Association between exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage and performance in Thoroughbred racehorses

Kenneth W. Hinchcliff Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Melissa A. Jackson School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia.

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Paul S. Morley Animal Population Health Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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James A. Brown School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia.

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Anthony F. Dredge School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia.

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Paul A. O'Callaghan Veterinary Services, Racing Victoria Ltd, 400 Epsom Rd, Flemington, Victoria 3031, Australia.

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John P. McCaffrey Veterinary Services, Racing Victoria Ltd, 400 Epsom Rd, Flemington, Victoria 3031, Australia.

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Ronald F. Slocombe School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia.

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Andrew F. Clarke School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) was associated with racing performance in Thoroughbred horses not medicated with furosemide and not using nasal dilator strips.

Design—Observational cross-sectional study.

Animals—744 two- to 10-year-old Thoroughbred horses racing in Melbourne, Australia.

Procedure—Horses were enrolled prior to racing, and a tracheobronchoscopic examination was performed after 1 race. Examinations were recorded on videotape, and presence and severity (grade 0 to 4) of EIPH were subsequently determined by 3 observers blinded to the horses' identity. Race records were abstracted for each horse examined.

Results—Overall, 52.1% of horses eligible for participation in the study were examined, and horses that were examined did not differ from horses that were not examined in regard to age, sex distribution, or proportion of horses that won or finished in the first 3 positions. Horses with EIPH grades ≤ 1 were 4.0 times as likely to win, 1.8 times as likely to finish in the first 3 positions, and 3.03 times as likely to be in the 90th percentile or higher for race earnings as were horses with grades ≥ 2. Horses with EIPH grades ≥ 1 finished significantly farther behind the winner than did horses without EIPH. However, odds that horses with grade 1 EIPH would win or finish in the first 3 positions were not significantly different from odds for horses without EIPH.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that EIPH is associated with impaired performance in Thoroughbred racehorses not medicated with furosemide and not using nasal dilator strips. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:768–774)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) was associated with racing performance in Thoroughbred horses not medicated with furosemide and not using nasal dilator strips.

Design—Observational cross-sectional study.

Animals—744 two- to 10-year-old Thoroughbred horses racing in Melbourne, Australia.

Procedure—Horses were enrolled prior to racing, and a tracheobronchoscopic examination was performed after 1 race. Examinations were recorded on videotape, and presence and severity (grade 0 to 4) of EIPH were subsequently determined by 3 observers blinded to the horses' identity. Race records were abstracted for each horse examined.

Results—Overall, 52.1% of horses eligible for participation in the study were examined, and horses that were examined did not differ from horses that were not examined in regard to age, sex distribution, or proportion of horses that won or finished in the first 3 positions. Horses with EIPH grades ≤ 1 were 4.0 times as likely to win, 1.8 times as likely to finish in the first 3 positions, and 3.03 times as likely to be in the 90th percentile or higher for race earnings as were horses with grades ≥ 2. Horses with EIPH grades ≥ 1 finished significantly farther behind the winner than did horses without EIPH. However, odds that horses with grade 1 EIPH would win or finish in the first 3 positions were not significantly different from odds for horses without EIPH.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that EIPH is associated with impaired performance in Thoroughbred racehorses not medicated with furosemide and not using nasal dilator strips. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:768–774)

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