Yearling Scopes May Not Reveal Issues During Exercise

by | 05.12.2013 | 9:42am

Researchers in the United Kingdom recently conducted a study to determine whether upper airway issues detected during exercise were revealed during resting and dynamic endoscopic examinations.

Scientists at the University of Glasgow's Weipers Centre Equine Hospital fitted yearlings at a racing stable with a special bridle and saddle pad carrying an endoscope, and performed analysis while the horses were resting, longeing at a canter for five minutes, and immediately after exercise.

“We identified a high prevalence of dorsal displacement of the soft palate, as well as a number of other pathologies that were not identified during resting endoscopic examination, such as vocal cord collapse and medial/axial deviation of the aryepiglottic folds (tissue spanning from the arytenoid to the epiglottis that collapses across the opening to the trachea),” Padraig Kelly, MVB, MRCVS told The Horse.

Kelly said further research is needed to clarify the significance of these pathologies, but it would appear that dynamic endoscopy is a better means of identifying problems that crop up during exercise than resting scopes.

Read more at The Horse

  • Barry Irwin

    This is undoubtedly the biggest break through in years and represents the biggest game changer in the sale of unraced horses like yearlings and 2yo in training. Any vendor of unraced stock has got to be quaking in their hardboots because the financial impact of this technique is very significant.

    Analysis of an unraced Thoroughbred’s throat is probably the most important diagnosis made by a vet for a prospective bidder.

    One vet that uses this technique told me that it makes use of a standing scope virtually obsolete. Once the dynamic or overground scope is used, the cat is out of the bag on throats. It takes all of the guess work out of the exercise for vets.

    Buyers deserve this opportunity.

    Vendors will fight it.

    Sales companies will be in a quandry.

    The status quo is about to be moved.

    This is HUGE.

    • With all due respect…Sometimes even the loose cannon hits its target!!!…Bout time it gets harder and harder to screw Horse Buyers/Owners and the Gamblers…Back…Back…Back!!!…”The Game” is on its way Back Baby!!!…

    • Beach

      It is good that the study results reflect a common sense hypothesis. I realize these tests are very expensive in horses, as they are in people, but a lot of people can use health insurance to pay for the test. The physiology/kinetics at exercise can be highly different from the physiology at rest. Unless there was obvious anatomical pathology on scope at rest, I’d be surprised for anyone to take any other data gathered with more than a grain of salt. One would not expect his cardiac stress test to be conducted at rest, would he? And, e.g., what you see on EKG(one moment in time, at rest) can be highly different from what you see during cardiopulmonary stress testing–they’re largely “apples and oranges”, with the stress testing being more specific/sensitive in picking up abnormalities. I couldn’t believe it would be any different in horses, another mammal with aerobic capacity.

    • Beach

      Oh, ps Mr. Irwin–horse hugs for Animal Kingdom. :-)

  • Carol Kaye

    This is a big concern for sellers. If we are to become responsible for supplying results of a dynamic endoscopy on a sales individual, the costs will put a lot of us over the edge.

    • Larry Ensor

      At cost of around $600 I don’t see this as a huge expense. I am sure the per horse cost would come down when dealing with a number of them. As a buyer I would certainly want it performed on the horses that made my short list. Having had it done on a number of our horses I have found it as an excellent aid.

      • Oscetra

        It is combined expense of shipping yearlings to a clinic to treadmilled and scoped, and the inherent dangers of one of them getting significantly hurt in the process. So much can happen to them just shipping. I understand for 2-y-o’s in training and I would insist on it, but yearlings? Just getting the Sept. 4000 yearlings scheduled to be done would be a huge task!

        • Barry Irwin

          The horses are not shipped to a clinic, they are longed in a circle for 5 minutes. Since the horses are not fit, 5 minutes is enough time.

          For a dead fit horse, it would have to breeze a half mile for a vet to get a true reading.

          The expense of the cost of using this technique will not be the issue. The issue will be the reluctance on the part of vendors to expose their stock and I don’t blame them! But it will help out buyers to a fantastic extent.

          Larry, the dynamic scope is far superior to the treadmill technique and not dangerous like the treadmill device, on which many horses have been injured over the years.

          • Beach

            I guess horses and techs/vets are used to doing the treadmill test, but I have watched that and it scares the crap out of me. It’s(based on the law of gross tonnage, as my husband would say) easier done on people. :-)

    • forerstwildcat

      A drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the Winstrol, Ventipulmin, Marquee, Adequan, Legend, Bute, Banamine, Dex, Lasix, Robinol to name a few of the essentials – in addition to injecting the hocks and stifles at least once

    • The price of doing business in the very near future…

  • Larry Ensor

    On track Dynamic Scope has been around for a number of years. The first one we had performed that was not on a tread mill the equipment was fairly cumbersome for the horse and rider. When we had some done 2 years ago the equipment was vastly improved. Being able to stand in the middle of the track and watch everything on a wireless monitor. We are having 2 scoped this week so it will be interesting to see what the newest generation has to offer.
    A standing scope does give a “look see” as to how the horse’s throat is “modeled”. A bad throat is a bad throat. But marginal deviations is left up to speculation.
    Dynamic Scoping using a tread mill has been in use for quite some time. But giving the fact that the horse does not have to deal with a rider and bridle along with other “stress” factors and can not be “set down” at close to full race speed its value is limited. As I have been told by several vets that specialize in Dynamic Scoping. As to its value for evaluating yearlings it is certainly better then a standing scope. But IMO it is still subject to interpretation based on the experience and follow up of the person “reading” what they see.
    I am surprised that on track Dynamic Scoping has not become the norm at 2 year old sales. Though I can understand why there would be some reluctance from sellers and not because of the expense.

  • Richard C

    Those “rugged individuals” who talk old school – while sounding like Ronald Reagan was politically left of center – will fight this on any number of “intrusive” angles — while then whining about not receiving enough of a cut from the transfer of profits from the area racino.

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