Nitric Oxide Levels In Blood Help Predict Intestinal Issues In Horses

Russian researchers report that blood serum may offer valuable insight regarding equine intestinal issues like colic. Disease in the intestinal tract of horses often presents with inflammation and oxidative stress, which is associated with a lack of nitric oxide; by testing for nitric oxide levels in blood serum, veterinarians may be able to take action before the horse become acutely ill.

Researchers Zinaida Artyushina, Pavel Abramov, Nikolai Polyansky, Nikolai Tkachev and Vladimir Serezhenkov report that nitric oxide is one of the most important factors protecting the gastrointestinal lining. To determine if nitric oxide levels could help predict intestinal issues, they created a study that used both healthy and ill horses.

To study team used spectroscopy to determine the nitric oxide levels in both healthy horses and those with colic. The horses were divided into three categories: Healthy horses between 1 and 5 years old; healthy horses between 6 and 25 years old; and horses with colic.

All horses with intestinal disease had decreased nitrate levels; those with distended abdomens because of gas in their intestines and those horses with spastic colic had even lower levels of nitrate. The scientists concluded that nitric oxide can be used as a biomarker for intestinal motility.

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