Heart murmurs and valvular regurgitation are common in horses and often have no effect on their performance. However, when structural changes occur in the heart size, they can affect performance adversely. This study aimed to examine the correlation between cardiac valves disease and poor performance in athletic horses.
A total of 300 athletic Thoroughbred and mix-breed horses including 164 mares and 136 stallions, with a history of poor performance, were selected. Horses with cardiac murmurs were identified and further cardiac examination including precise auscultation, base-apex electrocardiogram for possible dysrhythmias at rest and after exercise, echocardiographic and hematological tests were conducted in two stages. The first was at admission time and the second examination was done four to six months later to evaluate the outcome of the possible disorders.
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