A two-day veterinary conference on fracture risk assessment of the Thoroughbred fetlock will bring together veterinarians from around the world in a bid to reach consensus on guidance for the racing industry.
With its focus being particularly in relation to pre-race risk assessment, the international panel will review the current level of knowledge in this area in a closed session on Wednesday, March 4. The following day it will deliver its findings and recommendations to an invited audience which will include David Sykes and Lynn Hillyer, chief veterinary advisors to the BHA and HRI respectively, members of the racing and breeding community including Mark Johnston, Luca Cumani and Chris Richardson, as well as a number of vets from Britain, France and Ireland.
The 12-strong panel convening in Newmarket for the two days features representatives from America, Australia, Hong Kong and Britain, and will be chaired by Celia Marr of Rossdales veterinary practice and also editor of the Equine Veterinary Journal.
“The meeting is not going to dictate what a regulatory body should do but it will summarise and interpret the science and experience as we know it,” said Piet Ramzan, a partner at Rossdales and one of the organisers of the event.
“Addressing the concerns of the public in respect of mitigation of race day fracture risk is one of the key issues facing the industry worldwide. New technologies are rapidly opening up opportunities for early detection of injury, however, at present there is no consensus on how these imaging technologies should best be applied or interpreted, particularly given the complexities of the Thoroughbred fetlock.”
He continued, “Which horses should be selected for scans, and what imaging features represent heightened immediate risk of fracture? What recommendations regarding return to training should follow on from a horse being scratched? Screening programmes come with their own ethical and legal challenges, and full consideration of these is also important. To address these topics, a multi-disciplinary group of key international veterinary experts will review all available evidence and translate it into clear and concise consensus statements on major aspects of pre-race risk assessment. The agenda is ambitious, however, the meeting has been embraced enthusiastically by the wider veterinary community and is expected to set benchmarks for ‘best practice’ that will assist the daily work of veterinary and regulatory teams tasked with safeguarding our equine athletes.”
Staged by the Beaufort Cottage Educational Trust in association with Rossdales, The Jockey Club and The Gerald Leigh Charitable Trust, as well as imaging companies Asto CT, Hallmarq and LongMile, the conference will take place at Newmarket’s Jockey Club Rooms.