A racehorse who returns to the track after colic surgery can be expected to perform just as well as his peers, according to a new study from the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
Researchers compared the records of 59 racehorses who underwent colic surgery to those of 90 untreated control horses of an equivalent athletic class.
The horses treated for colic were 2 to 5 years old at the time of surgery. The researchers focused on each horse’s number of starts, earnings per start and total career earnings.
The data analysis showed that 76 percent of horses returned to racing after surgery. It also revealed that the subsequent number of starts and earnings in that group did not differ statistically from those of horses who had not had colic surgery.
The researchers conclude that the horses who under-went colic surgery “had no differences in performance variables, compared with their untreated cohorts.”
Reference: “Impact of colic surgery on return to function in racing Thoroughbreds: 59 cases (1996–2009),” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, January 2014
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #440.