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(08) 9524 1466

597 Baldivis Rd, Baldivis WA 6171 info@baldivisvet.com.au

Cat Horse

Racehorses & Pacers

Race Horses

Vets at Baldivis Vet Hospital have a special interest in racetrack practice. One of the common reason we examine racehorses and pacers is to discover why they are not racing to their full potential.

Common reasons/ tests for poor performance are


Lameness is a common problem in racehorses and pacers. We have evidence from E-Trakka data that even low grade lameness adversely affects performance. Diagnosis and treatment of lameness is a very important part of our daily practice at Baldivis Vet Hospital.

There are many causes of lameness and our Vets use physical examination, digital x-rays, ultrasound and diagnostic anaesthesia find the cause of lameness. Horses with chip fractures within the knee or fetlock joints are best managed by arthroscopic surgery. Horses without chip fractures may be managed with intrarticular triamcinolone. Other treatments include IRAP, Hyaluronic acid, Cartrophen Vet, Pentosan Equine, Glucosamine and Chondrotin sulphate.

Respiratory problems

Respiratory problems are a common cause of poor performance. Respiratory problems are generally diagnosed by endoscopy. Endoscopy involves using a video scope to visualise the larynx and trachea. Often samples of mucous are taken from the trachea and sent for laboratory analysis which involves cytology to determine the process (eg. allergic or infection or inflammatory or other) and then bacterial culture. In some cases the larynx or the palate may be suspect and endoscopy on a high speed treadmill is recommended so these structures can be examined during exercise. Often a BAL (brocho alveolar lavage) or lung wash is carried out. A BAL involves getting a washing from the lower lung and laboratory examination of the washing. The number of haemosiderophages in the BAL sample can give accurate information on bleeding. Cytology on the BAL can give information on inflammatory infectious and allergic processes.

Bloods tests

Blood tests have been used for many years to monitor the progress of horses in training and to make sure the horse is healthy prior to racing. Blood tests are useful to determine the number of red blood cells and haemoglobin level, the white blood cell number and the types of cells present can flag infection or stress. The serum chemistry part of the blood can detect muscle problems, liver disease, kidney problems, electrolyte imbalances and many other abnormalities. Blood is best taken from resting horses during the morning.


The E-trakka has made Baldivis Vet Hospital much more effective at helping our clients train winners. The E-Trakka result often alerts the Vet to problems that may be limiting the horse’s performance and these problems can be diagnosed by appropriate diagnostic tests. The E-Trakka has become an integral part of monitoring the horse’s response to treatment.

The uses of the E-Trakka are:

  • Measurement of the horses ability of lack of ability
  • Measurement of fitness. Horses who are well trained and are ready to perform have a characteristic profile on the E-Trakka
  • Evaluation of training programs
  • Detection of horses with poor recovery profiles who require veterinary diagnostic procedures
  • Monitoring poor performers to ensure the horse is responding to treatment
  • Detection of horses suspect for lameness which usually results in high heart rates at the trot
  • Detection of horses suspect for bleeding (exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage). While the E-trakka profile may make us suspicious of bleeding, endoscopy and/or lung wash (BAL) are required to make the diagnosis

Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulcers are common in racehorses and pacers. Baldivis Vet hospital has a 3 meter video endoscope to scope horses’ stomachs to diagnose the presence and severity of gastric ulceration. Gastric ulcers generally cause the horse to leave food, lose body weight and perform below expectations.

Heart problems

Heart problems can be diagnosed by an ECG and certain types of heart problems need to be diagnosed by cardiac ultrasound. The E-Trakka can be useful in the early detection of cardiac problems.

Other Problems

There are a large number of abnormalities and factors that can affect race performance. Baldivis Vet Hospital are experienced in race track practice and our aim is to discover the causes of poor performance and rectify them. Often the E-Trakka is helpful to determine where to start the examination.