Horse Health

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

Hoof Wall Separations and Quarter Cracks

Farrier Ian McKinlay, who received some notoriety in 2008 for his work patching Big Brown's feet, discussed his experiences with patching wall separations and quarter cracks so high-performance horses can go on with their work at the 2008 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention, held Dec. 6-10 in San Diego, Calif.

Racehorse Stormalory Euthanized After Leg Fractures

Stormalory, a 3-year-old Thoroughbred colt, was euthanized after breaking down during the Crown Royal American Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs May 1.     Stormalory, trained by Bill Mott and owned by Sheik Mohammed of Dubai's Darley Stable, was the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race. He broke slowly under jockey Julien Lep...

Keeping Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis 'Foreign'

Most horse owners are familiar with Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, if only through the statement they receive from their veterinarian following their horses' annual vaccinations. But there's another "EE" that, while long absent from the United States, should not be forgotten: Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis, or VEE.

...

Pfizer Assists With Paragallo Horses

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance announced April 21 that Pfizer Animal Health has pledged to donate equine health care supplies to aid the 170 horses suffering from malnourishment at Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y.

Surface Safety Laboratory Coming Soon

A racing surfaces testing laboratory designed to enhance surface safety for horses and riders is being launched with the financial support of a broad industry coalition, it was announced April 17 by the laboratory's coordinators Mick Peterson, MS, PhD, and Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, FRCVS, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, ECVS.

Based in Orono, Maine, the laboratory ...

Technology Aids in Surface/Impact Study

Technology Aids in Surface/Impact Study

What type of impact do various terrains actually have on the health of a horse's hooves and legs? French researchers are using a highly sensitive 3-D dynamometric shoe and other instruments to give unprecedented insight into the biomechanical effects of diverse surfaces on not only a horse's limbs, but his entire musculoskeletal system.

Jockey Club Offers Free Thoroughbred Identification Service

The Jockey Club has established a free service to help owners identify tattooed but unidentified Thoroughbreds in their possession.

For legible tattoos, an owner can use a free tattoo lookup feature available from The Jockey Club's Web site and the

Task Force Sought on Humane Treatment

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. is proposing a task force for the purpose of broadening programs that assist Thoroughbred owners forced with selling their horses while developing a policy that punishes any owner, breeder or trainer that either directly or indirectly contributes to an outcome where a horse is knowingly sent to slaughter.

KHRC Panel Approves Helmet Regulation

A committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved a proposed regulation that would mandate safety helmets be worn by all licensed personnel--including exercise riders and trainers during morning training times--at all of the state's tracks.

International Equine Disease Report, Fourth Quarter 2008

The International Collating Centre, Newmarket, England, and other sources reported the following disease outbreaks:

Two cases of contagious equine metritis (CEM) were confirmed in non-Thoroughbred horses in France. As of Feb. 23 the USDA reported 11 non-Thoroughbred stallions positive for (CEM) during the recent outbreak--four in Kentucky, three in I...

Michigan Bans Racehorse Steroids

Michigan Horse Racing Commissioner Christine C. White April 1 gave notice to the state's horse racing industry that effective immediately, the presence of anabolic steroids will be prohibited in all horses entered to race at any pari-mutuel track in Michigan.

"Integrity remains our priority," said White. "By incorporating a testing program for ana...

Stress Busters

Our horses' lifestyles, career demands, and the way we manage them can cause more stress than we might expect.

Sue McDonnell, PhD, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, was preparing a horse for long-distance transport. Getting the horse from her home base at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center to his final destina...

Stem-Cell Research: Potential Benefits

Harvesting a horse's stem cells at birth through the umbilical cord or as a young horse may give it an advantage later if it develops health problems. Researchers from the University of California-Davis spoke to a group of owners and breeders March 22 at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association office about stem-cell research they are performing, and the future of stem-cell therapy.

Synthetic Surfaces vs. Dirt and Turf

"Injuries and fatalities are a major problem in the (Thoroughbred) racing industry," said Jacob Setterbo, BS, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, during the 2008 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention (held Dec. 6-10 in San Diego, Calif.). "There are about two racing-related equine deaths per day due primarily to musculoskeletal injury (in the U.S. and Canada)."

Catastrophic Injuries Spike at Turfway

After going a month with no fatalities, Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky was the site of five catastrophic injuries during an eight-day period in February, according to state veterinarian Bryce Peckham, DVM.

During his monthly report March 10 to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Peckham said the fatalities occurred between Feb. 13 and Feb. 21...

Churchill Downs Implements Safety and Welfare Plan

Churchill Downs Incorporated has announced a series of new rules and policies designed to enhance the safety and welfare of jockeys and horses. The measures will be in place at Churchill Downs racetrack in advance of the this year's Kentucky Derby and will include standardized third-party testing of track surfaces and comprehensive testing of all winni...

Anhidrosis: Altered Thyroid Function a Potential Contributor

Despite the fact that 20% of racehorses in the southern United States are affected by anhidrosis--the inability or decreased ability to sweat--the underlying causes of this medical condition remain unknown.

Sweating is the primary means by which exercising horses dissipate heat. Anhidrotic horses are typically exercise intolerant, have an inc...

KY Puts Restrictions on WI Stallions

Kentucky veterinary officials are now requiring that stallions coming from Wisconsin be tested for contagious equine metritis (CEM) prior to entering the state. The order, issued today by state veterinarian Robert C. Stout, stems from Kentucky's investigation into cases of CEM, which were first discovered in the state in December. This is the first official interstate movement restriction to result from the nationwide investigation, which includes 614 horses in 45 states.

