The aim of this study was to assess sand accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract and fecal sand excretion in Silesian foals using three diagnostic methods and taking into account the sex and age of the animals. Another aim of the study was to compare the three diagnostic methods. The study was carried out on 21 clinically healthy Silesian foals (10 females and 11 males) from 9-28 weeks old grazed on permanent pasture. The sand intake was assessed using a sedimentation test, abdominal ultrasonography and a quantitative evaluation of sand per 100 g of stool. In the sedimentation test, the sand was palpable in the stool of 57.1% of the horses, and clearly visible in 42.9% of the animals. The ultrasound examination revealed the presence of sand in the gastrointestinal tract in 66.7% of the horses. It was limited to a single location in 60% of the horses, while it was present in several regions in 40% of the horses. The mean amount of sand was 0.14 ± 0.33 g per 100 g of stool. It did not exceed 0.1g in 71.4% foals, while it ranged from 0.1-0.5 g in 23.8% foals. In 4.8% of the animals, it amounted to 1.6 g per 100 g of stool. There was no correlation between age and gender and the results. There was a positive correlation between the ultrasound examination and the sedimentation test. Sand may be accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract of foals without any clinical signs. The amount of sand excreted in the stool is not an indicator of the amount of sand accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract. An abdominal ultrasound examination should be combined with a sedimentation test for more specific results.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of the newly isolated Lactobacillus plantarum LUHS135 and Lactobacillus paracasei LUHS244 strains grown in potato juice (with a cell count of 8.0-9.0 log10 CFU/ml) on the blood and faeces parameters of exercising horses. The horses were classified into four different groups: a control group (which received no probiotics); the first group (which received 200 ml of L. plantarum culture in potato juice); the second group (which received 200 ml of L. paracasei culture in potato juice); and the third group (which received an L. plantarum and L. paracasei mix (with the mix consisting of 100 ml of each). Indices for the blood and faeces microflora were obtained before and after treatment of horses (on days zero and thirty). It was observed that the count for lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in the faeces was significantly higher on day thirty, whereas it was lower when it came to the total enterobacteria count (TCE). Despite the ambiguous influence of any treatment on blood parameters, the L. plantarum × L. paracasei mixture increased the concentration of HGB and O2 saturation in blood samples which were taken from the horses. L. paracasei significantly decreased the lactate concentration levels in horse blood samples. As a result of the present study, it can clearly be seen that the strains being used revealed their potential application as probiotics; however, further studies are required to prove the survival and action mechanisms of the newly isolated strains.
Asthma is one of the most common non-infectious respiratory diseases in horses. Ultrasound examination is a widely available non-invasive additional diagnostic tool. To date, there are no studies focusing on ultrasonographic findings in horses with asthma. The aim of this study was to analyse the prevalence and severity of ultrasound lesions in lung tissue in horses with asthma. Lung ultrasonography was carried out on six healthy horses (controls) and 12 horses with asthma (six with mild and six with severe asthma). The sonographic changes in three lung sections were assessed using a scoring system. The most common changes present in all the animals were comet- tail artefacts. More advanced lesions were present in horses with severe asthma. Statistically significant differences in the overall average intensity of the ultrasound changes were seen between the controls and the study group and between the horses with mild and severe asthma. The lesions were usually located in the caudal lung regions, but they were also present in other areas as the disease progressed. Ultrasonography is a useful additional diagnostic tool enabling an assessment of the stage of the asthma progression. It is a very sensitive technique that visualizes minor lesions in the lung tissue even in clinically healthy animals. Due to its low specificity, it cannot replace endoscopy and the bronchoalveolar lavage in horses with asthma.