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Effects of pulmonary abscesses on racing performance of horses treated at referral veterinary medical teaching hospitals: 45 cases (1985–1997)

Dorothy M. Ainsworth DVM, PhD, DACVIM1, Hollis N. Erb DVM, PhD2, Steven W. Eicker DVM, MSc, DACVA3, Amy E. Yeagar DVM, DACVR4, Laurent Viel DMV, PhD5, Corinne R. Sweeney DVM, DACVIM6, and Jean-Pierre Lavoie DMV, DACVIM7
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 2 Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 3 Valley Agricultural Software, King Ferry, NY 13081.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.
  • | 7 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal, Saint Hyacinthe, QC, Canada J2S 7C6.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether results of physical or radiographic examination or biochemical analyses in adult racehorses with primary lung abscesses were associated with ability to race following treatment.

Design—Multiple-center retrospective study.

Animals—25 Standardbreds and 20 Thoroughbreds.

Procedure—Medical records of horses with a primary lung abscess that were admitted to any of 4 veterinary teaching hospitals were reviewed. Results of physical examination, laboratory testing, and thoracic radiography were reviewed. Racing performance after treatment was compared with performance before illness and with performance of the general population of racehorses of similar age, sex, and breed.

Results—23 of 25 Standardbreds and 13 of 20 Thoroughbreds raced after diagnosis and treatment of a lung abscess. Most horses had a solitary abscess in the dorsal to caudodorsal lung fields. Results of initial physical examination, biochemical analyses, and culture and identification of the microbial isolate were not associated with whether a horse returned to racing. For horses that had raced prior to the illness, race performance after treatment of the lung abscess was not significantly different from performance before the illness.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—On the basis of racing performance in those horses that resumed racing after treatment, long-term residual lung damage did not develop in horses with primary lung abscesses that were treated appropriately. It is not known whether horses that recovered would be more likely to bleed from the site of a prior infection when resuming strenuous exercise and whether lung abscesses contributed to a failure to resume racing. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:1282–1287)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether results of physical or radiographic examination or biochemical analyses in adult racehorses with primary lung abscesses were associated with ability to race following treatment.

Design—Multiple-center retrospective study.

Animals—25 Standardbreds and 20 Thoroughbreds.

Procedure—Medical records of horses with a primary lung abscess that were admitted to any of 4 veterinary teaching hospitals were reviewed. Results of physical examination, laboratory testing, and thoracic radiography were reviewed. Racing performance after treatment was compared with performance before illness and with performance of the general population of racehorses of similar age, sex, and breed.

Results—23 of 25 Standardbreds and 13 of 20 Thoroughbreds raced after diagnosis and treatment of a lung abscess. Most horses had a solitary abscess in the dorsal to caudodorsal lung fields. Results of initial physical examination, biochemical analyses, and culture and identification of the microbial isolate were not associated with whether a horse returned to racing. For horses that had raced prior to the illness, race performance after treatment of the lung abscess was not significantly different from performance before the illness.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—On the basis of racing performance in those horses that resumed racing after treatment, long-term residual lung damage did not develop in horses with primary lung abscesses that were treated appropriately. It is not known whether horses that recovered would be more likely to bleed from the site of a prior infection when resuming strenuous exercise and whether lung abscesses contributed to a failure to resume racing. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:1282–1287)