Fracture rate in Thoroughbred racehorses is affected by dam age and parity

Kristien L P Verheyen, Joanna S Price, James L N Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study's aim was to determine the effects of dam age and parity on the rate of fracture in offspring in Thoroughbred racehorses in training for flat racing. It was hypothesised that first foals and those from older mares would have a higher fracture rate than subsequent foals and those from younger mares. A two-year observational cohort study collected data from eight trainers on 335 horses that were monitored since the start of their training as yearlings. Multivariable Poisson regression analyses showed that first foals had a significantly lower fracture rate than subsequent ones (RR=0.33; 95% CI=0.12, 0.89; P=0.02) and rate of fracture decreased with increasing dam age (RR=0.91 per year increase in dam age; 95% CI=0.83, 0.99; P=0.03). This study shows for the first time that the rate of equine injury may be influenced by factors that affect skeletal development. Further research on intra-uterine and peri-natal determinants of injury risk in later life in horses is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Animals
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone
  • Great Britain
  • Horses
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports


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