Blood importance for the evaluation of the

Blood samples contain an enormous amount of
information and many parameters to choose between. Blood analysis in horses may
be conducted for health testing, disease diagnostics, nutritional control, or performance
prognosis 1. Blood testing involves a wide
range of sub-specialties, including hematology, clinical chemistry, and
cytology. Chemical profiling of the plasma or serum can identify the levels of
various proteins, enzymes, electrolytes and other biochemical molecules that are
indicators of overall health status and metabolic conditions as well as
individual organ function. Plasma chemistry is used in diagnostic investigation
to provide evidence in support of a suspected diagnosis, as a prognostic
indicator, or for to monitor disease progression in animals that are being
treated 2. Plasma chemistry allows the monitoring
of metabolic changes and is often helpful in revealing health disorders in the
preclinical stage. Moreover, routine evaluation of a metabolic profile can
provide important information in the performance diagnosis of sport horses 3. Plasma chemistry is also used to
evaluate feeds and diets but requires a strategy somewhat different from other
sampling techniques; the horse should be its own control, and the samples have
to be taken in small intervals at different times from meals 1.

In clinical chemistry,
blood tests are generally analyzed by using an automated or semi-automated
analyzer. However, some critical factors can restrict the use of these methods,
including the cost of analytical testing and, in some cases, the long waiting period
between sampling and obtaining the analysis results. Human studies have
demonstrated the potential of infrared spectroscopic methods for reliable
clinical chemistry 4,5, clinical applications and disease
diagnosis 6.

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There is growing
interest in applications of infrared spectroscopy as an analytical tool in
different areas of animal production. This technology is used to assess feed
composition and digestibility, to assess traceability, and to determine the
main components of animal products (meat, milk, fish, cheese, eggs) 7. We have previously shown that
FT-MIR spectroscopy offers fairly accurate measurement of various plasma
biomarkers that are of great importance for the evaluation of the metabolism
and inflammatory status of dairy cows 8. Infrared spectroscopy has several
advantages over other analytical techniques: rapidity of analysis, lack of
chemical use, minimal or no sample preparation, and easy applicability in
different work environments (on/in/at line applications) 4,9. However, infrared spectroscopy has
some disadvantages 7: low ability to predict compounds
at very low concentrations, need for an accurate analysis as a reference, need
for highly trained personnel for the development of calibration models, need
for a large and up-to-date calibration data set (often difficult to obtain),
difficulty in transfer of calibration among instruments, and high initial
financial investment costs. The problem of transferring calibration curves from
one instrument to another is being resolved 10,11. This, along with the availability
of cost-effective micro-infrared instruments for use in the field, offers the
possibility of using developed prediction models to make directly measure the
effects of an ever-widening set of parameters on feeds and foods and on
different biological fluids.

To date, to the best of
our knowledge, no reports have investigated the possibility of using infrared
spectroscopy to analyze a set of biochemical parameters in the metabolic profiles
of horses. The objective of the present study was to test the feasibility of
developing prediction models of the main blood biochemical parameters in the metabolic
profiles of horses using FT-MIR spectrometry.