Racehorses in Victoria will soon benefit from some of the best injury-prevention screening services available anywhere in the world after Victorian Minister for Racing Martin Pakula on Monday announced more than $950,000 from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund will be invested in new technology to improve animal welfare in the racing industry.
A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner will be purchased for the University of Melbourne Equine Centre in Werribee, along with a standing Computed Tomography (CT) scanner intended to be located at the Cranbourne Training Centre.
The $1.9 million joint project is supported by Racing Victoria with more than $700,000 and the University of Melbourne contributing more than $240,000.
The University of Melbourne, in partnership with Racing Victoria and the Victorian Government, has been carrying out world-leading research on the risk factors of injury to racing horses and how to improve prevention.
The Australian first equine PET scanner at Werribee will improve the Centre’s ability to identify areas of concerns in horses, further enhancing safety and welfare and will be operational from 2023.
Horses training in Victoria’s south-east, including the Cranbourne Training Centre, will have greater access to high quality imaging with this world-leading technology, reducing the need to travel to the equine veterinary facility at Werribee. The installation of the standing CT scanner is expected to occur after this year’s Victorian Spring Racing Carnival.
“Victoria is producing world-leading research in injury prevention amongst racehorses. This new technology will provide improved care to racehorses that compete in our state, the home of racing in Australia,” said Pakula.
“We’re proud to be leading ground-breaking research which is making a real difference reducing injuries, and the new scanners will help take that to the next level with better diagnostic capability and capacity," said University of Melbourne Professor Chis Whitton.