Question about breakdowns

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TapitsGal
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:42 am

I know when discussing the breakdowns at Santa Anita and other tracks that track surface,breeding practices, pedigrees, and drugs have all been discussed..but it just occurred to me...I know we may never have access to the horses medical records...but I'm curious to know..what percentage of the horses that have been fatally injured were pin fired at some point? Or received joint injections? Nerve blocks? Shockwave therapy? I'd be interested in finding out if studies have been done to see if those treatments increase the risk of catastrophic injuries in horses??
roxyllsk
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:14 am

Do you mean the underlying reason for the treatment ? I don't know that any particular treatment could be linked to breakdowns.
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Curtis
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:41 pm

TapitsGal wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:42 am
I know when discussing the breakdowns at Santa Anita and other tracks that track surface,breeding practices, pedigrees, and drugs have all been discussed..but it just occurred to me...I know we may never have access to the horses medical records...but I'm curious to know..what percentage of the horses that have been fatally injured were pin fired at some point? Or received joint injections? Nerve blocks? Shockwave therapy? I'd be interested in finding out if studies have been done to see if those treatments increase the risk of catastrophic injuries in horses??
There was a thread about this on a prior iteration of this forum years ago. It was pretty heated....for once no pun intended.
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Kurenai
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:52 pm

With no public vet records it's not easy to tell. Generally speaking: no treatment is the cause of a breakdown or makes a horse more likely to breakdown. You can pin fire a horse and it's never another issue. Nerve blocks are used to determined where the lameness comes from etc. It's like everything in the world: only the misuse of those things increases the risks, while proper use is helpful for the horse (apart from maybe pin/freeze firing but that is entirely another issue).

This would be based on mostly speculation. Again, because I mentioned in another thread: only way to come to a conclusion is to take the numbers from a country (Japan for example) where all vet records are available to the bettors (public).
barbaro111
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:14 pm

TapitsGal wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:42 am
I know when discussing the breakdowns at Santa Anita and other tracks that track surface,breeding practices, pedigrees, and drugs have all been discussed..but it just occurred to me...I know we may never have access to the horses medical records...but I'm curious to know..what percentage of the horses that have been fatally injured were pin fired at some point? Or received joint injections? Nerve blocks? Shockwave therapy? I'd be interested in finding out if studies have been done to see if those treatments increase the risk of catastrophic injuries in horses??
I have always believed that when any incident occurs with any type of injury, an incident report should be filled out- I was in Hospital Risk Mgmt for 30 years and this comes under quality assurance. When an incident occurs you want as much information as possible; as you suggest information such as what type of meds were given over a certain period of time, pin firing? Bisosphosphanates (sp), and any other meds given during a certain period of time. This would include nerve blocks, shockwave therapy, etc. There is so much that could be learned from filling out such a document- at each and every track- but of course it will never be done. Patterns would show up: perhaps it become evident that certain factors are involved with horses developing injuries: there would also be a record of any imaging studies that have been done in the past ( dates). Incident reports are used in a hospital setting to try and find patterns or trends in the hope of preventing future incidents---sometimes the incident did not involve injury, sometimes an incident might involve the death of a patient.
Somnambulist

Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:25 pm

Yes... I also come from a field heavily imbedded in risk management. It is kinda horrifying isn't it :-)
barbaro111
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:05 pm

Somnambulist wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:25 pm
Yes... I also come from a field heavily imbedded in risk management. It is kinda horrifying isn't it :-)
yep- it sure is!!!!!
Vandalay
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:30 pm

When I was at Laurel for their presentation on the remodeling project, the TSG rep seemed pretty sure that climate change had a lot to do with the racing surface
at Santa Anita..they were citing this as the reason for installing a Tapeta training track..
BaroqueAgain1
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:32 pm

Climate change!?
I've read a lot of theories trying to explain Santa Anita's issues, but that is a new one for me. :shock:
Tessablue
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:51 pm

Vandalay wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:30 pm
When I was at Laurel for their presentation on the remodeling project, the TSG rep seemed pretty sure that climate change had a lot to do with the racing surface
at Santa Anita..they were citing this as the reason for installing a Tapeta training track..
Was this in the context of increased rainfall? Climate change is indeed causing higher precipitation in some areas, and the repeatedly waterlogged track hsa been cited as one possible cause of Santa Anita's difficult spring. Would make sense if this leads to a surface with better drainage such as Tapeta.

