UC Davis Experts on Racehorse Health

Three racehorses with their jockeys race on a muddy track
If the race is to end at the winner's circle, it must begin with a focus on the health of these elite equine athletes. (Jupiterimages/gettyimages)

The following University of California, Davis, faculty members are available to comment to media on a variety of topics related to racehorse health, ranging from bone and tendon injuries and treatments to drug testing and track safety. For sources on other related topics, contact Pat Bailey, News and Media Relations, 530-219-9640, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu.

Horse racing injuries, regulation and drug testing

Rick Arthur, equine medical director at the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UC Davis and at the California Horse Racing Board, is an expert on horse racing injuries, regulation, drug testing, anabolic steroids, medications, veterinary procedures and pre-race veterinary examinations. His joint appointment to the racing board and the Maddy laboratory, which is operated by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, involves research and development of drug-testing policies as well as analysis of laboratory findings and industry education. Contact: Rick Arthur, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, 626-241-0682, rmarthur@ucdavis.edu.

Racehorse injuries and improving track safety

Susan Stover, professor of veterinary medicine, is an expert on musculoskeletal injuries of racing horses and improving racetrack safety.  She is internationally known for her work, which systematically characterizes equine bone growth and development and the effect of repetitive use. Her studies have demonstrated that pre-existing stress fractures underlie most performance-related fractures in athletic horses. Stover has identified risk factors for fracture development, resulting in better early detection, changes in training methods and overall improvements in racehorse welfare worldwide. She has also directed studies to improve methods of fracture repair, developed new techniques to detect lameness and added substantially to the early knowledge of pharmacokinetics of antimicrobial drugs used to prevent equine orthopedic infections. She also collaborates with physicians and engineers to model micro-crack fractures in bone, with important implications for a variety of human orthopedic diseases including osteoporosis. Contact: Susan Stover, Veterinary Medicine: Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, 530-752-7438, smstover@ucdavis.edu. (Stover will be away from campus without e-mail access May 27 – June 5.)

Tendon and ligament injuries and treatments

Larry Galuppo, professor and chief of the Equine Surgery and Lameness Service, specializes in equine orthopedic surgery, including tendon and ligament injuries and joint disease, with special interest in traumatology and fracture repair. His research emphasis is on biomechanics of bone fractures, implant design, and fracture repair, focusing on novel healing methods for musculoskeletal injuries using regenerative medicine technology. Contact: Larry Galuppo, Equine Surgery, 530-752-8088, ldgaluppo@ucdavis.edu.

Detecting drugs in racehorses

Scott Stanley is a professor of equine chemistry at the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UC Davis. His primary research interest includes analytical methods for detecting drugs, metabolites and natural products in biological samples.

The Maddy lab serves as the primary equine drug-testing laboratory for California’s five permanent racecourses and seven seasonal fair venues. The lab, which opened in 1999, is part of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Under Stanley’s leadership, the laboratory has established itself as one of the largest and most respected equine drug-testing labs in the world. Contact: Scott Stanley, Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, 530-752-8700, sdstanley@ucdavis.edu.

Effects of medications on racehorses

Heather Knych, associate professor of clinical veterinary pharmacology, specializes in the field of equine pharmacology. She studies the effects of medications on horses and oversees the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory’s Equine Pharmacology Research Laboratory at UC Davis. Her specific research interests include pharmacokinetics, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationships and clinical effects of anti-inflammatory and other drugs in performance horses. Contact: Heather Knych, Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, 530-752-8700, hkknych@ucdavis.edu.

Gait analysis, lameness and injury prevention

Scott Katzman, assistant professor of clinical veterinary medicine, specializes in equine lameness and gait analysis. His research focuses on racehorse injury prevention as well as diagnosis and management of upper respiratory obstructions, and gastrointestinal surgery. He co-led a team of UC Davis equine surgeons that provided emergency veterinary care for the 2014 Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita. Contact: Scott Katzman, Surgical and Radiological Sciences, 612-799-9489​, sakatzman@gmail.com.

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