We did the research, so you could have the results!
Background: It is well known that most performance horses in training or competition suffer from discomfort caused by gastric ulceration. While stomach ulcers are readily identified via gastroscopy, hindgut conditions have been overlooked in part due to the difficulty of obtaining a definitive diagnosis. Recent research suggests that equine hindgut pathology is significant and potentially as common as stomach ulceration. A presumptive diagnosis of hindgut ulcers can be made on history, clinical signs, changes in blood work, abdominal ultrasound and more recently by the testing for occult blood in manure samples. The presence of blood in the manure can be helpful as an ancillary diagnostic test in horses to help identify a problem in the foregut, hindgut or both. One commercially available fecal occult blood test, Succeed Equine Fecal Blood Test from Freedom Health LLC, combines a test for fecal hemoglobin with one for albumin. Detection of abnormal concentrations of fecal albumin and hemoglobin does provide some guidance as to the existence of hindgut pathology as bleeding within the gastrointestinal tract, specifically gastric ulceration or colonic ulceration, are the most common sources of bleeding.
The principle goals of treatment for hind gut ulceration include avoidance of NSAIDS, more frequent low bulk feedings, reducing inflammation, and managing stress levels. Omega-3 fatty acids have been utilized with good success as a natural anti-inflammatory. In addition, the added fat calories from the oil allow for decrease sugar and starch content in the diet. ProElite oil is a camelina plant-based product providing excellent bio-availiabity of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.
Objective: To investigate the difference in fecal occult blood testing pre and post 30-day ProElite oil trial.
Animals: 6 adult horses
Methods: Horses were selected based on a positive fecal blood test (Succeed Equine Fecal Blood Test) with a concurrent negative fecal egg count. In addition to the positive blood fecal, horses had at least one addition clinical sign consistent with gastrointestinal ulceration prior to the start of the study. Succeed fecal occult blood test and baseline blood work including CBC and chemistry was performed at Day 0. A written survey (survey #1) was completed by a veterinarian indicating clinical signs and history of the horse. ProElite oil was supplemented in the feed at 4 ounces daily for 30 days starting at Day 1-Day 30. Logs detailing administration and acceptability of the oil, and the horse’s feeding and training regime were maintained by the trainer/owner of each horse. Repeat fecal occult blood test, blood work (CBC and chemistry), and clinical response survey was performed at the conclusion of the 30-day ProElite oil trial.
Results: According to the trainer/owner logs, all 6 horses completing the survey were amenable to eating the 4 ounces of ProElite oil fed directly over and mixed in the feed. Of the 6 horses, 5 were fed the total amount of oil split into 2 ounces fed twice a day and 1 horse was fed the 4 ounces all at one feeding.
Pre-Trial Fecal Test (Albumin)
Post-Trial Fecal Test (Albumin)
Example of a negative fecal albumin test
Of the 6 horses, 5 showed improvement in the blood fecal test and 1 horse showed no change in blood fecal test.
Increased energy, mobility and better looking coat/hooves
Could not keep weight on
Improved topline and shinier coat
Mild episodic colic of 2 weeks duration. Responded to NSAID therapy only.
No more colic episodes. Improved full lameness grade.
Thin and slight dis-interest in feed.
Gained weight and increased from 3/9 to 4/9 BCS. Good coat quality.
Poor performance and sour attitude
Improvement in attitude towards work.
Thin. Very weak, some muscle fasciculations noted just when standing in stall. Tucked up in flank area
Vast improvement in body condition. No longer tucked up in flank. Went from 3/9 BCS to 4/9 BCS. Much improved coat condition. Neurologic deficits much less apparent. Now being ridden successfully in tack.
Comments noted on surveys from pre and post-trial are noted in the above table.
Discussion: The Succeed Equine Fecal Blood Test indicates bleeding in the GI tract by measuring fecal hemoglobin and albumin. Detection of abnormal concentrations of fecal albumin and hemoglobin does provide some guidance as to the existence of GI pathology in different ways. Albumin is a protein that is free-floating in blood plasma. While it is present any time there is a bleeding injury, it may also be released through smaller injuries that only seep plasma. This manner is consistent with hindgut “leaky gut” syndrome. Additionally, albumin is digested by bile and proteolytic enzymes in the small intestine. As a result, albumin present in a horse’s feces is thought to primarily originate from the hindgut.
