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Ventriculocordectomy for horse that roars...

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  • Ventriculocordectomy for horse that roars...

    I have a hunter horse that had a very slight roar when I bought him two years ago but now the noise has progressed enough that I am going to need to have it fixed.

    I do not want to do the tie-back procedure because of the risk of post surgery complications (aspiration, choke, etc.)

    I am exploring having a ventriculocordectomy done where the vocal cord and ventricular fold are lasered out. It seems like a very straight forward and low risk procedure.

    I wanted to see if anyone on this board had a horse that had undergone this procedure. If so, I am interested in whether or not it completely eliminated the noise and whether there were any negative side effects from the surgery. I would also like to find out how long the horse had to be out of work.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Probably won't be much help as I haven't had the surgery done, but my horse is a roarer and the surgeon recommended this procedure over a tie back, for the reasons you stated. However, he did say that it would not totally eliminate the noise. But his airway would improve, which is more what I am looking for anyway as he is not a hunter.

    Comment


    • #3
      Had tieback AND ventriculocordectomy done on my upper-level event horse. Best thing I could have done -- he was grade 3, moderate to severe exercise intolerance. Noise is gone, exercise intolerance radically reversed, few to no side effects. No complications. Much happier horse, too.

      ETA -- six weeks out of work, date of surgery to first day of real work, provided they heal as planned. That's a fairly standard timeline.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        RS, thanks for the information. I am glad to hear it helped your horse so much. I am planning to do the Ventriculocordectomy without the tie back. I am encouraged to hear your horse was only out of work for 6 weeks. I was worried that the down time might be longer. My horse is much better when he stays in regular work. Thanks again for the information!

        Comment


        • #5
          Downtime does depend on the specific horse, surgeon, and healing progress. often it is recommended to give more time off for just the ventriculocordectomy versus the tieback and cordectomy . However, it is usually a fairly easy recovery, though often messy and high-maintenance for the owner. complications are serious, but fairly rare. as long as you put the money into a reputable clinic that has done tons of roaring surgeries, I'm sure you and your horse will be happy with the end result.

          do be sure to listen to the surgeons advice regarding type of surgery, following the scope. no point in setting your mind prior to seeing the scope results, both surgeries have major pros and cons.

          I apologize for grammar/spelling, typing on a phone is not easy haha.

          Comment


          • #6
            Can anyone give me an idea of cost?

            I have a young TB mare who is a roarer....because she's not in any "real" work yet I'm not sure what her level of exercise intolerance is, but she's loud.

            I am trying to find time in my life to take her and get her scoped, to see exactly what's going on. (She coughs up her food a lot, so I suspect she may have already had a tie-back, as that is one of the "signs" that I've read about.)

            Just looking for some quotes so I don't faint in front of the receptionist when scheduling it.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              RS, I am surprised to hear that the ventriculocordectomy has a longer healing time when done alone versus when in conjunction with the tie back. I would have thought it would have been the opposite. I feel fortunate in that I can get it done at Marion Dupont by Dr. Sullins who I believe pioneered the ventriculocordectomy procedure. He did mention that sometimes he finds that he has to do the tie-back too so I will keep an open mind. I want my horse to sound and feel better and I will definitely follow his recovery plan to a tee.

              GoForAGallop, I believe I was quoted around $1200-$1500 for the ventriculocordectomy and all meds required for the after care. Not sure how much more it would be if the tie back has to be performed too.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                Can anyone give me an idea of cost?

                I have a young TB mare who is a roarer....because she's not in any "real" work yet I'm not sure what her level of exercise intolerance is, but she's loud.

                I am trying to find time in my life to take her and get her scoped, to see exactly what's going on. (She coughs up her food a lot, so I suspect she may have already had a tie-back, as that is one of the "signs" that I've read about.)

                Just looking for some quotes so I don't faint in front of the receptionist when scheduling it.
                Aspiration is hugely concerning, especially in a horse that still roars. If your mare still makes noise AND aspirates, they may be seperate issues -- a failed tieback surgery should reverse to initial state and aspiration is not necessarily a symptom of a failed tieback. I would start making time for that scope NOW.

                Aspiration is NOT a "common sign" of having tieback surgery, aspiration is a serious concern. It is sometimes a complication of surgery, yes. But, it is a complication that is needs to be addressed immediately.

                To answer your question, a scope is usually somewhere in the ballpark of $100 and respiratory surgery will run $1500-$3500 depending on clinic, surgeon, type of surgery, complications, hospital stay, etc etc.

                However...a horse that makes noise is not always a "roarer." Understand that noise can come from many other ailments, including ethmoid hematomas, masses in sinuses, etc.

