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News Article

Study finds Hendra vaccine does not affect racing performance


Findings may encourage greater uptake of the vaccine in Australia

A study led by the University of Sydney has found vaccination against Hendra virus does not affect the racing performance of Thoroughbred horses.

The extensive study examined the Timeform rating of 1,154 Thoroughbreds over 12,066 race starts and assessed their performance one and three months before and after vaccination, with no difference in form detected. Timeform rating is an established measure of a horse’s performance in a race that takes into account how the race was run and where the horse finished.

The results have been published in the Australian Veterinary Journal.

“The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) funded the ground-breaking study so industry regulators and participants can base their decisions on accurate information and science rather than rumour and speculation,” Commissioner Ross Barnett said.

Associate Professor Navneet Dhand, who led the research team at the Sydney School of Veterinary Science, said: “This is one of the largest studies of its kind conducted to investigate the effect of any vaccine on horse racing performance anywhere in the world.”

Lead author Dr Kathrin Schemann, a Research Fellow in Veterinary Biostatistics and Epidemiology, explained: “Analysing the performance of each horse before and after vaccination over a short time period was the best way to assess the impact of vaccination as each horse acted as its own control.

The QRIC’s chief vet Dr Martin Lenz said many factors could potentially affect the performance of racehorses, so it was important for the study to be large enough to distil out any impact that vaccination might have.

“The large numbers of horses and race starts examined means we can be confident of the findings, which back up the instincts of many astute trainers who already vaccinate their horses,” Dr Lenz said.

Read article: Investigation of the effect of Equivac® HeV Hendra virus vaccination on Thoroughbred racing performance by K Schemann, EJ Annand, PA Reid, MF Lenz, PC Thomson and NK Dhand, published in Australian Veterinary Journal, online 4 February 2018, doi: 10.1111/avj.12679

Article details

  • Date
  • 13 February 2018
  • Source
  • University of Sydney
  • Subject(s)
  • Horses and other Equines