Transportation of sporthorses increases their susceptibility to infectious diseases. Before, caretakers relied on rectal temperature together with their clinical impression to detect travel-associated infections. This study's aim was to assess and compare serum amyloid A (SAA) to rectal temperature as an indicator of early inflammation in sporthorses after air transportation. One hundred and twenty-two Warmblood horses were followed during the Longines Global Champions Tour 2016 to three destinations where the horses flew to compete. Clinical health checks and SAA measurements were performed before flying, upon arrival (0 hours), and 24 hours postarrival. Serum amyloid A was tested using a stall-side lateral flow immunoassay. Rectal temperature was measured twice a day using a commercially available digital thermometer. An SAA cutoff value of 23 μg/mL measured 24 hours postarrival was able to correctly distinguish between a healthy and sick horse with a sensitivity and specificity of 93.3% and 91.3%, respectively. Conversely, elevated rectal temperature had a sensitivity of only 3% to distinguish between the two horse groups. Monitoring SAA in traveling sporthorses is a more sensitive indicator of clinical health than monitoring body temperature and may aid in early identification of inflammatory processes.
- Horse transport
- Rectal temperature
- Serum amyloid A
- Travel-associated inflammation
ASJC Scopus subject areas