Over £2m for Veterinary Science and Education in 2014

The very best veterinary care is provided to racehorses in Britain, and now the Horserace Betting Levy Board has announced that a further £2m will be invested in equine veterinary science and education in 2014.

This £2m investment for 2014 comes on top of the £23m which has been invested in research and education since 2000. This money is vital in ensuring that racehorses continue to receive the very best veterinary care.

Importantly, the sport's continued investment, via the Levy Board, into veterinary research benefits not only racehorses, but the entire population of horses in Britain.

The seven major new projects getting underway in 2014 include research into whether monitoring racehorse gait can help the early detection of musculoskeletal injury, how long bone fractures occur and how they might be repaired or prevented. Research will also look into the environmental and genetic factors regarding injuries incurred on the racecourse.

Combatting both historic and emerging diseases remains of paramount importance. New 2014 projects also include research into potential vaccines against illnesses such as African Horse Sickness and Grass Sickness, as well as research into other aspects of infectious disease. Also new in 2014 is the Small Projects Grants Fund reserved for programmes focusing on specific issues of direct and immediate practical application to the health and wellbeing of Thoroughbred horses.

In addition, the Levy Board has decided to fund a four-year clinical scholarship in equine sports medicine, concentrating on respiratory disorders; and three research scholarships.  These educational awards help to attract top quality veterinary surgeons into the equine zone.

In 2014 the Levy Board will be managing new veterinary scientific research investment on behalf of The Racing Foundation, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) and the European Breeders Fund (EBF). In addition to the funding allocation approved by the Levy Board of £1.8m (an increase of 12.5% over 2013), £220,000 has been made available by The Racing Foundation, and a further £20,000 by the EBF and TBA.

Professor Willie Donachie, Chairman of the HBLB Veterinary Advisory Committee (VAC), said:

“The new co-ordination of equine veterinary research investment, bringing together a number of funding streams, is a very welcome step forward.  This clear demonstration of the industry’s confidence in the Committee's assessment and management protocols is much appreciated. 

"The Committee is also especially pleased that the Levy Board’s allocation to veterinary science has again increased.  Equine research was hit by the serious cut in funding in 2009 when the Board’s income reduced so dramatically. Now, however, the programme will be reinvigorated and racing can look forward to a range of high quality, innovative and relevant outcomes."

For more information on the new projects and summaries describing recent and current research on diseases and injuries of the thoroughbred, please visit http://racehorsehealth.hblb.org.uk.