Relationship between haematological and biochemical blood variables and the performance of Standardbred racehorses

Responsibles
Astrid Bos, Arno Lindner

Duration
Since 2014 and ongoing

Hypothesis
The values of blood variables of Standardbreds with poor performance (loosers) differ from those with good performance (winners).

Material and methods

  • The blood of Standardbred racehorses that raced will be sampled in the morning (7.00 to 9:00 hours) 2 (3) days after racing before exercising.
  • The horses of interest are the winner, horses placed (2-4 placed) and the loosers (placed after the 5th) of at least 50, better 100 races.
  • Five ml of blood samples are taken by puncture of the jugular vein and collected in a vial with Li-heparin and another with EDTA.
  • Samples are placed in a cooling box with ice pads in it and a towel on top / or a newspaper = a separating layer between the ice and the blood vials. On top of the separating layer the stand with the upright blood vials will be positioned such that it cannot move. The temperature should not be above 10°C and not below 2°C. Blood samples will be taken to the clinic where the haematological analysis is done (haematocrit, hemoglobin, total white blood cells, number of erythrocytes, granulocytes and lymphocytes).
  • The rest of the samples will be centrifuged, plasma separated and frozen at -20°C (or more) until analysis.
  • Plasma variables to be measured are: GGT, Albumin, Cholesterol, Creatinine, Ca, P, Mg, Na, K, CK, AST, LDH and Cortisol.

Further parameters recorded

  1. Body condition score and body weight of horses before and after racing.
  2. Amount of kilometres or duration of transport after racing
  3. Race day and number, horse name, horse number and placing as well as age and gender and winning sum (or race record).

Partial funding
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