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

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Abstract

Background:

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

Hypothesis/Objectives:

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.

Animals:

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

Methods:

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).

Results:

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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