Thoroughbred Health Conditions Discussed at CBA Seminar

Thoroughbred Health Conditions Discussed at CBA Seminar

Debbie Spike-Pierce, DVM, said while various lesions, fractures, cysts, and sesamoid problems on radiographs could affect a horse's sale price, they might not affect its racing abilities down the road.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

The reasons to scope Thoroughbred yearlings and significant findings in radiographs were among the major topics covered at the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association (CBA) educational seminar at Keeneland, Feb. 4 in Lexington, Ky.

The seminar was the first of its kind to be hosted by the CBA, an organization founded in 2005 as a constructive forum and voice for the people who develop and bring sale horses to market.

CBA president Craig Bandoroff was pleased with the attendance at the seminar. He estimated at least 300 people showed up from the 377 that had registered.

In the seminar's session on scoping yearlings, Scott Pierce, DVM, discussed why the practice is important for horsemen prior to bidding. Pierce explained that while severe health problems are disclosed under the conditions of sales for a horse, other extremely undesirable issues, such as problematic airways, are not.

Pierce categorized horses' airways by numbers, with grade I being the best and grade III being the worst, and showed how they affect racing ability.

After doing extensive research on a large sampling horses, Pierce found that those with grade I airways earned a career average of $68,231 and $11,982 per start, while those with grade III airways earned a career average of $24,603 and $5,330 per start.

Pierce also researched the effect of horses racing with problematic epiglottic structures. Average career earnings of horses with good epiglottic structures were about $66,000 and $12,000 per start, while horses with severe epiglottis issues earned about half of that.

"It does hurt them down the road," he said. "(Problematic epiglottic structures) may meet sale conditions, but they are undesirable, especially for resale purposes, and can cause exercise intolerance."

Pierce said more than 43% of horses with a problematic epiglottis never race.

During the same session, Debbie Spike-Pierce, DVM, discussed the findings and significance behind radiographs. She pointed out various lesions, fractures, cysts, and sesamoid problems on radiographs that could affect a horse's sale price, but might not affect its racing abilities down the road.

One of the attendees asked about increased standardization for relaying scoping and radiograph information to horsemen. Both Spike-Pierce and Pierce said standardization was difficult because of the varying of opinion among veterinarians.

"(Standardization) is very important, but there are certain things like sesamoiditis that you can't standardize because there's such a variation in opinion; it's very subjective," Spike-Pierce said. "I think we're better than we have been, but we still have a long way to go."

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

About the Author

Esther Marr

Esther Marr is a staff writer for The Blood-Horse magazine.

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