Mette Flethøj Madsen

PhD, DVM. Defended PhD February 2016

Research Profile:

My interest of equine cardiology was awakened in 2008 when I wrote my Master’s Thesis on “Implementation of Advanced Echocardiographic Methods in Equine Cardiology”. After I graduated as a DVM with focus on equine medicine I earned a PhD scholarship at the University of Copenhagen and started my project in November 2010.

The project is focusing on cardiac function in endurance horses and is inspired by research studies in human sports medicine. The aim of the project is to investigate the effects of prolonged physical exercise on the equine heart. The horses included in the project are privately owned endurance horses. Owners participate voluntarily and have had their horses examined either during training at home or at international competitions in endurance riding.

Using advanced methods such as Tissue Doppler and speckle tracking on echocardiographic recordings before and after endurance rides of 160 km, I study if the equine heart fatigues from prolonged physical exercise. Blood samples are analyzed for inflammatory and cardiac markers to determine if prolonged physical exercise causes damage to equine myocardial cells. Additionally, ECG recordings obtained from horses during rest, exercise, and in relation to competition are used to evaluate heart rate variability and prevalence of arrhythmias in the equine heart.

During the course of my PhD project I have also worked as a veterinary clinician for one year in the University Hospital of Large Animals treating horses as well as cattle and small ruminants.



Madsen MF. Struktureret auskultation af hestens hjerte, Abildgaard Symposium 2013.


Madsen MF, Granström S, Toft N, Houe H, Willesen JL, Koch J. Prevalence of respiratory signs and identification of risk factors for respiratory morbidity in Swedish Yorkshire terriers, Veterinary Record 2012 Jun 2;170(22):565


Madsen MF. Kardiologisk udredning i praksis, Abildgaard Symposium 2011.

Madsen MF, Kanters J, Olsen, LH, Buhl R. Exercise-Induced Cardiac Fatigue in Endurance Horses – A PhD Project, DaCRA Sommermøde, Jun 2011, Sønderborg, Danmark.


Madsen MF. Implementation of Advanced Echocardiographic methods in Equine Cardiology – Tissue Doppler Imaging and Speckle Tracking, Speciale/Master’s thesis, Nov 2008.

Haugaard M, Madsen MF, Pedersen PJ. Hjertets betydning for sportshesten - en årsag til nedsat præstation, Ridehesten Hippologisk, May 2012: 28-34 (article in Danish).