Elite Thoroughbred Racehorses: The Impact of Shipping Fever on Performance
By Dr. Michael Hurley | Posted on May 26, 2021
In 2016 some fascinating research was presented at the 21st International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians (ICRAV) in Montevideo, Uruguay. Titled “The incidence of shipping fever and the impact on performance in horses travelling to compete in the Hong Kong International Races (2005-2014)”, the research looked at the race results of 282 elite horses imported to race during this ten year period. Of these horses, 33 (11.7%) had developed a fever during the flight to Hong Kong and had displayed mild to moderate clinical signs of shipping fever. Four of these horses were so sick they were withdrawn from racing, but the other 29 went on to compete in the Group 1 races. Of these horses, none won a race and two-thirds of them finished in 10th place or worse.
What this study clearly showed is at the elite level of equine sports competition, everything about the horse needs to be 100% for them to compete to the best of their ability. Even a transient temperature, and mild clinical signs in the week before competition, is enough to affect the performance of a horse. In retrospect, and armed with this knowledge, the connections of these horses would likely have been inclined to withdraw them from racing, especially if a poor result might have impacted future breeding or stud value.
Horse Trainers worldwide can incorporate this knowledge into their training preparation to ensure horses reach competition day in peak condition. Whether you are a Thoroughbred, Quarter horse, Arabian, Standardbred or Cross Country trainer, monitoring your horse’s temperature with the VetTrue™ System during travel to, and in the 48 hours before competition, will give you additional confidence the horse has no subtle underlying respiratory condition and can compete to the best of its ability. The VetTrue™ System will provide a complete 24 hour temperature record, and transient fevers will no longer be missed. Give your stable the edge and improve performance results. Contact Epona Biotec today for further information. www.eponabiotec.com
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