Industry Update - Post Exercise Distress Syndromes

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Greyhounds Australasia (GA) in conjunction with Australian Greyhound Veterinarians (AGV) and The University of Melbourne wish to update participants on the progress made by Dr Steven Karamatic who is investigating Post Exercise Distress Syndromes (PEDS) in greyhounds.

PEDS is a term used to describe a variety of syndromes seen after greyhounds exercise. It currently includes diaphragmatic flutter (commonly termed ‘thumps’), post exercise ataxia (commonly termed ‘hypoxia’), seizures and collapse.

Dr Karamatic has provided GA with ongoing reports since this study commenced, and is pleased to share the following information with industry:

  • The majority of the planned data collection has occurred with the project.
  • Over 4,000 greyhounds were assessed for signs of thumps after exercise.
  • Interim results indicate that on average greyhounds with thumps were more likely to be placed than unplaced, female than male, 57 days younger, had 4 less race starts and raced in earlier races.
  • Data from samples collected from 40 racing greyhounds in Victoria before and after exercise is in the process of being analysed. From initial observations, it appears results are similar between greyhounds with and without thumps. There was no significant difference in measured pH, ionised calcium, potassium or magnesium.
  • Extensive studies have occurred on the limited number of ataxic greyhounds seen, and results show their routine blood parameters to be within normal limits before and after exercise. Pre-exercise treatment with glucose or calcium gluconate has not stopped the onset of ataxia.
  • It is believed from clinical signs that the transient ataxia experienced is cerebellar in origin, but magnetic resonance imaging studies of the brain have been unremarkable.
  • He believes it is likely a genetic link exists for the ’hypoxia’ condition, which is relatively rare (i.e. 0.43% of starters) observed.

In closing, Dr Karamatic, stated that:

“The project has been very enlightening, and racing industry members, veterinarians and the greyhounds themselves will benefit from a number of the important findings surrounding various post exercise conditions. I hope this research stimulates additional industry-funded studies that improve the health and welfare of greyhounds in Australia.”

The project remains on track to be completed by late 2012 with the next update following the AGV Annual Conference in October 2012.

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