Research on Race-Day Distal Limb Fractures in Horses

In addition to previously identified risk factors such as firm ground and race distance, trainer performance is also a risk factor for distal limb fracture in British flat racing thoroughbreds.

There were 806,764 race starts and 624 reported distal limb fractures during the study period. iStockPhotos.com

An open access, retrospective cohort study titled “Epidemiology of race‐day distal limb fracture in flat racing Thoroughbreds in Great Britain (2000–2013)” was published in the Equine Veterinary Journal. It was authored by Rosanowski, S.M.; Chang, Y.M.; Stirk, A.J.; and Verheyen, K.L.P. Following is information from the publisher.

“This study aimed to further characterize risk factors for race-day distal limb fractures in flat racing Thoroughbreds in Great Britain. All starts between January 2000 and December 2013 were analyzed alongside the British Horseracing Authority’s injury database for recorded distal limb fractures. Variables analyzed included horse, race and trainer‐related factors, with mixed‐effects logistic regression used to determine if any were associated with an increased risk of distal limb fracture.

“There were 806,764 race starts and 624 reported distal limb fractures during the study period. 

“The odds of acquiring a distal limb fracture increased with firmer ground, increasing race distance, and if horses were in their first year of racing. Horses from top‐performing trainers who also had a high proportion of horses failing to finish were also more likely to sustain a distal limb fracture compared to those from trainers with poorer than average performance. A protective effect was seen with an increasing number of previous race starts.

“Bottom line: In addition to previously identified risk factors such as firm ground and race distance, trainer performance is also a risk factor for distal limb fracture in British flat racing Thoroughbreds.”

To read the article please visit Wiley’s online library.

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