Horse breath testing to benefit racing

on racehorses stabled at Adelaide University's Horse Unit on the Roseworthy Campus, in conjunction with Sydney University veterinarians.

"Respiratory disease is second only to musculoskeletal disease as a cause of serious economic loss to the racing industry through reduced performance, lost training days and premature retirement from the racetrack," Ms Argent says.

"A technique that is easily used, inexpensive and non-invasive could have an enormous impact, improving health and leading to a major reduction in lost performance."


Meanwhile, in another research project, a patent is pending for a new biotechnology technique that can help improve recovery of serious tendon injury in performance horses.

Dick Francis once wrote that the equine tendon is as sensitive as a violin string. Tendon injuries in horses are notoriously slow to recover and difficult to treat.

Research conducted by Adelaide University's Dr Robyn Woodward, Program Leader in Equine Studies, and Dr Simon Humphrys, a research scientist at South Australian biotechnology company PrimeGRO, is using Insulin Growth Factor I (IGF-I).

The new method involves the injection of IGF-I twice, commencing a week after the initial injury is sustained. The product is injected into the core lesion, its position determined by diagnostic ultrasound.

The studies have shown that tendons treated with IGF-I have a significantly higher percentage of collagen-I fibres, the strongest collagen fibres in the tendon, over the control group. Dr Woodward says this means a shorter recovery time and potential to improve overall recovery.

"The use of IGF-I has been shown to improve the quality of repair," she says.

"Provided that appropriate conditioning principles are followed, the product allows horses that have shown athletic promise before they incurred the injury to return to racing."


Contact: David Ellis
Adelaide University

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