Fatal musculoskeletal injuries of Quarter Horse racehorses: 314 cases (1990-2007)

Tiffany L. Sarrafian, James Case, Hailu Kinde, Barbara M. Daft, Deryck H. Read, Janet D. Moore, Francisco A Uzal, Susan M Stover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective-To determine major causes of death and the anatomic location of musculoskeletal injuries in Quarter Horse racehorses in California. Design-Retrospective case series. Animals-314 Quarter Horse racehorses with musculoskeletal injuries that were necropsied through the California Horse Racing Board Postmortem Program from 1990 to 2007. Procedures-Postmortem pathology reports were retrospectively reviewed. Musculoskeletal injuries were categorized by anatomic region and described. The number of Quarter Horse starts and starters for the same period of time were obtained from a commercial database for determination of fatal injury incidence. Results-Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 314 of the 443 (71%) Quarter Horse racehorses that died during the 18-year study period. Fatal musculoskeletal injuries occurred at a rate of 2.0 deaths/1,000 race starts and 18.6 deaths/1,000 horses that started a race. Musculoskeletal injuries occurred predominantly during racing (84%) and in the forelimbs (81%). The most common fatal musculoskeletal injuries were metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joint (fetlock) support injuries (40%) and carpal (24%), vertebral (10%), and scapular (8%) fractures. Proximal interphalangeal (pastern) joint luxations resulted in death of 3% of horses. Fracture configurations of some bones were consistent with those of Thoroughbred racehorses. Evidence of preexisting stress remodeling of bone was reported for some fractures. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Knowledge of common locations and types of fatal musculoskeletal injuries in racing Quarter Horses may enhance practitioners' ability to detect mild injuries early, rest horses, and help prevent catastrophic injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-942
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Volume241
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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