Horse Racing Injuries and Fatalities

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  • LionessLioness Member
    Glad to hear at least some of them will be okay (after minor treatments)
  • RIP Conduit :bawling: :heartbreak: My favorite BC Turf winner, after St Nicholas Abbey, who is also gone...

    https://www.paulickreport.com/news/bloodstock/two-time-breeders-cup-winner-conduit-dies-at-age-15/
  • whoodlerwhoodler Member
    Not sure whether to put this here or under racetracks or start a new thread.

    Indiana Stewards Suspend Jockey Gabriel Saez 30 Days For ‘Extreme Carelessness On The Racetrack’

    [snip]

    Aboard Justtequilatalkin in the 2-year-old maiden, Saez was out in front when his mount shifted toward the rail and caused three other horses and riders to fall. Jockey Joseph Ramos escaped unharmed, but Augustin Gomez broke his tibia and Albin Jiminez broke his eye socket and has five fractures in his back.

    Two of the horses walked off the track, while a third was vanned off.

    [snip]

    https://www.paulickreport.com/news/the-biz/indiana-stewards-suspend-jockey-gabriel-saez-30-days-for-extreme-carelessness-on-the-racetrack/
  • EriNCEriNC Member
    As far as colic goes, basically in its most simple form, it’s an upset stomach. It can be caused by dehydration, stress, constipation, gas, or obstruction. The issue is that horses cannot throw up. When they colic. The natural instinct is to roll, there are a few views in this some believe you walk a colicky horse, and keep walking them until either manure is passed, or the horse passes gas, believing that if you let the horse lay down and roll, they will twist an intestine, called torsion. Usually a vet is called immediately the drug bans mine is administered to relieve pain, and the horse is tubed, with a mineral oil solution to relive the constipation. An IV might also be administered if the horse is found to be dehydrated. The colic risk increases for newly foaled mares and foals. Foaling causes sweating in the mare, leading to dehydration, the muscles used to foal are also those used to expel manure, leading to pain and reluctance to void, and then there is the stress of delivery. In the foal, there is the stress of being born, possible dehydration if the foal is not able to nurse promptly, and due to the positioning process possibly torsion for the foal.
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    Hei @EriNC , what is you post referring to ?, I am not sure how this links to any of the above posts.
  • EriNCEriNC Member
    edited July 8
    racingfan said:

    Hei @EriNC , what is you post referring to ?, I am not sure how this links to any of the above posts.

    Page 353 talks about La Verdad and a foal patrol colt who died of colic. There was someone asking about why so many mares and foals experience colic soon after birth
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    Thanks, @EriNC,I see now that you are referring to a series of posts including one of mine. As I said in the post on that page the most common cause of true colic post partum is actually torsion colic. This is very different from the fairly normal post foaling uterine cramping often seen in the first few hours after foaling and which presents as the colic type symptoms seen in many mares. This is normally dealt with medically by the use of painkillers such as Banamine and is rarely fatal

    Torsion colic can occur at any time in the first two months after foaling as the uterus shrinks and more room is suddenly available in the abdomen, that the foal had previously occupied. The large intestines suddenly now float around in the newly available space and often displace or twist. The mare will present with sudden onset, severe unrelenting colic which is not improved with painkillers. Immediate veterinary attention, rapid diagnosis and immediate surgery are essential if the mare is to survive. . Fatality is as high as 72% unfortunately.

    It is not related to sweating or dehydration but simply due to reorganisation of body organs and indeed is the number one cause of colic and indeed colic fatalities in the post partum mare. Thus any mare with colic type symptoms should be treated with prompt veterinary attention
  • EriNCEriNC Member
    racingfan said:

    Thanks, @EriNC,I see now that you are referring to a series of posts including one of mine. As I said in the post on that page the most common cause of true colic post partum is actually torsion colic. This is very different from the fairly normal post foaling uterine cramping often seen in the first few hours after foaling and which presents as the colic type symptoms seen in many mares. This is normally dealt with medically by the use of painkillers such as Banamine and is rarely fatal

    Torsion colic can occur at any time in the first two months after foaling as the uterus shrinks and more room is suddenly available in the abdomen, that the foal had previously occupied. The large intestines suddenly now float around in the newly available space and often displace or twist. The mare will present with sudden onset, severe unrelenting colic which is not improved with painkillers. Immediate veterinary attention, rapid diagnosis and immediate surgery are essential if the mare is to survive. . Fatality is as high as 72% unfortunately.

