Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have published findings from a recent study which shows that horses with a rare nerve condition have similar signs of disease as people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s. The findings shed new light on the causes of the oftentimes fatal horse condition, currently known as equine grass sickness, which could help to develop new tools for diagnosis. While the cause of equine grass sickness is unknown, its symptoms include gastric upset and muscle tremors.
The researchers, from the university’s Roslin Institute and Royal School of Veterinary Studies, examined nerve tissue from six horses that had died from the condition, finding proteins commonly seen in the brains of humans with Alzheimer’s disease, such as the build-up of amyloid protein. In total, 506 different proteins were found to be altered in nerve tissue from horses with grass sickness compared with animals that had died from other causes.