Vets Discuss How They Use SAA in Equine Practice

An SAA test can identify illness in horses, and it can also ensure they’re healthy enough for other procedures, such as surgery. Here’s a look into how some vets use SAA in their practices.
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Vets Discuss How They Use SAA in Equine Practice
SAA is an inflammatory marker that the liver produces as part of the body’s response to inflammation. Veterinarians can use it to differentiate between horses with systemic inflammation and those that have noninflammatory diseases. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

Does your practice routinely use serum amyloid A (SAA) testing and, if so, how? Are you looking to implement this test into your toolbox but aren’t sure how to go about it? Two internal medicine veterinarians answered these questions during a Table Topic discussion at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Dec. 1-5, in San Francisco, California.

Nicola Pusterla, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, and Laura H. Javsicas, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, of Rhinebeck Equine LLP, in New York, co-mediated the session. They kicked it off with a brief review of SAA basics.

What is SAA?

Pusterla quickly reminded attendees that SAA—referred to as an acute-phase protein produced by the liver—essentially acts as a marker of inflammation. He highlighted the fact that while SAA is a powerful indicator that inflammation is present, the test can’t tell you what’s causing the inflammation or, importantly, where it is

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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