Many Thoroughbred racehorses have mild asthma from inhaling fine airborne particles, according to a recent study. Conducted by Drs. Kathleen Ivester, Laurent Couëtil and George Moore of Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine, the study was published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Inflammatory airway disease, also called equine asthma, is a common reason why racehorses may not perform to the best of their ability. Affected horses can be difficult to diagnose as they seem normal while at rest; diagnosis requires advanced techniques such as bronchoalveolar lavage.
The team used 64 horses from eight stables for their study; the horses ran in a total of 98 races.
The team focused on race performance analyses, dust exposure assessments and a close look at the fluid that was flushed from the racehorse's lungs. Before each horse raced, they were physically examined and each horse then had a bronchial lavage an hour after completing the race.
Equine asthma was found in 52 of the 64 horse's lavage fluid samples. Each percent increase in mast cell and neutrophil proportions in the lavage showed reduced speed figures by 2.9 and 1.4 percent.
The scientists concluded that racing performance was negatively impacted by lower-airway inflammation.
Read more at HorseTalk.
Read the full study here.
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