ArticlePDF Available


In Brazil, gaited horses are selected based on field tests, during which they move at speeds of 3 to 4 m/s for 30 to 60 min. To cover their nutrient requirements, feed manufacturers have developed oil-rich dietary supplements and concentrates. The aim of this research was to evaluate the effects of increasing the density of dietary fats in the feed of 16 Campolina horses undergoing intense gaited training. The training schedule consisted of training 4 × a week: 3 days riding for 60 min (10’ warm-up, 40’ doing marcha gait, and 10’ cool down, and 1 day walking for 90’). The horses were divided in two groups: control and supplemented. The dietary supplementation was isocaloric, with the control group receiving an ordinary concentrate (3.5% fat) and the supplemented group fed 1.0 kg of the supplement (18% fat) plus the ordinary concentrate. Both groups had free access to fresh grass, salt and water. Blood samples were collected prior to and after 4 and 8 weeks of supplementation to calculate the complete blood count, glucose, total protein, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA). The results were evaluated by ANOVA and Tukey’s test (P < 0.05). The supplemented group showed elevated levels of NEFA, red blood cells and haematocrit (P < 0.05), while the control group showed high triglyceride concentrations; both groups showed reduced plasma protein concentrations (P < 0.05). The other indices did not change (P > 0.05). The increase in dietary fat intake increased the blood lipid biomarkers and antioxidant capacity of gaited horses during intense training, possibly contributing to improve their metabolic performance.
Use of oil-rich diet for gaited horses during physical training
Hélio Cordeiro Manso Filho, Monica Miranda Hunka, Luzilene Araújo de Souza,
Helena Emília Cavalcanti da Costa Cordeiro Manso
Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Equine Research Center, Recife, PE, Brazil
Received August 2, 2018
Accepted February 12, 2019
In Brazil, gaited horses are selected based on eld tests, during which they move at speeds
of 3 to 4 m/s for 30 to 60 min. To cover their nutrient requirements, feed manufacturers have
developed oil-rich dietary supplements and concentrates. The aim of this research was to evaluate
the eects of increasing the density of dietary fats in the feed of 16 Campolina horses undergoing
intense gaited training. The training schedule consisted of training 4 × a week: 3 days riding for
60 min (10’ warm-up, 40’ doing marcha gait, and 10’ cool down, and 1 day walking for 90’).
The horses were divided in two groups: control and supplemented. The dietary supplementation
was isocaloric, with the control group receiving an ordinary concentrate (3.5% fat) and the
supplemented group fed 1.0 kg of the supplement (18% fat) plus the ordinary concentrate.
Both groups had free access to fresh grass, salt and water. Blood samples were collected prior
to and after 4 and 8 weeks of supplementation to calculate the complete blood count, glucose,
total protein, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and non-esteried fatty acids (NEFA).
The results were evaluated by ANOVA and Tukey’s test (P < 0.05). The supplemented group
showed elevated levels of NEFA, red blood cells and haematocrit (P < 0.05), while the control
group showed high triglyceride concentrations; both groups showed reduced plasma protein
concentrations (P < 0.05). The other indices did not change (P > 0.05). The increase in dietary
fat intake increased the blood lipid biomarkers and antioxidant capacity of gaited horses during
intense training, possibly contributing to improve their metabolic performance.
Aerobic exercise, antioxidant, cholesterol, NEFA, triglycerides
Over the last few decades, the increasing popularity of equestrian sports such as endurance
and pacer riding events has led to changes in dietary standards for these athletes, in terms
of both energy sources and the increase in sources of antioxidant nutrients. Thus, the use
of concentrates of high calorie density due to the addition of oils allows for the inclusion
of nutrients to cover the energy expenditure during training and competitions, improving
metabolic eciency for endurance training by reducing muscle glycogen depletion and
improving the stamina of these athletes (Kronf e l d et al. 1994; H a r ris 2009). However,
other studies have found that the increase in ethereal extract in diets can reduce the elevation
of body temperature and water needs induced by exercise (Kron f e l d et al. 1994; Hyyp p a
et al. 1999). These facts are important and should be kept in mind when the inclusion of
dietary oils is prescribed for speed and endurance exercises because, in the long run, they
contribute to the longevity and well-being of equine athletes.
It has also been shown that the inclusion of oils rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids could
contribute to improve antioxidant capacity of dierent groups of horse athletes. It has
been shown that the tissues of endurance riding and gaited horses undergo a major loss of
antioxidant capacity during competition (Ha rgre a v e s et al. 2002; Me l o et al. 2017). That
is why the use of antioxidant-rich dietary oils may contribute to improve the performance
of endurance athletes. It has recently been shown that the inclusion of oils rich in omega
3 and 6 fatty acids in the diet of horses undergoing 8 weeks of gait training increased the
concentration of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and uric acid
ACTA VET. BRNO 2019, 88: 25–31;
Address for correspondence:
Hélio Cordeiro Manso Filho
Núcleo de Pesquisa Equina
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco
Rua Dom Manuel de Medeiros s/n, 52171-900 Recife, PE, Brasil.
(Mel o et al. 2016). In weaned foals, an increase in the percentage of the ethereal extract
in diet reduced the degree of anisocytosis and increased the leukocyte concentration. This
eect was attributed to the improved antioxidant functions in these cells, followed by the
positive eects on plasma cell membrane stability (M o f farts et al. 2007; Mel o et al.
However, it should be kept in mind that a calorie increment through the inclusion of oils in
food concentrates can lead to reduced food intake, faecal production and plasma triglyceride
concentration, and can extend the recovery time of muscle glycogen concentrations
(Kro n f e l d et al. 1994; Or m e et al. 1997; Hyypp a et al. 1999; OConn o r et al. 2007).
Finally, it should be noted that the time required for the body’s metabolism to fully adapt
to the use of dietary oil supplementation may vary according to the type and amount of
oil used, and that many of these eects quickly disappear when the supplementation is
discontinued (Hyy p p a et al. 1999; O Connor et al. 2007; NRC 2007).
