Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a protocol and assay to assess the rate of metabolism of vitamin E in horses that serves as a potential diagnostic test for equine neuroaxonal dystrophy (eNAD) and equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM).
Equine neuroaxonal dystrophy (eNAD) is a central nervous system disease that results in the degeneration of parts of the brainstem in young horses. A more severe form of eNAD, Equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM), also affects the spinal cord; the only difference between these disorders is the location of axonal degeneration within the central nervous system. These diseases are characterized by symmetrical ataxia, abnormal base-wide stance at rest, and hypermetria of the limbs. Affected foals often have low serum vitamin E concentrations. ENAD appears to have a genetic basis, with clinical expression in genetically predisposed foals being influenced by dietary vitamin E. ENAD/EDM is the second most prevalent neurological disease in horses; however, a definitive diagnosis is only currently available via necropsy after euthanasia. While there is no treatment for eNAD/EDM once a horse is over 2 years of age, achieving an antemortem diagnosis for this disease would greatly benefit the equine industry.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a protocol and assay to assess the rate of metabolism of vitamin E in horses that serves as a potential diagnostic test for eNAD/EDM. By comparing the assessed rate of metabolism of vitamin E to a healthy baseline, an antemortem diagnosis for eNAD/EDM can be procured. This test would provide owners and veterinarians with the ability to diagnose horses while still alive and make informed decisions regarding breeding or euthanasia.
Neuroaxonal dystrophy, NAD, Equine neuroaxonal dystrophy, eNAD, Equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy, EDM, Vitamin E deficiency, Hypermetria, Horse