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Predicting race elimination in endurance horses

Great new research study from LBEMC and UC Davis. Thanks to the Tevis Cup and all of the riders that made this study possible.

Ability of clinicopathologic variables and clinical examination findings to predict race elimination in endurance horses.

Fielding CL, Meier CA, Fellers GK, Magdesian KG.
as published at:

To compare results of point-of-care laboratory testing with standard veterinary clinical examination findings at a single time point during endurance competition to identify horses at risk for elimination.

101 endurance horses participating in the 2013 Western States 160-km (100-mile) endurance ride.

At the 58-km checkpoint, blood samples were collected from all horses. Samples were analyzed for pH, Pco2, base excess, anion gap, PCV, and whole blood concentrations of sodium, potassium, chloride, total carbon dioxide, BUN, glucose, and bicarbonate. Corrected electrolyte and PCV values were calculated on the basis of plasma total protein concentration. Immediately following the blood sample collection, each horse underwent a clinical examination. In addition to standard examination variables, an adjusted heart rate was calculated on the basis of the variable interval between entry into the checkpoint and heart rate recording. A combination of stepwise logistic regression, classification and regression tree analysis, and generalized additive models was used to identify variables that were associated with overall elimination or each of 3 other elimination categories (metabolic elimination, lameness elimination, and elimination for other reasons).

Corrected whole blood potassium concentration and adjusted heart rate were predictive for overall elimination. Breed, plasma total protein concentration, and attitude were predictive for elimination due to metabolic causes. Whole blood chloride concentration and corrected PCV were predictive for elimination due to lameness. Corrected PCV was predictive for elimination due to other causes.

Results indicated that for horses in endurance competition, a combination of breed and clinical examination and laboratory variables provided the best prediction of overall elimination.