trekking period. Continuous recordings of parameters were performed for 27 hr at 3-hr intervals beginning 16 hr after the last packing and/or trekking period. The RR rose significantly (P<0.05) immediately after packing + trekking and trekking only, from 30.15 ± 0.5 and 27.52 ± 0.5 cycles/min before packing + trekking and trekking only, respectively, to 43.78 ± 3.0 and 46.30 ± 1.8 cycles/min after them, respectively. The HR (76.63 ± 4.5 beats/min) in the packing + trekking donkeys was higher (P<0.05) than that of the trekking-only donkeys (62.33 ± 2.7 beats/min). The acrophase and bathyphase of the HR in both groups were recorded during the photophase and scotophase, respectively, with higher values (P<0.05) in the packing + trekking donkeys than in the trekking-only donkeys. The circadian rhythms of RR and HR did not differ between the groups of donkeys. In conclusion, packing + trekking was more stressful to the donkeys, significantly increasing the HR of donkeys subjected to packing + trekking, compared with trekking only.
The Taishu horse in Tsushima is one of eight Japanese native breeds. The breed is on the verge of extinction due to a rapid decrease in numbers since the 1960s owing to motorization in Japan. In this study, we aimed to confirm the pedigree information of 52 horses by genotyping 31 microsatellites in order to avoid inbreeding. Parentage verification failed to identify genetic contradictions among trios (sires, dams, and foals) registered with the Japan Equine Affairs Association (JEAA). Pedigree information registered at the JEAA was obtained and adequately understood. Additionally, the genetic diversity of the Taishu horses was evaluated and compared with those of other Japanese native breeds. The average values for the number of alleles, observed heterozygosity, expected heterozygosity, and inbreeding coefficient were 4.7, 0.643, 0.632, and −0.02, respectively. Using the Structure software, the 52 horses were classified into three subgroups based on the individuals with more than 50% of specific genetic components. The phylogenetic trees created based on neighbor-joining classification tended to be consistent among the stallions. The effective population size was 27.5 and lower than that required for maintaining 90% genetic variation in the source population over a period of 100 years (47.5). Compared with the other Japanese breeds, the Taishu horse population included in the current study exhibited moderate genetic diversity. Our study will contribute to reconsideration of the breeding strategy of Taishu horses.
Equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE) is an equine infectious disease that can lead to severe weight loss and hyperplasia of the intestinal mucosa due to infection with Lawsonia intracellularis. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of EPE in a major Thoroughbred breeding area: Hidaka district, Hokkaido, Japan. Of the 252 symptomatic horses that we tested, 192 EPE cases (76.2%), including 8 fatal cases, were confirmed from April 2015 to March 2020 by etiological and/or serological investigation. Most of the EPE cases were observed in foals (88.5%), with fewer cases in yearlings (7.3%) and adults (4.2%). Asymptomatic infection was observed in 62.9% of the horses kept with affected horses. These results suggest that EPE is an enzootic disease in Hidaka district.