Diagnostic imaging to reduce Thoroughbred racing fatality
The University of Queensland
Project code: PRJ-012062
Project stage: Closed
Project start date: Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Project completion date: Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Jounral Articles From Project: Does the Low-Field MRI Appearance of Intraosseous STIR Hyperintensity in Equine Cadaver Limbs Change when Subjected to a Freeze-Thaw Process? Animals (Issue: 11 on 11/2/2021), Does the Low-Field MRI Appearance of Intraosseous STIR Hyperintensity in Equine Cadaver Limbs Change when Subjected to a Freeze-Thaw Process? Animals (Issue: 11 on 11/2/2021), Does the Low-Field MRI Appearance of Intraosseous STIR Hyperintensity in Equine Cadaver Limbs Change when Subjected to a Freeze-Thaw Process? Animals (Issue: 11 on 11/2/2021), Imaging and Gross Pathological Appearance of Changes in the Parasagittal Grooves of Thoroughbred Racehorses Animals (Issue: 11 on 24/11/2021)
National Priority: HOR-Reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training
This study aims to investigate the imaging appearance of subclinical and/or clinical disease in the fetlocks of southeast Queensland Thoroughbred racing fatalities. We will compare the utility of advanced imaging modalities for the identification of pathologies within the fetlock region with particular focus on the identification of possible risk factors or prodromal changes indicative of fracture.
An in vitro study is planned, using limbs from Thoroughbreds that are euthanised during training or racing. All four limbs of each horse will undergo a complete radiographic examination, low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and non-contrast and contrast computed tomography (CT) examination of the fetlock region followed by gross pathology and targeted histopathology. Any abnormalities identified will be compared between imaging modalities and correlated with the results of pathology examination. Horses will be divided into three groups for further comparison according to reason for death – fracture in fetlock region, fracture in another region, no fracture (e.g. presumed cardiovascular fatality). The fractured limb and non-fractured contralateral limbs will be compared within any one horse and between horses.
This study will result in better understanding of the occurrence and imaging appearance of clinical and subclinical disease in the fetlock region of our racehorse population, leading to earlier detection and improved formulation of recommendations for treatment and management. Screening of at-risk horses could potentially reduce the number of horses that progress to breakdown or injury related to the fetlock region while racing or training.
The University of Queensland
Our objectives relate directly to the 6th RD&E objective (Reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training).
Our first objective is to determine the imaging appearance of subclinical and clinical pathology in the fetlock region of racing Thoroughbred fatalities at southeast Queensland racetracks.
Our second objective is to compare the ability of radiography, low-field standing MRI and CT to diagnose and characterise these pathologies. By comparing relevant pathological findings and their appearance/visibility with the various different imaging modalities, we will gain further knowledge about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each modality specifically for Thoroughbred racehorses in training.
Our third objective is to identify any trends or common imaging findings in these cases which could potentially serve as markers in our training and racing population. With improved knowledge of the occurrence and appearance of injuries in horses that suffer catastrophic fetlock fractures, we hope to develop strategies for earlier identification of at-risk horses, appropriate treatment and educated management decisions.