Juvenile Thoroughbreds can be expensive to raise and train to race. Part of the economic return in these juveniles are the weanling, yearling, and 2-year-old in training sales at which major surgeries must be declared. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to determine if surgically corrected large colon displacements were associated with a reduction of sales price and racing performance in Thoroughbreds.
The study examined the medical, sales and racing records of 110 horses less than 2 years old that had a surgical diagnosis of large colon displacement between 1998 and 2016. It compared surgical cases to their maternal progeny born prior to 2016 (3 maternal siblings as close in age as possible for each case; total control group n = 299) whose sales and racing data were evaluated.
There was no significant difference in median sale price overall between the two groups. Horses undergoing surgery had a reduced number of starts in the 2-year-old year (1 start; p< 0.001) when compared to control horses (2.32 starts). There was no significant difference over the 2- to 4-year-old period. There was no significant association with surgery on earnings within the 2- to 4-year-old period of racing when compared to controls.
Overall, the results of this study suggest that if the juvenile Thoroughbred requires surgery for a large colon displacement, there is minimal association with sales price or race performance compared to their siblings.