The best possible care for racing horses

NURSING IT BACK: A horse after surgery at the BTC veterinary hospital on Tuesday.

NURSING IT BACK: A horse after surgery at the BTC veterinary hospital on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Chitra V. Ramani

Chitra V. Ramani

BTC has a sophisticated hospital for its horses

Bangalore: The 85-acre Bangalore Turf Club is arguably one of its kind in the world where the available space is used to house over 1,000 stables, three training tracks, an equine swimming pool, walking rings, an amateur riding school and a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital.

Equipped with sophisticated medical equipment to provide top-notch medical care to the priceless horses, the hospital has five doctors and eight compounders, all on call round-the-clock.

The horses usually fall ill during the summer and monsoon months. With so much at stake, the veterinarians ensure that the horses get the best medical attention possible.

B.S. Thimmappa, a veterinarian, said that, on an average, they attend to at least 130 horses a day. The most common ailment horses suffer is colic (abdominal pain).

“When horses have colic, they tend to be disturbed, and may get violent. If immediate medical attention is not provided, it could turn fatal. The other common injuries are lameness, infections, and at times, even fever. We are self-contained. We don’t need to send our horses to other hospitals. We have performed several major orthopaedic surgeries here,” he said.

Dr. Thimmappa said that it was in the late 1970s that a few stables were converted to house the hospital. “The club has since taken many initiatives to ensure that the best of facilities are provided,” he added.

Horses, usually loyal and docile animals, tend to get temperamental.

It is during those times they need to be restrained physically.

Putting down these magnificent animals is a different matter. “When a horse is in pain and cannot be treated, a veterinarian has to take the tough call of putting it down in concurrence with the owner,” said Col. Gopalakrishnan, another veterinarian.

Extreme care

Sidney Moses, committee member of the club, said that when equine influenza epidemic spread last year, the biosecurity measures taken at the Bangalore Turf Club ensured that not a single horse fell ill.

“Extreme care was taken and all horses were vaccinated,” he said.

When a horse retires from racing, the owner tries to place it in a farm and or riding club. The racing life of a horse is short. “We try to find them good homes where they can spend the rest of their lives in peace,” he said.

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