The airways of a horse are extremely important. Oxygen is required for the conversion of energy in the muscles. Oxygen is inhaled and goes to the lungs, where it is released into the blood. Problems with (upper and lower) airways have a direct impact on the performance.
- Coughing is the most common symptom of a respiratory disorder. It is a sign that something is wrong, and the horse’s body wants to get rid of something. A horse should not cough, even one cough at the start of a training is reason for concern.
- Nasal discharge. A small amount of clear discharge after a heavy effort in a cold environment is not always a reason to call the vet. But if the amount increases or the color changes, the airways of the horse should be examined.
- Shortness of breath is usually caused by a narrowing of the airways and by the presence of sputum (mucus) in the bronchi.
- Poor performance is often the consequence of respiratory problems. Due to the lack of oxygen in the body (especially the muscles) the horse cannot perform optimally.
Make an appointment
If your horse suffers from respiratory problems, contact sportpaardenarts.nl using the form below. Examination can take place at our clinic or at home throughout the Netherlands.
The airway examination starts with an extensive clinical examination of the horse. The general vital parameters will be checked first, then the exam is specifically focused on the airways, from nose to lungs.
For the endoscopy, a small camera is used to check the airways. The exam provides information about the respiratory tract, including the nostrils, throat, trachea and lungs. The horse’s guttural pouches can also be examined.
Abnormalities in structure or presence of liquid can easily be seen this way.
If a noise can be heard during exercise, or if there is a suspicion of an abnormality occurring only during exercise, it may be necessary to perform a dynamic endoscopy.
During this examination, a camera is placed in the throat of the horse and the situation can be viewed during the effort. This is painless.
BAL – BRONCHOALVEOLAR LAVAGE
It may sometimes be necessary to further investigate the airways. By a tracheal and/or bronchoalveolar lavage, it is possible to take samples of the respiratory liquids for further investigation. It is then possible to determine whether there is a virus, a bacterial infection, equine asthma, an allergy or a parasite.
The examination can take place at home but will be continued with the use of a microscope in the clinic. If there are bacteria or viruses, a sample is sent to a laboratory for a culture or a DNA test.