    It is not related to sweating or dehydration but simply due to reorganisation of body organs and indeed is the number one cause of colic and indeed colic fatalities in the post partum mare. Thus any mare with colic type symptoms should be treated with prompt veterinary attention

    Dehydration is absolutely a cause of colic. I have sadly seen it first hand. Most winter colic’s are due to dehydration because of horse’s drinking less
  • @EriNC , my post refers to torsion colic in post partum mares which is not caused by dehydration. Colic caused by dehydration is an entirely different thing and as you say is more common in the winter due to the animal drinking less due to inadequate water supply (frozen) or simply not drinking the water because its too cold. In Norway we use electrically heated or thermally insulated buckets tonensure our horses have tepid water available even when we are down to minus 25 C
  • EriNCEriNC Member
    I’m really debating on whether I need to file an animal abuse report. A racehorse I own shares in called Storm Shooter has a relatively mild injury, called curb. Instead of doing the expected treatment of rest, ice, and hosing. The trainer is considering freeze firing on advice from the veterinarian. Everything I know about pin firing( can be done with heat or liquid nitrogen) says that it is a barbaric and outdated practice. I don’t own enough shares to actually have a say in the horses treatment. The update I got said that after “treatment” he should be back to working in 2-3 days, which again is contrary to what I know to be true about the procedure. Does anyone have any input?
  • ZenyenZenyen Member
    The treatment is not illegal. You could raise your concerns to the ownership but the hard truth is you have no recourse here.

    Pinfiring is what it is but it is also effective.
  • EriNCEriNC Member
    Zenyen said:

    The treatment is not illegal. You could raise your concerns to the ownership but the hard truth is you have no recourse here.

    Pinfiring is what it is but it is also effective.

    It is in other countries with better animal welfare laws
  • EliRoseEliRose Member
    EriNC said:

    I’m really debating on whether I need to file an animal abuse report. A racehorse I own shares in called Storm Shooter has a relatively mild injury, called curb. Instead of doing the expected treatment of rest, ice, and hosing. The trainer is considering freeze firing on advice from the veterinarian. Everything I know about pin firing( can be done with heat or liquid nitrogen) says that it is a barbaric and outdated practice. I don’t own enough shares to actually have a say in the horses treatment. The update I got said that after “treatment” he should be back to working in 2-3 days, which again is contrary to what I know to be true about the procedure. Does anyone have any input?

    Freeze firing (the standard in 2020) is certainly not an “outdated” practice based on how often it is performed, nor is it abusive when properly done. As @Zenyen mentioned it is quite effective. It should also keep the issue from cropping up again down the line, as curbs usually do.
    The horse could definitely be working shortly after, especially if it is a mild curb. To be clear, the horse will usually also be iced & cold hosed.

    Calling this animal abuse is a waste of precious resources. Ask the principals why they’re choosing this method instead.
  • This is a really emotive subject, but I will present the Uk ,Norwegian and basically European view where firing is essentially banned. I have also included references to the key studies on the subject so that individuals can make up their own mind as to its efficacy for the treatment of soft and hard tissue injuries such as splints or curbs. What it does demonstrate though is differing attitudes in Europe and the US.

    Those who support firing (also known as thermocautery when heat is used) argue that the process of inducing massive inflammation in and around the tendon promotes healing. The first report of the use of thermocautery appears to be from Vegetus, a Roman, in the 5th Century AD and even he had reservations about its use and thought it should not be used for traumatic injury. The inflammation is induced by placing a hot iron on the leg over tendon resulting in lines or bars (and referred to as bar-firing), or forced into the tendon (pin-firing). Firing may also be done with extreme cold using liquid nitrogen at -180°C which is what @EliRose refers too.

    Does it make any difference based on scientific principles ?
    1) Burning the skin does not result in better skin, or more skin or stronger skin, it results in scar tissue which is stiffer
    (2) Inducing further inflammation in patients with respiratory disease such as asthma is never used
    (3) Inducing further inflammation in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease does not result in any improvement but only worsening of symptoms
    (4) Treatment of twisted ankles is aimed at controlling and never increasing the inflammatory response to the injury.
    (5) Tendonitis (inflammation in tendons) that occurs as a result of exercise in both horses and humans is a key factor in tendon weakening and tendon injury
    (6) Tendon scar tissue does not have the normal structure and tendon fibre alignment of normal tendon tissue
    (7) “However, unlike the other options [for treatment of tendon injury], firing lacks rational biological justification: we challenge its proponents to produce evidence to support its continued use.” Marr & Bowen (2012)

    The most significant investigation into whether firing was beneficial or not was conducted by Bristol University between 1977 and 1981 and included eminent vets such as Ian Silver, Allen Goodhship and Lance Lanyon (silver et al. 1983). They induced tendon injuries in ponies and then either treated them with firing or with rest. The Bristol team concluded that firing injured tendons did not have any effect on the speed with which animals returned to soundness. The Bristol team concluded that firing was “neither justifiable nor useful”.

