SciCombinator

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Concept: Warmblood

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It was shown that rolled-toe shoes smooth hoof-unrollment and thereby reduce peak loading of forelimbs in trotting Warmblood horses. Shoe design and shoeing technique for hind feet have been modified over recent decades from fully fitted, toe-clipped shoes to set-back, side-clipped shoes.

Concepts: Horse, Shoe, Shoes, Warmblood, Ambling, Trot, Harness racing, Combined driving

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Reasons for performing the study: The ability of horses to habituate to novel objects influences safety in the horse-human relationship. However, the effectiveness of different habituation techniques has not been investigated in detail. Objectives: 1) To investigate whether horses show increased stress responses when negatively reinforced to approach novel objects, compared with horses allowed to voluntarily explore the objects and 2) whether a negatively reinforced approach facilitates object habituation. Methods: Twenty-two 2-3-year-old Danish Warmblood geldings were included. Half of the horses (NR group) were negatively reinforced by a familiar human handler to approach a collection of novel objects in a test arena. The other half were individually released in the arena and were free to explore the objects (VOL group). On the next day, the horses were exposed to the objects again without a human handler, to investigate the rate of habituation. Behavioural and heart rate responses were recorded. Results: All VOL horses initially avoided the unknown objects, whereas the handler was able to get all NR horses to approach and stand next to the objects within the first 2 min session. The NR horses had a significantly longer duration of alertness and a higher max heart rate in the first session. On the next day, however, NR horses spent significantly less time investigating the objects and had a shorter latency to approach a feed container, placed next to the objects, indicating increased habituation. Conclusion: A negatively reinforced approach to novel objects increases stress responses during the initial exposure but facilitates habituation in young horses. Potential relevance: Although a negatively reinforced approach appears beneficial for habituation, the procedure should be carefully managed due to increased stress responses in the horse, which may constitute a safety risk. Further experiments should aim to investigate differences in stimulus intensity.

Concepts: Horse, Heart rate, Object, The First Session, Warmblood, The Handler

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Horses lose potential opportunities because of health problems. Available breeding strategies are not effective enough, probably also because of the different definition used and its genetic usefulness. The aim of the study was to compare the genetic background estimated by the genome-wide association study (GWAS) for osteochondrosis using two different scaling osteochondrosis (OC)/healthy and osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD)/healthy systems for evaluating the disease status of investigated fetlock joints. Two hundred one Warmblood horses trained for performance tests (87 stallions and 114 mares) were phenotyped and genotyped. Four fetlock x-ray images per horse were collected using the RTG Girth HF 80 and Vet Scan ray 3600. The DNA of each horse was genotyped using the BeadChip 70K. To identify SNPs that significantly affect the probability of osteochondrosis, two different methods were applied: the Cochran-Armitage test based on an additive mode of inheritance and logistic regression. The genetic background for osteochondrosis, expressed in the number of SNPs found with significant associations with osteochondrosis, was higher by evaluation in the scale of OCD/healthy horses (16 SNPs on several chromosomes mainly on the ECA1 and ECA10) than OC/healthy (2 SNPs on the ECA15 and one SNP on the ECA10). Detailed definition of osteochondrosis is needed in breeding and in veterinary practice. The genetic background for osteochondrosis and osteochondrosis dissecans seems not the same. Suggestive SNPs could be the candidate markers for osteochondrosis but should be checked on a larger population before usage.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, X-ray, Genome-wide association study, Horse, Veterinarian, Mare, Warmblood

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Osteochondrosis (OC) is an injury to cartilage canals with a following necrosis in the growth cartilage, from there it can develop to osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). Due to its high impact in the equine industry, new insights into predisposing factors and potential high-risk genetic variants are warranted. This article reviews advancements in quantitative and molecular genetics in refining estimation of genetic parameters and identifying predisposing genetic loci. Heritabilities were highest for hock OC with estimates at 0.29-0.46 in Hanoverian warmblood and Norwegian trotters, whereas in Thoroughbreds only very low genetic variation seemed to be present in hock OC lesions. Whole genome scans using the Illumina Equine SNP50 or SNP70 Beadchip were performed in Thoroughbred, Standardbred, French and Norwegian trotter, Hanoverian and Dutch warmblood. Validation studies in Spanish Purebred and Hanoverian warmblood horses corroborated OC risk loci on ECA 3, 14, 27 and 29. Particularly, a strong association with hock-OCD was found for a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on horse chromosome (ECA) 3 upstream to the LCORL gene. Gene expression and microRNA analyses may be helpful to understand pathophysiological processes in equine OC and to connect OCD-associated genomic regions with potential candidate genes. Further progress in elucidating the underlying genetic variants and pathophysiological changes in OC may be expected from whole genome DNA and RNA next-generation sequencing studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Molecular biology, RNA, Horse, Thoroughbred, Warmblood

