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Objective—To compare endoscopic findings of the upper portion of the respiratory tract in Thoroughbred yearlings with their subsequent race records to determine whether subjective assessment of airway function may be used as a predictor of future racing performance.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—427 Thoroughbred yearlings.

Procedures—Endoscopic examination findings were obtained from the medical records and the videoendoscopic repository of the Keeneland 1996 September yearling sales. Racing records were requested for the yearlings through the end of their 4-year-old racing season (1997–2000). Twenty-nine measures of racing performance were correlated with endoscopic findings. Subjective arytenoid cartilage movement grades were determined, using a 4-point grading scale (grade 1 = symmetrical synchronous abduction of the arytenoid cartilages; grade 4 = no substantial movement of the left arytenoid cartilage).

Results—Of the 427 Thoroughbred yearlings included in this study, 364 established race records, and 63 did not. Opinions regarding suitability for purchase, meeting conditions of the sale, and the presence of epiglottic abnormalities had no significant association with racing performance. Arytenoid cartilage movement grades were significantly associated with many of the dependent variables. However, palatine abnormalities were not predictive of inferior racing performance.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Thoroughbred yearlings with grade-1 and -2 arytenoid cartilage movements had significantly better racing performance as adults, compared with yearlings with grade- 3 arytenoid cartilage movements. In contrast, epiglottic and palatine abnormalities were not predictive of inferior racing performance. Therefore, evaluation of laryngeal function, but not epiglottic or palatine abnormalities, using the 4-point grading system, should be the major factor in developing recommendations for prospective buyers. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219: xxx–xxx)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To investigate relationships between cough frequency and mucus accumulation, airway obstruction, and airway inflammation and to determine effects of dexamethasone on coughing and mucus score.

Animals—13 horses with recurrent airway obstruction( RAO and 6 control horses.

Procedure—6 RAO-affected and 6 control horses were stabled for 3 days. Coughing was counted for 4 hours before and on each day horses were stabled. Before and on day 3 of stabling, tracheal mucus accumulation was scored, airway obstruction was assessed via maximal change in pleural pressure (ΔPplmax), and airway inflammation was evaluated by use of cytologic examination of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Effects of dexamethasone (0.1 mg/kg, IV, q 24 h for 7 days) were determined in 12 RAO-affected horses.

Results—To assess frequency, coughing had to be counted for 1 hour. In RAO-affected horses, stabling was associated with increases in cough frequency, mucus score, and ΔPplmax. Control horses coughed transiently when first stabled. In RAO-affected horses, coughing was correlated with ΔPplmax, mucus score, and airway inflammation and was a sensitive and specific indicator of ΔPplmax > 6 cm H2O, mucus score > 1.0, and > 100 neutrophils/µL and > 20% neutrophils in BALF. Dexamethasone reduced cough frequency, mucus score, and ΔPplmax, but BALF neutrophil count remained increased.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Because of its sporadic nature, coughing cannot be assessed accurately by counting during brief periods. In RAO-affected horses, coughing is an indicator of airway inflammation and obstruction. Corticosteroid treatment reduces cough frequency concurrently with reductions in ΔPplmax and mucus accumulation in RAO-affected horses. ( Am J Vet Res 2003;64:550–557)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research