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Objective

To validate and then use quarterly earnings to assess racing performance of Thoroughbreds after modified laryngoplasty for treatment of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy

Study Design

Retrospective cohort study.

Animals

Thoroughbred racehorses after modified laryngoplasty (N = 70), and untreated cohorts (N = 210).

Methods

Medical (2005–2008) and race records of 70 Thoroughbred racehorses treated by modified laryngoplasty were reviewed. Postsurgery data were collated as the number of starts and the dollar race winnings for each quarter after the date of surgery. Comparisons were made to an untreated cohort population. Initial comparisons were made between subgroups of the untreated cohort to ensure that one randomly selected group of untreated horses would not differ significantly from another untreated group.

Results

In the last race before surgery, treated horses performed significantly (P < .001) worse than untreated horses. When data were examined by quarter, with the exception of the first quarter after surgery, there were no significant differences in race starts or dollars earned between treated horses and untreated cohorts. All treated horses had at least 1 race after surgery and there was no difference in cumulative survival up to 40 races after surgery between treated and untreated groups

Conclusions

Quarterly earnings can be used to provide a more detailed longitudinal assessment of a racehorse's performance. Horses treated by modified laryngoplasty for recurrent laryngeal neuropathy return to similar level of performance as their untreated cohorts by the second quarter after surgery, and continue to compete as long as their cohorts.