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Equine Vet J. 2008 Jul;40(5):508-13. doi: 10.2746/042516408X320898.

The use of race winnings, ratings and a performance index to assess the effect of thermocautery of the soft palate for treatment of horses with suspected intermittent dorsal displacement. A case-control study in 110 racing Thoroughbreds.

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  • 1Donnington Grove Veterinary Surgery, Oxford Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JB, UK.

Abstract

REASONS FOR PERFORMING THE STUDY:

There have been no reports of the efficacy of thermocautery of the soft palate (TSP) assessed objectively as a treatment of intermittent dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP).

OBJECTIVE:

To compare: racing performance of horses that underwent thermocautery of the soft palate with matched controls; and 'Racing Post ratings' (RPR) with prize money won (RE) and a performance index (PI) for each of the horses in the study.

HYPOTHESIS:

Thermocautery of the soft palate has no beneficial effect on racing performance and the 3 measures of performance are significantly related.

METHODS:

The inclusion criteria were fulfilled by 110 horses and each was matched with 2 controls. Changes in performance were compared statistically. RPR, RE and PI were analysed using a regression model.

RESULTS:

The percentage of horses that improved in performance following the procedure was 28-51% for the 3 measures of performance, compared to 21-53% for the matched controls. There was no significant effect of the procedure on the changes in RPR or RE. There was a significant effect of the procedure on the change in PI (P=0.015) with more treated horses achieving an improved PI and fewer acquiring a worse PI than matched control horses. The measures of performance showed significant correlation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Thermocautery of the soft palate alone may not be the most efficacious treatment of DDSP.

POTENTIAL RELEVANCE:

Production of a reliable measure of racehorse performance may be possible.

PMID:
18490236
DOI:
10.2746/042516408X320898
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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