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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1997 Aug 15;211(4):454-63.

Racing-related factors and results of prerace physical inspection and their association with musculoskeletal injuries incurred in thoroughbreds during races.

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  • 1Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-4475, USA.



To describe and compare data from Thoroughbreds that sustained musculoskeletal injuries while racing with data from matched control horses.


Matched case-control study.


216 Thoroughbreds that sustained a musculoskeletal injury while racing and 532 horses from the same races that were not injured.


Data regarding racing history, race-entrant characteristics, racing events determined by analysis of videotapes of races, and results of prerace physical inspections were determined for all horses. Injured horses were compared with control horses by using conditional logistic regression.


Results of prerace inspection by regulatory veterinarians were significantly associated with injury. Odds of musculoskeletal injury, injury of the suspensory apparatus of the forelimb, and injury of the tendon of the superficial digital flexor muscle of the forelimb were 5.5 to 13.5 times greater among horses assessed to be at increased risk of injury by regulatory veterinarians on the basis of results of prerace inspection than for horses not considered to be at increased risk of injury. Odds of an abnormal finding in the suspensory ligament during prerace inspection were 3.4 times greater among horses that injured the suspensory apparatus than among control horses, and odds of an abnormal finding in the tendon of the superficial digital flexor muscle during prerace inspection were 15 times greater among horses that injured the tendon than among control horses.


Regulatory veterinarians can identify horses during prerace physical inspection that have an increased risk of injury during races. Prerace physical inspections could be used to reduce the risk of injury to Thoroughbreds during races.

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