Campolina horses are a typical Brazilian breed. They are able to perform a four-beat gait
exercise used in marcha challenges that consist of an aerobic exercise. Given the importance
of including oil in the diet of equine athletes, not only as a source of energy but also to
improve the animal’s antioxidant capacity, an experiment was performed to determine the
eects of an increased ethereal extract in the diet of horses undergoing gait training on their
body condition score, lipid biomarkers, and complete blood count (CBC). Maintaining the
body condition score and increasing the concentrations of free fatty acids (FFAs) in the
blood of horses undergoing endurance training may improve their performance due to the
greater contribution of calories typically used in these sports, and may also improve the
antioxidant capacity and maintain the composition of the plasma membrane.
The aim of this research was to determine the eects of oil supplementation on blood
biomarkers in gaited horses under intense training program.
Materials and Methods
This study involved 16 Campolina horses, which were randomly assigned to two groups a supplemented
group and a control group, each comprising 4 males and 4 non-pregnant females. The horses were of the mean age
of 6.5 years and body weight of 480 kg. All the horses were housed in single stalls, but in visual contact with each
other, and on their day o were allowed to graze on a 5-ha pasture covered with Massai grass (Panicum maximum).
All the handling and training procedures at the experimental site involved the use of positive stimuli and reduction
of negative stimuli, according to the ve domains described in the literature (Mel l or 2017; M cGr e ev y et al.
2018). An evaluation scale of good practices for horse athletes was adopted for the training evaluation (Coe l ho
et al. 2018), and all the practices, as well as sampling, were approved by the Ethics Committee on Animal Use of
the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco – CEUA/UFRPE, under Protocol No. 026/2013.
Both groups spent more than 3 months by the training for gaited competitions. The training protocol consisted
of 3 days/week riding for gaited competition training (10 min walking to warm up, followed by 40 min riding
at pacer gait (3–4 m/s), and ending with 10 min walking to cool down), and 1 day/week walking outdoors for
90 min. The rest of the time they stayed in their individual stalls (16 m2) at rest, or were allowed to graze freely
for a maximum of 5 h per day on the pasture.
The animals were fed isocaloric diets in individual troughs, 3 × a day. The control group received only
a commercial concentrate (5.0 kg/day per animal, CP [crude protein]: 12%, EE [ether extract]: 3.5%, DE
[digestible energy]: 3.0 Mcal/kg), while the supplemented group was fed the commercial concentrate (3.5 kg/day
per animal) plus an oil-rich supplement (1.0 kg/animal/day, CP: 10.0%, EE: 18.0%, DE: 4.4Mcal). In addition to
the concentrates, all the animals fed on fresh Massai grass, about 15 kg/animal/day, and had ad libitum access to
salt and water. The body condition score was determined on a scale of 1 to 9 at three time points: before, 30 days,
and 60 days after starting supplementation, as described in the literature (Hen n ek e et al. 1983). The recovery
heart rate was measured once a week, using a stethoscope applied to the left side of the heart region, 20 to 30 min
after the gait training exercises.
Blood samples were collected before beginning the supplementation, and 4 weeks and 8 weeks after the
supplementation. All samples were drawn from fasting animals by jugular venipuncture into heparin vacuum
tubes. The whole blood was used to perform blood cell counts within no more than 2 h after collection. The
samples were then centrifuged to separate the plasma, which was used for the determination of glucose, total
plasma protein (TPP), FFAs, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HLD) cholesterol
and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The complete blood count (CBC) was performed in semi-
automated haematology analyser (Sysmex pocH-100iV Di, Roche, São Paulo, Brazil), and biochemical
analyses were carried out in a semi-automated spectrophotometer (Doles D-250, Goiás, Brazil) using
commercial kits.
One-way ANOVA (treatment) and Tukey’s test were employed to analyse the results. In both cases, the P value
was set at 0.05. The analyses were performed using SigmaPlot 13.0 for Windows (Systat Software Inc., San Jose,
CA, USA). The results are expressed as mean ± standard error.
The results indicated that, at the end of the 8 weeks, the non-esteried fatty acid (NEFA)
concentrations in the supplemented group were 10-fold higher than those before the
testing and in the control group (P < 0.05). The control group showed a higher triglyceride
concentration before the testing and over the time than the supplemented group (P < 0.05)
(Table 1). Total plasma protein (TPP) contents were also found to decrease over the time
in both groups compared to the level before the testing (P < 0.05). However, the body
condition score, glucose concentration and cholesterol (total, LDL and HDL) did not vary
throughout the experiment (P > 0.05).
The evaluation of the haematological biomarkers revealed that the erythrocyte counts
and haematocrit levels increased in the supplemented group (P < 0.05), with the highest
levels measured after 8 weeks of supplementation (Table 2). All the other evaluated indices
remained unchanged over the 8 weeks of the experiment.
Lastly, it should be noted that during the experimental period, the animals consumed all
the concentrated feed without any problem, and their clinical status remained unchanged.
Moreover, the animals showed no lameness, injuries or other problems related to training
during the experiment. The recovery heart rate was consistent with the welfare assessment
scale for equine athletes (Coelho et al. 2018) on the days when the horses did their walking
This study demonstrated that the inclusion of an oil-rich dietary concentrate over an
8-week period resulted in a signicant increase in NEFA levels in the supplemented group,
even when these horses underwent intense competitive training. This supplementation was
Table 1. Body condition score and chemical biomarkers of athletic gaited horses without and with supplementation of
concentrate rich in ethereal extract.
Dierent superscripts in one row indicate that P < 0.05 by Tukey’s test. NEFA - non esteried fatty acids.