FTBOA Awarded $2.5 Million Grant

FTBOA  Awarded $2.5 Million Grant

The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association announced Feb. 25 that it, along with partner MaxWest Environmental Systems, has received a grant award in the amount of $2.5 million from the Florida Energy and Climate Commission for a green energy project.

AAEP Releases Racing Safety and Welfare Recommendations

The American Association of Equine Practitioners today issued guidelines for protecting the health of the Thoroughbred racehorse. The white paper, "Putting the Horse First: Veterinary Recommendations for the Safety and Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse," provides veterinary guidance on many issues challenging the racing industry and the care of the...

Protocol for Racehorse Steroids Testing Progresses

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors Feb. 6 received an update on an anabolic steroids study, results of which will be used to set thresholds for testing in plasma.

The RMTC board, which met in Las Vegas, Nev., also discussed upcoming studies on therapeutic medication, development of best practices for drug-testin...

Prevent CEM, Other Infectious Diseases Through Strict Hygiene

Strict hygiene guidelines should be followed whenever handling breeding mares or stallions to prevent reproductive infectious diseases, including contagious equine metritis (CEM).

CEM is spread between horses primarily by breeding, either by natural service or artificial insemination (AI). Grooms, handlers, and breeding technicians or veterinary p...

Details Revealed on KY CEM Case

State and federal agriculture officials announced Dec. 16 that a Quarter Horse stallion standing at stud in Kentucky has tested positive for contagious equine metritis.

AAEP Racing Task Force Puts the Horse First

"We have a crisis in Thoroughbred racing," stated Scott Palmer, VMD, of New Jersey, a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and head of the AAEP Racing Task Force.

The AAEP Racing Task Force was conceived in Austin, Texas, at the organization's Focus meeting because of the country's outcry following the

Speed Researcher Says Horses Have Reached their Limit

It doesn't look like Thoroughbred racehorses will be breaking records anytime soon ... or perhaps ever again.

According to Mark Denny, PhD, of California's Stanford University, a plateau in racing speed was reached back in 1949, 1971, and 1973 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes, respectively.

...

Louisiana to Adopt Racehorse Steroids Rule

Using emergency regulations, the Louisiana Racing Commission has banned the use of anabolic steroids in racehorses effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Racing commission executive director Charlie Gardiner said the regulations were adopted Dec. 2 via emergency procedure to have them on the books in time for the first of the year. "The end of January was the ea...

Foal Weight Partially Dependent on Parity in New Study

Australian researchers based at Coolmore Stud in New South Wales, Australia, reported in a new study that placental weight and parity (number of foals a mare has had) are positively associated with foal weight. In contrast, neither gestation length nor age of mare were implicated in affecting birth weight.

"It is widely perceived by th...

Laurel Horse Tests Positive for EHV-1

The Maryland Department of Agriculture confirmed Nov. 13 that a 2-year old filly at Laurel Park in barn 1 has tested presumptive positive for equine herpesvirus pending confirmatory testing from the University of Kentucky. The horse, who could not stand yesterday morning, was sitting up and eating this morning with no fever.

Alysheba to Return to U.S., Reside at Horse Park

Horse of the Year and Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba is returning to the United States from Saudi Arabia. He will reside in the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park.

According to a release from the Kentucky Horse Park, the public is invited to the Kentucky Horse Park for Alysheba's welcome home reception, Oct. 31 at 1:15 pm in the Hall of ...

Jockey Club: Thoroughbred Mares Bred Down 7.7%

The Jockey Club released the Report of Mares Bred (RMB) statistics Oct. 16 for 2008 that show a continued decline in North American Thoroughbred breeding activity.

Based on RMBs received through Oct. 10, The Jockey Club reported 2,643 stallions covered 52,410 mares in North America during 2008.

The statistics include the number of mares bred ...

NTRA Announces Racing Safety Reforms, Independent Monitor

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) officially unveiled a series of equine health and safety reforms Oct. 15 that will be overseen by an independent monitor. During the news conference in New York City, less than two weeks before the Breeders' Cup World Championships in California, the organization announced former four-term Wisconsin G...

New York Bans Racehorse Steroids

New York is joining other states in cracking down on steroid use in horse racing, state regulators announced Oct. 14.

"For the sake of the betting public, we want to do everything in our power to ensure that racing runs on a level playing field," said John Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, in a statement. "By imposi...

International Racing Group Focuses on Synthetic Surfaces

Contrasting views on the future of synthetic tracks were expressed at the meeting of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in Paris on Oct. 6, following the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp.

British opinion, expressed by Ian Renton, boss of Arena Leisure which owns three of Britain's all weather tracks--Lingfield, W...

Genetics of Contracted Foal Syndrome

The skeletal anatomy of a horse's front and hind limbs is comparable to the anatomy of the human hands and feet. The horse's cannon bone, or metacarpal, is the same as a bone in the palm of a hand. The human phalanges, or finger bones, are comparable to the bones making up a horse's hoof and pastern. Fortunately, most humans and horses are bor...

Ohio Veterinarians Suspended

Two veterinarians attending to horses competing at The Red Mile harness track in Lexington were indefinitely suspended Oct. 2 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) pending the results of an ongoing investigation.

Jones Appeals Clenbuterol Suspension

Thoroughbred trainer Larry Jones has appealed a seven-day suspension and $500 fine levied by the stewards at Delaware Park in connection with the highly-publicized case in which the horse Stones River tested positive for the prohibited substance clenbuterol.

Racetrack Injury Database Could Face Resistance

A new national racetrack injury database will have problems achieving widespread compliance without a large measure of anonymity and confidentiality, a Kentucky racetrack veterinarian said Sept. 15.

"I think there is going to be a ton of resistance" to reporting injuries as long as the horse's name is included on the report, Foster Northrup, DVM, ...

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...

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