Advances in Diagnostic and Treatment Methods for Equine Gastrointestinal Diseases

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Equids".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2025 | Viewed by 5543

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Perugia, 06126 Perugia, PG, Italy
Interests: equine internal medicine; equine gastric ulcer syndrome; equine gastroenterology; equine dermatology; equine endoscopy; equine sports medicine

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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, San Piero a Grado, Pisa, Italy
Interests: equine gastroenterology; equine surgery; equine orthopedics; equine sport medicine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
Interests: equine internal medicine; equine gastric ulcer syndrome; equine gastroenterology; equine sport medicine; equine nephrology; equine endoscopy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Gastrointestinal diseases in horses are prevalent worldwide, with colic being among the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in equids. In recent years, the number of papers published focusing on novel diagnostic techniques and treatment modalities has increased, enhancing the diagnosis and prognosis of various gastrointestinal diseases.

We are pleased to invite you to submit papers focusing on new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques in gastroenterology, in both adult horses and foals. 

This Special Issue aims to provide up-to-date information about diagnostic techniques in equine gastroenterology, focusing on the improvement of old procedures and the implementation of innovative methods for diagnosing infectious and non-infectious diseases. Furthermore, novel treatment modalities and drugs could be proposed in order to enhance the outcome of gastrointestinal diseases in equids.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following: gastric diseases, infectious diseases in adults and foals, inflammatory bowel disease and correlated illnesses, parasitology, pharmacology, and genomics and genetics.

We look forward to receiving your contributions. 

Dr. Sara Busechian
Dr. Irene Nocera
Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Rueca
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • equine gastroenterology
  • equine gastric ulcer syndrome
  • equine pharmacology
  • equine infectious diseases
  • equine inflammatory bowel disease
  • equine neonatology
  • equine endoscopy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

