Immunological response to long-term transport stress in mature horses and effects of adaptogenic dietary supplementation as an immunomodulator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reasons for performing study: Little information exists on the immunological effects of transport or the use of supplements to minimise transport stress. Objectives: To establish baseline ranges and evaluate immunophenotypic and functional changes associated with transport and a nutritional 'adaptogen' supplement. Methods: Horses received either supplement (n = 10) or placebos (n = 9) during the 30 day study. After 28 days in stalls, 12 horses (6 supplement; 6 placebo) were transported for 24 h, then unloaded and recovered. Venous blood samples were collected on Days 1, 14 and 28 to establish baselines, and on Days 28, 29 and 30 to examine changes during transport and recovery. Results: Transport prompted elevations (P<0.05) in cortisol concentration, neutrophil count and white blood cell counts, while lymphocyte subpopulation counts (CD3+, CD4+, CD8 +, CD21+) decreased (P<0.05). Normal phenotypic lymphocyte profiles returned within 24 h of recovery. Supplement effects on immunophenotype (CD21+ and CD8+) were observed in stabled horses (P<0.05), but not in transported horses. Conclusions: These results provide insights into the immunological mechanisms associated with long-term transport. Potential relevance: The existence of a small window of immunological uncertainty follows long-term transportation, enhancing the potential risk of infectious disease in susceptible individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-589
Number of pages7
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Volume36
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2004

Keywords

  • Adaptogens
  • CD
  • Cortisol
  • Horse
  • Lymphocytes
  • Stress
  • Transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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