Horse Health

Health news, veterinary advice, and educational tools to keep your horse healthy.

Canadian Researchers Focus on Racehorse Safety

Since the loss of Barbaro and Eight Belles, NBC's Roundtable on the horseracing industry at the 2008 Preakness Stakes, and the congressional hearing in June 2008, researchers are highlighting their efforts to improve racehorse safety and Canadian scientists are not to be left out.

"The Ontario Veterinary College's Comparative Orthopaedic Research Lab...

Kentucky Governor Bans Steroids in Racehorses

Testing for anabolic steroids in racehorses in Kentucky will begin with the start of the Keeneland fall meet under emergency regulations signed by Gov. Steve Beshear Sept. 5.

The regulations, approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in August, are now in effect under the Beshear order. The regulations pertain to the commonly used steroids bol...

Trainers Weigh in on Racehorse Shoe Regulations

Some leading New York trainers said a ban on toe grabs on racehorses' shoes will help level the playing field, but they're not all convinced the shoes are responsible for catastrophic injuries.

The New York Racing Association in early August said it would ban the use of toe grabs with a height greater than two millimeters (.07874 inches) on front hor...

Kentucky Panel Approves Ban on Racehorse Steroids

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted unanimously Aug. 25 to ban the use of anabolic steroids in racehorses, and the rules could be in place the first week of September should Gov. Steve Beshear sign an emergency regulation as expected.

The KHRC amended recommendations from the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, which voted Aug. 14 to reg...

Thoroughbred Industry Round Table Focuses on Drug Testing, Safety

Calls to action aren't new to The Jockey Club Round Table conference, but at this year's meeting Aug. 17 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., there appeared to be a sense of urgency. Public perception and the threat of federal intervention have a way of moving things along.

In what a few attendees called the best Round Table in years, Thoroughbred industry rep...

Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program Fulfills Need

With the vision of a few caring people, in 2004 Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack in Farmington, N.Y., created the first Thoroughbred adoption facility run as a collaborative effort between racetrack management and local horsemen. They named it The Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP), and operated with a goal of safely retiring horses th...

Reconditioning After Layup

Whether your horse has downtime for an injury or just a much-needed vacation, how you bring him back can dictate his eventual competitive success.

After any layup, an athletic horse needs to be brought back to peak condition gradually. If time off was simply a vacation over winter, you can start the horse back into work at a lowe...

Special Report: Racehorse Durability

In this exclusive report, The Blood-Horse investigates whether the Thoroughbred racehorse is as tough today as it was 30 to 40 years ago. Editors of The Blood-Horse recently sought the answer to this question by producing a comprehensive review of 34 years of historical Thoroughbred stallion progeny records pulled from The Jockey Club's e...

Jockey Club Launches Injury Database

Jockey Club Launches Injury Database

The Jockey Club has launched the Equine Injury Database system that will provide the racing industry with its first national database of racing injuries. The Equine Injury Database grew out of a proposal first put forth at the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in Lexington in October 2006.

Horsemen's Group Hosts Racehorse Welfare and Safety Forum

During a July 18 equine welfare and safety forum, Jay Hickey recalled that in 1982, legislation to regulate parts of the horseracing industry was circulated in the halls of Congress. The bill, which had the not-so-enticing name of the "Corrupt Horseracing Practices Act," dealt with prohibited drugs, pre-race testing, and penalties for offenders.

H...

Potomac Horse Fever: Don't Ignore Fevers!

Summer and fall are key seasons for the appearance of Potomac horse fever, which is caused by the bacterium Neorickettsia risticii. Don't be fooled by the name; Potomac horse fever originally was identified in 1979 as a sporadic disease affecting horses residing in the eastern United States near the Potomac River, but since that time it has been diagnosed...

Prevent Fractures in Horses: New Technology Could Help

Researchers are developing a monitoring system similar to those used by earthquake seismologists to detect tiny cracks in bones, a technology that could help prevent fractures in humans and racehorses. The new monitoring system records "acoustic emission data," or sound waves created by the tiny bone fissures. The same sorts of acoustic emission...

