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  • Author or Editor: R. Reynolds Cowles x
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Objective—To identify the types of injuries sustained by horses that competed in steeplechase races and determine the prevalence of and risk factors for those injuries.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—2,680 horses that competed in various types of steeplechase races from 1996 through 2000.

Procedure—Data regarding races; environment; equipment problems; the number of horses that entered, started, and finished races; the number of riders that fell; and the number of horses that were slowed or stopped by the rider, ran off the course, fell, and sustained injuries or physical abnormalities during races were collected on a standard form by the official veterinarian who attended each meet. Data from all meets were not recorded; however, in recorded meets, data from every race were reported.

Results—Data for 197 hurdle, 65 timber, 76 flat, and 8 mixed races were recorded. Nine (3.4/1,000 horses that started in races) horses died or were euthanatized, and 7 of those were associated with catastrophic musculoskeletal injury. Seven fractures were recorded. Four fractures involved forelimbs, 1 involved a hind limb, and 2 involved the cervical portion of the vertebral column. All horses with fractures were euthanatized. Deep or hard course conditions were associated with an increased risk of breakdown injuries.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Successful development and implementation of strategies to prevent injuries and death in horses in steeplechase races depend on a clear understanding of the types and prevalence of injuries involved and risk factors associated with those injuries. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1788–1790)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Gastroendoscopic examinations were conducted on thirty-two 2- to 60-day-old Thoroughbred foals on 5 breeding farms. Repeat gastroendoscopic examinations were performed 35 to 135 days after the initial examination, with the age of foals ranging from 39 to 190 days. On initial endoscopic examination, lesions consisting of ulcers and/or erosions were most prevalent in the stratified squamous epithelial mucosa adjacent to the margo plicatus along the greater curvature of the stomach (15 of 32 foals), and were observed much less frequently at other sites within the stomach.

In addition to ulcers and erosions, squamous epithelial desquamation at the margo plicatus was observed in 16 of 19 foals <30 days old and in 3 of 13 foals 30 to 60 days old, and was not seen in any foal on repeat endoscopy.

At the time of repeat endoscopic examination, the frequency of ulcers and erosions at the margo plicatus was significantly (P < 0.01) less than at initial examination (4 of 32 foals vs 15 of 32 foals). Lesions had healed in 14 of the 15 foals with lesions at the margo plicatus on the initial examination.

Lesions were observed in the glandular mucosa of the fundus in 3 of 32 foals on initial examination and in 6 of 32 foals reexamined. Lesions in the glandular fundus observed on initial examination had healed in 2 of 3 foals, and of the 6 foals with glandular mucosal lesions on reexamination, 5 had developed lesions since the initial examination.

Repeat endoscopy revealed lesions to be significantly (P < 0.05) more prevalent in the stratified squamous epithelial mucosa along the lesser curvature (11 of 32 foalson reexamination vs 3 of 32 foals on initial examination). Lesions observed along the lesser curvature on initial examination had healed in each foal, and in each case, lesions observed at this site on repeat examination had developed since the initial examination.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association