Inflammation in Catastrophically Injurred Thoroughbreds

Grants and Contracts Details


The occurrence of injuries during training and racing is a significant economic and welfare concern for the Thoroughbred industry. While there has been increased interest in the development of techniques to identify individuals at risk for injury, these approaches have not been widely adopted. We have developed a method to detect inflammation in horses and are proposing to determine its utility in the early detection of an impending catastrophic injury (CI). Additionally, we hope to identify the relationship between pre-existing inflammation and specific catastrophic injuries. Our hypothesis is Thoroughbred racehorses that experience a catastrophic (life-ending) injury while racing will have evidence of increased inflammation when compared to non-injured horses from the same race. Our approach will be to measure whole blood inflammatory markers in catastrophically injured and non-injured, race-matched control horses. A single peripheral blood sample will be collected from each enrolled horse immediately post-injury or post-race (control horses), as well as a large population of other horses to represent the general racing population. An Inflammation Score will be determined for each horse using our published method. We expect our data to show that CI horses will have significantly increased inflammatory markers when compared with non-injured horses from the same race and the general racing population. Further, we anticipate identifying patterns of inflammation which may be indicative of a specific injury type. Demonstrating differences in pre-injury inflammation and specific inflammatory markers between catastrophically injured and non-injured horses could provide an economical, effective, and non-invasive means of detecting catastrophic injuries before they occur.
Effective start/end date9/15/186/30/20


  • KY Horse Racing Commission: $164,488.00


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