Group of athletic horses
Biomarker Before testing Control (n = 8) Supplemented (n = 8)
(n = 16) + 30 d + 60 d + 30 d + 60 d
Body condition score 5.2 ± 0.2 5.3 ± 0.2 5.9 ± 0.2 5.0 ± 0.2 5.9 ± 0.1
Glucose, mmol/l 4.92 ± 0.11 5.24 ± 0.01 5.06 ± 0.07 5.11 ± 0.05 4.83 ± 0.11
Total plasma protein, g/dl 7.8 ± 0.2A 7.2 ± 0.1B 6.8 ± 0.2B 7.2 ± 0.1B 7.1 ± 0.1B
NEFA, mmol/ml 0.034 ± 0.004B 0.053 ± 0.005B 0.030 ± 0.008B 0.106 ± 0.017AB 0.361 ± 0.167A
Triglycerides, mmol/l 0.33 ± 0.02A 0.31 ± 0.02AB 0.28 ± 0.04AB 0.22 ± 0.04B 0.19 ± 0.02B
Total cholesterol, mmol/l 2.25 ± 0.12 2.17 ± 0.08 2.34 ± 0.12 2.50 ± 0.15 2.77 ± 0.27
HLD cholesterol, mmol/l 1.17 ± 0.06 1.19 ± 0.05 1.46 ± 0.29 1.33 ± 0.06 1.28 ± 0.09
LDL cholesterol, mmol/l 1.08 ± 0.12 0.97 ± 0.07 1.24 ± 0.07 1.17 ± 0.13 1.49 ± 0.19
also found to elevate haematocrit levels and red blood cell counts, which are important
factors for athletic performance, probably because they support the stabilization of red
blood cell membranes (Moff a r t s et al. 2007). Both groups of horses also showed no
modications in their total cholesterol, HDL and LDL concentrations. Both groups showed
low TPP levels throughout the experimental period. However, this may be attributed to the
improved physical conditioning of the horses, revealed by regular heart rate monitoring,
given that animals undergoing endurance training may have a high plasma volume
(McK e e v e r et al. 1987; McKeev e r 2002).
Although the assessment of the body condition score is a subjective measure, it can be an
important tool for evaluating the nutritional and training program of animal athletes. Horses
tend to lose or gain body mass when their feeding program and/or training intensity are not
balanced. This indicator should also be used in equine welfare standards, since excesses
are detrimental to the well-being of animals (Mell o r 2017; Co e l ho et al. 2018). The body
condition score not only enables the athlete’s nutritional program to be evaluated, but also
helps to clarify the eects of the training program. There is no specic body condition
score for each equestrian discipline, but in general, racehorses have a lower body condition
score and body fat index because their fat mass percentage is lower than that of gaited
horses (Kearns et al. 2002; Abr e u et al. 2009). Moreover, it should be kept in mind that
the source of energy for racehorses is more closely associated with carbohydrates, whereas
that of endurance horses is associated with oils.
In this experiment, modications in the body condition score were not expected because
the animals were receiving dietary supplementation for low to moderate intensity sports of
medium to long-term duration, as recommended in the literature (NRC 2007), and because
they were being properly trained for the type of exercise they engaged in and enjoyed
regular rest. Maintenance of the body condition score indicates that good breeding and
training practices were followed.
Supplementation with dierent types of fat has proved to be an important factor for
improving the performance of animals during medium to long duration exercises. The
NEFA and triglyceride levels before the testing were similar to those described for fasting
Table 2. Blood biomarkers of athletic gaited horses without and with supplementation of concentrate rich in ethereal
Dierent superscripts in one row indicate P < 0.05 by Tukey’s test. MCV - mean corpuscular volume; MCHC - mean
corpuscular haemoglobin concentration; RDW-SD - red cell distribution width-standard deviation; RDW-CV - red cell
distribution width-coecient of variation
Group of athletic horses
Biomarker Before testing Control (n = 8) Supplemented (n = 8)
(n = 16) + 30 d + 60 d + 30 d + 60 d
Erythrocyte count, X106/µl 7.6 ± 0.4B 7.5 ± 0.3B 7.7 ± 0.3AB 8.8 ± 0.3AB 8.9 ± 0.4A
Haemoglobin, g/dl 11.55 ± 0.4 11.9 ± 0.6 11.9 ± 0.5 12.8 ± 0.4 13.0 ± 0.2
Haematocrit, % 34.2 ± 1.2B 35.2 ± 1.8AB 35.9 ± 1.2AB 38.1 ± 1.2AB 39.6 ± 0.9A
MCV,  45.1 ± 1.2 46.9 ± 1.7 46.7 ± 1.6 43.5 ± 1.2 44.9 ± 1.4
MCHC, g/dl 33.5 ± 0.2 33.8 ± 0.3 33.3 ± 0.4 33.7 ± 0.3 33.3 ± 0.4
RDW-SD,  36.4 ± 0.7 37.9 ± 0.9 37.6 ± 0.5 36.5 ± 0.5 36.8 ± 0.6
RDW-CV, % 20.3 ± 0.4 20.0 ± 0.5 19.0 ± 0.6 21.0 ± 0.7 20.7 ± 0.6
Platelets, X103/µl 134.5 ± 18.1 117.3 ± 24.2 110.7 ± 10.2 159.7 ± 21.7 160.0 ± 19.8
Leukocytes, X103/µl 9.8 ± 0.6 9.2 ± 0.8 8.5 ± 0.4 9.8 ± 0.7 9.5 ± 0.7
Lymphocytes, X103/µl 4.5 ± 0.5 4.3 ± 0.6 4.0 ± 0.5 5.3 ± 0.6 4.9 ± 0.6
Other cells, X103/µl 5.4 ± 0.3 4.8 ± 0.4 4.5 ± 0.6 4.5 ± 0.2 4.6 ± 0.3
Marchador horses (NEFA: ~0.025 mmol/ml; triglycerides: ~32.0 mg/dl) (F e r r eira et al.
2017). However, in the supplemented group, NEFA levels increased while triglyceride
levels decreased compared to the concentrations measured before the testing or in the
control group, in addition to those described in the literature (Ferr e i r a et al. 2015). The
results of this experiment are similar to others reported in the literature, which indicate
a reduction in triglyceride levels and an increase in NEFA levels, but dier in terms of
total cholesterol (Gleene n et al. 1999). However, some dierences may be attributed to
the composition of the oil used in this study and the characteristics of the exercises that the
animals performed.
