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Ventriculocordectomy as the Sole Treatment for Recurrent Laryngeal Neuropathy: Long-Term Results from Ninety-Two Horses

Authors

  • SARAH E. TAYLOR BVM&S, MSc, Cert ES (Orth),

    1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Scotland, UK
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  • SAFIA Z. BARAKZAI BVSc, MSc, Cert ES (ST), Diplomate ECVS,

    1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Scotland, UK
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  • PADRAIC DIXON MVB, PhD

    1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Scotland, UK
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  • Presented in part at the Havemyer Foundation Monograph Series 11. September 7–10, 2003, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.

Address reprint requests to Sarah Taylor, BVM&S, MSc, Cert ES (Orth), Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland, EH25 9RG, UK. E-mail: Sarah.Taylor@ed.ac.uk.

Abstract

Objective— To evaluate the effect ventriculocordectomy (VC) for treatment of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) on exercise performance and owner satisfaction in a mixed-breed population of horses.

Study Design— Retrospective study.

Animals— Adult horses (n=92) with a history of abnormal respiratory noise and RLN.

Methods— Retrospective analysis of horse that had unilateral VC (and contralateral ventriculectomy in 63 horses) for treatment of idiopathic RLN. Owners/trainers completed a questionnaire about complications and outcome at least 1 year after surgery. Performance index was determined using race records for previously raced Thoroughbreds to evaluate outcome.

Results— Clinical signs included abnormal exercise-induced respiratory noises (noises; 52%), poor performance (11%), and noises and poor performance (37%). The median preoperative resting endoscopic grade of laryngeal function was Havemeyer grade III.1 (mild asymmetry). No discharge from the laryngotomy 1 week postoperatively occurred in 62% horses, 22% coughed after surgery, 66% made no noises, 9% continued to make noises at the canter, 21% made noise at the gallop, and 4% of owners were unsure whether noises were present. Ninety-three percent of horses returned to full work after surgery. Overall, 86% of owners considered the surgery worthwhile, 3% did not consider it worthwhile, and 11% were unsure. Surgery had a significantly beneficial effect on the racing performance index in Thoroughbreds (P=.004).

Conclusions— VC is a useful alternative to laryngoplasty for selected cases of RLN and is associated with a positive effect on exercise performance, a low postoperative complication rate, and a high rate of owner satisfaction

Clinical Relevance— Unilateral VC should be considered as a sole treatment in horses with low grades of RLN.

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