EVA: Racing Vets Put Hearts Into Caring for Horses

EVA: Racing Vets Put Hearts Into Caring for Horses

Looking after performance horses is similar to looking after elite human athletes.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Equine veterinarians make essential contributions to the racing industry through the care and rehabilitation services they provide to Thoroughbred horses, Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) said.

Rachel Salz, BSc (Hons), BVetMed, MRCVS, a senior associate veterinarian at Randwick Equine Centre, in New South Wales, Australia, and an EVA member, said equine veterinarians are vital to racehorses’ health and welfare.

“Looking after performance horses is similar to looking after elite athletes,” she explained. “The priority is keeping these animals at absolute peak health and fitness, both physically and mentally. Horses are examined daily after gallop work for evidence of musculoskeletal pain or inflammation so that any injuries are detected early and are treated and rehabilitated appropriately before becoming a welfare or performance limiting issue.”

Salz also said the veterinary industry has come a long way with technological advancements.

“We now have high-quality, portable X ray and ultrasound equipment so that rapid and accurate diagnoses can be made at the stables,” she said. “Exercising endoscopy has also become commonplace and has advanced our understanding and treatment of performance limiting upper airway conditions. This involves passing an endoscope up the horse’s nose to examine the upper airway while the horse gallops, so that conditions that occur during intense exercise can be identified.”

Further, she said, many treatment options available to horses aren’t far behind what’s available to humans: “Regenerative therapies such as stem cells and platelet rich plasma are now used regularly for the treatment of tendon and ligament injuries with promising results.”

Salz said she’s extremely passionate about what she does.

“I’m incredibly lucky to get up every day and work with such amazing animals and athletes,” she relayed. “I work with great trainers and similarly minded people. The absolute priority is the health and well-being of the horses.”

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