Association between long periods without high-speed workouts and risk of complete humeral or pelvic fracture in Thoroughbred racehorses: 54 cases (1991-1994)

Tracey K. Carrier, Leah Estberg, Susan M Stover, Ian Gardner, Bill J. Johnson, Deryck H. Read, Alex Ardans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Objective - To determine whether a two-month or longer period without official high-speed workouts (lay-up) is associated with humeral or pelvic fracture in Thoroughbred racehorses. Design - Retrospective study. Animals - Thoroughbred racehorses in California that were euthanatized because of a complete humeral or pelvic fracture. Procedure - Age, sex, activity, number of lay-ups, number of days from a race or official timed workout to fracture, number of days from end of last lay-up to fracture, mean duration of lay-ups, and total number of days in race training were compared between horses with humeral fractures and horses with pelvic fractures. A case-crossover study was used to estimate relative risk for fracture of the humerus or pelvis occurring within hazard periods of 10 and 21 days following lay-up, compared with periods following more regular participation in official racing or timed workout events. Results - Horses with pelvic fractures were more often female, older, and had 0 or ≥ 2 lay-ups. Horses with humeral fractures were typically 3-year-old males that had 1 lay-up. Horses with pelvic fractures had more total days in race training, fewer days from last exercise event to fracture, and a greater number of days from end of last lay-up to fracture than horses with humeral fractures. Return from lay-up was strongly associated with risk for humeral fracture during hazard periods of 10 and 21 days (relative risk = 71 and 45, respectively). Clinical Implications - Risk of humeral fracture may be reduced if horses are cautiously reintroduced into race training after lay-up. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212:1582-1587).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1582-1587
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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