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Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a horse's environment may play a role in the development of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). This finding, made by Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at The University of Minnesota, could explain some of the variability in EMS severity that can't be explained by other commonly measured factors, such as diet, exercise and season. The study was published in Chemosphere.
"This is a pivotal piece of a very complicated jigsaw puzzle. There are a lot of horse owners out there who are very diligent about providing their horses fantastic care, but the horse is still diagnosed," said Dr. Molly McCue, Professor and interim Associate Dean of Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. "It's important to be aware that these chemicals contribute to the problem, so we can look for ways to reduce horses' exposure to them."
Team - Horses - Farms - United - States
The team studied more than 300 horses from 32 farms in the United States and Canada. They focused on Welsh ponies and Morgan horses, as these breeds are more likely to develop EMS than others. The team collected data on the horses' lifestyles, including diet, exercise and past illnesses, as well as their farm location.
Researchers also examined plasma from the horses and looked for EDCs that have effects on receptors in the horse (estrogen [EEQ] and aryl hydrocarbon [TEQ] receptors). Simultaneously, they determined whether an individual horse had blood test results consistent with an EMS profile (including insulin and glucose at rest and following a sugar challenge). The team then analyzed the results to look for correlations between plasma EDC concentration and these variables.
Team - Accumulation - EDCs - Variance - Horses
The team concluded that accumulation of EDCs may explain some environmental variance seen in horses with...
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