Risk factors for and outcomes of noncatastrophic ...

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Title Risk factors for and outcomes of noncatastrophic suspensory apparatus injury in Thoroughbred racehorses
Author(s) A. E. Hill, S. M. Stover, I. A. Gardner, A. J. Kane, M. B. Whitcomb, A. G. Emerson
Journal Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Date 2001
Volume 218
Issue 7
Start page 1136
End page 1144
Abstract To evaluate effects of toe grabs, exercise intensity, and distance traveled as risk factors for subclinical to mild suspensory apparatus injury (SMSAI) in Thoroughbred racehorses and to compare incidence of severe musculoskeletal injury (MSI) in horses with and without SMSAI, 219 Thoroughbred racehorses racing or in race training were studied. Racehorses were examined weekly for 90 days to determine incidence of suspensory ligament injury and monitor horseshoe characteristics. Every horse's exercise speeds and distances were recorded daily. Conditional logistic regression was used to compare exposure variables between incident case (n=25) and selected control (125) horses. Survival analysis was used to compare time to MSI for horses with (n=41) and without (76) SMSAI. The best-fitting logistic model for the data included age (<5 vs. ≥5 years old), toe grab height the week of injury (none vs very low, low, regular, or Quarter Horse height), and weekly distance the week preceding injury (miles). Although the 95% confidence intervals for all odds ratios included 1, the odds for SMSAI appeared to increase with the presence of a toe grab, higher weekly distance, and age ≥5 years. Horses that had SMSAI were significantly more likely to have a severe MSI or severe suspensory apparatus injury than were horses that did not. Results suggest that pre-existing SMSAI is associated with development of severe MSI and severe suspensory apparatus injury. Modifying training intensity and toe grab height for horses with SMSAI may decrease the incidence of severe MSI.

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