Upper respiratory problems, often referred to as shipping fever, just needs to run it's course. Horses in that environment are under a lot of stress and interact with a ton of horses as they come and go so it does happen and it's nothing to get excited about. The good part is him coming off the track, he's been exposed to all sorts of things and should have a good immunity to all of it. You will want to isolate him for a minimum of 3 weeks when he gets home. If he's going to come down with something, that will give him time to develop it. If he's not, it will confirm to everyone at the barn that he is not contagious and a cesspool of germs. If a horse at the barn does happen to come down with something, he's not the source.
What tests you need to do in a PPE is going to depend upon how you are going to use him. Being an X jumper OTTB, there are a lot of areas that could be a problem down the road if you use him. If you don't aspire to go beyond 1-2 level, he might be as good as the first day you got him.
You've waited 20 years to get your first horse. If you have your heart set on an OTTB than don't let anyone change your mind. My 23 year old OTTB that I bought fresh off the track at 5 (had raced the day before the sale) is still a joy to ride, is sound, still has a need for speed and still makes me smile when I see him hanging out with the other boys in the pasture.
Another cool part of an OTTB is even if you do not get papers with him, you can research him by his lip tattoo. You can find his race record and even photos of him racing.
Last edited by Left Hand Percherons; 11-25-2013 at 01:06 AM.