The eects of exercising on lipid biomarkers may vary depending on the dietary oil
supplementation and types of exercises. In racehorses, supplementation with oil elevated
plasma lipase activity and muscle antioxidant capacity, but did not increase muscle
glycogen and triglyceride levels (Or me et al. 1997). In contrast, gaited horses show
increased NEFA and triglyceride levels during and immediately after exercise (F e r r eira
et al. 2015), similar to what has been described for other equine sport disciplines (Kronfe l d
1996; Orme et al. 1997). In the latter disciplines, which are typically aerobic, the
increased availability of fats in feed can support athletic performance because they provide
high-energy sources and antioxidant capacity in the blood of horse athletes.
It is noteworthy that no changes were detected in the glucose or cholesterol (total, HDL
and LDL) levels in either of the groups, unlike what has been described in the literature
(Gle e n e n et al. 1999). With regard to blood glucose, this indicator was measured when
the horses were fasting and no changes were expected, although it has been reported that
the inclusion of dietary oil could modify the postprandial concentration of this metabolite
(Orm e et al. 1997). The availability of fat in the diet as an energy source of this group of
horses could support lipolysis in the aerobic exercise and thus help maintain the glucose
levels. Other authors have described changes in the dierent types of cholesterol, which
in some cases have been ascribed to the type of fat used in supplementation (Orme et al.
1997; O’ C o n nor et al. 2007). Thus, the kind of fat source used in the current study could
explain the absence of changes in the cholesterol levels in the four-beat gait horses.
Dietary fat supplementation and its eects on equine erythrocytes and leukocytes have
not yet been clearly described in the literature. The results of this experiment indicated
that erythrocyte counts in the non-supplemented group, both before and throughout the
experiment, were below the previously described levels (F e rreira et al. 2015). However,
the dietary supplementation raised the erythrocyte counts to levels similar to those reported
in the literature for Campolina and Mangalarga Marchador horses (Ferre i r a et al. 2015),
while the leukocyte levels in all the animals of this experiment were within the range
described by those authors.
Very few studies so far have attempted to determine the eects of the inclusion of dietary
oil on the blood indices of horses. In young animals (< 12 months old), the inclusion of
dietary oil was shown to lower one of the indices of anisocytosis and raise the percentage
of lymphocytes (M e lo et al. 2012), but in adult racehorses this inclusion led only to a
discrete elevation in leukocytes and had no inuence on erythrocytes (Ha rris et al. 1999).
It has also been shown that increasing the amount of oil added to horse diets increases the
concentration of blood antioxidant biomarkers (Mel o et al. 2016), which may improve
the stability of plasma membranes in blood cells (Moff a r t s et al. 2007), even when
horse athletes are subjected to oxidative conditions, such as physical exercise. Thus,
supplementation with oils may have indirect eects on performance by improving the
haematological biomarkers.
Plasma membrane exibility is maintained by achieving a better balance between
oxidants and antioxidants, and is important for cell function (Hollán 1996; Mof f a rts
et al. 2007). In this context, the inclusion of dietary oil may support a higher concentration
of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in the membranes of erythrocytes and leukocytes, thus
stabilizing the plasma cell membranes and osetting the antioxidant eects caused by
dierent sources (Barros et al. 2013; El tweri et al. 2017). The stabilization of these
cell membranes supports not only oxygen transport through the erythrocytes but may also
contribute to the immune system by stabilizing the leukocyte cell membranes. Marchador
horses are known to be subject to lymphopaenia and reduced antioxidant capacity following
marcha contests (Wanderl e y et al. 2015; Melo et al. 2017), similar to what occurs in
endurance riding horses or in other endurance contests. Thus, the increment in calories
and antioxidants aorded by supplementation with oil rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
may contribute to enhancing the performance and recovery of Marchador horses and other
groups of animals that participate in endurance contests or in frequently repeated exercises.
As previously mentioned, animals trained for endurance competitions tend to have an
increased plasma volume, which means there may be some decrease in red blood cell
concentration, particularly in erythrocytes (M c K e e ver et al. 1987; M c K e e ver 2002).
This adaptation is important to increase the amount of water stored in plasma and reduces
the eects of water and mineral loss in horses through hypertonic sweat. Increased plasma
volume may also reduce TPP levels. In this study, both groups showed a decrease in TPP
levels unrelated to their feed, which was expected, given that their protein levels remained
within the range indicated by the NRC (2007) for the type of physical exercise the animals
were engaged in. Lastly, it should be kept in mind that Marchador horses may present
slight dehydration after riding contests (Wa n d e r ley et al. 2010;
et al. 2017), and
a possible increase in plasma volume may contribute to reducing the negative eects of
post-exercise dehydration.
Supplementation with higher calorie density, using a concentrate rich in omega 3 and
6 fatty acids, increases the availability of free fatty acids for the tissues and supports the
antioxidant capacity. In this context, an increase in free fatty acids concentration helps
to decrease the body temperature and saves glucose during exercise, increasing the time
to fatigue. Moreover, increased antioxidant capacity reduces the negative eects of exercise
on the body’s tissues. Therefore, taken together, these processes support performance and
contribute to faster recovery of gaited horses, which often compete several times over the
course of a few days in the main horse riding competitions.
In conclusion, the use of diets rich in oil for horses that perform an aerobic exercise could
benet the horses’ well-being by increasing the antioxidant capacity and saving glucose
levels by utilizing high energy sourced from fat.
Conict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conicting interests.
The authors would like to thank Guabi Nutrição Animal for providing the feed for the animals; Haras Abreu for
providing the animals; and CNPq and CAPES for the granting of scholarships.
