Melbourne Veterinary School racehorse welfare receives funding

Racehorse welfare is set to improve with the announcement of new funding to the University of Melbourne to reduce the frequency of joint injuries.

Melbourne Veterinary School
Melbourne Veterinary School Equine Centre

The grant from the Victorian State Government and Racing Victoria aims to target the training programs of racehorses to reduce the frequency of joint injury and serious fractures.

Professor Ken Hinchcliff, Dean of the faculty of Veterinary Science said, “We welcome the support from the Victorian Government and Racing Victoria that recognizes the importance of the scientific research needed to further enhance racehorse well-being in the racing industry.”

“We believe this research grant will help to increase the career longevity of thoroughbreds, reduce breakdowns and fatal injuries and improve equine welfare, along with that the associated economic benefits.”

Elite racehorses, like human athletes, can suffer fatigue fractures and have sustained injuries that can prematurely cut short their sporting career.

University of Melbourne Veterinary School researchers have previously examined the fetlocks (ankle) of racehorses and noted an accumulation of micro-fractures on the interface between the cartilage and bone, and speculated that with a well-designed training regime these micro fractures can be managed.

Prof Chris Whitton, Associate Professor Head of the Equine Centre said, “By measuring the accumulation of micro-damage and repair in racehorses our research will help to inform training regimes and equine management practices to reduce the frequency of bone damage and serious injury.”

The University of Melbourne’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

  • a curriculum that embraces the latest clinical technologies and evidenced-based practices;
  • an interesting range of study areas taught in a stimulating way—tapping into the wealth of experience of Melbourne’s team of expert veterinarian;
  • international recognition through accreditation by Australian, North American and British agencies, allowing graduates to easily work overseas;
  • internationally recognized and trained staff with extensive experience in veterinary education, advanced practice and research;
  • a practical and hands-on focus, including a final year of lecture-free practical training in the University of Melbourne’s Veterinary Hospital and at other approved sites;
  • accessibility for local, rural and international students;
  • opportunities to pursue scientific investigations in a dynamic research environment;
  • a strong cohort experience for our local and international students, with active mentorship by Melbourne’s dedicated teaching staff;
  • graduates finish with two degrees: an undergraduate science degree to provide important theoretical foundations in science and the DVM for specialized graduate-level theoretical and practical training in veterinary science;
  • excellent networking, placement and employment opportunities arising from strong national and international links with the veterinary profession, agricultural and animal health industries and research agencies; and
  • flexible, knowledgeable and capable graduates.


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