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Triglyceride concentrations in neonatal foals: Serial measurement and effects of age and illness

Berryhill, E.H., Magdesian, K.G., Kass, P.H., Edman, J.E.
The veterinary journal 2017 v.227 pp. 23-29
blood serum, foals, health status, triacylglycerols
Few studies have evaluated the effects of age and illness on serum triglyceride concentrations in neonatal foals. The objectives of this study were to evaluate triglyceride concentrations in neonatal foals and their dams through serial measurement immediately postpartum and at 1–2 days and 10–12 days of age, as well as to measure them in sick foals.Serially measured serum triglycerides in seven healthy foals varied with age. Median (range) triglyceride concentrations were 28mg/dL (12–50mg/dL), 89mg/dL (51–264mg/dL), and 60mg/dL (28–135mg/dL) immediately postpartum, at 1–2 days of age, and 10–12 days of age, respectively (P<0.001). Triglyceride concentrations varied hourly by up to 117mg/dL in individual foals. The dams had lower triglycerides (median, 20mg/dL; range, 12–49mg/dL) than the foals, once foals were >24h old. Sick foals <24h old had lower triglycerides than sick foals aged 1–7 days (median, 41mg/dL [range, 16–116]; median, 110mg/dL [range, 24–379mg/dL]; P<0.001). Age and triglyceride concentration showed a non-linear association independent of foal health status (P=0.01). Sick foals with positive bacterial cultures had higher triglycerides than those with negative cultures (median, 111mg/dL [range, 10–379mg/dL] and median 53mg/dL [range, 17–271mg/dL], respectively; P=0.033). Nonsurvivors had higher triglycerides than survivors (median, 116mg/dL [range, 41–379mg/dL] and median, 55mg/dL [range, 10–311mg/dL], respectively; P=0.04). In conclusion, triglycerides were highest in healthy neonatal foals aged 1–2 days, and in nonsurviving sick foals and those with positive bacterial cultures. Age was associated with triglyceride concentration regardless of health status.