Abreu JMG, Manso Filho HC, Manso HECCC 2009: Composição corporal nos cavalo de trabalho. Cien Anim
Bras 10: 1122-1127
Barros KV, Carvalho PO, Cassulino AP, Andrade I, West AL, Miles EA, Calder PC, Silveira VL 2013: Fatty acids
in plasma, white and red blood cells, and tissues after oral or intravenous administration of sh oil in rats. Clin
Nutr 32: 993-998
Coelho C.S, Manso HECCC, Manso Filho HC, Ribeiro Filho JD, Abreu JMG, Escodro PB, Valença SRFA 2018:
Escala para avaliação do bem-estar em equídeos atletas. Rev Bras Med Equina 13: 4-8
Eltweri AM, Thomas AL, Fisk HL, Arshad A, Calder PC, Dennison AR, Bowrey DJ 2017: Plasma and erythrocyte
uptake of omega-3 fatty acids from an intravenous sh oil based lipid emulsion in patients with advanced
oesophagogastric cancer. Clin Nutr 36: 768-774
Ferreira LMC, Melo SKM, Diniz AIA, Vaz SG, Abreu JMG, Manso HECCC, Manso Filho HC 2015: Aerobic
exercise produces changes in plasma IL-6 but not IL-1b in four-beat gaited horses, Comp Exe Phys 11: 159-165
Ferreira LMC, Hunka MM, Silva ERR, Melo SKM, Melo ACC, Trindade KLG, Oliveira VTB, Manso HECCC,
Manso Filho HC 2017: Hematological and biochemical values in Brazilian four-beat gaited horses, Comp Clin
Pathol 26: 321-327
Gleenen SNJ, van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterban MMS, Beynen AC 1999: Dietary fat supplementation and equine
plasma lipid metabolism. Eq Vet J 30: 475-478
Hargreaves BJ, Kronfeld DS, Waldron JN, Lopes MA, Gay LS, Saker KE, Cooper Wl, Sklan DJ, Harris PA 2002:
Antioxidant status and muscle cell leakage during endurance exercice. Eq Vet J 34: 116-121
Harris P 2009: Feeding management of elite endurance horses. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 25: 137-153
Harris PA, Pagan JD, Crandell KG, Davidson N 1999: Eect of feeding thoroughbred horses a high unsaturated
or saturated vegetable oil supplemented diet for 6 months following a 10 month fat acclimation. Eq Vet J Suppl
30: 468-474
Henneke DR, Potter GD, Kreider JL, Yeates BF 1983: Relationship between condition score, physical
measurements and body fat percentage in mares. Eq Vet J 15: 371-372
Hollán S 1996: Membrane uidity of blood cells. Haematologia (Budap) 27: 109-27
Hyyppa S, Saastamoinen M, Pöso AR 1999 Eect of a post exercise fat-supplemented diet on muscle glycogen
repletion. Eq Vet J 30: 493-498
Kearns CF, McKeever KH, Abe T 2002: Overview of horse body composition and muscle architecture:
implications for performance. Vet J 164: 224-234
Kronfeld DS 1996: Dietary fat aects heat production and other variables of equine performance under hot and
humid conditions. Eq Vet J 22: 24-34
Kronfeld DS, Ferrante PL, Grandjean D 1994: Optimal nutrition for athletic performance, with emphasis on fat
adaptation in dogs and horses. J Nutr 124: 2745S-2753S
McGreevy P, Berger J, Brauwere N, Doherty O, Harrison A, Fiedler J, Jones C, McDonnell S, McLean A,
Nakonechny L, Nicol C, Preshaw L, Thomson P, Tzioumis V, Webster J, Wolfensohn S, Yeates J, Jones B
2018: Using the ve domains model to assess the adverse impacts of husbandry, veterinary, and equitation
interventions on horse welfare. Animals 8: 41
McKeever KH The endocrine system and the challenge of exercise 2002: Vet Clin N Am Equine Pract 18:
McKeever KH, Schurg WA, Jarrett SH, Convertino VA 1987: Exercise training-induced hypervolemia in the
horses. Med Sci Spo Exe 19: 21-27
Mellor DJ 2017: Operational details of the ve domains model and its key applications to the assessment and
management of animal welfare. Animals 7: 60
Melo SKM, Ferreira LMC, Hunka MM, Barbosa BL, Abreu JMG, Manso HECCC, Manso Filho HC 2017:
Marcha gait simulation test decrease antioxidative biomarkers in four-beat gaited horses. J Eq Vet Sci 55: 12-17
Melo SKM, Vaz SG, Manso ECC, Martins IDS, Hunka MM, Manso HECCC, Manso Filho, HC 2012: Inuência
da suplementação com concentrado extrusado rico em óleo nos parâmetros hematológicos, biométricos
e biomarcadores na digestão de potros. [Inuence of supplementation with oil-rich extruded concentrate on
hematological and biometric parameters and digestion biomarkers of foals]. Medicina Veterinária (UFRPE)
6: 41-45
Melo, SKM, Diniz AIA, Lira VL, Muniz SKO, Silva GR, Manso HECCC, Manso Filho HC 2016: Antioxidant
and haematological biomarkers in dierent groups of horses supplemented with polyunsaturated oil and
vitamin E. J Ani Phys Ani Nutr 100: 852-859
Moarts B, Portier K, Kirschvink N, Coudert J, Fellmann N, van Erck E, Letellier C, Motta C, Pincemail J, Art T,
Lekeux P 2007: Eects of exercise and oral antioxidant supplementation enriched in (n-3) fatty acids on blood
oxidant markers and erythrocyte membrane uidity in horses. Vet J 174: 113-121
National Research Council – NRC. Nutrient requirements of horses 2007: 6th edn. Washington, D.C. National
Academies 360 p.
O’Connor CI, Lawrence LM, Hayes SH 2007: Dietary sh oil supplementation aects serum fatty acid
concentrations in horses J Anim Sci 85: 2183–2189
Orme CE, Harris RC, Marlin DL, Hurley J 1997: Metabolic adaptation to a fat-supplemented diet by the
thoroughbred horse. Br J Nutr 78: 443-458
Wanderley EK, Bem BSC, Melo SKM, Gonzalez JC, Manso HECCC, Manso Filho HC 2015: Hematological
and biochemical changes in mangalarga marchador horses after a four-beat gait challenge in three dierent
distances. J Eq Vet Sci 35: 259-263
Wanderley EK, Manso Filho H C, Manso HECCC, Santiago TA, McKeever KH 2010: Metabolic changes in four
beat gaited horses after eld marcha simulation. Eq Vet J 42: 105-109
... Infelizmente o número de estudos específicos sobre a aplicação dos 5D + ainda são escassos, mas demonstram que este sistema pode e deve ser aplicado regularmente nas pesquisas com os cavalos e outros equídeos, sejam em centros de pesquisas ou em haras/fazendas privadas 24,20 , pois ele pode ser aplicado quantas vezes forem necessários para que seja estabelecido uma avaliação continuada do BEA durante à aplicação dos processos científicos. ...
