Tendonitis Could Limit Racehorse CareersBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · January 17, 2010
Horses that have recovered from superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendonitis had more limited careers than control horses in a recent study.
Researchers found that horses treated for SDF tendonitis were as likely to race three times following treatment as control horses, but found a disparity when the parameter was expanded to five races post-treatment.
The study included 401 horses with a first occurrence of SDF tendonitis diagnosed by ultrasonography. The controls had no history of SDF injury or treatment, and were of the same age and sex, and trained at the same facility as the injured horses.
Eighty percent of all horses returned to racing, of which 53% were reinjured within three years. There was no difference in the rate of return to racing or completion of three races, but control horses were more likely to complete five races after the treatment date.
Previous studies have characterized SDF injury leading to tendonitis as the most frequent soft tissue injury in racehorses.
The study, "An investigation of the relationship between race performance and superficial digital flexor tendonitis in the Thoroughbred racehorse," was published in the Equine Veterinary Journal.