OBJECTIVE To determine effects of prosthetic laryngoplasty on return to racing, performance index, and career longevity in racing Quarter Horses with recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) and to evaluate performance variables for horses with RLN undergoing prosthetic laryngoplasty, compared with a control horse population.
DESIGN Multicenter, retrospective cohort study.
ANIMALS 162 racing Quarter Horses with RLN treated with prosthetic laryngoplasty (case horses) and 324 racing Quarter Horse without RLN (control horses).
PROCEDURES Medical and race records of case and control horses examined at 5 referral centers between January 2000 and December 2015 were reviewed retrospectively. Two control horses were matched with each case horse. Return to racing, earnings, number of racing starts, performance index, and career longevity were evaluated.
RESULTS The odds of returning to racing did not differ significantly between case and control horses but decreased with increasing age. Neither racing starts nor career longevity were affected by prosthetic laryngoplasty or by RLN grade. In fact, horses undergoing laryngoplasty for treatment of RLN and horses with the lowest RLN grade before surgery had higher performance indices after the surgery, compared with indices for control horses.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The faster speeds and shorter distances raced with Quarter Horses could alter how RLN impacts respiratory variables and performance in Quarter Horses, compared with other racehorse breeds. Further study is needed to understand the impacts of RLN and surgical treatments for RLN in racing Quarter Horses.