Racetrack Enacts Zero-Tolerance Slaughter Policy

Sending racehorses to slaughter will not be tolerated at Suffolk Downs racetrack in Boston. Track management will now deny trainers stalls if they sell a horse for slaughter. This latest move bolsters other efforts underway to protect Thoroughbred racehorses, including retirement funding already in place by the track and local horsemen.

"I hope we...

Multiple Pregnancies: Double the Trouble

The causes and management of equine multiple pregnancies.

Multiple pregnancies are an increasing problem in breeding management. They are usually multizygotic (originating from several ova, i.e., the result of multiple ovulations, thus giving nonidentical offspring). Monozygotic twins (originating from a single fertilized ovum th...

Understanding and Preventing Catastrophic Injuries

Following the euthanasia of filly Eight Belles, who suffered catastrophic injuries to both front legs a quarter mile after finishing second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, members of every sector of the Thoroughbred industry have banded together to proactively address safety and welfare issues. In this article, representative members of the equine industry to...

Hearing Shows Thoroughbred Racing at Critical Point

Drugged equines, grisly catastrophic injuries, greedy breeders, damaged racehorses with nowhere to go, inaction and confusion, and industry leaders more concerned with holding onto power than doing the right thing--a congressional subcommittee heard it all June 19 during a hearing in Washington, D.C.

An observer easily could come to the following ...

Racing Groups Have Say Before Washington Hearing

As the House Subcommittee on Commerce and Consumer Protection prepared for a June 19 hearing on the horseracing industry, groups continued to weigh in on various issues, including use of anabolic steroids in racehorses.

On June 18, the Lexington-based Association of Equine Racetrack Veterinarians said it supports recommendations by The Jockey Club...

Special Report: Catastrophic Injuries

Following the euthanasia of the filly Eight Belles, who suffered catastrophic injuries to both front legs a quarter-mile after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby, members of every sector of the Thoroughbred industry have banded together to proactively address safety and welfare issues.

The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care is prou...

Marquis Named Calder Vet

Marquis Named Calder Vet

Dr. Patricia Maquis was named senior track veterinarian at Calder Race Course. Dr. Marquis replaces Dr. Mary Scollay who took the position of equine medical director at the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority

McIlwraith, Peterson Honored With Award

The second Elastikon Equine Research Award, funded through a grant made by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Co. to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, has been awarded to Dr. Wayne McIlwraith of Colorado State University and Dr. Mick Peterson of the University of Maine for their research designed to enhance the safety of racetracks for horses.

No Date Set for House Hearing on Racing

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection continues to maintain it will hold a June hearing on horse racing, but no date had been set as of June 2.

The subcommittee is headed by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois and U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky. Kristin Walker, Whitfield's press secretary, said June 2 there could be m...

Big Brown Quarter Crack 'Not a Setback'

Anyone following Triple Crown races this year knows there's a lot of controversy about the soundness of Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Big Brown's feet. But despite a third hoof problem in his short career--a quarter crack that showed up in his left front foot last Friday--his consulting farrier/repair expert Ian McKinlay isn't concerned.

"This i...

Options for Ex-Racehorses

Only a handful of racehorses continue racing for more than a few years. The most talented runners are retired to stud or join a broodmare band, but often horses must move out to make room for new prospects. The problem of what to do with ex-racehorses is ongoing, and several organizations have been created to help resolve this.

Thoroughbred Ret...

Pfizer Increases Support of Charity Fund

Pfizer Increases Support of Charity Fund

Since late January, Pfizer Animal Health and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) have joined forces to help fund laminitis research through the NTRA Charities - Barbaro Memorial Fund. Pfizer Animal Health displays, featuring "Riding with Barbaro" awareness bracelets, will appear in select veterinary clinics and retail outlets across the country and at major equine events. Due to the strong response thus far, Pfizer Animal Health will be expanding its number of display locations and manufacturing thousands of additional bracelets for public distribution.

