Standardised exercise testing in 17 reining horses: Musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiac and clinicopathological findings
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© 2017 EVJ Ltd Exercise testing can be useful to evaluate poor performance, as a preventative medicine tool, and in the assessment of training progression. A comprehensive exercise testing protocol that simultaneously evaluates common causes of poor performance has not been described in reining horses. The objective of this study was to describe the results of a standardised exercise testing protocol in reining horses. Seventeen reining horses that were part of a western performance intercollegiate team and had met the trainer's expectations during the athletic season were evaluated using a comprehensive standardised exercise test. Systems assessed included musculoskeletal system, upper respiratory tract, lower respiratory tract and cardiovascular system. These systems were assessed by means of historical questionnaires, general physical examinations, subjective lameness examinations, gait analysis using digital body mounted inertial sensors, resting and dynamic upper airway endoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cytology, echocardiograms, resting and exercising electrocardiography, and laboratory tests (packed cell volume, lactate, creatine kinase and serum amyloid A). Subclinical abnormalities were detected frequently. The musculoskeletal system was the most commonly affected system, but cardiovascular and upper and lower airway abnormalities were also detected in some horses. These results suggest that exercise tests may be useful to detect subclinical abnormalities in horses used for reining. Further evaluation of both normally and poorly performing horses is necessary to determine if exercise testing can improve the health, performance and welfare of horses used for reining.
author list (cited authors)
de Solis, C. N., Sampson, S. N., McKay, T., & Whitfield‐Cargile, C.