Growth rate consists of baseline and systematic deviation components in Thoroughbreds

W. B. Staniar, D. S. Kronfeld, K. H. Treiber, R. K. Splan, P. A. Harris

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27 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to establish a procedure for differentiating a baseline curve from a systematic deviation in weight-age data, and hence to develop a physiological growth model for the Thoroughbred. A total of 2,698 records for 175 foals was obtained during a period of 8 yr (1994 to 2001). Weight-age data were fit with a sigmoid growth equation, W = A(1 + be-kt)M, where W is BW at age t, A is the asymptotic value of W, b is a scaling parameter that defines the degree of maturity at t = 0, k is a rate constant, and M defines the point of inflection in the sigmoid curve in relation to age. Short-term systematic deviations in the weight-age data were identified by a goodness-of-fit procedure and illustrated in three-dimensional contour plots of the sigmoid equation parameters as they changed upon removal of selected subsets of the data. Based on features of the contour plots, a negative deviation between 210 and 420 d of age was set aside, with the remaining data establishing the baseline data set. The sigmoid growth equation was fit to the baseline data set using a nonlinear mixed model with repeated measures, and indicated a mature weight of 542 ± 6.2 kg reached at 7 yr. The systematic deviation identified in this weight-age data set is present in other published Thoroughbred growth data and is likely to result in erroneous parameter estimates if not set aside before fitting sigmoid growth equations to the thus-modified weight-age data set. The techniques developed in this study enable identification of short-term systematic deviations in weight-age data and define a realistic baseline growth curve. Differentiation of these two components enables the development of a physiological model of growth that distinguishes between baseline growth and environmental influences, represented respectively, by the baseline curve and the systematic deviation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1015
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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