TCA Announces Eight Belles Memorial Fund

TCA Announces Eight Belles Memorial Fund

Thoroughbred Charities of America, ("TCA"), has announced the formation of the Eight Belles Memorial Fund. Donations made in Eight Belles honor will go specifically toward retraining of Thoroughbreds for secondary careers and research into catastrophic breakdowns.

Catastrophic Injuries: What Do We Know?

Catastrophic Injuries: What Do We Know?

In the wake of two highly publicized catastrophic racetrack injuries since May 2006, questions and opinions regarding the safety of Thoroughbred racehorses have been generated and propagated by fans, the media, and animal rights groups.

Derby Death Spurs Action by Thoroughbred Groups

In the wake of the fatal injury sustained by filly Eight Belles in the May 3 Kentucky Derby, The Jockey Club has commissioned a seven-member Thoroughbred Safety Committee, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) board of directors has scheduled a special meeting May 9 to discuss a course of action.

Jockey Club chairman Ogden Mills "Di...

Vaccination Schedule Guidelines

Spring means vaccination time. In 2008, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Infectious Disease Committee released a revised online version of their "Guidelines for the Vaccination of Horses."

Diagnosing Upper Cannon Area Injuries

Pain originating in the upper cannon bone area, just below the knee or hock, is common in all types of equine athletes. However, it can be difficult to determine exactly what structure is injured; some injuries can only be seen with high-field MRI. At the 2007 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in Orlando, Fla., Matthew...

How Important Is That Airway Exam Grade?

The airways of many breeds of horses, particularly Thoroughbreds, are evaluated via an endoscope and graded before sale. The intent is to identify horses whose airways might have problems that could limit the horses' performance at maximal exercise, so buyers can consider this in their purchasing decisions. At the 2007 American Association of Equine Pr...

Heart Murmurs: No Impact on Racing Performance in New Study

According to a group of researchers from the United Kingdom, heart murmurs are common in athletic horses, but do not negatively impact racing performance.

"A high prevalence of heart murmurs is known to exist in horses," explained Lesley Young, BVSc, PhD, DVA, Dipl. ECEIM (European College of Equine Internal Medicine), DVC, MRCVS, an equine cardio...

Tent Caterpillars Hatch in Central KY

Tent Caterpillars Hatch in Central KY

Experts have reported that Eastern tent caterpillars are developing normally this spring and have just completed the egg hatch stage. Controlling the caterpillars is vital to area horse farms, as University of Kentucky research has strongly linked them with outbreaks of mare reproductive loss syndrome, which can cause late-term foal losses, early-term fetal losses, and weak foals.

Storm Cat Experiencing Drop in Fertility

Storm Cat, for years the No. 1 Thoroughbred stallion, has been experiencing difficulties impregnating his mares this breeding season at the Young's family's Overbrook Farm near Lexington. Fewer than half of the 31 mares that the 25-year-old stallion has covered are in foal.

"We've been dealing with his fertility, but as long as he's comfortable co...

A Clearer Picture (Imaging Technologies)

Advancements in imaging technologies make diagnoses easier.

For decades veterinarians have relied upon a number of different imaging tools, from radiographs to ultrasonography, to diagnose lameness, pregnancy, and soft-tissue-related conditions. In recent years a host of advanced imaging modalities such as digital radiography, CT...

Ky. Talks Timing of Steroid Rules

Ky. Talks Timing of Steroid Rules

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has funded a research project to study threshold levels and withdrawal times of four approved anabolic steroids. But the timing of the study, which should be completed by August, could make it difficult for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to implement steroid regulations in the state by Jan. 1, 2009.

Timing of Steroid Study Could Impact Regulations

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) has funded a research project to study threshold levels and withdrawal times of four approved anabolic steroids. But the timing of the study, which should be completed by August, could make it difficult for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to implement steroid regulations in the state by Jan. 1, 2009....

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