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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the relation between several racing speed history characteristics and risk of fatal skeletal injury (FSI) in racing Thoroughbreds.

Animals

64 Thoroughbreds euthanatized during a 9-month period in 1991 at a California racemeet because of a catastrophic fracture incurred while racing (cases), identified retrospectively. For each race in which an FSI occurred, 1 control horse was randomly selected from the noncatastrophically injured participants.

Procedure

Racing and officially timed workout histories were obtained for each horse. Several history characteristics were calculated to summarize racing career patterns and high-speed exercise schedules prior to date of injury and included age at first race, proportion of career spent laid up, average duration of laid up periods, average lifetime racing frequency, time from last lay up to date of injury, and total and rate of distance accumulated 1 to 6 months prior to date of injury. History characteristics associated with FSI were screened by paired t-test and studied in detail using conditional logistic regression.

Results

High total and high average daily rates of exercise distance accumulation within a 2-month period were associated with higher risks for FSI during racing, yet career patterns, such as age at first race or total proportion of career spent laid up, were not found to be associated with risk for FSI. A horse that had accumulated a total of 35 furlongs of race and timed-work distance in 2 months, compared with a horse with 25 furlongs accumulated, had an estimated 3.9-fold increase in risk for racing-related FSI (95% confidence interval = 2.1, 7.1). A horse that had accumulated race and timed-work furlongs at an average rate of 0.6 furlong/d within a 2-month period, compared with a horse with an average of 0.5 furlong/d, had an estimated 1.8-fold increase in risk for racing-related FSI (95% confidence interval = 1.4, 2.6).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Thoroughbred racehorses that either accumulate large total highspeed distances or rapidly accumulate high-speed distances within a 2-month period may be at increased risk for FSI during racing. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1549–1555)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Objective

To determine whether a two-month or longer period without official high-speed workouts (lay-up) is associated with humeral or pelvic fracture in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Design

Retrospective study.

Animals

Thoroughbred racehorses in California that were euthanatized because of a complete humeral or pelvic fracture.

Procedure

Age, sex, activity, number of lay-ups, number of days from a race or official timed workout to fracture, number of days from end of last lay-up to fracture, mean duration of lay-ups, and total number of days in race training were compared between horses with humeral fractures and horses with pelvic fractures. A case-crossover study was used to estimate relative risk for fracture of the humerus or pelvis occurring within hazard periods of 10 and 21 days following lay-up, compared with periods following more regular participation in official racing or timed workout events.

Results

Horses with pelvic fractures were more often female, older, and had 0 or ≥ 2 lay-ups. Horses with humeral fractures were typically 3-year-old males that had 1 lay-up. Horses with pelvic fractures had more total days in race training, fewer days from last exercise event to fracture, and a greater number of days from end of last lay-up to fracture than horses with humeral fractures. Return from lay-up was strongly associated with risk for humeral fracture during hazard periods of 10 and 21 days (relative risk = 71 and 45, respectively).

Clinical Implications

Risk of humeral fracture may be reduced if horses are cautiously reintroduced into race training after lay-up. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212: 1582–1587)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objectives

To develop a standard technique for evaluation of racehorse shoes, to assess homotypic variation (interlimb variation) in shoe characteristics, and to determine whether shoe characteristics varied with age and sex.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Animals

Thoroughbred racehorses (n = 201) that died or were euthanatized at California racetracks between August 1992 and July 1994.

Procedure

Shoe characteristics were measured on horses examined after death. Percentage of agreement was used to compare shoe characteristics between limbs (homotypic variation). Using χ2analysis, shoe characteristics were compared between horses grouped by age and sex.

Results

Toe grabs were present on 90.5% of horses, and rim shoes were present on 15.9% of horses. Heel traction devices were less frequent on front (2.5%) than rear (6%) hooves. Pads were present on 24.9% of horses, with bonded rim pads most common. Special types of shoes were present on 5% of horses. Percentage of agreement between left and right front hooves and between left and right rear hooves was high (20/25 variables; % agreement ≥ 99). In contrast, percentage of agreement between left front and left rear hooves and between right front and right rear hooves was low (2/25 variables; % agreement ≥ 99). Presence of a pad was significantly (P < 0.05) associated with age, and several shoe variables (size, presence of a special shoe, overall wear matched) were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with sex.

Clinical Relevance

Except for variables related to special shoes, wear, and weight, 1 shoe for the respective fore- or hind limbs could be used as an indicator for the contralateral shoe worn by Thoroughbred racehorses without substantial loss of information. However, 1 shoe could not be used as an indicator for shoe characteristics of all 4 limbs. Some shoe characteristics are associated with age and sex, and these variables should be considered possible confounders in studies of shoe characteristics. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1141-1146)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate selected shoe characteristics as risk factors for fatal musculoskeletal injury (FMI) and specifically for suspensory apparatus failure (SAF) and cannon bone condylar fracture (CDY) of Thoroughbred racehorses in California.

Design

Case-control study.

