Vets give insight into racehorse safety and care

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The health and lameness of the racehorse were topics highlighted at a recent OwnerView “Thoroughbred Owners Conference” session, which was held roughly as part of a year-round series.

A panel of veterinarians provided their input on lameness and disease, led by Dr. Lisa Fortier of Cornell University, who gave a presentation on joint injections, their use, and potential alternatives.

Fortier noted that while steroids are powerful and readily available, the negatives associated with steroid joint injections include that steroids can show up on drug testing after a race and that steroid injections do not protect the joint from further damage.

Fortier encouraged the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in treating joint problems, stating that PRP has regenerative properties and “works better and longer” than steroids. But she stressed that an injection of platelet-rich plasma, which is a biological type, is not a magic cure and horses’ joints must be treated before they become severely damaged.

Dr. Larry Bramlage, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky, described various conformation defects that could affect a horse’s safety and efficiency in the future.

View videos of young horses with various formation defects and discuss how they can negatively affect the horse as an adult. He also highlighted that ‘good’ conformation in ponies and youngsters is different from what should be considered desirable in an adult horse because the structure of the horse changes as it grows.

While Brammage noted that many conformation defects can be surgically corrected if necessary, others will be self-correcting with normal growth.

“Most horses are not perfect,” he said, “but most successful horses have reasonable shape.”

Dr. Steve Reed, of Rood & Riddle, focused in his presentation on neurological problems in horses, including cervical vertebral myelopathy and equine herpes encephalomyelitis, the neurological form of herpes virus 1 (EHV-1). Review symptoms and treatment options for these diseases and describe the ideal characteristics of an effective hypothetical EHV-1 vaccine.

It was the third session of a virtual series hosted by The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine and Stoll Keenon Ogden.

The commission was held on May 10 sponsored by Mersant International LTD and OCD Pellets and moderated by Mike Pena of the Horse Racing Radio Network.

The Virtual Owner Conference will return on September 6 with a panel of Thoroughbred owners. Sessions are recorded for registrants to watch later if they can’t watch the live broadcast.

This year, the OwnerView is also hosted in person Conference in Saratoga SpringsNew York, July 25-26.

OwnerView is a joint effort led by The Jockey Club, Thoroughbred Owners and Breed Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership. The need for a central resource to encourage authentic ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView website was launched in May 2012.

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