The results of a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (PennVet) New Bolton Center suggest owners and their veterinarians should consider a modified laryngoplasty to correct roaring in affected horses.

In a roarer, the muscles that open and close the left side of the larynx as the horse breathes are atrophied, causing the arytenoid cartilage (which closes over the trachea when a horse swallows) to droop into the left side of the airway. This effectively blocks the flow of air into the lungs.

"The surgery of choice for roarers is laryngoplasty, which involves placing sutures between two of the throat cartilages to pull the affected arytenoid cartilage open," explained Eric Parente, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, from PennVet’s Department of Clinical Studies.

The goal of any laryngoplasty is to maintain a large opening during exercise for air to travel unabated through the larynx to deliver as much oxygen to the horse’s lungs (and, thus, working muscles) as possible–a feat that is only successful in approximately 45-70% of treated horses via the traditional route.

"Due to the less-than-ideal success rate of the traditional procedure, we devised a ‘modified’ laryngoplasty technique that would hopefully achieve a more positive successful outcome," Parente said. "The modified approach involves placing the sutures differently to minimize interference and loosening and debriding the joint between the two cartilages to enable fusion of the joint and long-term stability of the opening."

Parente and colleagues performed the modi