Animals

Thoroughbred racehorses (n = 201) that died or were euthanatized at California racetracks between August 1992 and July 1994.

Procedure

Shoe characteristics were compared between case horses affected by FMI (155), SAF (79), and CDY (41) and control horses that died for reasons unrelated to the appendicular musculoskeletal system (non-FMI; 46). Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for FMI, SAF, and CDY.

Results

Toe grabs were identified as possible risk factors for FMI, SAF, and CDY. The odds of FMI, SAF, and CDY were 1.8, 6.5, and 7.0, respectively, times greater for horses shod with low toe grabs than for horses shod without toe grabs on front shoes. Horses shod with regular toe grabs on front shoes had odds 3.5, 15.6, and 17.1 times greater (P < 0.05) for FMI, SAF, and CDY, respectively, compared with horses shod without toe grabs. The odds of horses shod with rim shoes were a third (P < 0.05) of those shod without rim shoes for either FMI or SAF. The apparent association between toe grab type and CDY may, in part, be attributable to concurrent SAF and CDY injuries in many horses.

Clinical Relevance

Avoiding the use of toe grabs should decrease the incidence of FMI, especially SAF, in Thoroughbred racehorses. The use of rim shoes that are more consistent with natural hoof shape may decrease injury risk. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1147-1152)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Summary:

Four dairy cows that had been successfully rebred following fetal Neospora infection and abortion were identified from 2 drylot dairies. All 4 cows had uncomplicated pregnancies with the birth of 5 full-term calves. The calves all had high precolostral serum IgG antibodies. The precolostral antibodies to Neospora sp as determined by indirect fluorescent antibody test ranged from 5,120 to 20,480, compared with maternal serum and colostral antibody titers from 320 to 1,280. Two calves had mild neurologic limb deficits. Three calves had mild nonsuppurative encephalomyelitis and Neospora organisms were found in the CNS of 3 calves. Findings indicate that repeat transplacental Neospora infections occur in cows. Additionally, calves born from cows with a history of Neospora fetal infection and abortion may have congenital Neospora infections and/or neurologic dysfunctions at birth. The Neospora indirect fluorescent antibody test appears to be a useful antemortem test for detection of calves exposed in utero to Neospora organisms.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine sensitivity and specificity of western blot testing (WBT) of CSF and serum for diagnosis of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) in horses with and without neurologic abnormalities.

Design—Prospective investigation.

Animals—65 horses with and 169 horses without neurologic abnormalities.

Procedure—CSF and serum from horses submitted for necropsy were tested for Sarcocystis neuronaspecific antibody with a WBT. Results of postmortem examination were used as the gold standard against which results of the WBT were compared.

Results—Sensitivity of WBT of CSF was 87% for horses with and 88% for horses without neurologic abnormalities. Specificity of WBT of CSF was 44% for horses with and 60% for horses without neurologic abnormalities. Regardless of whether horses did or did not have neurologic abnormalities, sensitivity and specificity of WBT of serum were not significantly different from values for WBT of CSF. Ninety-four horses without EPM had histologic evidence of slight CNS inflammation.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The low specificity of WBT of CSF indicated that it is inappropriate to diagnose EPM on the basis of a positive test result alone because of the possibility of false-positive test results. The high sensitivity, however, means that a negative result is useful in ruling out EPM. There was no advantage in testing CSF versus serum in horses without neurologic abnormalities. Slight CNS inflammation was common in horses with and without S neurona-specific antibodies in the CSF and should not be considered an indication of CNS infection with S neurona. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1007–1013)

Full 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

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 determine the distribution for limbs and bones in horses with fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones and relationships with findings on palmarodorsal radiographic images.

Sample Population—Proximal sesamoid bones obtained from both forelimbs of cadavers of 328 racing Thoroughbreds.

Procedure—Osteophytes; large vascular channels; and fracture location, orientation, configuration, and margin distinctness were categorized by use of high-detail contact palmarodorsal radiographs. Distributions of findings were determined. Relationships between radiographic findings and fracture characteristics were examined by use of χ2 and logistic regression techniques.

Results—Fractures were detected in 136 (41.5%) horses. Biaxial fractures were evident in 109 (80%) horses with a fracture. Osteophytes and large vascular channels were evident in 266 (81%) and 325 (99%) horses, respectively. Medial bones typically had complete transverse or split transverse simple fractures, indistinct fracture margins, > 1 vascular channel that was > 1 mm in width, and osteophytes in abaxial wing and basilar middle or basilar abaxial locations. Lateral bones typically had an oblique fracture and distinct fracture margins. Odds of proximal sesamoid bone fracture were approximately 2 to 5 times higher in bones without radiographic evidence of osteophytes or large vascular channels, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Biaxial fractures of proximal sesamoid bones were common in cadavers of racing Thoroughbreds. Differences between medial and lateral bones for characteristics associated with fracture may relate to differences in fracture pathogeneses for these bones. Osteophytes and vascular channels were common findings; however, fractures were less likely to occur in bones with these features.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research