Full-text available
RESUMO: A amplitude do conceito de bem-estar animal, assim como o entendimento sobre a ciência do Bem-Estar Animal, encontra-se globalmente pacificados, sendo tema de grande relevância e ascensão dentro do agronegócio equestre. Dentre os diversos conceitos implementados na avaliação do nível de bem-estar animal, a implementação do modelo dos "Cinco Domínios" (5D), permite a atuação de método sistemático que inclui quatro domínios físicos ou funcionais (nutrição, ambiente, saúde e comportamento) e um domínio mental (estado mental ou afetivo). Nossa proposta visa a análise e avaliação do status de bem-estar animal nos diversos segmentos da equideocultura, a partir de uma metodologia baseada na adaptação do modelo dos "Cinco Domínios" (5D), associado a outros sistemas de avaliação de bem-estar animal, quais possuam sustentação científica. O artigo descreve sucintamente as características e aplicações dos 5D + , combinados com outros sistemas não invasivos e aplicados em equinos, quais vivem em sistemas de manejo que vão desde a criação nos haras ou fazenda, até os centros de treinamentos e recintos de competições. Observamos que a análise e avaliação do nível de bem-estar dos equinos pelo Método dos 5D + em diferentes sistemas de criação, treinamento e competição, associado ou não a outros métodos, se mostrou viável em sua aplicação nas diferentes situações relatadas, apresentando confiabilidade nos resultados, com plena validade científica.
Full-text available
Simple Summary Using an adaptation of the domain-based welfare assessment model, a panel of horse welfare professionals (with professional expertise in psychology, equitation science, veterinary science, education, welfare, equestrian coaching, advocacy, and community engagement) assessed the perceived harms, if any, resulting from 116 interventions that are commonly applied to horses. Scores for Domain 5 (the integrated mental impact) gathered after extensive discussion during a four-day workshop aligned well with overall impact scores assigned by the same panellists individually before the workshop, although some rankings changed after workshop participation. Domain 4 (Behaviour) had the strongest association with Domain 5, whilst Domain 1 (Nutrition) had the weakest association with Domain 5, implying that the panellists considered commonly applied nutritional interventions to have less of a bearing on subjective mental state than commonly applied behavioural restrictions. The workshop defined each intervention, and stated assumptions around each, resulting in a set of exemplar procedures that could be used in future equine welfare assessments. Abstract The aim of this study was to conduct a series of paper-based exercises in order to assess the negative (adverse) welfare impacts, if any, of common interventions on domestic horses across a broad range of different contexts of equine care and training. An international panel (with professional expertise in psychology, equitation science, veterinary science, education, welfare, equestrian coaching, advocacy, and community engagement; n = 16) met over a four-day period to define and assess these interventions, using an adaptation of the domain-based assessment model. The interventions were considered within 14 contexts: C1 Weaning; C2 Diet; C3 Housing; C4 Foundation training; C5 Ill-health and veterinary interventions (chiefly medical); C6 Ill-health and veterinary interventions (chiefly surgical); C7 Elective procedures; C8 Care procedures; C9 Restraint for management procedures; C10 Road transport; C11 Activity—competition; C12 Activity—work; C13 Activity—breeding females; and C14 Activity—breeding males. Scores on a 1–10 scale for Domain 5 (the mental domain) gathered during the workshop were compared with overall impact scores on a 1–10 scale assigned by the same panellists individually before the workshop. The most severe (median and interquartile range, IQR) impacts within each context were identified during the workshop as: C1 abrupt, individual weaning (10 IQR 1); C2 feeding 100% low-energy concentrate (8 IQR 2.5); C3 indoor tie stalls with no social contact (9 IQR 1.5); C4 both (i) dropping horse with ropes (9 IQR 0.5) and forced flexion (9 IQR 0.5); C5 long-term curative medical treatments (8 IQR 3); C6 major deep intracavity surgery (8.5 IQR 1); C7 castration without veterinary supervision (10 IQR 1); C8 both (i) tongue ties (8 IQR 2.5) and (ii) restrictive nosebands (8 IQR 2.5); C9 ear twitch (8 IQR 1); C10 both (i) individual transport (7.00 IQR 1.5) and group transport with unfamiliar companions (7 IQR 1.5); C11 both (i) jumps racing (8 IQR 2.5) and Western performance (8 IQR 1.5); C12 carriage and haulage work (6 IQR 1.5); C13 wet nurse during transition between foals (7.5 IQR 3.75); and C14 teaser horse (7 IQR 8). Associations between pre-workshop and workshop scores were high, but some rankings changed after workshop participation, particularly relating to breeding practices. Domain 1 had the weakest association with Domain 5. The current article discusses the use of the domain-based model in equine welfare assessment, and offers a series of assumptions within each context that future users of the same approach may make when assessing animal welfare under the categories reported here. It also discusses some limitations in the framework that was used to apply the model.
Full-text available
In accord with contemporary animal welfare science understanding, the Five Domains Model has a significant focus on subjective experiences, known as affects, which collectively contribute to an animal's overall welfare state. Operationally, the focus of the Model is on the presence or absence of various internal physical/functional states and external circumstances that give rise to welfare-relevant negative and/or positive mental experiences, i.e., affects. The internal states and external circumstances of animals are evaluated systematically by referring to each of the first four domains of the Model, designated "Nutrition", "Environment", "Health" and "Behaviour". Then affects, considered carefully and cautiously to be generated by factors in these domains, are accumulated into the fifth domain, designated "Mental State". The scientific foundations of this operational procedure, published in detail elsewhere, are described briefly here, and then seven key ways the Model may be applied to the assessment and management of animal welfare are considered. These applications have the following beneficial objectives-they (1) specify key general foci for animal welfare management; (2) highlight the foundations of specific welfare management objectives; (3) identify previously unrecognised features of poor and good welfare; (4) enable monitoring of responses to specific welfare-focused remedial interventions and/or maintenance activities; (5) facilitate qualitative grading of particular features of welfare compromise and/or enhancement; (6) enable both prospective and retrospective animal welfare assessments to be conducted; and, (7) provide adjunct information to support consideration of quality of life evaluations in the context of end-of-life decisions. However, also noted is the importance of not overstating what utilisation of the Model can achieve.
