Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

New method improves racehorse welfare after tendon injury
“Ultrasound is a quick and easy method of assessing tendon injuries, widely available across veterinary practices."
System uses ultrasound to help vets make informed choices

Experts have developed a new technique that could significantly improve racehorse welfare, by helping vets and trainers to make informed and early choices after a tendon injury.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham, Oakham Equine Hospital and the Hong Kong Jockey Club created a scoring system to grade tendon injuries when they first occur.

This was used in a large cohort study to determine which ultrasound features predict whether or not horses can successfully race again after rehabilitation.

The predictive model suggests that clinicians should focus on two main characteristics of the tendon injury - the cross-sectional area of the lesion and the extent of disruption to the normally high-ordered pattern of tendon fibres. Both of these are easily accessed through ultrasound at the first presentation.

“Ultrasound is a quick and easy method of assessing tendon injuries, widely available across veterinary practices,” said Dr Rafael Alzola, equine surgery resident at Nottingham University and Oakham Veterinary Hospital. “The scoring system makes evidence-based decision making on long term outcomes feasible and accessible to equine veterinary practitioners.”

In the UK, around 14,000 horses are currently training, but not all will compete on the country’s 60 racecourses. Of those that do, a relatively small percentage will suffer a tendon injury and a high proportion of these will no longer be fit to race.

The three ‘Equine R’s’ are the standard treatment for tendon injuries in racehorses. They comprise; Rest (until able to race again), Rehabilitation (towards an alternative career) or Retirement.

Professor Chris Riggs, head vet at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “Decisions on future careers for racehorses have to be carefully considered by the horse’s owner, trainer and vet, working together.

“This study is important from a welfare perspective, as it provides the information to help them make decisions which are best for the horse’s long term welfare, as soon as the injury occurs.”

Researchers have worked with ultrasound company BCF Technology to develop an app, Visits ToDo, which is based on the scoring system and allows vets to record animal health and diagnostics in the field.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.