Data on the feeding and management of racehorses and the prevalence of trainer-identified recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER) were collected via a cross-sectional face-to-face survey of 100 registered Thoroughbred and Standardbred trainers (n=1,771 horses). Data were collected on the number of horses in full work, number displaying signs of RER, gender, and age (≤ 3 or > 3 years), amount and type of forage available, and weights of all forages and concentrates. The estimated crude RER prevalence was 8.4% (95% CI 7.2-10.8%) with no significant difference in prevalence between breeds. Premixed feeds were fed to 98% (1,742/1,771) of the total population, and 99% (148/149) of the horses that displayed signs of RER. Feeds specially formulated for horses that “tie-up” were fed to 50% (75/149) of horses displaying RER signs. However, 64% (48/75) of these had additional grain, or a standard racing feed, included in the diet. Average starch levels (% of DE) provided to horses displaying signs of RER were 33.4±1.1%. Only 7% (11/149) of horses displaying signs of RER were provided with dietary starch levels at the recommended allowance (< 20% of DE).
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 79, Palmerston North, 26-31, 2019
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