Lameness in Racehorses Discussed by AAEP Vets

Synthetic racing surfaces was the topic that raised the most concern among the approximately 80 veterinarians from the United States, Canada, and Europe in attendance at the Lameness in Racehorses Table Topic held during the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention.

A discussion of opinions on synthetic surfaces and practitioners' perspectives of different types of injuries relative to synthetic surfaces was the highlight of the Table Topic. Most practitioners in the audience felt that racehorse injuries on synthetic surfaces were different than those experienced while training and racing on dirt. Most agreed there appeared to be an increase in hind limb injuries, an increase in soft tissue injuries, and a decrease in chip fractures. Scientific data to substantiate or negate these beliefs is currently being collected.

Therapies such as Tildren, IRAP (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein), and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) were discussed relative to their indications and effectiveness for racehorse lameness problems. Proximal suspensory desmitis was another topic of discussion. Different treatment options for this condition were discussed, with the key factor being rest.

Enostosis lesions (bony growths within the cavity of the bone) of the tibia vs. tibial stress fractures were also discussed. The significance of these lesions is not yet fully understood.

The Lameness in the Racehorse Table Topic was facilitated by Mike Ross, DVM, and Jeff Blea, DVM, who authored this report.

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