Bone Fatigue Affecting the Thoroughbred Racehorse / National / 31 May, 2016

Dear Member,

The Australian Trainers’ Association recently hosted two trainers’ consultation sessions in Victoria where the focus was on Veterinary matters and Equine Welfare. These sessions included a presentation from Dr Chris Whitton on his research into bone fatigue in the Thoroughbred racehorse.

Dr Whitton is currently Head of the Equine Centre and Associate Professor of Equine Medicine & Surgery for the University of Melbourne. He is a qualified vet who has been practicing for in excess of 30 years, and presently divides his time between surgical practice and research. It was this latter subject that brought Chris to the sessions, to present his team’s findings to attendees from Victorian studies conducted over the past ten years.

The presentation from Chris was compelling to say the least, with many trainers remarking that the results of his research offered an amazing insight into the “what, how and why” many of our Thoroughbred racehorses over the past decade had suffered breakdown or worse, broken limbs and an untimely death. In essence, most of the problems could be directly linked to bone fatigue which was otherwise preventable had the rest, training and racing regimes been correlated to maximise bone adaption and repair in our horses.

Whilst the research is Victorian based, the findings have obvious application to our racing population across the country. Given this, together with the positive feedback received from the two sessions (attended by 60 trainers with guests) we felt it worthwhile to share this information with our national membership base.

CLICK HERE to access Dr Whitton’s presentation slides, plus listen to his audio from a Deans lecture he presented on this subject in 2015. Happy listening!

Dr Whitton is presently waiting on further funding to enable him and his team to extend their research. Having identified the “problem”, the next phase of their work will be aimed at determining optimal rest, training and racing periods in relation to managing and/or reducing and/or eliminating catastrophic bone fatigue events. The ATA for one will be following the efforts closely of Dr Whitton and his team, for what we consider to be essential research for our industry.

Should you wish to provide your feedback in writing in relation to this matter, please do so by CLICKING HERE

Alternatively, contact the office on (03) 9372-1688 should any one wish to discuss this matter with myself.

Kind Regards

Chief Executive