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Temperament has not been taken into account in previous studies evaluating the stress response to exercise in horses. The aim of the present study was to investigate the cortisol response in Thoroughbred racehorses to a single exercise bout, and to analyse the results based on the basic personality of the horse examined. Twenty healthy Thoroughbred horses were selected for the study based on a 25-item rating questionnaire survey used for characterising equine temperament. Eight temperamental and twelve calm horses took part in the experiment. The horses trotted as a warm-up activity, and then galloped on a rounded sand track. Blood sampling was conducted four times for each horse. Horses with a more excitable temperament showed a higher cortisol response to the test (P = 0.036). In conclusion, cortisol levels in response to a mild intensive exercise can be affected by temperament in horses. Serum cortisol may be a relevant marker to quantify individual temperamental differences in racehorses.

Open access
Authors: Ottó Szenci, Kamal Touati, Noelita Melo De Sousa, Jean-Luc Hornick, Gijsbert Cornelis van der Weyden, Marcel Antonie Marie Taverne and Jean-François Beckers

Abstract

The aim of this study was to further develop and extensively describe a surgical technique in order to realise long-term fetal blood sampling in the bovine species. Eleven Holstein–Friesian 6- to 8-month pregnant cows (4–10 years old) were used for this study. Gestational age on the day of surgery varied from approximately 180 days (n = 1) to 240 days (minimum: 232 days, maximum 252 days; n = 10). The fetal medial tarsal artery was catheterised in pregnant cows with a polyvinyl catheter in dorsal recumbency under general anaesthesia. Although 5 out of 11 operations (45.5%) performed between 232 and 252 days of gestation were lost due to different causes mainly associated with peritonitis and septicaemia, the mean interval between operations and calvings was 42.5 days (between 27 and 95 days). It is important to emphasise that a well-trained surgical team is needed for bovine fetal cannulation in order to be able to decrease the risk factors during the operations. Due to the fact that after 5 unsuccessful cases none of the pregnancies were lost, this skill can be reached, and our technique can enable bovine fetal blood sampling for long-term endocrinological and physiological investigations before and during parturition.

Open access
Authors: Lea Lénárt, Marcel Taverne, Peter Wolleswinkel, Zoltán Gubik, László Molnár and Ottó Szenci

The aim of this study was to create a fetal heart rate (FHR) reference curve for singleton bovine fetuses in the first trimester of gestation and to determine its possible relationship with the outcome of pregnancy. Forty-eight Holstein-Friesian cows with one fetus and five cows with twins were used. Fetal heart beatings were recorded on videotape during transrectal scanning with a 5 and/or 7.5 MHz linear array transducer on a weekly basis between Days 40 and 95 of gestation. FHR was calculated by averaging the results of five counts of the same record by the same observer. For singleton pregnancies, a reference curve was created using the mean, the standard deviation (SD) and the 5th and 95th percentiles. The FHR increased from Days 40–46 (173 beats/min) to Days 61–67 (183 beats/min). After a peak, the FHR decreased slowly until Days 89–95 (175 beats/min), while the SD increased. There was no significant difference between singleton and twin fetuses. in the aborted and lost fetuses in twin gestation due to fetal reduction, both bradycardia and tachycardia were detected compared to the singleton pregnancy reference curve.

Open access
Authors: Zoltán Szelényi, Dorottya Győri, Szabolcs Boldizsár, Levente Kovács, Attila Répási, László Molnár and Ottó Szenci

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of twin pregnancy, fetal laterality, the number of corpora lutea (CL) and cavitary CL on pregnancy losses in Holstein-Friesian cows with a positive pregnancy diagnosis based on ultrasonography between days 29–42 after AI. Pregnancy was confirmed by transrectal palpation between days 57–70 after AI and at the time of drying-off as well. Twin pregnancy rate was 8.4% at the time of the early pregnancy examination. Pregnancy loss did not differ between singleton- and twin-carrying animals either between days 57–70 of gestation or at drying-off. More losses occurred in singletons between days 29–42 and 57–70 in cows with cavitary than in cows with noncavitary CL (12.1% vs. 3.6%; P < 0.05) and in cows with double CL than in cows with single CL (7.3% vs. 3.6% %; P < 0.05). Between days 57–70 of gestation and drying-off this difference was still significant (20.7% vs. 3.7%; P < 0.001), while it was non-significant between cows with one CL (5.7%) vs. double CL (3.7%). Cavity occurrence was not affected by hormone therapy prior to AI (either PGF2α or OvSynch; 4.4% vs. 5.4%, respectively); however, the number of CL was reduced by the treatments (11.6 vs. 19.6%; P < 0.0005). In twin pregnancies there was no difference in the pregnancy losses between bilateral and unilateral pregnancies at any time point. The length of gestation was 278.2 ± 10.5 (singleton) and 267.4 ± 31.2 (twin) days, respectively (P < 0.01). The stillbirth ratio was higher in twin carriers than in singleton carriers (19.5% vs. 5.3%; P < 0.001).

