Related Posts with Thumbnails

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Possible environmental chemical link found to equine metabolic syndrome and related laminitis in Welsh ponies and Morgan horses



Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a horse’s environment may play a role in the development of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), a leading cause of laminitis. This finding, made by Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at The University of Minnesota, could explain some of the variability in EMS severity that can’t be explained by other commonly measured factors, such as diet, exercise and season.
The study was published in November in the scientific journal Chemosphere.

“This is a pivotal piece of a very complicated jigsaw puzzle. There are a lot of horse owners out there who are very diligent about providing their horses fantastic care, but the horse is still diagnosed,” said Dr. Molly McCue, Professor and interim Associate Dean of Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. “It’s important to be aware that these chemicals contribute to the problem, so we can look for ways to reduce horses’ exposure to them.”

The team studied more than 300 horses from 32 farms in the United States and Canada. They focused on Welsh ponies and Morgan horses, as these breeds are more likely to develop EMS than others. The team collected data on the horses’ lifestyles, including diet, exercise and past illnesses, as well as their farm location.

Researchers also examined plasma from the horses and looked for EDCs that have effects on receptors in the horse (estrogen [EEQ] and aryl hydrocarbon [TEQ] receptors). Simultaneously, they determined whether an individual horse had blood test results consistent with an EMS profile (including insulin and glucose at rest and following a sugar challenge). The team then analyzed the results to look for correlations between plasma EDC concentration and these variables.

The team concluded that accumulation of EDCs may explain some environmental variance seen in horses with EMS, but the precise role and dose response to EDCs in horses with EMS is not clear at this time.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals usually are man-made substances, found in products such as pesticides, plastics and personal care products. They are heavily prevalent in the environment and can mimic a body’s hormones, blocking real ones from doing their jobs. Because of this, they are known to produce harmful effects in humans and wildlife. Horses likely come into contact with EDCs through their food.

Equine metabolic syndrome, which has no cure, is characterized by endocrine abnormalities in horses and ponies. Affected horses and ponies have a tendency to develop pockets of fat and/or become obese, and they have altered insulin dynamics. EMS also is one of the most common causes of laminitis, a painful and very debilitating inflammation of tissue in a horse’s hooves, leading to reduced performance, and in severe cases necessitating euthanasia.

This is the first study to examine associations between EDCs and disease in domestic animals. Dr. McCue said it remains to be seen how significant the association is, but hopes future studies will further scientific understanding and help advance veterinary care for horses.


Journal citation:

S.A. Durward-Akhurst, N.E. Schultz, E.M. Norton, A.K. Rendahl, H. Besselink, P.A. Behnisch, A. Brouwer, R.J. Geor, J.R. Mickelson, M.E. McCue. Associations between endocrine disrupting chemicals and equine metabolic syndrome phenotypes. Chemosphere, 2019; 218: 652 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.11.136

Note: This journal article is behind an Elsevier/ScienceDirect paywall. The article was indexed by HoofSearch in the November edition.

Material in this news article was edited from text provided by the Morris Animal Foundation.

About Morris Animal Foundation

Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded by a veterinarian in 1948, MAF funds and conducts critical health studies for the benefit of all animals. Learn more at morrisanimalfoundation.org.


© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no re-use of text or images on other sites or social media without permission--please link instead. (Please ask if you need help.) The Hoof Blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Use the little envelope symbol below to email this article to others. The "translator" tool in the right sidebar will convert this article (roughly) to the language of your choice. To share this article on Facebook and other social media, click on the small symbols below the labels. Be sure to "like" the Hoofcare and Lameness Facebook page and click on "get notifications" under the page's "like" button to keep up with the hoof news on Facebook. Questions or problems with the Hoof Blog? Click here to send an email hoofblog@gmail.com.  

Follow Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofBlog
Read this blog's headlines on the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: The Hoof Blog (Hoofcare Publishing) has not received any direct compensation for writing this post. Hoofcare Publishing has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned, other than products and services of Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

3 comments:

FresianMom said...

The article says that horses come in contact with EDC’s through their food, but doesn’t explain how. Can you elaborate?

Fran Jurga said...

The horses in the study were housed at different farms in different locations. Their hours of grazing and turnout were recorded.

In the text of the article, the authors give background on how horses may come into contact with EDCs: "Many EDCs can be taken up by plant roots and foliage and ingested by grazing livestock (Rhind, 2002). Livestock are also likely to ingest EDCs through soil and water sources particularly if the water contains organic matter (Rhind, 2002). Several surveillance studies have demonstrated uptake of EDCs by grazing animals leading to accumulation of EDCs in milk (Rychen et al., 2008) and beef (Feil and Ellis, 1998)."

I hope that helps.

Nadia said...

Very informative article!