The incident reports are a great idea, and it's imperative that we collect information while ensuring veterinary transparency. Even some of the larger published analyses of thoroughbred injury trends note that incomplete veterinary records make it very difficult to draw conclusions.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when discussing breakdown rates is the fact that fully healthy bones should not be breaking. Is it extremely unlikely that the majority of skeletal injures we see in horse racing are due solely to bad steps or freak accidents.
Laurierace
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:19 pm

I noticed the mention of climate change during the meeting at Laurel as well. It stuck out to me because that was the closest I had heard anyone involved with TSG come to admitting the track was the problem. Yes, they were referring to the heavy rains.
Tessablue
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:33 pm

Thank you Laurierace! I'm very glad to hear that they aren't treating this year's spring as a freak one-off event.
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Katewerk
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:39 pm

I'm so old I remember when NYT headlines warned of California's "unending drought".
Vandalay
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:33 am

And if memory serves, Didn't Laurel have a couple of breakdowns last winter, due to the track surface?

I'm not saying surfaces are the main reason, there's plenty of blame to go around especially racetracks tolerating crooked trainers who send out drugged up cripples, because said trainers usually have large barns and fill races.
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Sparrow Castle
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:23 pm

These discussions seem to be all over different threads, so hard to know where this belongs. I agree with you, Vandalay. Those crooked trainers need to go and that they are tolerated because they fill races is the reason I do not think track owners are the best entities to lead meaningful change. It is also the reason I support changing the claiming game so good owners and trainers don't have to put well-loved and cared-for horses at risk in order to run them competitively.
...

In addition to the Bute association findings here, the South American study found no link between Lasix use and breakdowns.

Study Finds Phenylbutazone a Risk Factor in Breakdowns
Based on the groundbreaking results of a recently published study, the epidemiologist who oversees The Jockey Club Equine Injury Database will add phenylbutazone as a risk factor for catastrophic breakdowns and will call for policies that require the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory to be completely clear from a horse's system before it races.

In an essay scheduled to be published in an upcoming issue of BloodHorse, Tim Parkin, senior lecturer in clinical epidemiology at the University of Glasgow who has studied the Equine Injury Database for 10 years, recommends the race-day threshold for phenylbutazone be lowered to zero—no tolerance.

The recommendation, which would be more restrictive than the current policy in every U.S. racing jurisdiction except California, follows a study by one of Parkin's graduate students, Teresita Zambruno, that found a link between phenylbutazone, commonly referred to as bute, and equine injuries—both catastrophic and nonfatal.

Zambruno's study, published online and scheduled for print publication in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in late 2020, examined data from 500,000 starts at four tracks in South America. While it found some risk factors observed in other studies, it was the first study to find a link between bute and breakdowns.
More: https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... breakdowns
Tessablue
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Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:31 pm

Really interesting, thank you for posting it SC! I'm glad they acknowledge that it's likely because bute is being used to mask soreness in horses, and not because it directly causes injury. I don't think it would be at all fair to ban it outright (I still feel awful about poor Runhappy and his connections' "heavy training with zero therapeutic drugs" technique) but a raceday ban with a bit of a lead-in, like Santa Anita implemented, would seem to be a very fair compromise. And I dearly wish we would just throw Lasix off the table and deal with the things that are actually killing our horses, so I'll hold onto the hope that this paper helps with that.

For anyone interested, I went and updated the Santa Anita fatalities database I'd started in the spring. I've added a couple new columns (like injury type) and I've started to make the distinction between main track and training track, but some of it is incomplete so any help would be greatly appreciated! There's a lot to unpack here, but I'll draw everyone's attention to the total number of starts these horses had. They were very lightly raced as a whole. In fact, the horses who broke down on the dirt averaged only 2.31 starts per year of racing age. If you take out the unraced horses, it still only moves up to 2.79. For whatever reasons, the horses at risk have not been the traditional old warriors with tons of starts. I think there's a lot to discuss there.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
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