Top Equine Medical Studies of 2017

During AAEP’s Kester News Hour, Dr. Rob MacKay reviewed his favorite studies of 2017, covering EPM, EHV, SAA, and more.

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Each year during the Kester News Hour at the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, three esteemed veterinarians offer their top picks from current published studies in their respective specialty areas of surgery, reproduction, or internal medicine. This fast-paced research roundup showcases new and interesting results reported by equine scientists from around the world. At the 2017 meeting, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas, Robert MacKay, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, presented his selection of research topics in equine medicine, ranging from respiratory infections to internal parasites. Here’s a closer look at the studies that caught MacKay’s attention in 2017.

SAA, Equine Asthma, and Respiratory Infection

Serum amyloid A (SAA), a protein the body produces in response to inflammation, is undetectable in healthy horses but increases within six to 12 hours of inflammation onset. That means an SAA blood test could potentially indicate a horse is sick even before he shows significant clinical signs of disease. Veterinarians might also use SAA to differentiate horses with infectious respiratory diseases from those with allergy-related equine asthma (which is not contagious). This could help veterinarians monitor equine populations at shows, rodeos, races, or other events to help prevent or track disease outbreaks.

To test this theory, a University of California, Davis (UC Davis), research team set out to measure SAA in both healthy horses and horses with equine asthma, equine herpesvirus-4 (EHV-4), equine influenza (EI), and strangles.

The scientists evaluated 207 horses using a commercial horse-side assay with a recommended cutoff of 50 μg/mL to distinguish between infectious and noninfectious inflammatory conditions

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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