    A comprehensive review of the literature on firing by Hayward & Adams (2001) concluded that “the authors are unable to find any evidence that firing is an effective therapy. Instead, evidence is presented that it is more likely to do harm than good. The Firing (thermo-cautery) of horses is unethical in view of the evidence that either demonstrates its harm or refutes its therapeutic benefit. Clinical or experimental research is unlikely to shed light on remaining doubts that firing may be beneficial in some special situations.

    The second study was published in 2013 by a group in Italy. Their study was primarily aimed at investigating the efficacy of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs) in the treatment of equine tendon injuries but they also included a control group which were treated with pin firing. “Ten months after pin firing treatment, 3 horses (25%) were still in training and able to return to their previous activity; while in the remaining 9 horses (75%), the persistence of lameness and local swelling suggested an incomplete healing of the injured tissue. This feature made the return of the animals to their sport activity impossible.”

    The third study, is a study from the RVC (Royal Veterinary College -which is the governing body for vets in the UK) and others published in 2016 which looked at the efficacy of the different tendon treatments such as controlled exercise, bar firing, intralesional platelet-rich plasma (PRP), tendon splitting and tendon splitting combined with bar firing for treating superficial digital flexor tendon injury in National Hunt racehorses. The results? Controlled exercise was as effective as any of the other treatments! “Bar firing, either alone or in conjunction with tendon splitting, provided no additional benefit in rate of return to racing and race performance.”

    The following statement was made by the BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Association) “There is no controlled scientific evidence to support the use of tendon firing and BEVA advises its members to be aware of the ethical considerations and potential legal challenge before firing a horse.”

    The RVC has also declared firing to be unethical, stating that «there is no readily foreseeable justification for the use of firing. We are unaware of any scientific evidence that suggests the use of firing is therapeutic, so remain of the view that firing cannot be legitimately undertaken by a veterinary surgeon for the purpose of medical treatment."

    http://www.rcvs.org.uk/publications/rcvs-news-november-2011/

    REFERENCES
    McCullagh KG, Silver IA. (1981) The actual cautery -- myth and reality in the art of firing. Equine Vet J. 1981 Apr;13(2):81-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7018897

    Silver IA, Brown PN, Goodship AE, Lanyon LE, McCullagh KG, Perry GC, Williams IF. (1983) A clinical and experimental study of tendon injury, healing and treatment in the horse. Equine Vet J Suppl. 1983 Jul;(1):1-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9079042

    Renzi S, Riccò S, Dotti S, Sesso L, Grolli S, Cornali M, Carlin S, Patruno M, Cinotti S, Ferrari M. (2013) Autologous bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells for regeneration of injured equine ligaments and tendons: a clinical report. Res Vet Sci. 2013 Aug;95(1):272-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23419936

    Witte S, Dedman C, Harriss F, Kelly G, Chang YM, Witte TH. (2016) Comparison of treatment outcomes for superficial digital flexor tendonitis in National Hunt racehorses. Vet J. 2016 Oct;216:157-63. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27687944

    Hayward, M. and Adams, D. (2001) The firing of horses - A review for the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee of the Australian Veterinary Association. http://www.gungahlinvet.com.au/petcare-info/publications/the-firing-of-horses.pdf
  • ZenyenZenyen Member
    Really good materials and research @racingfan tgabk you for all of this!

    The trainer I worked with all those years ago came from Canada and he never used pin firing, though he would claim horses who had been pin fired.

    He liked to use a chest high whirlpool with ice water. It was always an adventure getting the horses in and out of that tub, and keeping them in the tub!
  • Thanks @Zenyen, it was a very hot (pardon the pun) topic over here especially in the NH Community where many owners demanded it. A lot of trainers used it because it was easier then to justify time off for the horse. However it was not the firing that worked but the associated time, controlled exercise, patience, slow return to work, and change of training programme that does the business. Thankfully it is rarely seen today as scientific evidence has made it easier to convince the owners.

    It is interesting to note that the AAEP in 2019 stated the following -

    « When applied judiciously and in conjunction with appropriate analgesia and aftercare, thermocautery or pin firing has been considered an acceptable therapeutic modality for specific conditions in the horse. With the advent of current science-based procedures to treat specific musculoskeletal conditions in the horse, AAEP no longer supports the use of thermocautery or pin firing».

    I like the sound of the whirpool, an early form of equine spa. Just add salt and it would be perfect
  • ZenyenZenyen Member
    There was salt. On hot summer days being on whirlpool duty was both a blessing and a curse. Curse if you were working with a horse who kept trying to jump out or was anxious about the process; blessing when working with the old hats who stood there so solidly you could take off your paddock boots and join them! ;)
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