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The association between exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage and race-day performance in Thoroughbred racehorses

Crispe, E.J., Lester, G.D., Secombe, C.J. and Perera, D.I. (2017) The association between exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage and race-day performance in Thoroughbred racehorses. Equine Veterinary Journal, 49 (5). pp. 584-589.

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Background: Exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) is commonly implicated as a cause of poor athletic performance but there is limited and conflicting evidence for this association. Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine if EIPH, based on endoscopic examination after racing, is associated with a variety of novel and established performance parameters. Study design: Prospective, observational cross-sectional study. Methods: Thoroughbred racehorses competing between 2012 and 2015 were examined on-course no earlier than 30 min after racing. Examinations were recorded and graded blindly by experienced veterinarians using a 0-4 scale. Linear mixed effect models were used for analysis of continuous response variables with horse name incorporated as a random effect to account for repeated sampling and horse variability. Generalised estimating equations were used for analysis of binary responses. Performance variables were examined in 2 models, comparing EIPH grade 0 to grades 1-4, and EIPH grade ≤2 compared with EIPH grades ≥3, controlling race factors that could influence performance. Results: There were 3794 observations collected from 1567 horses. EIPH was detected in 55.1% of observations. Horses with grade 4 EIPH were significantly more likely to have a lower finishing position and finish further behind the winner, less likely to place in the first 3 positions and collect race earnings, collected less earnings per race start and were slower over the last 600 m of the race than horses without EIPH (grade 0). Similar associations were seen in Model 2, with horses with EIPH grade ≥3 having inferior performance when compared to horses with EIPH ≤2. Main limitations: Enrolment was voluntary. Conclusion: Mild to moderate haemorrhage was not associated with inferior race day performance in this population of Thoroughbred racehorses.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Equine Veterinary Journal Ltd.
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