LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - When a thoroughbred is injured, there is always a lot riding on the decision of when or if to send the horse back into competition.
Trying to predict recovery from tendon injuries has long been difficult. But new research out of the UK - the country, not the University - could take some of the guesswork out of it .. and that is good news for the horse.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham have come up with an injury ranking system for tendon injuries. That doesn't sound like much but it could be a big step forward in getting veterinarians all around the world on the same page when it comes to knowing when to send a horse back into racing or into retirement.
After data-crunching the injuries and outcomes of thoroughbreds in Hong Kong, researchers produced a scoring system in which they assign a number to a tendon injury. The number will predict the extent of the horse's recovery.
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"And with this," Nottingham researcher Rafael Alzola said, "they will be able to provide more information for everybody to make a more educated decision on what to do with the horse."
Dr. Mary Scollay of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission views the Nottingham system as a way to prevent more serious, even catastrophic injuries.
"We have a tool now to say to an owner, it's not just my opinion, the probability is that this horse will not be able to return to racing based on its injury," Scollay said.