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OTTB soft palate displacement?

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  • OTTB soft palate displacement?

    Cross post from eventing:
    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 available 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, she had not seen this problem on exercise at all. This is a 5 y.o. that raced as 3 and 4 y.o., did stop in final race mid Dec, but trainer feels strongly that former trainer (the one the horse raced under) should have tied tongue, used dropped noseband or fig 8. I have no issue with using figure 8 cross country, don't want to pay for treadmill in a trial horse.

    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.

    Any input is much appreciated. Take a chance and purchase? Thoughts?
    "Treat people like you want to be treated" Harold Streu, my friend.

  • #2
    My 2 cents... If you like the horse and he is very fairly priced, I would go ahead and buy him. There are no guarantees, breathing or otherwise. You could put a year into training him and he could blow a tendon or hurt himself in another way. Also, I'm a bit confused as to why your vet think's it's a problem to put him under strenuous exercise (galloping) outside, but not a strenuous gallop on a treadmill? If he's off the track, why is he too green to gallop? Maybe I misunderstood?


    • Original Poster

      Sorry for the confusion. I didn't want to pay for treadmill since I am in the prepurchase process. The vet suggested as an alternative that I canter for an extended period of time to put the horse in strenous work as a way of seeing if I could create the noise/problem or not. Since he is just off the track and green, an indoor's shorter distances would make for a difficult ride. The horse definately does not know how to balance himself that well yet.
      "Treat people like you want to be treated" Harold Streu, my friend.


      • #4
        If all else is perfect and you like this horse, this issue would not bother me for what you are looking for.

        While galloping, to me, when one flips their palette first thing I've noticed is all of a sudden there is no other gear when there should be. They will make a noise, which is not roaring, it sounds like drowning to me, I hate it. With a fit horse, this happens working, not galloping, and for me, the speed at galloping is still slower on a day to day basis then Training XC. A figure 8 can help and one I galloped (who I now own) who did flip her palette always worked in a figure 8. BTW, this one, who I know does this because I galloped her (and was there for some of her scopes post race and post works), I am hoping to go at least Prelim, one star, but hopefully she'll be my upper level horse.

        At the level you are aiming for, neither would bother me at all as an event horse-it doesn't bother me for what I'm looking to do with my mare. Not one bit, as long as you are happy with everything else about the horse. It's totally up to you though and what you are comfortable with.
        Last edited by Ishi; Feb. 17, 2010, 11:29 PM. Reason: Clarity
        WestWind Farms
        Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
        - George H. Morris


        • #5
          I have only heard of collapsing trachea in small breed dogs like my pomeranian. I guess anything is possible but I think the vet is hearing hoofbeats and thinking zebras. If the horse races successfully he will be more than fine for what you want him to do. Even when he "stops" in a race he is going faster at that point in time than you will go eventing. Its not like they stop to a walk. Play around with equipment like a figure 8, a flash, a tongue depressor bit. If you do go the surgery route I would skip the myectomy and go straight to the llewelyn. That runs about $500 and the recovery time is only two weeks or so.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • Original Poster

            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. Off to go work my unbalanced, green, but nice TB!
            "Treat people like you want to be treated" Harold Streu, my friend.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
              I have only heard of collapsing trachea in small breed dogs like my pomeranian. I guess anything is possible but I think the vet is hearing hoofbeats and thinking zebras. If the horse races successfully he will be more than fine for what you want him to do. Even when he "stops" in a race he is going faster at that point in time than you will go eventing. Its not like they stop to a walk. Play around with equipment like a figure 8, a flash, a tongue depressor bit. If you do go the surgery route I would skip the myectomy and go straight to the llewelyn. That runs about $500 and the recovery time is only two weeks or so.
              I believe it also happens with Lhasa Apso's


              • #8
                Would be interesting to know if this horse has any Storm Cat in him. That line is notorious for throat issues.


                • Original Poster

                  Nope, no Storm Cat:
                  "Treat people like you want to be treated" Harold Streu, my friend.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aroundtuit View Post

                    I like his pedigree....he should be able to jump based on paper (For what's that worth). My guy that does this is slowly starting to get better....I don't think it will be a problem for eventing even at the higher levels. Mine actually sucks his tongue into the back of his mouth and that sometimes causes him to flip the palate. I'm sure they tied his tongue for racing (I sure would have)...but perhaps it is why he was not as fast on the track as he probably should have been. I'm hoping with work he will get even better but since he's a star jumping and a nice mover...I'll deal with it even if he doesn't!

                    Good luck. Mine also doesn't have any Storm Cat

                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **