Thoroughbred racing is a feast to the eye but the training and care of racing horses is an exceptionally difficult job. Owners and trainers have a detailed knowledge of their illnesses and an in-depth awareness of all possible disorders. But what afflicts thoroughbreds most commonly? Here’s a look at few of the commonly occurring illnesses racing thoroughbreds deal with.
Dental and Eye Care
Horses are highly vulnerable to teeth injuries and can very turn unmanaged when they contract any hurt due to their developing teeth. Horses’ mouths are extremely sensitive to hurt and regular checkups with the dentist are imperative in the growing months. The mouth however, becomes fairly sturdy by the time they turn three and needs less attention. Doctors regularly check for proper growth of teeth, no open wounds or discomforts.
Horses eyes often develop ‘teary’-ness and need ophthalmic treatments to rid themselves of their illness, called moon blindness. However the usage of drug “riboflavin” during the growing months has considerably reduced the occurrence of the illness in older horses.
Though these may not happen to every single thoroughbred, hives are still common amongst horses. A skin ailment, developing in the form of small but numerous eruptions of the skin, hives are an allergic reaction to pollens, drugs like penicillin or even slight dietary changes. Hives can also be triggered by allergy to certain plants, insect bites and temperature changes. However, they are painless and usually not itchy and cause no harm to their life.
Sore Skin and Fistulas
Since horses begin racing at a tender age, their skin may contract soreness due to the repeated usage of saddles on their backs. Care must be taken in maintaining a good cushion beneath the saddle so any soreness due to the rubbing saddle must not be caused.
Thoroughbreds also develop fistulas along their withers, the highest point on the back, around the end of their neck, due to the saddle. Salt water dabs are suggested to provide them with immediate relief and also contribute in smoothening and hardening of their skin.
Bone problems
Racing exerts extreme pressure on thoroughbred bones. This leads to a wide array of bone deformities and injuries that affect almost all horses in their lifetime. The most crucial fact being, all horses must stand on all four limbs at all times as this is greatly necessary for their health.
Racing affects the bones in innumerable ways leading to injuries like bowed tendon, torn ligaments, fractured leg, grabbed quarters, sesamoid fracture condylar fracture and bone chip. There are many more, but the integral organ affected remains the same, the bones.
Thoroughbreds require a considerable deal of rest and a detailed treatment when bone repair and setting is conducted on them. Casts and anaesthetics become necessary. Usually broken bones often lead to retirement of horses and in many cases have also proved fatal but they are categorized as treatable.
Just like human infants, even horses are extremely sensitive to colic and have also reported cases of death due to these. Intense pain in the gastrointestinal tract may be triggered due to anything. Often, colic results from diet, timing and also certain medications. While colic is completely treatable, delay in treatments may also cause death.
Bleeding or EIPH (Exercise Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage)
Horses often bleed following a heavy workout or a strenuous race. This occurs due to the increasing blood pressure in the nerves carrying blood in between the lungs and the heart. The extreme pressure results in blood vessels to rupture and blood enters the airway following its way out through the nose.
Obviously EIPH shows the extremities of the sport and its impact on thoroughbreds. However, drugs such as Lasix help control the rise in blood pressure and contribute in avoiding bleeding. This isn’t the most effective medication but the ailment is a universal fact.
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Author's Bio: 

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