Relationship Between Live Body Condition Score and Internal Kidney, Pelvic, and Heart Fat Measurements in Equine Carcasses



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The relationship between live BCS and carcass fat measurements have not been well documented in equine, due to the limited access to equine processing plants, and economic interest in the data in this country. This study was designed to establish the relationship between BCS and carcass fat measurements from equine carcasses. Live horses (n = 429) were evaluated at a commercial equine processing facility (Bouvry Exports, Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada). Horses were identified independently assigned a BCS by three evaluators from the West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) Equine Program. Horses were assigned a BCS by visual appraisal and by palpating the neck, withers, back, ribs, behind the shoulder and tailhead. Median BCS scores were calculated; frequencies of BCS were: 3.0 (n = 9); 4.0 (n = 43); 5.0 (n = 116); 6.0 (n = 86); 7.0 (n = 72); 8.0 (n = 76). Horses were processed according to industry-accepted procedures as outlined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). During the harvest process, all KPH was trimmed and weighed by personnel from the WTAMU Beef Carcass Research Center. Quantity of KPH was expressed as a percentage of HCW. As BCS increased, HCW, KPH weight, KPH expressed as a percentage of HCW, marbling score, neck fat depth, cold carcass fat trim, and cold carcass fat trim expressed as a percentage of HCW increased (P < 0.001). A strong correlation (r = 0.74; P < 0.001) was observed between BCS and KPH weight. Similarly, the correlation observed between BCS and percentage of KPH was also good
(r = 0.65; P < 0.001). These data indicate a strong relationship between subjective live BCS and objective internal carcass fat quantity in various equine breed types and genders.



Key Words: Body condition score, fat depots, equine, body composition


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