Veterinarians discuss health topics at owners conference

The 2022 Thoroughbred Owners Conference held the third session of its virtual series on May 10 with a panel of veterinarians who presented on health topics that commonly affect racehorses. The series is organized by the Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine and Stoll Keenon Ogden.

Tuesday’s panel was sponsored by Mersant International LTD and OCD Pellets and moderated by Mike Penna of Horse Racing Radio Network. Presenting veterinarians were Dr. Larry Bramlage, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; Dr. Lisa Fortier, Cornell University; and Dr. Steve Reed, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.

Fortier kicked off the discussion with a presentation on joint injections, their use, and potential alternatives. Fortier noted that although steroids are potent and readily available, negatives associated with steroid joint injections include that the steroids might show up in a post-race drug test and that steroid injections do not protect the joint. against additional damage.

Fortier promoted the use of platelet-rich plasma in the treatment of joint problems, noting that PRP has regenerative properties and “works better and longer” than steroids. However, she pointed out that PRP, a type of biologic, is not a miracle cure and horses’ joints must be treated before they are seriously damaged.

Reed focused his presentation on neurological problems in horses, including cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, the neurological form of equine herpesvirus-1. He reviewed the symptoms and treatment options for these diseases and outlined the ideal characteristics of a hypothetical effective vaccine against EHV-1.

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Bramlage described various conformational faults that can affect a horse’s future soundness and efficiency. He reviewed videos of young horses showing various conformational defects and explained how they could negatively affect the horse as an adult. He also pointed out that “good” conformation in colts and yearlings is different from what should be considered desirable in an adult horse because of how a horse’s structure changes as it grows.

While Bramlage noted that many conformational faults can be corrected surgically if necessary, others will be self-corrected with natural growth.

“Most horses aren’t perfect, but most successful horses have reasonable conformation,” he said.

The Virtual Owners Conference will return on September 6 with a panel of Thoroughbred owners. Six virtual panels are scheduled in 2022, and the sessions are recorded for registrants to view at their convenience if they cannot watch live.

This year, OwnerView is also hosting an in-person conference in Saratoga Springs, NY on July 25-26. Registration information for in-person and virtual conferences is available at

OwnerView is a joint effort led by the Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage Thoroughbred ownership and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the breeding process, and more. Purchase and Possession of a Thoroughbred, Retired Racehorse, and Owner’s License.

The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport which was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.