Full-text available
This study looked at the effect of feeding diets supplemented with either a predominantly saturated or unsaturated vegetable oil over a prolonged period to exercising horses. Eight Thoroughbred horses were assigned to 2 diet treatments and for 10 months were fed Timothy hay and oats, together with a fortified sweet feed supplemented with either a predominantly unsaturated (Un) or a saturated (S) vegetable oil so that ˜19% DE (Digestible Energy) came from dietary fat and ˜12% from either the Un or S source (AC). An increased amount of Un or S fortified sweet feed, replacing the oats, was then fed for a further 6 months (HF) so that ˜27% DE came from fat and ˜20% from the Un or S vegetable oil. Standardised incremental treadmill exercise (8–12 m/s) tests (STEP) and duplicate oral glucose tolerance tests (TOL) were carried out after 3, 6 and 9 months of the AC diet and after 3 and 6 months on the HF diet. There was no significant effect of dietary treatment or when the tests were undertaken (time) on the insulin or lactate responses to the STEP tests. Overall there was a significant (P<.05) effect of time and treatment on the glucose response, but there was no difference between treatments at the first and last tests or between the results for these tests or between the endAC and endHF tests. No significant effect of treatment or time was seen on the TOL glucose response (% change from Time ‘0’) although there was a trend for the glucose concentrations to be lower and the insulin responses higher (nonsignificant) in the S treatment group. No significant effect of treatment on haematological parameters, monitored monthly, was found. Total protein and gamma glutamyl transferase remained within the normal range throughout. There was a significant effect of treatment (P<.05) on cholesterol and triglycerides with higher concentrations in the S group from the first (1 month) sample. Linoleic acid was the main fatty acid in all the 4 plasma lipid classes with slightly, but significant (P<.05), higher concentrations in Un for the cholesterol ester and phospholipid classes. There was no effect of time. Overall, the total resting plasma fatty acid content was significantly higher (P<.05) with S at the sample points (endAC and endHF). No adverse effects of feeding either diet on apparent coat condition or hoof appearance were seen apart from an apparent increase in the grease score. Many of the parameters assessed showed significant improvements with time (P<.05). In conclusion, no apparent adverse effects of feeding a diet supplemented with either an unsaturated or saturated vegetable oil for 6 months at ˜20% DE after 10 months at ˜12% DE were identified and there were no apparent disadvantages of feeding a saturated vegetable oil supplemented diet compared with an unsaturated one.
Background: It has been demonstrated that short term intravenous (IV) administration of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is more effective than oral supplementation at promoting incorporation of the bioactive omega-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) into plasma, blood cells and tissues. The effect of repeated short term IV infusion of omega-3 PUFAs was investigated in patients with advanced oesophagogastric cancer during palliative chemotherapy. Methods: Patients with advanced oesophagogastric cancer (n = 21) were recruited into a phase II pilot clinical trial. All patients were scheduled for an intravenous infusion of Omegaven® (fish oil supplement containing EPA and DHA) at a rate of 2 ml/kg body weight for 4 h once a week for up to six months. Blood samples were collected to assess omega-3 PUFA uptake into plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) and into red blood cell (RBC) membranes. Fatty acid profiles were analysed by gas chromatography. Results: Twenty patients received at least one Omegaven® treatment and were included in the analysis. Each infusion of omega-3 PUFAs resulted in increased EPA and DHA in plasma NEFAs, but there was little effect on PUFAs within plasma PC during the infusions. However, with repeated weekly infusion of omega-3 PUFAs, the EPA content of plasma PC and of RBC membranes increased. Conclusion: Repeated weekly omega-3 PUFA infusion is effective in enriching plasma PC and RBC membranes in EPA in patients with advanced oesophagogastric cancer receiving palliative chemotherapy. Trial registration: Clinical Trials.Gov NCT01870791.
Oxidative stress has been correlated with pathologies that impair the performance of athlete horses. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of supplementation with a mixture of polyunsaturated oil and vitamin E on the antioxidant and haematological biomarkers of horses. Horses under maintenance care (n = 6) and horses in training (n = 10) received 100 and 300 ml of the oil mixture respectively. Supplementation was provided for a period of 8 weeks, together with isocaloric inclusion. Blood samples were collected at three time periods (pretest, after 4 weeks and after 8 weeks) to analyse the following: the red blood cell count (RBCc); haemoglobin (Hb); haematocrit (HT); leucocytes; lymphocytes; platelets; the mean corpuscular volume (MCV); the mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC); the standard deviation of the red blood cell distribution width (RDW-SD); the coefficient of variation of the red blood cell distribution width (RDW-CV); glutathione peroxidase (GPx); superoxide dismutase (SOD); uric acid (UrAc); total plasma proteins (TPP); and creatine kinase (CK). After the 8 weeks of supplementation, animals under maintenance care exhibited significant increases in SOD, UrAc, the white blood cell count (WBCc), the RDW-SD and the RDW-CV (p < 0.05). The animals in training exhibited increases in GPx, SOD and UrAc (p < 0.05). In conclusion, supplementation with polyunsaturated oil and vitamin E increases blood antioxidants among animals under maintenance and in training, with different trends, while contributing to the fight against oxidative stress in each group analysed.
