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Sternothyroideus Myotomy, Staphylectomy, and Oral Caudal Soft Palate Photothermoplasty for Treatment of Dorsal Displacement of the Soft Palate in 102 Thoroughbred Racehorses

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To compare racing performance before and after sternothyroideus myotomy, staphylectomy, and oral caudal soft palate photothermoplasty in Thoroughbred racehorses with intermittent dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP). Study Design

Retrospective study. Animals

Thoroughbred racehorses (n=102) with DDSP. Methods

Retrieved data included signalment, primary complaint, and upper respiratory tract endoscopic finding. Lifetime race records were compared for earnings per start before and after surgery, days to 1st start, and races won postoperatively. Results

Comparing mean earnings per start for 3 races before ($2792) and after ($3806) surgery, racing performance improved significantly after surgery in 63% (46/73) of horses that competed in at least 1 race before and after surgery (P=.02). Mean and median days to 1st start after surgery were 109 and 69 days, respectively. Of horses that raced postoperatively 65% (60/92) won at least 1 race, and 77% (71/92) raced in >5 races after surgery. Conclusions

Sternothyroideus myotomy, staphylectomy, and oral caudal soft palate photothermoplasty significantly improved racing performance in experienced Thoroughbred racehorses with performance limiting DDSP, and overall had a similar outcome to other reported surgical techniques for treatment of DDSP. Clinical Relevance

Sternothyroideus myotomy, staphylectomy, and oral caudal soft palate photothermoplasty should be considered as a surgical approach to correction of DDSP in Thoroughbred racehorses; however, it is possible that staphylectomy may not be necessary to achieve a desirable outcome.
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Keywords: Thoroughbred racehorse; carbon dioxide (CO2) laser; continuous wave; dorsal displacement of the soft palate; horse; noncontact; photothermoplasty; soft palate; staphylectomy; sternothyroideus myotomy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Lexington, KY.

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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