The record-breaking heat this summer has induced the Japan Racing Association (JRA) to step up its countermeasures against race horses falling victim to heatstroke.
As of July 22, a total of 16 JRA race horses had been diagnosed with heatstroke, but this figure is still well below the 66 heat stroke diagnoses that occurred last summer. Veterinarians warn that it is more difficult to know when a horse is suffering from heatstroke as compared to humans, since they tend to express it less obviously in their behavior.
As a countermeasure to protect the horses on racing days, mist machines have been installed in the paddocks of the Kokura, Fukushima, Niigata, Chukyo, and Sapporo racecourses. Sprinklers are also being used to cool down areas where the horses exercise.
This summer Japan has experienced its hottest summer on record, with an unprecedented 41.1 degree celsius temperature measured one day in a city near Tokyo. Climate change may force the horse racing industry to take further measures in future years.