Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program

Racing Victoria's subsidy scheme for trainers and owners helps offset the cost of advanced diagnostic imaging for Victorian thoroughbreds.

As part of the sport's initiative to encourage a proactive approach to injury prevention, the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program commenced in July 2021 with the aim to minimise the risk of injury using early detection and intervention, with the goal of reducing the frequency and severity of acute and chronic injuries.

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program, please email the Racing Victoria Veterinary Services team at: veterinaryadmin@racingvictoria.net.au or call 03 9258 4258.

Who can nominate for the subsidy?
The trial Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program is open to those thoroughbreds that are listed as active or spelling, and domiciled in Victoria for a minimum of three months prior to nominating for the program.
What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the trial Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program, an owner or trainer must have their horse undergo a lameness examination by a private veterinarian. A Racing Victoria raceday veterinarian can also refer a horse into the subsidy.

 If the horse presents with lameness then it can be considered for the trial program.

What happens if lameness is confirmed?
A subsequent analysis of the lameness examination results and horse history will be conducted by the veterinarian to identify and recommend if and what advanced imaging is required.
What subsidy is available to cover the cost of the additional analysis?
To help an owner or trainer cover the cost of the additional analysis, upon referral by the veterinarian to one of the participating practices they will be eligible for a specialist assessment subsidy of up to $300.
Who can submit a diagnostic imaging subsidy application?
Either the veterinarian, owner or trainer can submit the diagnostic imaging subsidy application to Racing Victoria to determine and approve acceptance into the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program.
When should the diagnostic imaging subsidy application be made?

Applications must be lodged and approved before imaging takes place. Unless there are extenuating circumstances which require emergency imaging, there will be no retrospective approval for applications. That is, horses that have already been imaged may not be eligible for the subsidy.

It is anticipated that in many cases the participating practice will receive the horse’s admissions paperwork from the referring veterinarian at the same time as RV receives the application form (from the veterinarian, owner or trainer) to determine and approve acceptance into the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program

Who will determine the outcome of the diagnostic imaging subsidy application?
Following receipt of the application form, Racing Victoria will liaise with the participating practice to verify if the horse meets the criteria to be accepted into the program. Once the horse is approved, a member of Racing Victoria’s veterinary services team will contact the owner or trainer to confirm their acceptance and the recommended diagnostic imaging.
How much rebate will I receive once approved for the diagnostic imaging subsidy?
Confirmation of acceptance into the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program from Racing Victoria makes the owner or trainer eligible to recoup 50 per cent of their costs (a potential saving of up to $1600) when accessing diagnostic imaging technology, including scintigraphy (bone scanning), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (high field/standing) and computed tomography (CT) for the nominated horse through the participating practice.
Can I access the subsidy multiple times for imaging on the same horse?

Subsidisation of re-imaging is not guaranteed. Sound horses with a history of injury will not be eligible for the subsidy. Subsidisation for re-imaging a previous injury site will only be considered if:

  • The horse has completed its rehabilitation and time off and
  • Is showing the same or similar signs of lameness previously displayed and/or
  • Is reactive to flexion or palpation associated with the area of historical concern
What support is available for horses required to be hospitalised overnight?
An additional subsidy of up to $200 for a horse requiring hospitalisation for a minimum of one overnight stay at one of the programs participating practices will be available to the owner or responsible trainer.
How will I receive the diagnostic imaging subsidy?
For those horses approved to enter the program, the subsidies will be rebated by the participating practice delivering the service, with the balance difference being invoiced to the owner or trainer.
Who are the participating practices and what services are offered as part of the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program?

The three participating practices to provide the service offerings include:

  • U-Vet Werribee Equine Centre – Scintigraphy, MRI (high field – general anaethesia required), CT (standing)
  • Ballarat Veterinary Practice Equine Clinic – Scintigraphy, MRI (standing)
  • Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital – Scintigraphy
How is the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program funded?
The Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program is made possible by the Victorian racing industry’s $25 million equine welfare fund, courtesy of a two per cent prizemoney contribution by racing participants and the industry’s sustainability fund.

Application Form

To submit an application, please click the following button:

Apply now

Before submitting an application, please read the Programs Terms & Conditions by clicking here and the Fact Sheet by clicking here.

If you have already booked an imaging appointment, please ensure you allow 2-3 business days prior to the date of imaging for processing of your application.

To request a manual application form, please email: veterinaryadmin@racingvictoria.net.au

The below information provides an indicative cost breakdown of the diagnostic imaging options (before the 50 per cent subsidy is applied) available as part of the Diagnostic Imaging Subsidy Program offered by Racing Victoria:

MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging

What: MRI uses magnetic fields and resistance to create high-quality three-dimensional images of bone, fluid and soft tissue. MRI shows an image of the physical change occurring during injury or disease. Multiple images are collected of the area of concern. All standing MRI units are low-field, so those images have less detail than high-field MRI and CT.

Where: Ballarat Veterinary Practice Equine Clinic (Standing Procedure) or U-Vet Werribee - High Field MRI (with General Anaesthesia).

How much (full fee): High field MRI: up to $3,200 and Standing MRI: $2,995.

Scintigraphy (bone scan)

What: The patient is injected with a radioactive substance and a few hours later a gamma camera records which areas of the body have increased uptake of the radioactive substance. These areas are commonly known as hot spots—areas of increased bone activity (or soft tissue inflammation or cell turnover).

Where: Ballarat Veterinary Practice Equine Clinic, Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital or U-Vet Werribee.

How much (full fee): Up to $3,000.

CT: Computed Tomography

What: The standing CT scanner for horses allows efficient three-dimensional imaging of the lower limb and identification of otherwise undetected bone damage. It is essentially cross-sectional radiographs and very useful, providing excellent, high-detailed images for bone and fair to good images for soft tissues. Images can be viewed in multiple planes and at multiple angles. The quality and contrast of images created by CT is far superior to standard x-ray.

Where: U-Vet Werribee.

How much (full fee): Approximately $1,200 - $2,000*.

* Already partially subsided by RV and the State Government via investment in the Equine Limb Injury Prevention Program.

Please note: All costs are subject to change and must only be used as a guide. Full prices including GST will be determined by the participating practices delivering the diagnostic imaging.