Dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) is a condition not uncommon in racehorses and causes upper airway obstruction and poor performance. It occurs when the soft palate (the rear roof of the mouth) moves up and over the airway and is similar to sleep apnoea (snoring) in people, where the palate billows in the airway and obstructs the airway during exhalation. Surgery is the conventional solution, but is costly, risky and often unsuccessful.
The Cornell Collar has been developed by an equine hospital in New York as a non-surgical solution - it straps around the horse’s neck with a small lifting mechanism under the throat which prevents the larynx from retracting backwards, thus preventing the occurrence of DDSP. It is a simple, inexpensive gadget and treadmill studies have shown that it is over 90% effective, more effective than any other treatment so far developed for the condition. This collar is licensed by racing authorities in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the US and now also South Africa.
Earlier this week Paradise Alley returned to the racecourse wearing the Cornell Collar and won impressively by 4,5 lengths for trainer Diane Stenger and owners Ronnie Napier, Dr Barry Clements, Len Konar and Summerhill Stud. After a promising start on the track, Paradise Alley was found to have DDSP and was unable to perform at her best.
Dr Barry Clements discovered the Cornell Collar in Australia and thanks to the patience, persistence and ingenuity of her connections, this filly looks to be capable of fulfilling her maximum potential.