Horse Health

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

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....

Summit Will Examine Progress

Summit Will Examine Progress

The second Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, set for March 17-18 at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion, will feature wide-ranging discussions of critical equine health- and safety-related issues, including progress reports from the working committees established coming out of the original summit in October 2006.

Caslick's Operation: Problem Barrier

Infertility is a major problem in some broodmares. A large incidence of infertility is seen in valuable, intensively bred mares such as racehorses and performance mares, and significant amounts of money and time are devoted to dealing with the problem.

There are many causes of infertility, but endometritis (inflammation of the endometrial lining of t...

Botulism: A Perfect Killer


Horses are highly susceptible to botulism toxins; vaccination and feed/water management are key to prevention.

Botulism is an often-lethal disease caused by a bacterial toxin. Although the disease can affect nearly all warmblooded animals, it is particularly deadly in horses, because they are...

Study of EIPH Drug Seeks to Answer Effectiveness, Enhancement Concerns

A study led by Colorado State University and research partners will help to answer a long-debated question about health and performance effects of a drug commonly used to treat racehorses in the U.S. to prevent bleeding into their airways as they run (also known as

Thoroughbred Group Offers Tips on Managing, Retraining the Ex-Racehorse

The proliferation of racehorse rescues and retirement programs means that thousands of retired Thoroughbred racehorses have been placed into new homes. Ensuring success in what comes next--the transition and retraining of Thoroughbreds by their new owners--is one of the primary missions of Wood End Farms, a nonprofit facility located north of Chicago t...

Warwick Outbreak Forces Rosehill to Cancel Meet

New South Wales racing was to return Sept. 22 to Sydney's Rosehill Gardens, with 12 races planned and more than 210 horses engaged. The morning of the meeting, that all changed. Horses at Warwick Farm, a track that had previously been clean of equine influenza, came down with the virus. Rosehill officials were forced to scrap the meeting, as many horses set to compete had been trained at Warwick.

Elusive Quality Will Breed in Australia

Darley has decided to send one of the world's truly great stallions, Elusive Quality, to the New South Wales Hunter Valley's purple zone. The farm decided Sept. 21 which stallions to send home and which will remain in Australia to cover mares for the remainder of the crippled NSW breeding season.

New Surgery for Roarers Restores Talented Racehorse

A new way to correct a respiratory condition commonly called "roaring" has returned a Thoroughbred mare to the track, earning her owners more than $300,000 since her recovery in 2006.

Raging Rapids, a strapping 5-year-old mare, won a race for Victory Thoroughbreds LLC, a group that claimed her for $10,000 last year. But even in the winne...

New York Racing Rule Targets

New York racing regulators July 31 adopted a series of new rules, including more restrictive prohibitions on betting by racetrack mutuel tellers and final action on a provision to combat "milkshaking" of horses.

"The board instituted a number of rules today that were designed (to) ensu...

Split Samples Mistakenly Tossed in Kentucky

The state veterinarian for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority mistakenly tossed out two split samples from two horses that had tested over the approved limit for the approved bleeder medication Salix. Because of the mistake, the investigation into the overages has been dropped.

Reinforcing Reinforcement Breeding

It's common practice at some breeding farms--collecting the drippings from a stallion's penis after he breeds and dismounts a mare, evaluating the sample to confirm that ejaculation did occur, then placing the sample in the mare. Reinforcement breeding, as the last step of that procedure is called, was found to increase pregnancy rates by up to 11.7% in a...

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