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Would you take a free thoroughbred with a throat problem?

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  • Would you take a free thoroughbred with a throat problem?

    I potentially could get this horse for free. She's lovely, tall, sensible and sound (and well bred). Her issue is with her endoscopy exam. The arytenoids are normal, but her epiglottis does not sit properly and when she displaces, she has trouble replacing her palate. Vet suspects subepiglottal cyst; but needs a dynamic scope exam to confirm.

    WWYD? My feeling is that if she doesn't hold up to competition level (hoping to do low level eventing and fox hunting) that I could sell her as an inexpensive pleasure horse and not lose anything on it. I also have a call in to the university to price out the surgery that they do on this and get info on prognosis.

    I'm pretty torn. What do you think?

  • #2
    Selling an inexpensive pleasure horse with a physical problem is TOUGH. And I don't see it getting any easier. I would bank on getting nothing for her and trying to find a home that will TAKE her with a known problem- then go from there and see if you would still be interested in taking her on.


    • #3
      Throat surgeries are typically very successful, especially for a job that isn't as demanding as racing. I don't think they are too terribly expensive either, so if the horse is nice and the vet thinks surgery would be successful, it could be worth taking the chance. Get a little more information on the surgery options from your vet and do a scope to see how bad the throat is, then go from there.

      That said, there are free TBs out there that don't have issues, so I guess it just depends on how much you like this particular horse.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by KentuckyTBs View Post
        Throat surgeries are typically very successful, especially for a job that isn't as demanding as racing. I don't think they are too terribly expensive either, so if the horse is nice and the vet thinks surgery would be successful, it could be worth taking the chance. Get a little more information on the surgery options from your vet and do a scope to see how bad the throat is, then go from there.

        That said, there are free TBs out there that don't have issues, so I guess it just depends on how much you like this particular horse.
        We did a scope today during a PPE, that's how we found the issue. It sounds to me like there is a non-surgical (formalin injection) procedure that is pretty successful; and a surgery to deflate the cyst which has a 20% recurrence rate.

        My second opinion vet seemed pretty optimistic; said it may never be a problem, and if I love her and want to do the surgery that it is pretty successful. I am also in the middle of TB country so selling her as a broodie might be a plausible backup plan.

        I haven't been able to find those "free" horses with no issues (and I've been looking) - if you know of one please let me know!


        • #5
          It sounds to me like she's promising, and the options are good. If you feel good about it, and think you can afford to take her on, I say go for it.


          • #6
            Heck - I'd much rather have an issue that has a "fix" than an issue like a bone chip, suspensory strain, or something else that will loom over you for ever. I would factor in the cost of the more expensive surgery and figure out if that's an amount you would be willing to pay for her...
            The rebel in the grey shirt


            • #7
              LOL I meant issues that won't resolve themselves with time and rest - as we all know "free" horses aren't really free!!

              Honestly, if it were me, I'd probably take her on. It doesn't sound like a big deal and really, for what you are wanting to do, I doubt it would even cause an issue if you left it alone. If she is nice and otherwise passes a PPE and is what you are looking for, I wouldn't let the throat issue turn me off of her.


              • #8
                Not in a million years. BTDT, gave away the horse.


                • #9
                  Here's my thoughts on breathing issues--they are never simple, unless we are talking about roaring.
                  Chondroma and DDSP, while they can be surgically repaired, often fail after a year or so. If you are lucky, the horse will not form scartissue in the throat.
                  We've had many, many horses come in with breathing issues. They do not end well. At the very least, they make noise (rendering them "unsound" for hunters), at the worst, they asphyxiate, with everything in between. My own personal horse became absolutely unrideable because she flipped her head so violently when she would displace that she would hurt you. As the issue progressed, she would just throw herself on the ground because she didn't think she could breathe. She was absolutely fine from the age of 2 to 5, then went downhill very quickly as the scartissue started forming.
                  Do your research, and talk to people who know TBs and breathing issues.

                  ETA: DDSP surgery success rates (aka, tie-forwards) are VERY expensive and more often than not, not successful.


                  • Original Poster

                    I appreciate everyone's responses - keep them coming!

                    The surgery she would need is not a tie forward, but a resection of the cyst or injection with formalin. I'm still waiting for the surgeon to get back to me on these.

                    Of course she may never need surgery. I won't know until I start riding her and find out.


                    • #11
                      Is the cyst a chondroma?