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European

ISSUE 47 – OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2014 £5.95

www.trainermagazine.com

THE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE FOR THE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE THOROUGHBRED

TREATING equine respiratory disease

GUILLERMO ARIZKORRETA Spain’s leading trainer in profile CARDIAC RHYTHM

New technology brings new insights

RACECOURSES To water or not to water?


BOOK REVIEW

Valuable veterinary information at your fingertips The thoroughbred racing industry is now more than ever a global affair, with technology, transport and communication links having a profound effect on racing and breeding activities, as well as the veterinary advances that support them. In his new book, The Racehorse: A Veterinary Manual, by leading equine veterinary practitioner, Pieter H L Ramzan, BVSc(Sydney), MRCVS provides a practical and objective source of veterinary information, pertinent to the thoroughbred racehorse, that is accessible not only to the racehorse clinician but also others within the industry, who will find it a useful, if not indispensable, reference work.

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WORDS: HARRIET SCOTT

HILE there are several excellent texts available on equine orthopaedics and sports medicine, information relating to the racehorse is fragmented and often contradictory, failing to take into account the practicalities of management peculiar to the racing industry. Ramzan has consciously created a text based more on evidence than anecdote. However, as much of what the equine clinician does is derived empirically, there is often no scientifically validated ‘best way’ to treat conditions. Here, rather than simply transcribe the received wisdoms of Newmarket racing practice, every effort has been made to build a reference manual from a scientific base by reviewing not just the published equine and human sports medicine literature but also incorporating shared experience accumulated over generations in equine veterinary practice. As far as possible the text has been made relevant to all major racing jurisdictions, not just the United Kingdom and Europe.

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This work draws together those conditions that might reasonably be encountered in the day-to-day management of a racing yard in a clear, well-illustrated format. Orthopaedic injury necessarily accounts for the major part of the book, however, topics as diverse as rehabilitation periods and prognosis, respiratory medicine, exercise physiology and ‘herd health’ adds to the wealth of information included, spanning the full range of fields relevant to the clinician, trainer and owner. With the sales upon us, we have taken an excerpt the ‘Selection of a racehorse’, covering every possible problem or condition that a buyer may encounter, whether as a yearling or two-year-old.

Selection of a racehorse Pre-purchase examinations vary in content with type of animal, intended purpose and client demands, and may comprise any combination of physical inspection, assessment of airway function, radiographic and ultra-sonographic imaging and blood analysis. Examination of horses for private sale typically follows the recognized standard

of ‘five-stage’ inspection encompassing preand post-exercise phases (+/- supplementary diagnostic imaging), while examination in the context of public auctions typically has a curtailed examination depending on type of horse and circumstances of sale.

Pass or fail? The pre-purchase examination represents a ‘risk assessment’ of the potential for a horse not to fulfil the particular purpose for which it is being considered. Every purchasing client has different perceptions of risk and what is acceptable to one buyer may ‘fail’ for another. Criteria for horses purchased (‘pinhooked’) specifically for public or private resale at a future date must necessarily be more stringent than for horses bought primarily for racing. Acceptability of orthopaedic conditions that require some patience in handling or that may necessitate medication to maintain soundness is determined largely by the client’s requirements. It is therefore important for the clinician to establish clearly the purpose for which the horse is being bought and the level of acceptable risk. Significance of clinical and


BOOK PREVIEW imaging findings can vary markedly depending on the age of animal, stage of training and intended purpose.

Expectations Purchasing an unbroken yearling is a highrisk investment when considering the likelihood of racetrack or resale earnings providing a return over and above the combined cost of purchase and training. This risk is considerably lower for the horse in training that has typically been selected for examination on the basis of demonstrable athletic ability. Expectations of athletic potential for a yearling should be considered in the context that only 40–50% of horses will race at two years old, and around 20% of horses will not have started a race by the end of their three-year-old season.

Conditions of sale at public auction Conditions of sale at public auction differ between sales companies and types of sale. Most have clauses regarding return of lots due to undeclared infirmity of wind, stable vices and use of anti-inflammatory drugs, and it is important to be familiar with the relevant

“Every effort has been made to build a reference manual from a scientific base but also incorporating shared experience accumulated over generations in equine veterinary practice” conditions when undertaking pre-bid inspections. Legislation in some countries permits the return of animals with latent defects far beyond the scope of published conditions of sale; however, preventing such situations arising in the first instance through competent examination is always preferable.

THE VETTING PROCEDURE Preliminaries Establish the intended purpose for which the horse is being examined; imaging requirements and relevance of findings differ between jurisdictions. l Communication with vendor prior to examination regarding level of exercise required/recent medication. l Verbal or written statement from vendor regarding stable vices and history of previous surgery, EIPH or any other significant veterinary intervention. l Establish recent racing form. l Verify identification from passport and l

record vaccination history. Physical examination: summary l Condition and conformation: apparent fitness, overall health and obvious conformational faults. l Eyes: horses with severely impaired vision can function seemingly normally in training with few or no behavioural irregularities. Gross assessment, direct ophthalmoscopy and evaluation of ocular reflexes. Menace reflex is reasonable test of vision (requires intact sensory and motor pathways), unlike pupillary light reflex. l Heart: rate, rhythm and murmurs.

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Auscultation from both sides of chest at rest and immediately following exercise. Mouth: teeth (evidence of stable vices); corners of mouth (bit damage). Neck: throat and submandibular space (scarring/lymph nodes); jugular grooves (patency of jugular veins/recent injection); poll and wither (headshyness/injury). Girth, topline and belly: sarcoids (interference with tack); muscular pain/asymmetry of topline and pelvis; abdominal scars (previous surgery); tail (tone and injury). Genitalia: both testicles fully descended/ palpably normal (colts); mammary glands

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BOOK REVIEW

“Purchasing an unbroken yearling is a high-risk investment when considering the likelihood of racetrack or resale earnings providing a return over and above the combined cost of purchase and training” respiratory obstructions and propensity for EIPH can be assessed. l Second examination at walk and trot following cooling-off period.

Flexion tests Flexion tests are non-specific and response varies between horses. l May exacerbate subclinical lameness. l Force and duration of flexion can strongly influence results; important that a standardised approach is used and ‘positive’ responses (obvious lameness which persists for ≥3 strides) are compared against the opposite limb and interpreted with caution. n l

The Racehorse: A Veterinary Manual, published by CRC Press is available to readers of European Trainer Magazine for the special price of £71.10 inclusive of P&P (published price £79.00). and vulval conformation (fillies). Limbs: palpation weight-bearing and with limb in flexion. l Feet: foot symmetry, balance, hoof quality and type of shoeing. l

Action l Examination at walk and trot in hand before

exercise. l Exercise component should ideally incorporate fast work so that dynamic

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Book Review - The Racehorse A Veterinary Manual  

The thoroughbred racing industry is now more than ever a global affair, with technology, transport and communication links having a profound...