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Vet J. 2009 Feb;179(2):204-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.02.029. Epub 2008 Apr 28.

Apparent adiposity assessed by standardised scoring systems and morphometric measurements in horses and ponies.

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Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA.


This study described a scoring system for the assessment of apparent neck adiposity and evaluated morphometric measurements for assessment of neck and overall adiposity. Twenty-one barren Thoroughbred mares, 13 Arabian geldings and 75 Welsh, Dartmoor, or crossbred pony mares, were clinically examined and blood samples analysed for insulin, glucose, leptin, and triglycerides. Bodyweight (BW), height, length, girth and abdominal circumferences, neck length, neck crest height and neck circumference were measured, and body condition scores (BCS) and cresty neck scores (CNS) were rated. Girth:height ratio had the strongest associations with BCS (r(s)=0.64, P<0.001 in horses; r(s)=0.83, P<0.001 in ponies) and blood variables, such as leptin (r(s)=0.39, P=0.024 in horses; r(s)=0.68, P<0.001 in ponies). Crest height and neck circumference:height ratio had the strongest association with CNS (r(s)>0.50, P<0.01) and blood variables, such as insulin (r(s)0.40, P<0.05). Cresty neck score was useful in the assessment of neck crest adiposity and had physiological relevance, as demonstrated by associations with blood variables. Girth:height was the most suitable morphometric for assessment of overall adiposity, and either crest height or neck circumference:height was a suitable morphometric for assessment of apparent neck adiposity.

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