A separate parameter noted in the fecal blood test measures hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is always present any time there is an injury that produces whole blood. While hemoglobin may be somewhat degraded in the digestive process, it is at a much lower rate than albumin. When bleeding occurs in a horse’s gut, some of the blood is degraded, leaving the rest to move through the digestive tract until it is expelled in the horse’s feces. Therefore, hemoglobin in a horse’s feces could have originated from anywhere within the GI tract.
In this study, the intent was to choose horses with high fecal albumin as noted by a strong or a faint positive line on the Succeed Equine Fecal Blood Test. All horses were also required to have a negative fecal egg count as parasites in the digestive tract may alter the test results.
Although a definitive diagnosis can not be made entirely based on a positive fecal albumin, with the addition of clinical signs related to GI pain, there is a high likelihood of hindgut pathology. Results of this study showed a positive correlation and improvement in both fecal albumin and clinical signs related to each horse’s presenting complaints. Blood work on each horse was pulled prior to the start and at the end of the trial. No significant results could be ascertained from the blood work alone.
Conclusion: 5/6 horses went from positive fecal blood tests (albumin specifically) to negative fecal blood tests. All surveys noted improvement in clinical signs. Supplementation with ProElite oil at a dosage of 4 ounces daily was correlated with improved fecal blood test results and resolution of clinical signs associated with GI upset.
Blood lactate is one of the most often measured parameters during clinical exercise testing as well as during performance testing of athletes both human and equine alike. During exercise, the body uses oxygen to break down glucose for energy. During intense exercise, there may not be enough oxygen available to complete the process. At this exercise intensity the body can convert lactate to energy without using oxygen. However, reverting to this pathway, lactate builds up in the bloodstream faster than it is burned off. While an elevated blood lactate may be indicative of ischemia or hypoxemia, it may also be a “normal” physiological response to exertion. Thus, the blood value is a good marker of exercise tolerance and exertion. A “good” or “trained” athlete will exhibit a lower lactate than a “poor” or “untrained” athlete at any absolute intensity above resting (Goodwin et al, 2007).
This pilot study was performed to assess the benefit of supplementing an omega-3 rich supplement, Excel ProElite oil, to endurance athletes using lactate blood values for measuring fitness. Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of essential fatty acids with many biological activities. These fatty acids are incorporated into cell membranes, changing their structural and functional characteristics. There is some evidence in people that an increased concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in muscle cell walls trigger higher elasticity, flexibility and lower risk of physical damage to muscle tissue during exercise (Lembke et al, 2014). Omega-3 fatty acids also modulate inflammatory responses at different levels in cellular metabolism. ProElite, is a camelina-based omega-3 oil supplement with the addition of olive triterpenes for additional antioxidant support.
To gather data before and after ProElite oil supplementation in equine endurance athletes by comparing pre and post-race blood lactate values.
Methods and Materials:
Three horses of Arabian breeding were used to study the effects of Excel ProElite oil supplementation on the metabolic response during endurance race competition. At race 1, all three horses were naive to omega-3 supplementation. Following completion of race 1, the study horses were fed 2 ounces of Excel ProElite oil each day during the 6-week period between race 1 and race 2. Two horses competed at a distance of 25 miles at both races and one horse competed at a distance of 50 miles at both races. The location was the same for race 1 and race 2 although some differences in course did exist. Blood lactate values were pulled at vet-in, approximately 12 hours prior to racing and again upon completion of the races, between 3-4 hours post finish time.
Lactate values were positively affected by omega-3 oil supplementation. At race 1 the post-lactate values were higher than the pre-race values by an average of 0.3mmol/L, indicating an increase in muscle exertion. After 6 weeks of ProElite supplementation, post-race blood lactate values were on average 0.1mmol/L less than pre-race values which is an excellent indication of optimal endurance health. Blood lactate is a value commonly used to assess athletic condition. The improvement noted in all 3 horses’ lactate recovery values during race 2 was an impressive feat, and indicative of good conditioning and an excellent metabolic state.
