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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Default OTTB soft palate displacement?

    I'm trialing an OTTB. Liked him, decided to do prepurchase. All went well until scoping him. At rest, epiglottis fine, but the soft palate drops down in the airway for much longer than expected. Made vet suspect collapsing airway. Treadmill to confirm = $700, vet said no treatment anyway. Would only show up when galloping cross country, which of course I wouldn't know until a year or so of training.

    Talked to the horse's owner/racing trainer. Trainer felt that tongue tying or figure 8 would take care of it. No issue with using figure 8 cross country, don't want to pay for treadmill in a trial horse. Take a chance and purchase? Thoughts?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
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    If it is a soft palate displacement......a simple flipping of the palate...it typically will not be a problem at levels below a **. And there may be a surgical treatment for it. For one horse that I have, I was told he was a good candidate for the surgery if it proves to be an issue. I priced the surgery and it isn't terribly expensive and assuming no unusual complications, I would only lose about 4-6 weeks of work. It is done all the time around here with race horses. Note, this is not a tie back surgery. My understanding is that they scar the palate slightly so it becomes a bit less flexible....so it is only really an option if they are flipping their palate at the wrong times because it is too soft/flexible.

    I'm not entirely sure what you are describing is the same thing.... You don't necessarily need a treadmill to confirm. I would think you could hear it just sitting on him when you gallop him.

    But it totally depends on individual horse. They can sometimes be doing it if they are just gettting over a bad resp. infection....or there could be an injury or other cause. I wouldn't write a horse off with it....but it is a negative to be dealing with it.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  3. #3
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    Oct. 16, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Default

    BFNE, appreciate your thoughts. It is, without further diagnostic studies, believed to be a simple flipping of the palate. You shouldn't be able to see "but a flash" of the palate at rest when doing routine scoping for screening. In this horse, it hangs out for a few moments when the gag reflex is stimulated by the scope. The treadmill, according to the vet, would allow us to put him in strenous work at a canter and with a scope, visualize his upper resp. tract at the same time. I am unable to to hear it since he's so green I have no way to put him in strenous work. The vet thought that if I cantered him for about 30 min in an indoor (weather is too bad to try it outside), I should be able to reproduce it (or not). But I can't imagine cantering a green unbalanced OTTB in an indoor for 30 min. I'm sure my palate would enlarge and obstruct my breathing before his would. :-)

    I anticipate only low level eventing, nothing higher than training level. I just didn't want to spend the kind of time I need to, only to find that going cross country at BN or N his air shuts off and it cannot be treated. But I'll be the first one to admit that I am completely inexperienced at evaluating this info.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2001
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    Sheridan, IN
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    Default

    I have limited experience with this, as BFNE says, it usually becomes more evident/more of a problem at higher stress. A horse that is running along comfortable suddenly seems to hit the wall, or breathing becomes labored and noisy.

    However, if a horse is stressed at even BN or Nov and is tense it can flip its palate & become very uncomfortable until it swallows & puts it right.

    You might post in the racing forum as well.

    I'm sort of the opinion that if you really like this horse and can live with with knowing that you could have an issue that requires surgical correction down the way, then buy him. If you are uncomfortable with that scenerio then pass.



  5. #5
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    I agree with LAZ.....If you like the horse...I would go for it.

    It is something that *may* affect this horse's resale value. Sort of like cribbing....but for lower level eventing, it doesn't scare me off if everything else looks fine.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 17, 2010 at 03:48 PM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2002
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    Upperville, VA
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    Default

    I replied on your racing thread as well. No, this wouldn't bother me. In fact, one of my mares I galloped and worked myself, so I know she flips hers. My goal with her is at least Prelim. Working on the track and racing is faster then any event horse is going to go. Galloping day to day is still way faster then most event horses go on XC.

    A figure 8 can help, you can play around with different bits and nose bands, but I bet you'll never notice this on XC.

    The noise does not sound like a roarer. I know a few people who describe it differently, but it sounds like drowning to me. It's nasty.

    I don't think this would affect resale, my thinking would be you have the original scope/vet report. The horse goes on for a few years competing and eventually going Training (if that's the goal) and never has an issue. If/when re-scoped on another pre purchase, the seller can give the buyer all the info on the original scope, and the horse can hopefully have a record that shows it wasn't an issue.
    WestWind Farms
    Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
    - George H. Morris



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ishi View Post
    The noise does not sound like a roarer. I know a few people who describe it differently, but it sounds like drowning to me. It's nasty.

    Yeah...sounds very different from a roarer....gagging/guggling is how I describe it but drowning is good too. My current guy doesn't make the sound all the time. I had one who both flipped his palate and had tie back surgery. For him, there were just some maintenance issues but nothing major and nothing that would prevent him from going at least Prelim.

    Good luck! It isn't an unusual problem and for some of the OTTBs, it goes away.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  8. #8
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    Oct. 16, 2009
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    Indiana
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    Thank you all very much for you input and expertise. I talked to the vet who scoped the horse one more time, and he felt that since I would not be using him for something as strenous as flat racing, the chance of having the problem is less. I was able to work with the owner/trainer and we came to agreement, so he's mine now. It is so nice to receive straight talk on this forum, and I was lucky enough to work with a seller who behaves the same.



  9. #9
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    Feb. 4, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
    Yeah...sounds very different from a roarer....gagging/guggling is how I describe it but drowning is good too. My current guy doesn't make the sound all the time. I had one who both flipped his palate and had tie back surgery. For him, there were just some maintenance issues but nothing major and nothing that would prevent him from going at least Prelim.

    Good luck! It isn't an unusual problem and for some of the OTTBs, it goes away.
    I was freaked out the first time I had it happen--I thought the horse was gagging/wretching, I was pulling up, it went "gulp" and was OK. Weird experience for sure!



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