Objective—To compare racing performance before
and after prosthetic laryngoplasty for treatment of
laryngeal neuropathy in inexperienced and experienced
Animals—52 Thoroughbred racehorses treated with
prosthetic laryngoplasty for laryngeal neuropathy.
Procedure—Lifetime race records were analyzed by
use of a verified regression model. Individual race
records and hospital records were also reviewed.
Results—Experienced horses had a decline in performance,
as measured by performance index, earnings
percentage, and mean prediction error, during the 6-month period before prosthetic laryngoplasty.
Performance improved after surgery, relative to performance
in 1 to 4 races immediately before surgery,
but did not attain previous baseline values for performance
index and earnings percentage, although racing
speed was restored to baseline values. Factors
associated with failure to attain baseline levels of performance
included other racing-related injuries and
disorders, major complications of surgery, and age.
Individually, however, many horses had long and successful
careers after surgery. Performance of inexperienced
horses after surgery was at least equal to that
of experienced horses.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In addition to
warning clients of the complications associated with
prosthetic laryngoplasty, it may be prudent to provide
a guarded prognosis for full restoration of racing performance
in older horses, unless they are especially
talented and are free of other racing-related problems.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:1689–1696)