Reasons for performing study: Little is known about the efficacy of bilateral ventriculectomy (VE) or bilateral ventriculocordectomy (VCE) in draught horses.
Objectives: To compare the effect of VE and VCE on upper airway noise in draught horses with recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) by use of quantitative sound analysis techniques.
Hypothesis: In competitive draught horses with grade 4 RLN, VE and VCE reduce upper airway noise during exercise, but VCE is more effective.
Methods: Thirty competitive hitch or pulling draught horses with grade 4 RLN were evaluated for upper airway sound during exercise. Respiratory rate (RR), inspiratory (Ti) and expiratory time (Te), the ratio between Ti and Te (Ti/Te), inspiratory (Sli) and expiratory sound levels (Sle), the ratio between Sli and Sle (Sli/Sle), and peak sound intensity of the second formant (F2) were calculated. Eleven horses were treated with VE and 19 with VCE. After 90 days of voice and physical rest and 30 days of work, the horses returned for post operative upper airway sound evaluation and resting videoendoscopy.
Results: VE significantly reduced Ti/Te, Sli, Sli/Sle and the sound intensity of F2. Respiratory rate, Ti, Te and Sle were unaffected by VE. VCE significantly reduced Ti/Te, Ti, Te, Sli, Sli/Sle and the sound intensity of F2, while RR and Sle were unaffected. The reduction in sound intensity of F2 following VCE was significantly greater than following VE. After VE and VCE, 7/11 (64%) and 15/18 (83%) owners, respectively, concluded that the surgery improved upper airway sound in their horses sufficiently for successful competition.
Conclusions: VE and VCE significantly reduce upper airway noise and indices of airway obstruction in draught horses with RLN, but VCE is more effective than VE. The procedures have few post operative complications.
Potential relevance: VCE is recommended as the preferred treatment for RLN in draught horses. Further studies are required to evaluate the longevity of the procedure's results.