Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association2024; 1-5; doi: 10.2460/javma.23.09.0545

α-Casozepine supplementation shows no effect on foals’ growth and cortisol levels before and after weaning.

Abstract: The goal of this study was to determine whether oral administration of α-casozepine (Zylkene) supplementation decreases the risk of disease in foals, as measured through salivary cortisol levels, temperature, clinical signs of disease, and body weight before and after weaning. Methods: 20 Thoroughbred foals were observed over 10 weeks, beginning 14 days prior to the time of weaning. Methods: Experimental foals were randomly selected and given α-casozepine daily for 10 weeks, while the controls received a placebo with the same frequency as the experimental group. The average daily height and weight gain were calculated to examine the effects of α-casozepine before and after weaning. Salivary cortisol levels were also compared before versus after weaning. Results: There was no statistically significant difference in average daily height/weight gain or cortisol levels between the α-casozepine group and the control before and after weaning. However, the α-casozepine group had numerically less of a decline in height and growth compared to the control. This suggests that with further study Zylkene may decrease losses in foal growth rate. Conclusions: The weaning process is one of the largest stressors in a young horse's life. This abrupt process can contribute to an increased risk of disease and even morbidity. Other major stressors including separation from the mare, diet change, and new social groups can also lead to animal health and welfare concerns, as well as economic losses in weanling foals. However, further study is required to determine the benefits of α-casozepine on equine stress and health.
Publication Date: 2024-01-03 PubMed ID: 38171089DOI: 10.2460/javma.23.09.0545Google Scholar: Lookup
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Summary

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This research aims to explore the effects of α-casozepine supplementation on the health and growth of foals before and after weaning, using metrics such as salivary cortisol levels, temperature, signs of disease, and body weight. The study found that this supplementation did not significantly affect these metrics.

Research Methodology

  • The researchers selected 20 Thoroughbred foals and observed them for a period of 10 weeks, starting 14 days prior to their expected weaning time.
  • These foals were randomly divided into two groups: the experimental group, which was given α-casozepine (Zylkene) daily for the observation period, and the control group, which was given a placebo with the same frequency.
  • The team monitored the height and weight of the foals and calculated their average daily gain in both aspects. This was done to examine the effects of α-casozepine on growth before and after weaning.
  • Salivary cortisol levels were also measured and compared before and after the weaning process. These levels are often used as an indicator of stress in the body.

Research Findings

  • No significant difference was found in the average daily height and weight gain between the foals given α-casozepine and those given a placebo.
  • Similarly, the cortisol levels in the two groups of foals did not differ significantly before and after weaning.
  • However, researchers noted that foals supplemented with α-casozepine showed numerically less decline in height and weight growth compared to the control group. This suggests a potential effect of α-casozepine in preventing the usual drops in growth rate usually observed following the stressful weaning process.

Conclusions and Future Research Directions

  • The study concluded that weaning is a significant stressor in the life of young horses and can result in various health and welfare concerns, as well as financial losses due to slower growth rates in weanlings.
  • The initial findings of this study indicate that α-casozepine might not have a significant effect on foal growth or stress levels during weaning. However, the smaller decline in height and weight gain observed in the α-casozepine supplemented group suggests a potential benefit that warrants further investigation.
  • The researchers state the need for additional study to confirm these results and to investigate further the impacts of α-casozepine on equine stress and health.

Cite This Article

APA
Wood MK, Mason RM, Burk SV, Birmingham SSW. (2024). α-Casozepine supplementation shows no effect on foals’ growth and cortisol levels before and after weaning. J Am Vet Med Assoc, 1-5. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.23.09.0545

Publication

ISSN: 1943-569X
NlmUniqueID: 7503067
Country: United States
Language: English
Pages: 1-5

Researcher Affiliations

Wood, Moriah K
  • 1Department of Equine Science, Otterbein University, Westerville, OH.
Mason, Rocky M
  • 2Lexington Equine Medical Group, Lexington, KY.
Burk, Steffanie V
  • 1Department of Equine Science, Otterbein University, Westerville, OH.
Birmingham, Sheri S W
  • 1Department of Equine Science, Otterbein University, Westerville, OH.

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