9 pages, 548 KiB  
Article
Presence of Gastric Ulcers in Horses Used for Historical Races in Italy
by Sara Busechian, Simona Orvieto, Irene Nocera and Fabrizio Rueca
Animals 2024, 14(8), 1247; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14081247 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Equine Gastric Ulcers Syndrome (EGUS) is a worldwide disease present in equids of different breeds, activity levels, and age groups. It is divided into two different illnesses: Equine Squamous Gastric Disease (ESGD) affecting the squamous mucosa and Equine Glandular Gastric Disease (EGGD) affecting [...] Read more.
Equine Gastric Ulcers Syndrome (EGUS) is a worldwide disease present in equids of different breeds, activity levels, and age groups. It is divided into two different illnesses: Equine Squamous Gastric Disease (ESGD) affecting the squamous mucosa and Equine Glandular Gastric Disease (EGGD) affecting the glandular mucosa. The historical horserace is a traditional competition that is common in Italy. They can be divided into two different types: speed races and jousting tournaments. Anglo-Arabians and Thoroughbreds are used for the two competitions with training and management systems similar to those used in races performed on a racetrack. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of ESGD and EGGD in horses used for historical horseracing and evaluate the differences in the presence of the diseases in animals of the two different breeds used for the two types of competition. A cohort of 73 horses was enrolled in this study, which were stabled in 10 training facilities and performed two jousting tournaments and one speed race. An ESGD at least of grade 2 was found in 88% of horses with all degrees of severity seen; EGGD was diagnosed in 45% of animals. In this cohort of horses, the presence and severity of ESGD and EGGD are similar to that in reports in racehorses performing on racetracks. Anglo-Arabians used for speed races are more affected by ESGD and EGGD, which is probably because they are involved in a higher number of races and travel more during the year compared to Thoroughbreds used for jousting competitions. Full article
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12 pages, 8436 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Gastric pH and Gastrin Concentrations in Horses Subjected to General Inhalation Anesthesia in Dorsal Recumbency
by Jesus Leonardo Suarez Guerrero, Pedro Henrique Salles Brito, Marília Alves Ferreira, Julia de Assis Arantes, Elidiane Rusch, Brenda Valéria dos Santos Oliveira, Juan Velasco-Bolaños, Adriano Bonfim Carregaro and Renata Gebara Sampaio Dória
Animals 2024, 14(8), 1183; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14081183 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1180
Abstract
The prevalence of gastric disorders in high-performance horses, especially gastric ulceration, ranges from 50 to 90%. These pathological conditions have negative impacts on athletic performance and health. This study was designed to evaluate changes in gastric pH during a 24 h period and [...] Read more.
The prevalence of gastric disorders in high-performance horses, especially gastric ulceration, ranges from 50 to 90%. These pathological conditions have negative impacts on athletic performance and health. This study was designed to evaluate changes in gastric pH during a 24 h period and to compare gastrin concentrations at different time points in horses undergoing general inhalation anesthesia and dorsal recumbency. Twenty-two mixed-breed mares weighing 400 ± 50 kg and aged 8 ± 2 years were used. Of these, eight were fasted for 8 h and submitted to 90 min of general inhalation anesthesia in dorsal recumbency. Gastric juice samples were collected prior to anesthesia (T0), and then at 15 min intervals during anesthesia (T15–T90). After recovery from anesthesia (45 ± 1 min), samples were collected every hour for 24 h (T1 to T24) for gastric juice pH measurement. During this period, mares had free access to Bermuda grass hay and water and were fed a commercial concentrate twice (T4 and T16). In a second group (control), four non-anesthetized mares were submitted to 8 h of fasting followed by nasogastric intubation. Gastric juice samples were then collected at T0, T15, T30, T45, T60, T75, and T90. During this period, mares did not receive food or water. After 45 min, mares had free access to Bermuda grass hay and water, and gastric juice samples were collected every hour for four hours (T1 to T4). In a third group comprising ten non-fasted, non-anesthetized mares with free access to Bermuda grass hay and water, gastric juice samples were collected 30 min after concentrate intake (T0). In anesthetized mares, blood gastrin levels were measured prior to anesthesia (8 h fasting; baseline), during recovery from anesthesia, and 4 months after the anesthetic procedure, 90 min after the morning meal. Mean values of gastric juice pH remained acidic during general anesthesia. Mean pH values were within the physiological range (4.52 ± 1.69) and did not differ significantly between time points (T15–T90; p  >  0.05). After recovery from anesthesia, mean gastric pH values increased and remained in the alkaline range throughout the 24 h period of evaluation. Significant differences were observed between T0 (4.88 ± 2.38), T5 (7.08 ± 0.89), T8 (7.43 ± 0.22), T9 (7.28 ± 0.36), T11 (7.26 ± 0.71), T13 (6.74 ± 0.90), and T17 (6.94 ± 1.04) (p  <  0.05). The mean gastric juice pH ranged from weakly acidic to neutral or weakly alkaline in all groups, regardless of food and water intake (i.e., in the fasted, non-fasted, and fed states). Mean gastric pH measured in the control group did not differ from values measured during the 24 h post-anesthesia period or in the non-fasted group. Gastrin concentrations increased significantly during the post-anesthetic period compared to baseline (20.15 ± 7.65 pg/mL and 15.15 ± 3.82 pg/mL respectively; p  <  0.05). General inhalation anesthesia and dorsal recumbency did not affect gastric juice pH, which remained acidic and within the physiological range. Gastric juice pH was weakly alkaline after recovery from anesthesia and in the fasted and fed states. Serum gastrin levels increased in response to general inhalation anesthesia in dorsal recumbency and were not influenced by fasting. Preventive pharmacological measures are not required in horses submitted to general anesthesia and dorsal recumbency. Full article
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11 pages, 1017 KiB  
Article
Effects of β-Glucan Supplementation on LPS-Induced Endotoxemia in Horses
by Milena Domingues Lacerenza, Júlia de Assis Arantes, Gustavo Morandini Reginato, Danielle Passarelli, Júlio César de Carvalho Balieiro, Andressa Rodrigues Amaral, Thiago Henrique Annibale Vendramini, Marcio Antonio Brunetto and Renata Gebara Sampaio Dória
Animals 2024, 14(3), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030474 - 31 Jan 2024
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Abstract
β-glucan is part of the cell wall of fungi and yeasts and has been known for decades to have immunomodulating effects on boosting immunity against various infections as a pathogen-associated molecular pattern that is able to modify biological responses. β-glucan has been used [...] Read more.
