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Incidence and risk factors for exertional rhabdomyolysis in thoroughbred racehorses in the United Kingdom
  1. C. M. McGowan, BVSc,DipVetClinStud, PhD,MACVSc, MRCVS1,
  2. T. Fordham, BVetMed,MRCVS1 and
  3. R. M. Christley, BVSc,DipVetClinStud, PhD,MACVSc, MRCVS2
  1. 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA
  2. 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1QH
  1. School of Animal Studies, University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland 4343, Australia


Telephone surveys of 34 racing yards with 1276 horses in training were made to establish the overall incidence of exertional rhabdomyolysis in the previous year. A case-control study was used to investigate the risk factors for the syndrome in 12 yards selected on the basis of the routine confirmation of diagnoses by the evaluation of the serum activities of creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase. The overall incidence of the syndrome was 6.7 per cent and 80 per cent of the trainers had at least one affected horse. In 74 per cent of the affected horses it frequently recurred, with an average of six lost training days per episode. Risk factors identified for the syndrome included being female, having a nervous, excitable temperament, and being two years old.

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