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N Z Vet J. 2005 Jun;53(3):184-92.

Risk factors for injury to the superficial digital flexor tendon and suspensory apparatus in Thoroughbred racehorses in New Zealand.

Author information

  • 1EpiCentre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand. nigel@ausvet.com.au

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate risk factors for injury to the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) and suspensory apparatus (SA) of the forelimbs in Thoroughbred racehorses in New Zealand.

METHODS:

Poisson and negative binomial regression, with exposure time represented by cumulative training days for each horse, were used to relate explanatory variables to the incidence rate (IR) of cases of inflammation of the SDFT (n=51), and injuries involving the SA (n=48) in a population of 1,571 commercially- trained racehorses over 554,745 study days. Only the first occurrence of an injury for any one horse was eligible for inclusion. Separate analyses were run for data from horses in training regardless of whether they had started in a trial or race, and using a subset of these data restricted to those preparations associated with at least one start in a trial or race. Results were reported as incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

RESULTS:

Male horses had a higher risk of injury to the SA (IRR 2.57; p=0.005) and tended to have a higher risk of injury to the SDFT (IRR 1.74; p=0.09) than female horses. Increasing age was associated with increased risk of injury. Horses aged 4 and > or =5 years were 6.76 (p<0.001) and 15.26 (p<0.001) times more likely to incur injury to the SDFT, and 2.91 (p=0.02) and 3.54 (p=0.005) times more likely to incur injury to the SA, respectively, than 2-year-olds. Horses were more likely to suffer an injury to the SDFT or SA in a training preparation that was not associated with any starts in official trials or races compared with those preparations that were associated with more than one start (p<0.001), and more likely to injure the SA compared with preparations containing one start (p=0.03). The IR of injury to the SDFT tended to be lower between November-January (IRR 0.78; p=0.08) and February-April (IRR 0.75; p=0.08) compared with August-October. Incidence of injury to the SDFT or SA was not associated with the cumulative distance raced in the last 30 days of a training preparation.

CONCLUSION:

This study identified risk factors for injury to the SDFT and SA in Thoroughbred racehorses in New Zealand. Injuries were more likely in males, older horses and in horses in training preparations without any starts. There was no evidence of association between injury and cumulative high-speed exercise.

PMID:
16012588
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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