Objective—The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of laryngoplasty on racing performance and to determine if any of the following variables had a significant effect on outcome: breed (Thoroughbred v Standardbred), endoscopic grade of laryngeal function, ventriculectomy versus no ventriculectomy, type of prosthetic suture used, and number of prostheses placed.
Study Design—Retrospective study of laryngoplasty with or without ventriculectomy for treatment of left laryngeal hemiplegia in racehorses between 1986 and 1993.
Animals or Sample Population—230 horses (174 Thoroughbreds, 56 Standardbreds).
Methods—The medical records of racehorses or horses intended for racing were reviewed. Signalment, admitting complaints, physical examination findings, resting endoscopic grade of laryngeal function, type of prosthetic suture material used, number of prosthetic sutures placed, presence or absence of ventriculectomy, and postoperative complications were recorded.
Results—Upper respiratory tract noise and exercise intolerance were the most common presenting complaints. Two horses had a laryngeal grade of 2, 109 horses a laryngeal grade of 3, and 119 horses a laryngeal grade of 4. Two double-strand braided polyester sutures were used in 147 horses, a single double-strand polyester suture was used in 49 horses, and a single double-strand nylon suture was used in 34 horses. Ventriculectomy was performed on 186 horses. The most common complication recognized during hospitalization was coughing in 50 horses. Telephone follow-up was obtained for 176 horses. For 168 horses, respiratory noise after surgery was decreased in 126 horses, the same in 28, and increased in 14. After hospital discharge, coughing occurred in 43 of 166 horses, and a nasal discharge occurred in 26 horses. Postoperative racing performance for 167 horses was subjectively evaluated by respondents as being improved in 69% of the horses. Overall owner satisfaction with the outcome after surgery was 81%. Of 230 horses, 178 raced at least one time after surgery. Overall, 117 horses raced three or more times before and after surgery, and 65 of these horses had improved performance index scores. None of the variables of surgical interest affected performance index scores.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Laryngoplasty with or without ventriculectomy allowed 77% of the horses to race at least one time after surgery, improved racing performance in 56% of the horses that completed three races before and after surgery, and improved subjectively evaluated racing performance in 69% of the horses.