Blood test shows chances of sur­vival

Horse & Hound - - Newsinsider -

A STUDY has re­vealed that a blood test can give an in­di­ca­tion of a horse’s chances of sur­viv­ing atyp­i­cal my­opa­thy.

The of­ten-fa­tal ill­ness is usu­ally found in graz­ing horses and is linked to the seeds of the sy­camore tree. Signs of atyp­i­cal my­opa­thy in­clude mus­cu­lar weak­ness and stiff­ness, dark urine, fa­tigue, colic-like signs, shiver­ing and sweat­ing.

Univer­sity of Liège re­searchers used blood sam­ples col­lected from cases of atyp­i­cal my­opa­thy be­tween au­tumn 2006 and spring 2015. They found that a horse’s chance of sur­vival could be es­ti­mated from lev­els of three acyl­car­nitines (meta­bolic byprod­ucts) in the blood.

The team said this in­for­ma­tion could be used to pre­vent the “un­nec­es­sary suf­fer­ing of an­i­mals that are un­likely to sur­vive” and be used to “fo­cus sup­port on those that have a favourable prog­no­sis”.

“The strik­ing find­ing of this study is the abil­ity to spec­ify a prog­no­sis based on early blood test­ing, at the start of the clin­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion by the prac­ti­tioner or even at a sub-clin­i­cal state as shown by one horse that was sam­pled three hours be­fore clin­i­cal signs be­came ap­par­ent,” the re­searchers said.

“In this con­text, sur­vival prog­no­sis could be of crit­i­cal in­ter­est to pre­vent eu­thana­sia. In­deed, in­ten­sive care may be fo­cused on an­i­mals with good sur­vival ex­pectancy while in­di­vid­u­als with high death prob­a­bil­ity could be sac­ri­ficed more ‘prag­mat­i­cally’ when there are signs of suf­fer­ing that can­not be sup­pressed.”

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