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Subclinical diseases underlying poor performance in endurance horses: diagnostic methods and predictive tests

Fraipont, A., Erck, E. Van, Ramery, E., Richard, E., Denoix, J.M., Lekeux, P., Art, T.
The Veterinary record 2011 v.169 no.6 pp. 154
blood, echocardiography, endoscopy, exercise test, heart rate, horses, lactic acid, musculoskeletal system, respiratory tract diseases
Thirty-eight endurance horses underwent clinical and ancillary examinations, including haematological and biochemical evaluation, standardised exercise tests both on a treadmill and in the field, Doppler echocardiography, impulse oscillometry, video endoscopy and collection of respiratory fluids. All of the examined poorly performing horses were affected by subclinical diseases, and most of them had multiple concomitant disorders. On the contrary, the well-performing horses were free of any subclinical disease. The most frequently diagnosed diseases were respiratory disorders, followed by musculoskeletal and cardiac problems. Poor performers exhibited lower speeds at blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol/l (VLA4) and at heart rates of 160 (V160) and 200 bpm (V200) on the treadmill and in the field, as well as slower recovery of heart rate.