Brainstem Auditory Evoked Responses in Foals: Reference Values, Effect of Age, Rate of Acoustic Stimulation, and Neurologic Deficits

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Age and rate of acoustic stimulation affect peak latencies in brainstem auditory evoked responses (BAER) in humans. Those effects are unknown in foals.


Our goals were to (1) establish reference values for BAER in foals by using 3 different stimulation protocols, (2) evaluate the effects of age and stimulation frequencies on BAER tracing in foals up to 6 months old, and (3) compare the data with BAER obtained from foals with central nervous system (CNS) disorders.


Thirty-nine neurologically normal foals and 16 foals with neurologic diseases.


Prospective observational clinical study. BAER recorded by using 3 protocols of stimulation (11.33 repetitions per second [Hz]/70 decibel normal hearing level [dBNHL]; 11.33 Hz/90 dBNHL; 90 Hz/70 dBNHL).


No effect of age was observed in normal foals (P > .005). No significant difference was observed for latencies and interpeak latencies (IPL) when comparing foals with neurologic diseases and normal foals (P > .05), but 78.6% of foals with neurologic diseases had an asymmetry in their tracing, reflecting a difference in conduction time between the left and right side of the brainstem. Increasing the stimulation rate did not improve detection of CNS disorders.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance:

We propose BAER reference values for foals up to 6 months of age by using 3 protocols. Most foals with neurologic deficits had abnormal BAER tracing.

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