The Penn Vet Equine Pharmacological Laboratory at the New Bolton Center has completed a multi-year project that developed biomarkers in horses that undergo shockwave therapy. Dr. Mary Robinson provided an update to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC); the Penn Vet laboratory also provides the drug testing for the PHRC and completes research for the organization.
Robinson reported that the affect of shockwave began being studied about a decade ago. Shockwave therapy applies energy waves to a horse's tissues to reduce pain or encourage healing. The use of shockwave is a prohibited practice in an Association of Racing Commissioners International model rule. This rule states that shockwave machines must be registered with the racing commission and be used only by licensed veterinarians; the machine must be housed in a designated location and horses cannot race for at least 10 days after treatment.
The research shows that the inflammatory markers in horses treated with shockwave significantly changed in plasma after one shockwave treatment. The researchers created a “biobank” of samples using both healthy and injured racehorses; the samples helped the researchers find a normal range. Thus far, 5,626 samples have been taken, including multiple samples from the same horse over multiple years.
Robinson noted that the Penn Vet Equine Pharmacological Laboratory, along with other labs in Australia and Japan, are researching gene-doping to ensure they can stay ahead of those people who might seek to use gene therapy for improper reasons.
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Read more about the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory's BioBank and biological passports here.
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