Blood biomarkers that may be useful in diagnosing equine asthma have been located by researchers, making a field diagnosis easier. Asthma in horses may appear as exercise intolerance or as nonspecific respiratory signs. To diagnose asthma, a bronchoscope must be passed into the lungs; a small amount of fluid is then placed in the lung and collected to be examined under a microscope.
Drs. Clementine Gy, Mathilde Leclere, Amandine Vargas, Carolyn Grimes and Jean‐Pierre Lavoie, of the University of Montreal, said that identifying blood biomarkers would be helpful to diagnosing horses in the field; this blood test is not as invasive or complicated as a bronchoalveolar lavage.
To find if these markers existed, the team used 14 horses that were diagnosed with asthma via lung wash; nine other horses served as controls and 10 other horses with unrelated health issues were used in the study. Each horse completed a physical that included an exam, bloodwork and bronchoalveolar lavage
Horses with asthma had above-average concentrations of haptoglobin, secretoglobin and surfactant protein D, while the control and other horses did not. The researchers discovered that comparing all three protein levels together was a good indicator for identifying asthmatic horses.
The recommend more studies be done to correlate the biomarkers with specific types of asthma and possibly develop treatment plans.
Read the full study here.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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