Calgary – A post-mortem* has revealed the cause of the sudden death of an outrider horse on July 12, 2013. Pathologists from the University of Calgary report that the horse died almost immediately as the result of a pulmonary hemorrhage. This type of hemorrhage - essentially a rupture of an artery in the lung - is a known cause of sudden death in equine athletes.
Huey was a 10-year-old (previously reported as 12-year-old) thoroughbred that was part of Doug Irvine’s race team in Heat 4 on Friday night. Right after Heat 4, Huey was slowing down and turning to return to the infield when he suddenly collapsed and died.
There is no way to test for or anticipate this type of occurrence prior to a rupture. Huey had run races on the three previous race nights and exhibited no problems prior to his collapse.
Huey had been cleared to compete prior to each race as part of the Calgary Stampede’s Fitness to Compete program and all signs were normal at the initial inspection upon arrival to Stampede Park and each subsequent review.
All chuckwagon horses are required to submit to mandatory drug testing to check for any performance-enhancing substances, as well as painkillers. Huey, as all other horses that compete at the Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby, was part of that drug testing program.
This is the preliminary result of the gross post-mortem on the body. Tissue and blood samples will undergo laboratory analysis in the coming days and the Stampede will report any further findings of significance*.
*Update Thursday, July 18 – Laboratory analysis of tissue and blood samples confirms pulmonary hemorrhage as the cause of death, with no further findings of significance.
Our thoughts are with Doug and his outfit on the loss of Huey, who had been a valued member of the team and family for five years.
Click here to view explanation from equine veterinarian Dr. Greg Evans on the cause of death.
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