Diagnostic technology improving the safety of horses on the tracks



Southern California-based racetrack veterinarian Dr Ryan Carpenter said the Stronach Group’s commitment to the latest diagnostic technology is at its core. Santa Anita Park improves the safety of horses on the track.

Participate in a online panel On May 19, in a series of weekly online seminars on topics related to horse health and safety presented by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Carpenter noted that access to bone scans, nuclear scintigraphy, standing MRI and PET scans benefited the horses.

“I can tell you today with 100% certainty that we have saved the lives of horses with these pieces of equipment, without a doubt in my mind,” Carpenter said. “It’s basically because the Southern California Equine Foundation and the Stronach Group are committed to keeping horses safe.”

The online series is being offered following the cancellation of the in-person racehorse welfare and safety summit, which was scheduled for June 23. Group; Dr William Farmer, Equine Medical Director of Track Owner Churchill Downs Inc .; and Dr. Scott Palmer, Equine Medical Director of the New York State Gaming Commission.

Unveiled in December by Santa Anita and the Southern California Equine Foundation, the very first standing positron emission tomography machine was added to the track to help diagnose equine lameness. The machine offers improved resolution compared to nuclear scintigraphy imaging.

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At an international meeting of veterinarians this year in Newmarket, UK, Carpenter said it had become clear that every diagnostic tool has strengths and weaknesses. But as more and more data is compiled through their use, he expects further advancements in equine safety.

“I think that’s going to be the basis that is really going to generate the (research) injuries related to the forward bullet because it’s going to produce a lot of good research and it’s going to produce a lot of good collaborations,” Carpenter said. “I can’t wait to see what comes out of this meeting in the years to come.”

On a related note in New York, Palmer noted that work is underway with horse specialists at Cornell Ruffian, located across from Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, using radiographic tomosynthesis to determine differences in healthy bone turnover and small problematic injuries that have been associated with catastrophic injuries.

“We’ve just never been able to figure out what the normal modeling process is and how it’s different from a process that went off the rails before a horse was injured,” said Palmer. “We hope this technology will help us do it for us.”

Beyond lower leg injuries, since 2014 Palmer has used technology to monitor horses’ hearts, looking for irregular beats during pre-race exams. During the talk, he demonstrated the AliveCor, the size of a smartphone, which he uses to check for cardiac arrhythmias during pre-race exams.

“This device is inexpensive – it costs around $ 250. Interestingly, I have looked at over 200 horses so far and have never found a horse with an arrhythmia where I had to say the horse does. can’t run. That said, however, I believe we should at least look at these horses for arrhythmia, “Palmer said.” If we find these things before the race, the horse needs to be scratched. And if we don’t look for these things, we’ll never find them. “

Farmer said he had spoken with track vets and coaches at Churchill Downs to determine the best services and technologies to offer at a new equine medical center there.

“It’s a blank slate right now. It’s a blank canvas, and we are delighted to seize the opportunities. Churchill is very keen to do everything in our power to ensure that the horses in our facility are as well. safe as possible, ”Farmer said. “We look forward to fleshing out this situation and being able to do so.”

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