Towcester Racecourse unveils UK’s first greyhound ambulance as part of welfare commitment

The UK’s first dedicated greyhound ambulance has been unveiled by Towcester Racecourse as part of the venue’s commitment to delivering the highest standards of welfare and care.

The Canine Car will be used to transport a small number of greyhounds that require additional levels of onsite care and ensure medical treatment can be delivered as efficiently and safely as possible.

Costing £2,700, the vehicle will be used by highly respected greyhound vet Dr Polly Smith – who leads a team of qualified and experienced veterinary surgeons at each race meeting.

The investment follows the launch of a new welfare scheme by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) to safeguard welfare and care standards for racing greyhounds before, during and after their careers.

It also forms part of a countrywide commitment to continuing to reduce the current 0.03% fatality rate and 1.23% injury rate recorded on licensed UK tracks in 2021 to zero.

Dr Smith said: “The rapidly declining fatality and injury rates recorded by the GBGB in recent years is testament to the significant improvements greyhound racing has made concerning safety and welfare.

“While we make every effort to minimise injury risk, we also appreciate injuries do happen. It is essential that injured greyhounds receive immediate attention and can be transported in a comfortable and safe environment to the onsite veterinary facility.

“This is a first for UK greyhound racing and it’s pleasing to see Towcester Racecourse prioritising the welfare of dogs that race here. I have assisted multiple welfare initiatives launched by the GBGB so care requirements in greyhound racing go beyond the regulations in place for domestic pet owners.

“As a sport and as animal lovers, it is our responsibility to ensure all greyhounds receive the highest levels of care and attention through their racing careers and enjoy a smooth transition into retirement.”

The Canine Car supports Towcester Racecourse’s already established routine to ensure races operate within the GBGB’s strict Rules of Racing requirements.

Before any greyhound is allowed to run, a thorough examination is carried out by Dr Smith and her team. This includes a hands-on check of each greyhound’s joints and muscles, a visual assessment of overall health and condition and seeing a dog trot to assess for lameness.

The performance and health of each dog during its time at the racetrack is also constantly monitored.

Mick Conneely, General Manager at Towcester Racecourse, added: “Greyhounds are the sporting athletes of our multi-purpose venue, and it’s essential we look after and care for them accordingly.

“We see immediate treatment applied to athletes requiring attention across other sporting disciplines, The Canine Car is no different. It guarantees our veterinary team can quickly and safely care to a small number of greyhounds that require our attention.

“Greyhound welfare is our foremost priority at Towcester Racecourse and we will cut no corners in providing every dog with the care and attention they deserve. We’d like to thank Salacres Racing Team and Peter Harnden for supporting our efforts to continually improve welfare standards onsite.”