Veterinarians who work in the setting of a horse race track have a very important job. Most overlook the importance and roles that they have, considering they are at the back in the stables and are never really shown, but they are one of the most important people involved with the horse’s health, the setting, and the entire sport overall.
What Do Race Track Veterinarians Do?
A race track veterinarian is either employed by a private trainer or the entire race track itself for the purpose of dedicating their services to the well-being of one particular horse, or multiple horses.
Not only do veterinarians employed by a racetrack or a private race track runner ensure that a horse stays in good health, meaning they help to cure any sickness or injuries, but they ensure that the horse is in the proper condition necessary to run and compete in the races. They also deal with the trainers and the owners, as well.
A race track veterinarian must be able to deal with high-stress situations, know equine anatomy and conditions both inside and out, and be able to have a strong will and character, as there are disasters that can occur, such as a horse being fatally injured in a race and needing to be put down shortly after.
Listed below are just a few of the many responsibilities that racetrack veterinarians are expected to perform:
1. Follow and establish schedules for any routine procedure
2. Treating and aiding a horse in recovery for both injuries and illnesses
3. Daily first aid in cleaning wounds, stitches, etc
4. Responding to emergency calls within minutes, as the call could be for a life threatening injury or illness
5. Overseeing supplement and feeding programs
6. Administering and prescribing medications
7. Pre-race inspections for the purpose of determining whether or not a horse is fit for a race
A horse track veterinarian has multiple responsibilities to ensure that a horse stays healthy and fit to run.
Why Are Race Track Veterinarians So Important?
Other than the reasons listed above, racetrack veterinarians are crucial to the overall sport that is horse racing. While some veterinarians in racing feel that their job causes them to have trouble sleeping at night, mostly because there have been issues in the past with using illegal drugs and procedures to mask injuries and actually force a horse to race despite being ill or injured, there are veterinarians who speak on their job publicly, such as Dr. Ramlal, who had this to say:
“There is drug testing, which is the responsibility of the involved Racing Commission at the actual race track where a veterinarian works and oversees the horses, which one will supervise the process or even test the horse themselves. The post-race urine and blood sample will be taken from the horse that won, and all other competing horses each time a race has been done.”
Keeping the Races Clean
While much controversy surrounds horse racing and the illegal practices that go on from bad veterinarians, owners, and trainers, there are those who work tirelessly to keep a clean race and keep the horses safe from malpractice.
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