Objective—To evaluate effects of thrombophlebitis of 1 or both jugular veins on athletic performance of horses.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—91 horses with jugular vein thrombophlebitis.
Procedures—Medical records of horses with jugular vein thrombophlebitis examined between 1988 and 2005 were reviewed for signalment, history, clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment. Performance was evaluated in 2 ways. A questionnaire was used to obtain a subjective assessment from the owner or trainer of the horse's performance after thrombophlebitis, compared with the performance before thrombophlebitis. Racing records from before and after thrombophlebitis were also evaluated.
Results—Thrombophlebitis was diagnosed in 37 horses at the time of admission (group 1), and 54 horses developed thrombophlebitis during hospitalization for an unrelated medical condition (group 2). Twenty-seven of 81 (33%) owners answered the questionnaire, and racing records were available for 31 horses. Performance data were available for 48 horses. Owners reported that all nonracing horses, except 1, had equivalent or better performances after discharge. Twenty-six of 31 (84%) Standardbreds resumed racing; in these horses, there was no significant difference between racing times before and after thrombophlebitis. No significant difference in performance was detected regardless of the primary disease, whether a horse had unilateral or bilateral thrombophlebitis, or the treatment administered.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that the athletic performance of horses used for nonracing events was not affected by thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis in racing Standardbreds was associated with a decreased chance of return to racing; however, performance was not impaired in those that resumed racing.