AAEP On Call Program Highlighted in Triple Crown Teleconference

Equine orthopedic surgeon Larry Bramlage, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, discussed equine health and safety issues during an NTRA Road to the Triple Crown teleconference April 17

Bramlage, who will be serving as the American Association of Equine Practitioners' On Call spokesperson for the 2007 Triple Crown, said he believes the injury sustained by 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro served to put the national spotlight on equine health after the Preakness Stakes, but he stressed the fact that the AAEP's On Call program--designed to deliver accurate veterinary information through trained veterinarians who respond to crisis situations with answers about the health of the equine athlete--has been operating successfully for 17 years.

"The fact that people don't realize our veterinarians report is a compliment to the success of the program," said Bramlage. "Our job is to add a note of calm to the situation and give people layman's statistics as to what the injuries were, the horse's chances at recovery, etc. It's a tribute to the fact that the program is successful that it becomes sort of a non-episode after we do our job and explain what happened to everybody."

Bramlage also touched briefly on the advances that continue to be made in the field of veterinary science as it relates to Thoroughbred race horses.

"There have been notable advancements that Barbaro shone the light on," he said. "Nothing they did to him at New Bolton Center was experimental, it's just that the severity of the injury required bringing to bear many state-of-the-art situations, from pain management to anesthesia and podiatry, all things that have come of age in the last few years. Fortunately [those techniques] were available for Barbaro, unfortunately they all worked except in the area of laminitis, which is a tough one to cure. I hope someday, maybe 20-30 years in the future, treating that kind of injury will be routine."

About the Author

Claire Novak

Winner of the 2011 Eclipse Award for Feature/Commentary and the 2008 Louisville Metro Journalism Award for Sports Writing, Claire Novak has melded her love for human-interest journalism and the equine breed into a successful Turf writing career. Since her first freelance article on racing was published at BloodHorse.com in 2005, her byline has appeared in the New York Times, ESPN The Magazine, and on ESPN.com, among others. She lives near Lexington and, when not writing about racing, can often be found jumping her Thoroughbred, Bob.

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