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Objective

To characterize and contrast data from Thoroughbreds that incurred a fatal musculoskeletal injury ( fmi; injury resulting in death or euthanasia) during racing or training and data from all California race entrants during a 9-month period in 1991.

Design

Case-control study.

Animals

Thoroughbreds that incurred a fmi during racing or training at a California race-meet and all California race entrants from January through June and October through December 1991.

Procedure

Age and sex were compared with χ2 and Fisher's exact tests among horses fatally injured while racing and training. A log-linear model was fit to assess the relationship between race-meet and age and sex of California race entrants. Incidence risk of racing fmi was estimated per 1,000 race entrants, and the relationship between the occurrence of fmi during racing with race-meet, age, and sex was evaluated by logistic regression.

Results

Injury type and sex-specific age distributions differed among the horses fatally injured during racing and training. Age and sex distributions of the race entrants were not independent and varied among race-meets. Overall incidence risk of racing fmi was estimated at 1.7/1,000 race entrants. Risk of racing fmi in male horses was about twofold that in female horses, and in 4-year-olds was twofold that in 3-year-olds.

Clinical Implications

Age- and sex-related differences in risk of incurring a fmi during racing should be considered when comparing fatal injury rates among race-meets.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate hoof size, shape, and balance as risk factors for catastrophic musculoskeletal injuries (CMI), including suspensory apparatus failure (SAF) and cannon bone condylar fracture (CDY) in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Animals

95 Thoroughbred racehorses that died between 1994 and 1996.

Procedure

38 quantitative measures of hoof size, shape, and balance were obtained from orthogonal digital images of the hoof and were compared between case horses with forelimb CMI (70), SAF (43), and CDY (10) injuries and control horses whose death was unrelated to the musculoskeletal system (non-CMI, 25). Comparison of group means between cases and controls was done using ANOVA, and multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios.

Results

Odds of CMI were 0.62 times lower for a 5- mm increase in ground surface width difference and 0.49 times lower for a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference. Odds of SAF were 6.75 times greater with a 10° increase in toe-heel angle difference and 0.58 times lower with a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference. Odds of CDY were 0.26 times lower with a 3° increase in toe angle, 0.15 times lower with a 5- mm increase in lateral ground surface width, and 0.35 times lower with a 100-mm2 increase in sole area difference.

Clinical Relevance

Decreasing the difference between toe and heel angles should decrease risk of SAF for Thoroughbred racehorses and should be considered in addition to increasing toe angle alone to help prevent catastrophic injury. Trimming the hoof to perfect mediolateral symmetry may not be a sound approach to avoiding injury. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59: 1545-1552)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Objective

To investigate relationships of several racehorse characteristics and race conditions with risk of a catastrophic musculoskeletal injury (CMI) resulting in euthanasia in Thoroughbreds during racing in California in 1992.

Design

Retrospective longitudinal study.

Animals

Thoroughbreds that incurred CMI during racing and all California race entrants in 1992.

Procedure

Necropsy records were reviewed, and race start information was obtained. Incidence risk of CMI/1,000 race entrants was estimated. Relationships between CMI during racing and race-meet, entrant age and sex, race type and length, and racing surface type and condition were evaluated by use of logistic regression.

Results

Incidence risk of CMI was 1.7/1,000 entrants. A higher risk of CMI was found at 2 fair race-meets, with incidence risks of 4.9 and 5.5/1,000 entrants. Risk of injury in male horses was 1.7 times greater than that in female horses, and influence of age on risk depended on race type. Risk of injury for horses 2 to 5 years old was two times greater for claiming horses than for maiden horses. Race length or racing surface type (dirt vs turf) or condition (fast, muddy, yielding) were not significantly associated with risk of CMI.

Clinical Implications

Incidence of CMI was similar among 12 of 14 major and fair race-meets and among various race lengths and racing surface types and conditions, whereas incidence of CMI was influenced by entrant age and sex as well as race type. Investigators should consider controlling for age and sex, race-meet, and race type whenever possible in studies of risk of CMI. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998; 212:544-549)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association