Evaluation of racing performance after colic surgery in Thoroughbreds: 85 cases (1996–2010)

  • Tomlinson J
  • Boston R
  • Brauer T
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Objective—To determine racing performance after surgery for colic in Thoroughbreds. Design—Retrospective cohort study. Animals—85 racing Thoroughbreds that survived to discharge following colic surgery and 170 race-matched reference horses. Procedures—Earnings, starts, and earnings per start were compared between horses that underwent surgery and reference horses, the proportions of horses that returned to racing were analyzed, and career longevity was determined. Results—Among 85 racing Thoroughbreds that underwent colic surgery, 31 (36%) had primarily small intestinal lesions, of which 11 underwent resection; 54 (64%) had large intestinal lesions, of which 2 underwent resection. Fifty-nine of 85 (69%) horses that un- derwent colic surgery returned to racing after a 6-month recovery period versus 125 of 170 (73%) reference horses (OR, 0.81). In the 36-month postoperative period, reference horses earned a mean of $7,866 more, had a mean of 0.26 more starts, and had mean earnings per start of $29 more than horses that underwent surgery. Horses that underwent surgery did not have different career lengths than reference horses. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Horses that underwent colic surgery did not have a significant reduction in measures of performance or career length, compared with a refer- ence cohort. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:532–537)

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  • Joy E. Tomlinson

  • Raymond C. Boston

  • Thomas Brauer

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