Racehorse Respiratory Health – Spring ’21

Mar 22 – Nov 1

2 weeks (5-10 hrs/wk)

Course Closed

Are respiratory issues affecting your horse’s performance on the track?

In the 2017 Ontario Horse Racing Industry Survey conducted by Equine Guelph, ‘respiratory issues’ was ranked the number one health issue.Racehorses are elite athletes and best performance can only be achieved with optimal health.  Given the demanding life of the equine athlete, a high number of racehorses are at risk of several different respiratory concerns.  There are ways to reduce the risk through many daily management routines.

This online short course can be of benefit for all racehorse trainers and grooms in order to reduce the risk of respiratory issues in your barn, and improve your horse’s performance on the track!


Major Lesson Topics:

  1. Introduction – Respiratory Health in racehorses
  2. The Equine Respiratory System
  3. Understanding how horses breathe
  4. Detecting respiratory issues and/or discomfort
  5. Diagnosing respiratory issues
  6. Common respiratory problems
  7. Prevention – the racehorse lifestyle
  8. Prevention – other factors
  9. Assessment of Current Practices
  10. New Research

Full Course Outline

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Equine Guelph – the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph.

Time Commitment:

  • Occurs over a 2-week period
  • 5-10 hour time commitment is required during this period
  • No set times to be online!  Log in at your own convenience and learn at your own pace.
  • Recommended you visit the course site at least 5 times a week, preferably once or more each day
  • Course is entirely online, so travel to the University of Guelph is NOT required


  • All materials are provided online within course site


  • 16 years of age or older

For more information, please email [email protected]

Phone: 519 824-4120, ext. 54205

Dr. Melissa McKee, McKee-Pownall Equine Services

Dr. McKee grew up in the local horse industry. As well as coaching, training horses, and competing in many disciplines, she worked in a saddlery and apprenticed with a local farrier. She competed to advanced level in 3-day eventing throughout the United States prior to attending veterinary school.

After graduating, she worked in New Jersey at a large equine referral hospital that provided surgical care, lameness, medicine, emergency, and ambulatory practice, followed by a year in equine practice in Alberta before returning to Ontario as a founding partner of McKee-Pownall Equine Services. She is certified in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy through the COAC. Melissa has served on the American Association of Equine Practitioners Scholarship, Racing, Education, and Ethics committees, and is an Equine representative for the Ontario Animal Health Network.  Dr. McKee’s professional interests include lameness, diagnostic imaging, MRI, VSMT, and racehorse/sports medicine practice.

Dr. Patricia HoganHogan Equine Clinic (New Jersey)

Dr. Hogan has turned a lifetime love for horses into a successful career as an equine surgeon attending to some of the most valuable Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses in the country. Dr. Hogan is originally from New Jersey and obtained her veterinary education at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1992. After an internship at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and a 3-year surgical residency at Texas A&M University, Dr Hogan returned home to New Jersey to practice.  The majority of her patients are referred for fracture repair, arthroscopy, or upper airway surgery. Although the bulk of her caseload consists of Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses, some of her most memorable patients have never set foot on a racetrack and are just as valuable.

“Racehorse Respiratory Health was a very informative and helpful class…From the racing perspective it demonstrates another significant outreach of horse racing, namely the veterinary and academic community.”


John Balzer – Standardbred Owner, Breeder and Trainer
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health

Carlo and “River Seven”

“I want to thank Equine Guelph for allowing me the opportunity to learn about Racehorse Respiratory Health. The opportunity to work on the program on my schedule was great. The more we learn about our Equine Athletes the better stewards we will be to these magnificent animals.”

Carlo Tucci – Owner, Tucci Stables (Waterdown, ON)
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health

“I have taken a few courses with Equine Guelph, but I have to say this one resonated with me the most. I learned so much from this course, and I am so grateful for all of the knowledge. The videos and discussions were extremely helpful and informative. I learned so much in this course. As a racehorse owner, you not only need to have knowledge about how to help your horse’s respiration and avoid respiratory issues, but more importantly, you also need the correct, and factual information and knowledge. This course provided that and so much more with the extra resources and articles. I am so grateful to the Course Facilitators, Equine Guelph and the Horse Portal for offering this course! It is so vital to anyone who owns a horse, especially those in the racing industry. I totally recommend this course!”

Manjit Singh – Thoroughbred Owner
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health


“I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for this course. Having been around standardbred racehorses most of my life I thought I knew a great deal about this subject but I was surprised there was so much more to learn. I highly recommend taking this course.

Frank Reid – Standardbred Owner (Lasalle, ON)
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health


Course Instructor

Melissa McKee DVM Melissa McKee DVM Course Instructor