Obesity is commonly associated with health issues like laminitis, but a Polish study has discovered that horses carrying extra weight also demonstrate significant structural changes in their cardiovascular tissue.
Though obesity in humans is known to create cardiovascular problems, little research has been done to determine if the same is true for overweight horses.
Dr. Natalia Siwinska and researchers at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences conducted post-mortem exams on 19 draft slaughter horses.
Twelve of those were extremely obese, with a body condition score of 9, and seven had normal body condition scores of 4 or 5. The horse’s hearts and major blood vessels were examined.
The researchers found that obese horses had increased pericardial and cardiac fat, and thickened arteries compared to the healthy horses. These structural changes are similar to the ones found in obese people.
The scientists suggested that more research is needed to explore the direct effects of obesity on equine cardiovascular health.
Read the study here.
Read more at Equine Science Update.
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