We are now within sight of a more caring era in horse racing. Foals born from now on need no longer have to retire from competition, much less put down because of injuries sustained in the sport of horse racing.
This is thanks to new technology with respect to stem cells. Stem cells are present in humans just as much as in thoroughbreds. They are common between all the parts of animal bodies, and form the raw material for the development of muscles, bones, other tissues, and organs as well. Stem cells are formed at the time of conception, and these are capable of forming entirely new individuals in the womb. Some of these stem cells are left in their original forms in the umbilical cord which joins a fetus to the body of its mother. Blood in the umbilical cord of a human baby or a foal, is rich in stem cells, and can be stored in special conditions, throughout the life of an individual human or animal. The stem cells are mostly individual specific, and tissues grown out of one set of stem cells may not work for another person or animal.
Stem cell technology is at a very early stage at present, but is expected to make rapid strides during the lifetimes of humans and animals which are born during the course of the present generation. Storing stem cells is an expensive business, and there are not many people willing to do it, but the facility is available for those who are able to invest in it. The umbilical cord is thrown away in any case, so it is easy for a veterinarian assisting in the birth of a foal to collect stem cells for storage. However, this is not something which can be arranged at the last minute. It should be planned along with the other steps of mating a brood mare.
Horse stem cells can be used to generate new connective tissue. The latter are the first to sustain extensive damage in a horse racing accident, and it takes so long to heal, that it has commonly disrupted the careers of top champions in the sport. Owners lose patience and put down horses which suffer extensive connective tissue damage in accidents. Much of the opposition to horse racing originates in this cruel practice. Stem cell technology puts the controversy to rest. Do be sure to make prior arrangements for the collection and permanent storage of stem cells in any horse breeding project with which you are associated. Write to us if you would like an address where horse stem cells can be stored.