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Exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage affects raceday performance in thoroughbred horses

E. J. Crispe, G. D. Lester, C. J. Secombe, D. I. Perera

EXERCISE-INDUCED pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) refers to the presence of blood in the airways of the lungs in association with exercise. EIPH is anecdotally regarded within racing communities as a major cause of poor athletic performance, but there is little scientific evidence to support this.

There are inherent challenges in defining variables to evaluate race day performance objectively. The characterisation of performance based on finishing position alone is overly simplistic. This study aimed to determine if EIPH, based on endoscopic examination after racing, is associated with poor raceday performance using a variety of novel and established performance parameters.

Endoscopy was performed on 1567 horses between 30 and 120 minutes after a race (3794 exams in total). Two clinicians blinded to the horse's identity and race performance evaluated the video recordings of these examinations using a 0 to 4 grade scale, where 4 represented severe EIPH and 0 no EIPH. Performance variables were examined in two models: one comparing EIPH grade …

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