Body fat evaluation in Colombian Paso horses: body condition score and morphometric and ultrasound measurements
Keywords:Adiposity, Body fat, Paso-horse, Ultrasound
The body condition score (BCS) is insufficient in determining the amount of body fat in horses, thus defining obesity. Measurement of the subcutaneous fat thickness (SFT) by ultrasonography should be considered as an appropriate method in the definition of fat distribution at different body locations in horses. Therefore, this study aimed to 1) characterize the SFT in three different anatomical locations (i.e. neck, lumbar region, and gluteal region); 2) evaluate the relationship between BCS and SFT; 3) determine the influence of gender, weight, age, and gait on BCS and SFT measurements, and 4) explore the agreement between the morphometric measurements [i.e. body mass index (BMI), girth circumference: height at withers ratio (GC: HW), neck circumference: height at withers ratio (NC: HW)], and BCS and SFT in a population of Colombian Paso Horses (CPHs). The Henneke’s body condition scoring was applied to 69 adult CPHs,
selected using a convenience sampling. Additionally, BMI, GC: HW, and NC: HW were calculated. Body fat percentage (BF%) was calculated by ultrasound measurement of the SFT in the neck, lumbar region, and gluteal region. The BF% in the CPHs was 6.4 ± 1.1. The GC: HW, NC: HW, and BMI were not predictors of the BF% or BCS, and neither gender nor gait was decisive in the definition of fattening in the study animals, although age and weight were determining variables. According to our results, ultrasound is an adequate tool to calculate the BF% of the CPHs. However, it must be accompanied by Henneke’s BCS assessment.
Argo CM, Curtis GC, Grove-White D, Dugdale AHA, Barfoot CF, Harris PA. Weight loss resistance: a further consideration for the nutritional management of obese Equidae. Vet J. 2012;194(2):179-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.09.020. PMid:23117030.
Carter RA, Geor RJ, Burton Staniar W, Cubitt TA, Harris PA. Apparent adiposity assessed by standardized scoring systems and morphometric measurements in horses and ponies. Vet J. 2009;179(2):204-10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.02.029. PMid:18440844.
Donaldson MT, McFarlane D, Jorgensen AJ, Beech J. Correlation between plasma a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone concentration and body mass index in healthy horses. Am J Vet Res. 2004;65(11):1469-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.2004.65.1469. PMid:15566082.
Dugdale AH, Curtis GC, Harris PA, Argo CM. Assessment of body fat in the pony: part I. Relationships between the anatomical distribution of adipose tissue, body composition and body condition. Equine Vet J. 2011a;43(5):552-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00330.x. PMid:21496091.
Dugdale AH, Curtis GC, Milne E, Harris PA, Argo C. Assessment of body fat in the pony: part II. Validation of the deuterium oxide dilution technique for the measurement of body fat. Equine Vet J. 2011b;43(5):562-70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00327.x. PMid:21496088.
Gee E, Fennessy P, Morel P, Grace N, Firth E, Mogg T. Chemical body composition of 20 Thoroughbred foals at 160 days of age, and preliminary investigation of techniques used to predict body fatness. N Z Vet J. 2003;51(3):125-31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00480169.2003.36351.
Gentry LR, Thompson DL Jr, Gentry GT Jr, Del Vecchio RP, Davis KA, Del Vecchio PM. The relationship between body condition score and ultrasonic fat measurements in mares of high versus low body condition. J Equine Vet Sci. 2004;24(5):198-203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2004.04.009.
Henneke DR, Potter GD, Kreider JL, Yeates BF. Relationship between condition score, physical measurements and body fat percentage in mares. Equine Vet J. 1983;15(4):371-2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-3306.1983.tb01826.x. PMid:6641685.
Hunka M, Cordeiro Manso H, Bernardo R, da Silva E, Ferreira L, Manso-Filho H. Development and body composition of Quarter horse foals during nursing. Open J Vet Med. 2014;4(11):276-80. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojvm.2014.411033.
