Off to the Races: Improved Surgery for “Bad Throats” Safe and Effective

Thoroughbred racehorses with obstructed respiratory tracts due to inflammation of the arytenoid cartilage or failed tiebacks treated via unilateral partial arytenoidectomy–a surgical technique that resolves the obstruction–are likely to return

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Thoroughbred racehorses with obstructed respiratory tracts due to inflammation of the arytenoid cartilage or failed tiebacks treated via unilateral partial arytenoidectomy–a surgical technique that resolves the obstruction–are likely to return to racing within six months of the operation with few postoperative complications.


According to co-author Eric Parente, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, partial arytenoidectomy has historically been associated with only a fair to guarded prognosis for return to racing.


“In this study, we feel we improved the outcome by performing a ‘primary mucosal closure’ in the throat and we saw an increase in the number of racehorses that successfully made it back to the track postoperatively,” explained Parente.


Of the 73 horses that underwent the partial arytenoidectomy with primary mucosal closure and were available for follow-up, 82% returned to racing, with 63% racing more than five times. The average time between the surgery and a horse’s first start was six months

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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