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Endoscopic evaluation of arytenoid function and epiglottic structure in Thoroughbred yearlings and association with racing performance at two to four years of age: 2,954 cases (1998–2001)

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  • 1 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, PO Box 12070, Lexington, KY 40580
  • | 2 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, PO Box 12070, Lexington, KY 40580
  • | 3 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, PO Box 12070, Lexington, KY 40580
  • | 4 Department of Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506

Abstract

Objective—To determine the association between results of endoscopic evaluation of arytenoid function (AF) and epiglottic structure (ES) in Thoroughbred yearlings and racing performance at 2 to 4 years of age.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—2,954 Thoroughbred yearlings.

Procedures—Records of yearlings that had endoscopic evaluation of the larynx between 1998 and 2001 were obtained, and results were graded by use of standardized scales. A modified Havemeyer scale (grade I, II.1, II.2, III, or IV) was used to evaluate AF; ES was graded on a scale of 0 to IV. Records were annotated if the epiglottis was subjectively short or narrow. Racing performance data were obtained from an online database.

Results—Horses with grade II.2 AF had significantly less earnings at 4 years of age, compared with earnings of horses with AF grades < II.2. Grade III AF was associated with fewer starts and less earnings at 3 and 4 years of age. No horses met the criteria for grade IV AF. Horses with ES grades > II had less earnings at 2 and 4 years of age, compared with earnings of horses with ES grades < II. A short epiglottis was associated with less earnings at 2 and 3 years of age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis suggested that yearlings with grade III AF had a decrease in athletic potential. Yearlings with grade II.2 AF, an ES grade > II, or a short epiglottis typically had decreases in racing performance. These factors should be evaluated carefully when developing purchase recommendations.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the association between results of endoscopic evaluation of arytenoid function (AF) and epiglottic structure (ES) in Thoroughbred yearlings and racing performance at 2 to 4 years of age.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—2,954 Thoroughbred yearlings.

Procedures—Records of yearlings that had endoscopic evaluation of the larynx between 1998 and 2001 were obtained, and results were graded by use of standardized scales. A modified Havemeyer scale (grade I, II.1, II.2, III, or IV) was used to evaluate AF; ES was graded on a scale of 0 to IV. Records were annotated if the epiglottis was subjectively short or narrow. Racing performance data were obtained from an online database.

Results—Horses with grade II.2 AF had significantly less earnings at 4 years of age, compared with earnings of horses with AF grades < II.2. Grade III AF was associated with fewer starts and less earnings at 3 and 4 years of age. No horses met the criteria for grade IV AF. Horses with ES grades > II had less earnings at 2 and 4 years of age, compared with earnings of horses with ES grades < II. A short epiglottis was associated with less earnings at 2 and 3 years of age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis suggested that yearlings with grade III AF had a decrease in athletic potential. Yearlings with grade II.2 AF, an ES grade > II, or a short epiglottis typically had decreases in racing performance. These factors should be evaluated carefully when developing purchase recommendations.

Contributor Notes

Presented in abstract form at the 52nd Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Orlando, Fla, December 2007.

The authors thank Emma Tierney for assistance with data collection.

Address correspondence to Dr. Garrett (kgarrett@roodandriddle.com).