Jensen RB, Danielsen SH, Tauson AH. Body condition score, morphometric measurements and estimation of body weight in mature Icelandic horses in Denmark. Acta Vet Scand. 2016;58(1, Suppl 1):59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13028-016-0240-5. PMid:27766968.
Kane RA, Fisher M, Parrett D, Lawrence LM. Estimating fatness in horses. In Proceedings of the 10th Equine Nutrition and Physiology Symposium; 1987; Colorado. Colorado: Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society; 1987. 127. p.
Manso-Filho HC, Cordeiro Manso H, Ferreira LMC, Santiago TA, Wanderley EK, Abreu JMG. Percentagem de gordura de cavalo criados em região tropical. Acta Sci Vet. 2009;37(3):239-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.16336.
Martin-Giménez T, Aguirre-Pascasio CN, De Blas I. Development of an index based on ultrasonographic measurements for the objective appraisal of body condition in Andalusian horses. Span J Agric Res. 2018;15(4):6-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2017154-11732.
Martin-Giménez T, Aguirre-Pascasio CN, de Blas I. Ultrasonographic assessment of regional fat distribution and its relationship with body condition in an easy keeper horse breed. J Equine Vet Sci. 2016a;39:69-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2016.01.010.
Martin-Gimenez T, Blas I, Aguilera-Tejero E, Diez de Castro E, Aguirre-Pascasio CN. Endocrine, morphometric, and ultrasonographic characterization of neck adiposity in Andalusian horses. Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2016b;56:57-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.domaniend.2016.02.003. PMid:27088603.
Martinson KL, Coleman RC, Rendahl AK, Fang Z, McCue ME. Estimation of body weight and development of a body weight score for adult equids using morphometric measurements. J Anim Sci. 2014;92(5):2230-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.2527/jas.2013-6689. PMid:24663191.
Pearson W, Wood K, Stanley S, MacNicol J. Exploring relationships between body condition score, body fat, activity level and inflammatory biomarkers. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 2018;102(4):1062-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpn.12893. PMid:29707811.
Potter SJ, Harris PA, Bailey SR. Derivation of a new body condition index to estimate body fat percentage from morphometric measurements: comparison with body condition score. J Equine Vet Sci. 2015;35(5):400-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2015.03.073.
Quaresma M, Payan-Carreira R, Silva SR. Relationship between ultrasound measurements of body fat reserves and body condition score in female donkeys. Vet J. 2013;197(2):329-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.12.031. PMid:23395347.
Silva SR, Payan-Carreira R, Quaresma M, Guedes CM, Santos AS. Relationships between body condition score and ultrasound skin-associated subcutaneous fat depth in equids. Acta Vet Scand. 2016;58(1, Suppl 1):62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13028-016-0243-2. PMid:27766985.
StataCorp. Stata Statistical Software: Release 16. College Station, TX: StataCorp LLC; 2019.
Thatcher CD, Pleasant RS, Geor RJ, Elvinger F, Negrin KA, Franklin J, Gay L, Werre SR. Prevalence of obesity in mature horses: an equine body condition study. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 2008;92(2):222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0396.2007.00789_8.x.
Velásquez-Mosquera JC, Mendoza-Sánchez G, Corrales-Álvarez JD, Parra-Pineda MA, Medina Rodríguez AC, Izquierdo Sánchez CD, González Acosta JP. Asociación de medidas morfométricas con grasa en el anca en caballos de salto en una escuela ecuestre de Bogotá. Rev Med Vet. 2016;(32):67-77. http://dx.doi.org/10.19052/mv.3856.
Westervelt RG, Stouffer JR, Hintz HF, Schryver HF. Estimating fatness in horses and ponies. J Anim Sci. 1976;43(4):781-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.2527/jas1976.434781x.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research and Animal Science
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The journal content is authorized under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license (summary of the license: https://