OWNER PER­CEP­TIONS ARE PRETTY AC­CU­RATE

EQUUS - - Eq Medicalfro­nt -

New re­search from the Univer­sity of Berne in Switzer­land and Tufts Univer­sity sug­gests that you are prob­a­bly a pretty good judge of your horse’s res­pi­ra­tory health.

Not­ing that vet­eri­nar­i­ans must of­ten rely on the owner’s de­scrip­tion of a horse’s signs when as­sess­ing res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease, the re­searchers set out to see how well those ob­ser­va­tions matched so­phis­ti­cated ex­am­i­na­tion find­ings and di­ag­nos­tic tests. Ref­er­ence: “Owner-re­ported cough­ing and nasal dis­charge are as­so­ci­ated with clin­i­cal find­ings, ar­te­rial oxy­gen ten­sion, mu­cus score and bron­choprovo­ca­tion in horses with re­cur­rent air­way ob­struc­tion in a field set­ting,” Equine Vet­eri­nary Jour­nal, April 2014

For the study, they se­lected 28 healthy horses and 34 who had a his­tory of re­cur­rent air­way dis­ease, a nar­row­ing of the small pas­sages of the lungs com­monly re­ferred to as “heaves.” The horses were as­signed to groups based solely on owner re­ports of cough­ing fre­quency and nasal dis­charge. They un­der­went en­do­scopic0 ex­am­i­na­tions, and their res­pi­ra­tory func­tion was quan­ti­fied based on anal­y­sis of blood­levels, tra­cheal se­cre­tions and air­way re­spon­sive­ness, which is the ten­dency of the air­way pas­sages to spasm in re­sponse to cer­tain chem­i­cals.

The data showed that horses who were re­ported to cough fre­quently by their own­ers were sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to have di­ag­nos­tic find­ings of air­way dis­ease, par­tic­u­larly air­way re­spon­sive­ness. How­ever, the re­searchers note that horses who do not seem to cough fre­quently or have nasal dis­charge may still have air­way in­flam­ma­tion.

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