Open access
Authors: Boglárka Vincze, András Gáspárdy, Levente Kovács, Ervin Albert, Luca Kézér, Ferenc Baska and Ottó Szenci

Transabdominal ultrasonography has been shown to be a useful and reliable method for assessing fetal well-being in horses and cattle. To test the applicability of fetal aortic diameter measurement in cattle, 44 late-term pregnant cows and heifers were examined 21 to 0 days prior to calving. Mean fetal aortic diameter was 2.07 ± 0.14 cm and mean fetal heart rate (FHR) was 109 ± 17 bpm. Three dead calves were dissected and their aortic diameter was measured in a water bath. The mean birth weight (n = 44) was 39.9 ± 5.8 kg. There was a significant negative correlation between FHR and fetal aortic diameter. However, although some studies have shown that fetal aortic diameter strongly correlates with birth weight in near-term horses and cattle, in this study there was no correlation between fetal aortic diameter and birth weight in Holstein-Friesian cows and heifers irrespective of whether the fetus was born alive or dead.

Open access
Authors: Orsolya Kutasi, Orsolya Fehér, Sára Sárdi, Nándor Balogh, Anna Nagy, Leticia Moravszki, Emese Bódai and Ottó Szenci

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is a zoonotic arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes between wild birds (natural hosts) and other vertebrates. Horses and humans are incidental, dead-end hosts, but can develop severe neurological disorders. Owing to the close contact of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with the extracellular fluid of the brain, the analysis of CSF composition can reflect central nervous system (CNS) impairments enabling the diagnosis and understanding of various neurodegenerative CNS disorders. Our objective was to compare the findings from the CSF samples of horses with neuroinvasive WNV infection with those of healthy controls. We compared findings from fifteen CSF samples of 13 horses with acute WNV encephalomyelitis with those of 20 healthy controls. Protein, particular enzymes and ions, glucose and lactate showed abnormal levels in a significant number of WNV cases. None of the six horses with elevated glucose concentrations survived. Rather neutrophilic than mononuclear pleocytosis was identified with WNV infection. Neutrophils probably play a role in the development of inflammatory response and brain damage. Although elevated glucose levels reliably predicted the outcome, they might be the consequence of increased plasma levels and reflect general stress rather than CNS pathophysiology. The CSF findings of WNV encephalomyelitis patients are non-specific and variable but facilitate the differential diagnosis.

Open access
Authors: Baukje G. Andela, Frank J. C. M. Van Eerdenburg, Ali Choukeir, Dávid Buják, Zoltán Szelényi, Szabolcs Boldizsár, Fruzsina Luca Kézér, László Molnár, Levente Kovács and Ottó Szenci

Activities of alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, and concentrations of serum metabolites [beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA)] of primiparous (n = 83) and multiparous (n = 213) Holstein cows were studied as possible predictors of retained fetal membranes (RFM), grade 2 clinical metritis (CM) and clinical endometritis (CEM). A logistic regression model was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) for the prevalence of CM diagnosed between 0–5, 6–10 and 11–20 days in milk (DIM) and for the prevalence of CEM diagnosed between 22–28 and 42–49 DIM. The activities of the examined serum enzymes did not show significant associations either with CM or with CEM. For NEFA sampled on days 0 and 5, an OR of 2.38 for CM 0–20 DIM and an OR of 2.58 for CM 11–20 DIM was found. For BHB sampled on days 0 and 5, an OR of 8.20 for CEM 22–28 and 42–49 DIM and an OR of 1.98 for CM 6–10 DIM were found. The prevalence of RFM was higher in ≥ 4 parity cows compared to primiparous cows (46.3% vs. 26.5%). BHB and NEFA levels measured between 0 and 5 DIM could have a predictive ability for postpartum uterine disorders such as RFM, CM and CEM.

Open access