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Risk factors for proximal sesamoid bone fractures associated with exercise history and horseshoe characteristics in Thoroughbred racehorses

Lucy A. AnthenillJ. D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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Susan M. StoverJ. D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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Ian A. GardnerDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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Ashley E. HillJ. D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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Abstract

Objective—To assess individual and combined associations of high-speed exercise and horseshoe characteristics with risk of forelimb proximal sesamoid bone fractures and proximal sesamoid bone midbody fractures in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Animals—269 deceased Thoroughbred racehorses.

Procedures—A case-control study design was used to compare 121 horses with a fracture of at least 1 of 4 forelimb proximal sesamoid bones (75 horses had a midbody fracture) and 148 horses without a forelimb proximal sesamoid bone fracture. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate potential risk factors for association with proximal sesamoid bone fracture.

Results—Compared with horses that died without proximal sesamoid bone fractures, horses that died with proximal sesamoid bone fractures were more likely to be sexually intact males, spend more time in active trainingand racing, complete more events, train and race longer since their last layup, have higher exercise intensities during the 12 months prior to death, and have greater cumulative distances for their career. Horses with proximal sesamoid bone midbody fractures were more likely to be sexually intact males, train and race longer since their last layup, and have higher exercise intensities during the 12 months prior to death.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Limitingexercise intensity and the continuous time spent in activity duringa horse's career may decrease the frequency of forelimb proximal sesamoid bone fractures in Thoroughbred horses.

Abstract

Objective—To assess individual and combined associations of high-speed exercise and horseshoe characteristics with risk of forelimb proximal sesamoid bone fractures and proximal sesamoid bone midbody fractures in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Animals—269 deceased Thoroughbred racehorses.

Procedures—A case-control study design was used to compare 121 horses with a fracture of at least 1 of 4 forelimb proximal sesamoid bones (75 horses had a midbody fracture) and 148 horses without a forelimb proximal sesamoid bone fracture. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate potential risk factors for association with proximal sesamoid bone fracture.

Results—Compared with horses that died without proximal sesamoid bone fractures, horses that died with proximal sesamoid bone fractures were more likely to be sexually intact males, spend more time in active trainingand racing, complete more events, train and race longer since their last layup, have higher exercise intensities during the 12 months prior to death, and have greater cumulative distances for their career. Horses with proximal sesamoid bone midbody fractures were more likely to be sexually intact males, train and race longer since their last layup, and have higher exercise intensities during the 12 months prior to death.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Limitingexercise intensity and the continuous time spent in activity duringa horse's career may decrease the frequency of forelimb proximal sesamoid bone fractures in Thoroughbred horses.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Hill's present address is Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Supported by the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation Incorporated and the Center for Equine Health, with funds provided by the Oak Tree Racing Association, the State of California parimutuel fund, and contributions from private donors.

The authors thank Karla Van Meter for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Stover.