Study Shows Racehorse Performance Not Affected by Hendra Vaccine

Researchers evaluated 1,154 Thoroughbreds’ Timeform ratings and performance before and after vaccination and detected no difference in form.

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Study Shows Racehorse Performance Not Affected by Hendra Vaccine
The researchers evaluated each horse's performance before and after vaccination so each animal could serve as its own control. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse
Researchers have determined, via a world-first study, that vaccination against Hendra virus does not appear to affect Thoroughbred horses’ racing performance.

“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 rumor and speculation,” said Commissioner Ross Barnett.

Study researchers examined 1,154 Thoroughbreds’ Timeform ratings over 12,066 race starts and assessed their performance one and three months before and after vaccination, with no difference in form detected. Timeform ratings are used to measure a horse’s performance in a race, taking into account how the race was run and where the horse finished.

The QRIC’s chief vet Martin Lenz, BVSc, says many factors can potentially affect the performance of racehorses, so it was important for the study to be large enough to distill out any impact that vaccination might have

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