Study Begins On Racehorse Musculoskeletal Injuries

A newly funded study at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., may help researchers better understand the origins of musculoskeletal inju ies in racehorses. The three-year study, which received first-year funding from the Virginia Horse Industry Board, is being conducted by Drs. Nathaniel White, professor of equine surgery at the Center, and G. Frederick Fregin, the Center's director. Fregin and White plan to study the different types of racing and training injuries sustained by racehorses at Colonial Downs in New Kent County. During the first year of the project, the researchers will use risk-factor analysis to understand and identify causes of injuries, based on a survey of information collected from trainers and veterinarians. In the following two years, information about horses with and without injuries will be used to see if injuries are associated with factors such as toe grabs (a raised section on a horse shoe), training techniques or equine conformation.

The annual cost of injuries to racehorses-in the form of lost training fees, purses, sales of agricultural products, the cost of replacement horses and veterinary care—White estimates, is $1 billion.

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