EQUUS - - Medical Front -

Horse­men and ve­teri­nar­i­ans have long sus­pected that tall horses with long necks are more at risk for re­cur­rent la­ryn­geal neu­ropa­thy (RLN), a noisy up­per res­pi­ra­tory tract con­di­tion com­monly called roar­ing. Now re­searchers at the Univer­sity Col­lege Dublin have con­firmed the con­nec­tion.

RLN oc­curs when the nerves that con­trol the mus­cles sur­round­ing a horse’s lar­ynx weaken. As the con­di­tion pro­gresses, the mus­cles are un­able to fully open the lar­ynx, of­ten lead­ing to a whistling or roar­ing noise as air is pulled through a smaller open­ing with each breath.

To ex­am­ine the re­la­tion­ship be­tween con­for­ma­tion and risk of de­vel­op­ing RLN, the Ir­ish re­searchers ex­am­ined 188 fla­trac­ing Thor­ough­breds from the same train­ing yard, com­par­ing sev­eral con­for­ma­tion traits be­tween horses with and with­out RLN. They found that height at the withers was the phys­i­cal trait most strongly as­so­ci­ated with RLN—taller horses were more likely to have the con­di­tion. The sec­ond most com­mon trait among horses with RLN was a long neck, mea­sured along the un­der­side.

Ref­er­ence: “Ex­ploratory fac­tor anal­y­sis of sig­nal­ment and con­for­ma­tional mea­sure­ments in Thor­ough­bred horses with and with­out re­cur­rent la­ryn­geal neu­ropa­thy,” Equine Vet­eri­nary Jour­nal, June 2018

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