Neurectomies in Thoroughbred Racehorses

Updated: 1 August 2022
Issued: February 2018


Racing Victoria has received information that neurectomies are still being performed on Thoroughbred racehorses.

Owners, trainers and Permitted Veterinarians are reminded that desensitisation, both temporary and permanent, of the limb by any means is prohibited under the Rules of Racing AR 81. This includes but is not limited to, desensitisation by the use of injections or any other application of Pitcher plant extracts, ammonium chloride, alcohol or any other agent used with the intent of desensitising an area application of cryotherapy or any invasive surgical technique.

Owners (or their agent, e.g. Trainers) of horses that have been subjected to any form of neurectomy must notify the Stewards as soon as is practicable [AR 81 (3)] .

Racing Victoria considers that use of physical or veterinary procedures or medication to mask the effects or signs of injury to allow training or racing to the detriment of the horse’s health and welfare, have no place in the treatment or management of horses.

Racing Victoria expects that all medication, supplementation, physical therapy and surgical procedures administered or performed upon a horse are ethically and medically justifiable and always done in the best interests of the horse’s health, safety and welfare.

The Australian Veterinary Association Ltd. Code of Conduct and the various Veterinary Practice Acts require that veterinarians comply with all legislation relevant to their area of practice, including any competitive equine activity.

Participants are reminded that the Rules of Racing are legally enforceable in Victoria under the Racing Act (1958).