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Information for Vets | The Track Vet

The Track Vet


Under the GBGB Rules of Racing, a Veterinary Surgeon (track vet) must be present when greyhounds are racing or trialling at any GBGB licensed greyhound stadium. This veterinary presence must be of a countrywide uniform standard performing the duties and requirements outlined here.

Prime Duty
The track vet is the final arbiter on whether a greyhound is fit to run in any race or trial and must ensure that all competing greyhounds are free from illness, injury or disease, thus upholding the integrity of GBGB racing.

The GBGB rules are wide reaching and the track vet must be thoroughly familiar with them, especially those that refer to animal welfare and the rules regarding medication.

As in all walks of professional life, rules must be applied with wisdom and care and communication and politeness are the watchwords.

Trials
Trials enable the Racing Manager to grade or handicap greyhounds that are commencing their racing careers at a particular track, changing their running distance or are being hurdled. They also allow open race greyhounds to familiarise themselves with the track. All greyhounds returning from injury or illness must be trialled back. Many tracks devote a morning or afternoon for greyhound trials each week; the potential for injuries at trials is as great as during actual racing.

Pre-Race Kennelling
In most instances the track vet is present for pre-race kennelling. Before every greyhound is due to race it must be given a brief but thorough inspection. Bitches must be checked for signs of oestrus as bitches in oestrus may not run. Greyhounds must be trotted up in both directions to ensure that there are no signs of lameness. If there is any doubt as to the fitness of a particular animal it must be re-examined and if necessary, the track vet must advise to the Racing Manager and trainer that it be withdrawn.

Pre-Race Inspection
When pre-kennelling inspection is not carried out, adequate time must be made for the track vet to carry out a full inspection to the same standards as the pre-kennelling inspection. Where a pre-kennelling inspection has been carried out, the greyhounds may be taken from their kennels for a second inspection immediately prior to the pre-race parade.

The greyhounds are examined in their racing jackets and checks must be made that these are correctly fitted and safe and also that the greyhounds are still fit to run and have not injured themselves in the kennels. To aid this assessment the greyhounds must again be trotted up in the prescribed manner. If there is any doubt about the fitness of a greyhound the Stewards of the meeting must be informed immediately and the animal withdrawn.

Where requests are made to the track vet to allow the use of Vaseline on a track elbow or track leg, within reason these should be allowed with the very important proviso that any Vaseline used must be provided by the track vet and applied in their presence. No other medication may be used.

Racing
During a race the track vet must have a good view of the running and performance of all the greyhounds.

Post-Race
After a race all greyhounds must be observed as they return to the paddock to ensure that no runner is in a distressed condition. If a dog is badly injured during a race the track vet must be able to treat that dog at the treatment room; treatment of an injured animal takes precedence over any other duty. If the track vet is dealing with an injured greyhound the runners for the next race should be inspected by one of the Stewards of the meeting, or failing that, by the most senior trainer with no runners in the race.

All drugs, dressing etc., must be supplied by the track vet, but paid for by the stadium. This ensures that trainers who require treatment for their greyhounds during races or trials are able to request such treatment and know that they will not be requested to pay for it. The only additional cost to trainers should be for the disposal of the cadavers of greyhounds that have had to be euthanased on humane grounds during the meeting and the track vet is responsible for their transport and disposal in accordance with the Statutory Regulations.

If track veterinary surgeons are asked to vaccinate greyhounds at the track they must give the vaccinations after racing, when the greyhound is rested and its body temperature has returned to near normal.

All vaccination certificates must contain the following:

  • Name and address of either the trainer or its owner

  • The name of the greyhound

  • Its age and sex

  • A brief description of the greyhound together with its earmarks

  • The name and type of vaccine together with batch numbers

  • The printed name and address of the veterinary surgeon administering the vaccine and the signature of the Veterinary Surgeon

These certificates are recognised as being true and factual certificates by the RCVS. Failure to comply fully with these requirements may be regarded as a breach of rules by both the GBGB and the RCVS.