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Animals 2012, 2(2), 184-194; doi:10.3390/ani2020184

Supplementation of Ascorbic Acid in Weanling Horses Following Prolonged Transportation

Department of Animal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 84 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Current address: 45 Johnson Lane, Jackson, NJ 08527, USA.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 March 2012 / Revised: 2 April 2012 / Accepted: 6 April 2012 / Published: 16 April 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monogastric Animal Nutrition and Metabolism)
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Simple Summary: Horses normally synthesize adequate amounts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in their liver to meet their needs for the vitamin. However, prolonged stress results in low plasma concentrations and reduced immune function. Weanling horses were supplemented with ascorbic acid for 5 or 10 days or no ascorbic acid (4 per group) following 50+ hours of transportation. Supplementation caused increases in plasma concentrations but both supplemented groups had decreased plasma ascorbic acid for 1 to 3 weeks following cessation of supplementation, possibly due to suppressed synthesis. Supplementation of ascorbic acid following prolonged stress will increase plasma concentrations, but prolonged supplementation should be avoided.

Abstract

Though horses synthesize ascorbic acid in their liver in amounts that meet their needs under normal circumstances, prolonged stress results in low plasma concentrations due to enhanced utilization and renal excretion and can reduce immune function. It was hypothesized that plasma ascorbic acid could be maintained in weanling horses by oral supplementation following prolonged transportation. Weanlings were supplemented with no ascorbic acid (Tx 0: n = 4), 5 grams ascorbic acid twice daily for 5 days (Tx 1: n = 4) or for 10 days (Tx 2: n = 4) following >50 hours of transportation. Supplementation caused slight (P < 0.2) increases in plasma ascorbic acid concentrations. Both supplemented groups had decreased (P < 0.05) plasma concentrations for 1 to 3 weeks following cessation of supplementation, possibly due to increased renal excretion or suppressed hepatic synthesis. Supplementation of ascorbic acid following prolonged stress will increase plasma concentrations, but prolonged supplementation should be avoided.
Keywords: ascorbic acid; vaccine response; transportation stress ascorbic acid; vaccine response; transportation stress
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Ralston, S.; Stives, M. Supplementation of Ascorbic Acid in Weanling Horses Following Prolonged Transportation. Animals 2012, 2, 184-194.

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