Racing Performance in 72 Racehorses Treated with Prosthetic Laryngoplasty for Laryngeal Hemiplegia

Ryan S. Carpenter, C. Wayne McIlwraith, Ashley E Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare racing performance before and after prosthetic laryngoplasty for treatment of laryngeal hemiplegia in inexperienced (horses without at least one start before surgery) and experienced (horses with at least one start before surgery) Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racehorses. Medical records of 54 Thoroughbred and 18 Quarter Horse racehorses or horses intended for racing treated with prosthetic laryngoplasty and unilateral ventriculectomy for laryngeal hemiplegia were reviewed. Signalment, age at the time of surgery, resting endoscopic grade of laryngeal function, surgical procedure, and type of suture were recorded. Median performance index (PI), earnings, distance, and Beyer speed figure (BSF) per start for three races before and after surgery were compared, and factors associated with improved postsurgical performance were evaluated. Seventy-three percent of horses that had not raced before surgery and 84% of horses that competed in at least one race before surgery were able to return to racing after surgery. Fifty-nine percent and 27% of Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, respectively, were able to improve their PI after surgery. Sixty-two percent and 20% of Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, respectively, significantly increased their distance after surgery. Additionally, 61% and 66% of racehorses were able to increase their earnings and BSF after surgery, respectively. Horses treated with laryngoplasty and unilateral ventriculectomy have a good prognosis for return to racing. Inexperienced racehorses have a better prognosis for improvement after surgery than do experienced racehorses. Thoroughbred racehorses have a better success rate than Quarter Horse racehorses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-589
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Idiopathic laryngeal hemiplegia
  • Laryngoplasty
  • Quarter Horse
  • Racehorses
  • Thoroughbred

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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