Exercise is an important stressor and is correlated with cytokine production in several tissues. There is little information about changes in interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1b in four-beat gaited horses during a typical aerobic exercise challenge. The objective of this research was to characterise changes in plasma IL-6, IL-1b, cortisol and other blood biomarkers in four-beat gaited horses after a marcha simulation test. We subjected 12 fit horses (approximately 5 years old and 390 kg) to the marcha simulation test (MST) (i.e. a 10 min warm-up, 30 min at marcha and 15 min cool down). Blood samples were collected before the MST, immediately after the MST and 15 and 120 min after the MST (i.e. recovery). Results were analysed with One Way Repeated Measures ANOVA and a Tukey tests with P≤0.05 and Pearson correlation test. The highest value of plasma IL-6 was observed immediately after MST (6.85 pg/ml) (P≥0.05). IL-1 and cortisol did not change (P≥0.05). However, creatine kinase (CK) and aspartate aminotransferase, nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA), glycerol, total cholesterol and glucose were elevated immediately after the MST and at 15 min after the MST (P≤0.05). No change was observed in alanine aminotransferase and triglycerides (P>0.05). Medium correlation was observed between NEFA and glycerol (R=0.64) and glycerol and triglycerides (R=0.50). In conclusion, an increase in IL-6 immediately that occurred after marcha simulation test was associated with elevated concentrations of several energetic metabolites (NEFA, glycerol and glucose). This metabolic adaption may contributed to the horses’ performance during their typical aerobic exercise and was not associated with significant elevation in IL-1b, CK, and cortisol in healthy trained four-beat gaited horses.
Reasons for performing study: Mangalarga-Marchador is a popular 4-gaited Brazilian horse breed; however, there is little information about their metabolic and physiological response to exercise. Objectives: To measure physiological and metabolic responses of the Mangalarga-Marchador to a simulated marcha field test and to compare these responses between 2 types of marcha gaits (picada and batida). Methods: Thirteen horses were used in the study and randomly assigned to either the picada or batida gait for the simulated marcha field test (speed ∼3.2 m/s; 30 min; load ∼80 kg). Measurements: Included body composition, heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), glucose (GLUC), lactate (LACT), packed cell volume (PCV), total plasma protein (TPP), albumin, urea, creatinine, total and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, creatine kinase, alanine, glutamate and glutamine (GLN). Measurements were obtained pretest (control/fasting), immediately after simulation (T0), and 15 (T15), 30 (T30) and 240 (T240) min after the simulation. Lactate (LACT) was measured at T0, T15 and T30. Data were analysed using ANOVA, Tukey's test and t tests with significance set at P<0.05. Results: Significant acute changes were observed in HR, RR, [GLUC], [LACT], [TPP], PCV and [GLN] (P<0.05) relative to control. Heart rate fell below 60 beats/min at T15 and RR recovered to pretest values by T240. Significant increases in [GLUC], [LACT], PCV and [TPP] and a decrease in [GLN] were observed at T0. Treatment and interaction effects were also observed between marcha types and time of sampling for HR, RF, PCV, and [LACT] (P<0.05). These parameters were large in picada. Conclusion: The simulation of field-test produced changes in some physiological and blood parameters in marcha horses, with some degree of dehydration during recovery period. Also, it was demonstrated that picada horses spend more energy when compared with batida horses at the the same speed. Potential relevance: Batida horses expend less energy when compared with picada horses, which will need special attention in their training and nutritional management.
Background & aims: The importance of route of administration of omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (oral vs intravenous (iv)) is not clear. We determined the relative concentrations of fatty acids in plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC), red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC) and several tissues after short-term oral or iv administration of soybean oil (SO) or fish oil (FO). Methods: Wistar rats (n = 6/group) received saline, FO, or SO by gavage or saline, FO based-lipid emulsion (FLE), or SO based-lipid emulsion (SLE) iv. The oils were provided at 0.2 g/kg/day for three consecutive days. The animals were sacrificed 24 h after the last administration, blood was collected for plasma, WBC and RBC separation and tissues removed. Fatty acids were analysed by gas chromatography. Results: FO resulted in higher eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in plasma PC and liver than the control. FLE resulted in higher EPA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and total n-3 PUFA in plasma PC, WBC and liver than both the control and SLE groups. EPA, DHA and total n-3 PUFA were higher in the heart with FLE compared with SLE. Individual and total n-3 PUFA were higher in plasma PC, WBC, liver and heart with FLE than with FO given by gavage. Conclusion: Short-term iv administration of n-3 PUFA appears to be more effective at increasing EPA and DHA status in plasma, WBC, liver and heart than oral administration. This might be important for rapid treatment with n-3 PUFA.
This article reviews the principles of feeding management for endurance horses. The amount and type of dietary energy (calories) are key considerations in dietary management, because (1) there is evidence that the body condition score, an indicator of overall energy balance, influences endurance exercise performance, and (2) the source of dietary energy (ie, carbohydrate versus fat calories) impacts health, metabolism, and athletic performance. Optimal performance is also dependent on provision of adequate feed, water, and electrolytes on race day.
The purpose of this study was to determine if a chronic hypervolemia would accompany endurance exercise training in the horse. Six mature previously inactive horses were utilized for this study. During the 5-wk experiment, five of the horses were trained for 14 d on a treadmill ergometer at a constant treadmill speed of 5.6 km X hr-1 and a constant grade of 12.5% for graduated lengths of time. One horse was trained by lunging at a trotting pace in a round pen. Following training, plasma volume increased by 4.7 1 (29.1%, P less than 0.05). Although the rate of daily water intake did not change during the training period, 24-h urine output decreased by an average of 3.5 1 X d-1 (-24.5%, P less than 0.05). Resting glomerular filtration rate and the rate of sodium clearance were not altered by training. However, urea, potassium, and osmotic clearance were decreased by training (P less than 0.05) while free water clearance was increased (P less than 0.05). Resting plasma aldosterone and arginine vasopressin concentrations were not altered by training. Plasma potassium concentration was significantly decreased (P less than 0.05) following the 2 wk of training. These data would appear to suggest that renal control mechanisms affecting water reabsorption via the re-absorption of urea and osmotically active substances other than sodium provide the primary route for the training-induced hypervolemia seen in horses.