Septic arthritis in a Thoroughbred foal significantly reduces the likelihood the animal will race, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and veterinarians with Rossdale and Partners in England. The scientists evaluated the medical records of 69 foals treated for septic arthritis. They compared each foal’s racing record to at least one of its siblings.

Based on a report that appeared in the Equine Veterinary Journal, the researchers found that foals with septic arthritis were less likely to start in a race compared to the controls (their siblings). Even when the group of septic foals included only those discharged from the hospital, they still were less likely to ever compete.

The presence of multi-system disease was associated with a decreased likelihood of surviving or being discharged from the hospital. However, it did not affect the likelihood the foals would start in at least one race if they were discharged successfully compared to other foals with septic arthritis.

Foals discharged following treatment for septic arthritis took significantly longer to start in their first race compared to their siblings.

Fifty-eight (84.1%) of the foals with septic arthritis in the study survived and were discharged from the hospital. The scientists found that if the infection was eliminated from the synovial space before irreversible damage occurred, then almost 50% of foals discharged after being treated for septic arthritis started in at least one race.

About the Author

Deirdre Biles

Deirdre Biles is the Bloodstock Sales Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine.

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