Ventriculocordectomy as the sole treatment for recurrent laryngeal neuropathy: Long-term results from ninety-two horses

Sarah E. Taylor, Safia Z. Barakzai, Padraic Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective - To evaluate the effect ventriculocordectomy (VC) for treatment of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (RLN) on exercise performance and owner satisfaction in a mixed-breed population of horses.

Study Design - Retrospective study.

Animals - Adult horses (n=92) with a history of abnormal respiratory noise and RLN.

Methods - Retrospective analysis of horse that had unilateral VC (and contralateral ventriculectomy in 63 horses) for treatment of idiopathic RLN. Owners/trainers completed a questionnaire about complications and outcome at least 1 year after surgery. Performance index was determined using race records for previously raced Thoroughbreds to evaluate outcome.

Results - Clinical signs included abnormal exercise-induced respiratory noises (noises; 52%), poor performance (11%), and noises and poor performance (37%). The median preoperative resting endoscopic grade of laryngeal function was Havemeyer grade III.1 (mild asymmetry). No discharge from the laryngotomy 1 week postoperatively occurred in 62% horses, 22% coughed after surgery, 66% made no noises, 9% continued to make noises at the canter, 21% made noise at the gallop, and 4% of owners were unsure whether noises were present. Ninety-three percent of horses returned to full work after surgery. Overall, 86% of owners considered the surgery worthwhile, 3% did not consider it worthwhile, and 11% were unsure. Surgery had a significantly beneficial effect on the racing performance index in Thoroughbreds (P=.004).

Conclusions - VC is a useful alternative to laryngoplasty for selected cases of RLN and is associated with a positive effect on exercise performance, a low postoperative complication rate, and a high rate of owner satisfaction

Clinical Relevance - Unilateral VC should be considered as a sole treatment in horses with low grades of RLN. (c) Copyright 2006 by The American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-657
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


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