                Additionally, if your mare somehow DID have previous tieback surgery, which has failed and caused aspiration as well as a recurrence of the noise, she may not be a good candidate for another surgery. At a reputable clinic, a failed tieback surgery is not a regular occurrence.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by southern View Post
                  RS, I am surprised to hear that the ventriculocordectomy has a longer healing time when done alone versus when in conjunction with the tie back. I would have thought it would have been the opposite. I feel fortunate in that I can get it done at Marion Dupont by Dr. Sullins who I believe pioneered the ventriculocordectomy procedure. He did mention that sometimes he finds that he has to do the tie-back too so I will keep an open mind. I want my horse to sound and feel better and I will definitely follow his recovery plan to a tee.

                  GoForAGallop, I believe I was quoted around $1200-$1500 for the ventriculocordectomy and all meds required for the after care. Not sure how much more it would be if the tie back has to be performed too.
                  Tieback surgery is often faster-healing because the scarring is more secure -- the idea behind tieback/ventriculocordectomy/similar surgeries is to use scar tissue to "anchor" the paralyzed flap, and cease the movement. The simple tieback secures the flap with sutures, which are replaced by scar tissue. Because that tissue is "encouraged" by the sutures, and start immediately forming, they are considered faster-healing and more immediately solid than the scarring that occurs with the cordectomy -- they don't have a "base," so to speak. In that train of thought, the scar tissue is thicker faster on a simple tieback than a cordectomy.

                  That being said, it's splitting hairs, 6 weeks vs. 8 weeks vs. ...you get the idea. And it differs by surgeon's personal preference, and horse's progress.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My 5yo TB hunter prospect just got diagnosed with roaring and he seems to be exhibiting some exercise intolerance as well. I'm so disappointed but i need to resolve it. Can anyone recommend a good equine clinic out west AZ or CA that has lots of experience with the various surgeries to resolve this? I'll ship him to VA if I really feel like that is the only safe option as we have another farm there but I'd like to consider a west coast option if anyone has suggestions. Thanks.
                    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Check out UC Davis

                      Originally posted by equisusan View Post
                      My 5yo TB hunter prospect just got diagnosed with roaring and he seems to be exhibiting some exercise intolerance as well. I'm so disappointed but i need to resolve it. Can anyone recommend a good equine clinic out west AZ or CA that has lots of experience with the various surgeries to resolve this? I'll ship him to VA if I really feel like that is the only safe option as we have another farm there but I'd like to consider a west coast option if anyone has suggestions. Thanks.
                      I would go with them first, gearing up to get my gelding done as he's a roarer also. We go to UC Davis for pretty much everything.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by equisusan View Post
                        My 5yo TB hunter prospect just got diagnosed with roaring and he seems to be exhibiting some exercise intolerance as well. I'm so disappointed but i need to resolve it. Can anyone recommend a good equine clinic out west AZ or CA that has lots of experience with the various surgeries to resolve this? I'll ship him to VA if I really feel like that is the only safe option as we have another farm there but I'd like to consider a west coast option if anyone has suggestions. Thanks.
                        I'm sure there must be a good clinic in AZ to do it, but if you're in CA, definitely look into Alamo Pintado. Truly state of the art.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                          Can anyone give me an idea of cost?

                          I have a young TB mare who is a roarer....because she's not in any "real" work yet I'm not sure what her level of exercise intolerance is, but she's loud.

                          I am trying to find time in my life to take her and get her scoped, to see exactly what's going on. (She coughs up her food a lot, so I suspect she may have already had a tie-back, as that is one of the "signs" that I've read about.)

                          Just looking for some quotes so I don't faint in front of the receptionist when scheduling it.
                          In the meantime, we had a horse that had tieback and they had is lower all his food and water buckets while he recovered to prevent aspiration. His owner opted to keep them like that permanently.

                          Maybe try lowering your mare's water buckets and feeding her out of a rubber dish on the ground to help prevent aspiration if you haven't already tried it.
                          I love cats, I love every single cat....
                          So anyway I am a cat lover
                          And I love to run.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Aspiration is scary stuff, and a month ago my guy had tie-forward surgery to address this issue. I'm happy to report he's doing quite well, but in the run-up to surgery, what really helped - in addition to feeding everything on the ground - was soaking everything. His pellets were soaked to mush,and we soaked his hay.

                            I also stopped feeding beet pulp and soaked alfalfa cubes - those seemed (for him) to cause more aspiration (as measured unscientifically by the degree of gagging and coughing by the horse while eating.) These measures really helped keep him comfortable and aspiration to a minimum before the surgery.

                            For what it's worth, my gelding is an OTTB, 13 years old with a failed tie-back that was performed at age 2 to mitigate a paralyzed flap. He also has, to quote my vet, "a whole lot of pathology" within his airway, most notably some deformities of his epiglottis. He was displacing his soft palate constantly, in addition to aspirating food. Didn't roar, but sure coughed a lot.

                            Anyway, hope the soaking tips save some of the other posters on this thread some grief!
                            Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                            Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs

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