β-glucan is part of the cell wall of fungi and yeasts and has been known for decades to have immunomodulating effects on boosting immunity against various infections as a pathogen-associated molecular pattern that is able to modify biological responses. β-glucan has been used in rat models and in vitro studies involving sepsis and SIRS with good results, but this supplement has not been evaluated in the treatment of endotoxemia in horses. This study aims to evaluate the effects of preventive supplementation with β-glucan in horses submitted to endotoxemia by means of inflammatory response modulation. Eight healthy horses, both male and female, aged 18 ± 3 months, weighing 300 ± 100 kg of mixed breed, were randomly assigned to two groups of four animals, both of which were subjected to the induction of endotoxemia via the intravenous administration of E. coli lipopolysaccharides (0.1 µg/kg). For 30 days before the induction of endotoxemia, horses in the β-glucan group (GB) received 10 mg/kg/day of β-glucan orally, and horses in the control group (GC) received 10 mg/kg/day of 0.9% sodium chloride orally. The horses were submitted to physical exams, including a hematological, serum biochemistry, and peritoneal fluid evaluation, and the serum quantification of cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10. For statistical analysis, the normality of residues and homogeneity of variances were verified; then, the variables were analyzed as repeated measures over time, checking the effect of treatment, time, and the interaction between time and treatment. Finally, the averages were compared using Tukey’s test at a significance level of 5%. Horses from both experimental groups presented clinical signs and hematological changes in endotoxemia, including an increase in heart rate and body temperature, neutrophilic leukopenia, an increase in serum bilirubin, glucose, lactate, and an increase in TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10. Hepatic and renal function were not compromised by β-glucan supplementation. GB presented higher mean values of the serum total protein, globulins, and IL-8 compared to that observed in GC. In the peritoneal fluid, horses from GB presented a lower mean concentration of neutrophils and a higher mean concentration of macrophages compared to the GC. It was concluded that preventive supplementation of β-glucan for thirty days modulated the immune response, as evidenced by increasing serum total proteins, globulins, IL-8, and changes in the type of peritoneal inflammatory cells, without effectively attenuating clinical signs of endotoxemia in horses. Considering the safety of β-glucan in this study, the results suggest the potential clinical implication of β-glucan for prophylactic use in horse endotoxemia. Full article
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10 pages, 1064 KiB  
Article
Small Colon Faecalith with Large Colon Displacement in Ten Cases (2015–2023): A Detailed Case Description and Literature Review
by Nicola Scilimati, Anna Cerullo, Sara Nannarone, Rodolfo Gialletti, Gessica Giusto and Alice Bertoletti
Animals 2024, 14(2), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020262 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Small colon impaction can result in accumulation of ingesta, gas, and fluid orally to the impaction site in horses. Large colon tympany, which is caused by ingesta fermentation, can be a predisposing factor for intestinal displacement. The aim of this study is to [...] Read more.
Small colon impaction can result in accumulation of ingesta, gas, and fluid orally to the impaction site in horses. Large colon tympany, which is caused by ingesta fermentation, can be a predisposing factor for intestinal displacement. The aim of this study is to report the history, clinical, and surgical findings of horses and ponies referred for abdominal pain not responsive to drugs where a right dorsal displacement (RDD) or large colon volvulus (LCV), together with a small colon faecalith (SCF), were diagnosed during surgery. This study included a total of five horses and five ponies. Based on clinical features, ultrasonographic examination, and rectal palpation, an initial suspected diagnosis of RDD, LCV or severe large colon and caecum distension was made in all clinical cases. Due to the lack of response to medical treatment or worsening of colic symptoms, surgery was performed in all horses: diagnosis of RDD or LCV was made and a SCF was incidentally detected in all cases. While exploratory laparotomy was carried out in all the patients for the presence of a large colon issue, it was probably subsequent to an obstruction of the small colon caused by the presence of an SCF, which is generally difficult to diagnose. This study reported the presence of SCF as a possible cause of secondary RDD or LCV in horses and ponies that, to the authors’ knowledge, has never been reported. Full article
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11 pages, 1090 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Automated OvaCyte Telenostic Faecal Analyser versus the McMaster and Mini-FLOTAC Techniques in the Estimation of Helminth Faecal Egg Counts in Equine
by Nagwa Elghryani, Conor McAloon, Craig Mincher, Trish McOwan and Theo de Waal
Animals 2023, 13(24), 3874; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13243874 - 16 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1317
Abstract
Gastrointestinal helminth parasites continue to be a significant threat to the health of equine. OvaCyte Telenostic (OCT) (Telenostic Ltd., Kilkenny, Ireland) has developed an automated digital microscope utilising Artificial Intelligence to identify and count the clinically important helminth species in equine, bovine, and [...] Read more.
Gastrointestinal helminth parasites continue to be a significant threat to the health of equine. OvaCyte Telenostic (OCT) (Telenostic Ltd., Kilkenny, Ireland) has developed an automated digital microscope utilising Artificial Intelligence to identify and count the clinically important helminth species in equine, bovine, and ovine host species. In this paper, the performance of the OCT analyser was evaluated for the detection and counting of equine helminth species parasites and its performance compared to the currently accepted benchmark methods of faecal egg counts being the McMaster and the Mini-FLOTAC techniques. A pairwise comparison of tests was assessed based on the correlation of egg counts and Cohen’s kappa agreement statistics for dichotomized outcomes. Bayesian latent class analysis was used to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of all three techniques in the absence of a gold standard for four helminth parasites (strongyles, Anoplocephala spp., Parascaris spp. and Strongyloides westeri). Based on the analysis of 783 equine faecal samples, we found a high level (ρ ≥ 0.94) of correlation between each pairwise comparison of techniques for strongyle egg counts. Cohen’s kappa agreement between techniques was high for strongyles and S. westeri, moderate for Parascaris spp., and low for Anoplocephala spp. All three techniques had a high sensitivity and specificity (>0.90) for strongyles. Across helminth parasites, the sensitivity of the OCT was the highest of the three techniques evaluated for strongyles (0.98 v 0.96 and 0.94), Anoplocephala spp. (0.86 v 0.44 and 0.46) and Parascaris spp. (0.96 v 0.83 and 0.96); but lowest for S. westeri (0.74 v 0.88 and 0.88), compared to McMaster and Mini-FLOTAC, respectively. In terms of specificity, OCT was the lowest in two species (Parascaris spp. 0.96, Anoplocephala spp. 0.95). In conclusion, OCT has a sensitivity and specificity statistically similar to both McMaster and Mini-FLOTAC, and had a higher correlation with Mini-FLOTAC. The OCT point of care faecal analyser offers improved workflow, test turn-around time and does not require trained laboratory personnel to operate or interpret the results Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Tentative paper title: Association between owner perceived clinical signs and the presence of EGUS on gastroscopy

Submitting author: Mike Hewetson
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