This report describes the descriptive epidemiology of racing fractures that occurred from the 1980s to 2000s on racetracks of the Japan Racing Association (JRA). The incidence of racehorse fractures during flat racing was approximately 1–2%. Fractures occurring during a race are more likely to occur in a forelimb. Fractures mostly occur at the third and fourth corners of oval tracks and on the home stretch. They also occur more frequently at the time of changing the leading limb. Comparison of the incidence of racing fracture between before and after reconstruction of the geometrical configuration of a racetrack revealed that there was an outstanding reduction in the number of serious fractures in the year before and after reconstruction. It was postulated that the improvement in racing time, possibly influenced by reconstructing the geometrical configuration of the racetrack, was connected to the reduction in the number of fractures. Of non-biological race- and course-related factors, type of course (dirt or turf), track surface condition, differences between racecourses, and racing distance significantly influence racing time. By using an instrumented shoe, vertical ground reaction forces (VGRFs) on the forelimb during galloping and the relationships between a rough dirt and woodchip track surface and a smooth dirt and woodchip surface were measured. Relating the incidence of racing fractures with track conditions in general showed that track surface has significant effects on the incidence of fracture, with the incidence of fractures increasing as track conditions on dirt worsen and a tendency for the incidence of fractures to decrease as track conditions on turf worsen. It seems probable that track condition in general may affect the incidence of fracture. The incidence of fracture in horses during both racing and training decreased as the years progressed.
Equine influenza virus (EIV) is a major cause of acute respiratory diseases in horses in most parts of the world that results in severe economic losses. Information on the epidemiology of EIV in tropical Africa is scanty. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to detect the presence of influenza A virus nucleoprotein (NP) in 284 horse sera in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria. The ELISA-positive sera were further examined for hemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibodies to two strains each of H3N8 and H7N3 subtypes of influenza A virus. The results showed that antibodies against influenza A virus nucleoprotein were detected in 60.9% (173 of 284) of horses examined by NP-ELISA. Equine H3 and H7 subtypes were detected in 60% (21 of 35) and 20% (7 of 35) of horse sera respectively across the stables. Adequate quarantine of all imported horses, a national equine influenza surveillance plan and an appropriate EIV control program in Nigeria are recommended to safeguard the large horse population.
Ligand-dependent nuclear receptor compressor-like (LCORL) encodes a transcription factor, and its polymorphisms are associated with measures of skeletal frame size and adult height in several species. Recently, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) BIEC2-808543 located upstream of LCORL was identified as a genetic diagnostic marker associated with withers height in Thoroughbreds. In this study, 322 Thoroughbreds-in-training were genotyped for BIEC2-808543 to evaluate the association between genotype and body composition traits, including body weight, withers height, the ratio of body weight to withers height, chest circumference, and cannon circumference. Of these, withers height and cannon circumference were significantly associated with LCORL genotypes throughout almost the entire training period in males and females. Animals with a C/T genotype had higher withers height (maximum differences of 1.8 cm and 2.1 cm in males and females, respectively) and cannon circumstance (maximum differences of 0.65 cm and 0.48 cm in males and females, respectively) compared with animals with a T/T genotype. These results suggested that the regulation of LCORL expression influences the skeletal frame size in Thoroughbreds and thus, indirectly affects the body weight. Although LCORL and BIEC2-808543 would be useful for selective breeding in Thoroughbreds, the production of genetically modified animals and gene doping based on genetic information should be prohibited in order to maintain racing integrity.
Autopsy imaging (Ai), postmortem imaging before necropsy, is used in human forensic medicine. Ai was performed using computed tomography (CT) for a 1-month-old Thoroughbred foal cadaver found in a pasture. CT revealed pericardial effusion, collapse of the aorta, bleeding in the lung lobe, gas in the ventricles and liver parenchyma, and distension of the digestive tract. Rupture in the left auricle was confirmed by necropsy; however, it was not depicted on CT. Therefore, Ai and conventional necropsy are considered to complement each other. The cause of death was determined to be traumatic cardiac tamponade. In conclusion, Ai is an additional option for determining cause of death.
In this study, fasciculation of the limbs and tongue was observed in four horses kept by a riding club. Neurogenic muscle atrophy was also observed in biopsy of pathological tissues. In addition, in two cases that subjected to autopsy, Bunina-like bodies of inclusion in the cell bodies of neurons in the spinal cord ventral horn were confirmed, leading to a diagnosis of equine motor neuron disease (EMND). Serum vitamin E concentrations varied between 0.3 and 0.4µg/ml, which is significantly lower than the levels in normal horses. Although lack of vitamin E is speculated to be a contributory factor for development of EMND, no significant improvement was observed following administration of vitamin E.
The oxidant and antioxidant equilibrium is known to play an important role in equine medicine and equine exercise physiology. There are abundant findings in this field; however, not many studies have been conducted for reference ranges of oxidative stress biomarkers in horses. This study was conducted to determine the reference values of reactive oxygen metabolites (d-ROMs) and biological antioxidant potential (BAP) using blood samples from 372 (191 males, 181 females) Thoroughbred racehorse aged 2 to 5 (3.43 ± 1.10 (mean ± SD)) years old. There were obvious gender differences in oxidative biomarkers, and growth/age-related changes were observed especially in females. Gender and age must be considered when interpreting obtained oxidative stress biomarkers for diagnosis of disease or fitness alterations in Thoroughbred racehorses.