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The main objective of this explorative study was to describe the relationship between competition scores and salivary cortisol concentrations in young horses during dressage and showjumping competitions. The study also investigated whether the diurnal rhythm of salivary cortisol concentrations was affected by competition over consecutive days compared with the home environment. Saliva samples were collected from 126 dressage horses and showjumpers in their home environment and at 3 different events. The relationship between scores given by judges at the competition and cortisol concentrations at the event was assessed. The results demonstrated that competition scores correlated positively to baseline cortisol concentrations at one of 3 events (r = 0.53, P < 0.001). Salivary cortisol concentrations followed a diurnal rhythm with the highest concentrations measured in the morning and the lowest in the evening, both at home and in the competition environment (P < 0.05). Salivary cortisol concentrations were greater during the competitions than at home (P < 0.05) except at one event where showjumpers did not increase between home and competition. Dressage horses had the highest baseline cortisol concentrations at competition, and exercise caused cortisol concentrations to increase in both showjumpers and dressage horses (P < 0.001). In conclusion, the diurnal rhythm in salivary cortisol concentrations was maintained in the novel environment. Dressage horses demonstrated greater baseline cortisol concentrations at competition than showjumpers, suggesting that they may perceive the novel environment as more stressful. Furthermore, there was no consistent relationship between baseline salivary cortisol concentrations and competition scores across the events.

Concepts: Human, Competition, Novel, Equestrianism, Warmblood, Eventing, Dressage, Equestrian at the Summer Olympics

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To report a novel exertional myopathy, myofibrillar myopathy (MFM), in Warmblood horses.

Concepts: Warmblood

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In this study, sagittal plane ground reaction forces (GRFs) in ridden elite dressage horses performing ‘collected trot’ and in ‘passage’ over ground were determined. In-ground force plates captured GRF data from four Dutch Warmblood and four Lusitano horses ridden by their trainers. At least three stance phases were analysed for forelimbs and hind limbs per horse. The variables extracted were vertical and longitudinal (braking, propulsive) force maxima, their times of occurrence and the respective impulses for forelimbs and hind limbs. Lusitanos had lower vertical impulses than Dutch Warmbloods in collected trot. Across all horses, passage had larger vertical impulses than collected trot in the forelimbs and hind limbs. Propulsive impulse increased in the hind limbs in passage. Prolonged stance durations in passage contributed to higher vertical impulses that are needed to increase the vertical excursions of the centre of mass.

Concepts: Classical mechanics, Reaction, Ground reaction force, Newton's laws of motion, Passage, Warmblood, Dressage, Lusitano

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Testicular feminization, an earlier term coined for describing a syndrome resulting from failure of masculinization of target organs by androgen secretions during embryo development, has been well documented not only in humans but also in the domestic horse. The pathology, actually referred to as androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), has been proposed to follow an X-linked recessive pattern of inheritance in some horse breeds already investigated. Affected individuals are characterized by a female phenotype but with a stallion genotype of 64,XY SRY+ constitution. We identified a Warmblood horse pedigree segregating AIS, where the molecular analyses of the androgen receptor gene in the family provided evidences that a 25-bp deletion of the DNA-binding domain is causative of this equine syndrome.

Concepts: Genetics, Biology, Horse, Androgen receptor, Androgen insensitivity syndrome, Virilization, Arabian horse, Warmblood

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Inertial-measurement-unit (IMU)-sensor-based techniques are becoming more popular in horses as a tool for objective locomotor assessment.

Concepts: Horse, Walking, Warmblood, Combined driving

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A pigment retinopathy has been reported in adult horses with equine motor neuron disease (EMND) arising from chronic α-tocopherol (α-TP) deficiency. A pigment retinopathy has not been identified in horses with neuroaxonal dystrophy/equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (NAD/EDM) that affects genetically susceptible young horses with α-TP deficiency. The objective of this report is to describe, for the first time, a pigment retinopathy in a family of α-TP-deficient Warmbloods (WB) with clinically apparent NAD/EDM or EMND.

Concepts: Spinal cord, Motor neuron, Motor neurone disease, Arabian horse, Warmblood