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Equine Muscular Adaptations to Effective Use of Dietary Fat During Exercise

Teuschler-Stewart, Sarah Marie
Feeding supplemental dietary fat compared to a high-starch ration could promote muscular adaptations that would enable greater fat utilization during exercise. Seventeen Quarter Horse yearlings were assigned a treatment diet of FAT or STARCH. Body weights and skeletal measurements were taken and a total fecal collection was performed to evaluate growth patterns and nutrient digestibility. Blood and muscle was evaluated to determine if the capacity to transport fatty acid substrates from the blood to the myocyte can be increased. The SAS/MIXED procedure was used for the analyses at P<0.05 significance. FAT horses had improved digestibility of crude fat, crude protein and calcium. STARCH horses had heavier body weights and higher plasma betahydroxybutyrate concentrations. FAT horses had higher fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD36) protein expression in the myocyte suggesting that 10% fat supplementation for growing horses subjected to aerobic conditioning could potentially enhance the capacity for transport of fatty acid substrates.