The death of a beloved animal is always heartbreaking. It is especially horrendous to see your horse break down and pass over to the other side while racing or while routine training. Horse deaths, while not regular, occurred at a rate which was alarming. But in recent times the mortality rate has been coming down ever since 2009. This is a courtesy of the initiative taken by various people to bring mortality rates down. A break down of the different stages are given below.
When a horse dies, the body is sent for necropsy (Animal autopsy) to collect information about possible fatal injuries or other causes of death. During the examination physical tests of the bones and soft tissues are thoroughly done. Histology and toxicology tests are also performed along with radiography of fractures. The veterinarian remains objective and ensures to do a thorough job. They tend not to make speculations and rarely attempt to recreate the scene of the breakdown. They can make vague interpretations but always avoid making statements which are definitive.
The data assembled by the veterinarians is then sent to a commission which conducts a mortality review. Usually, most tracks conduct an official review over the death of a horse on the race track. In cities like Kentucky, the commission meets with the trainers to go over the necropsy report, workout report, race records, and other reports. The review is not disciplinary but is done with a purpose to learn. Finger pointing does not happen and experts sit together and discuss how to prevent future fatalities and improve the life expectancy of horses. From this review, trainers learn more as their knowledge gets expanded. They then implement improved training regimes which are aimed to prolong the horse’s life.
The gathering of such data helps in an immense way. It gives helpful data which gives tracks and organizations, information to work with. It helps in the identification of risk factors which could be cause for fatal injuries. It has also been vital in improving track policies. For example, University of California’s horse program has restricted the height of the toe grabs to 2 millimeters as long toe grabs have been identified as a cause of injuries.
Such steps have brought the mortality rate down from 2.00 per 1000 deaths to 1.54 per 1000 deaths in horses. The learning process and implementation of the knowledge gained from such reviews of various reports have increased the life expectancy of many horses and also improved their health by a great deal.
Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.