Results of this study suggest that addition of ProElite oil to the diet alters exercise metabolism in conditioned horses in a positive fashion. This study demonstrated that after 6 weeks of supplementation with ProElite oil, endurance horses were able to speed up the dissipation of lactic acid in the bloodstream as compared to racing without prior supplementation.
Goodwin, M. L., Harris, J. E., Hernández, A., & Gladden, L. B. (2007). Blood lactate measurements and analysis during exercise: a guide for clinicians. Journal of diabetes science and technology, 1(4), 558–569. doi:10.1177/193229680700100414
Lembke, P., Capodice, J., Hebert, K., & Swenson, T. (2014). Influence of omega-3 (n3) index on performance and wellbeing in young adults after heavy eccentric exercise. Journal of sports science & medicine, 13(1), 151–156.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of essential fatty acids with many biological activities. These fatty acids are incorporated into cell membranes, changing their structural and functional characteristics. Omega-3 fatty acids modulate inflammatory responses at different levels while offering significant calories to replace concentrate feed. Epiphysis and OCD formation have been linked to excessive concentrate rations in growing horses, thus omega-3 fat supplementation is an excellent calorie replacement alternative. ProElite, is a camelina based
oil supplement with the addition of olive triterpenes for additional anti-oxidant support. This pilot study was performed to assess the benefit of feeding Excel ProElite oil to sales prep weanlings.
To gather concrete data comparing weanling thoroughbred race horses prepped with and without ProElite oil supplementation.
Methods and Materials:
Nine weanlings were randomly selected from a single consignor. Excel ProElite was
supplemented at 3 amounts (1 ounce, 2 ounces, and 3 ounces per day) over the course of 30 days prior to sale at the November Keeneland breeding stock sale. Findings were then compared to average values for all horses of the same consignor.
According to our findings, weanlings supplemented with ProElite oil outweighed the average of the consignor’s horses by an increase of about 1 percentage point. Improvement in general muscle tone along top line and gluteal muscle bodies was appreciated in 7/9 horses supplemented with ProElite oil. Improvement was most notable in weanlings with poor presentations at the beginning of the study. Hoof growth at the coronary band was vastly improved in one weanling that originally presented with dry, cracked hooves. Skin lesions noted at the start of the study in one subject completely healed by the 30 day mark. No significant differences in weight gain results were seen between weanlings and the differing amounts of oil supplemented. It is possible that there is a limit on how much omega-3 can be absorbed and integrated in the horse’s plasma, and higher doses of supplementation may not confer additional health benefits.
Results of this study support supplementation of weanling horses for weight gain and improved muscling at a dosage of 1-2 ounces per day.
Committed to Clean Sports
Clean sports acts have been initiated in both the racing and sport horse industries and in an effort to stay committed to all competition athletes, Excel Supplements™ will provide the following results to our patrons:
- Blood samples from 2 horses currently on 2-4 ounces of daily Excel ProElite™ for longer than a 1 month duration.
Samples will be sent to the Center for TOX Services, INC, a testing laboratory in Tempe, AZ that is ISO 17025 accredited by the racing medication and testing consortium.
Results will be published on our website.
Excel Supplements™ utilizes its own oil seeds, has direct relationships with our growing farms, and the processing of our oils is performed in facilities free from contamination of any prohibited or forbidden performance substances. In light of heightened regulatory considerations, we are taking the extra step of providing this information about our “clean” product to the general public and for any future reference needs.
Please direct any questions regarding our testing procedure to our veterinarian, Dr. Julie Vargas, at: DrJulie@ExcelSupplments.com
What makes us different?
Our proprietary blend of natural oils contains up to 45% of the valuable omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and provides a unique balance of omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. The favorable fatty acid profile, along with important antioxidants, polyphenols and sterols, support the production of anti-inflammatory compounds for increased vitality and health of your animal.
The bio-availability of Excel Supplements™ ensures that these essential components directly benefit your animal. Natural vitamin E, which is more easily utilized by the body than synthetic forms, together with polyphenols act as antioxidants for longer shelf life and extra health benefits.