Upper Respiratory Tract Disease

By Lauren Lamb

The upper respiratory tract of a horse extends from the nostrils to the larynx, also known as the voice box, which is located at the level of the throat latch.  Problems arising from the respiratory tract, especially the upper respiratory tract, are the second most common cause for decreased performance in a horse.

Lameness lays claim to the most common cause of poor performance. Upper respiratory tract disease usually results in decreased diameter of the airway secondary to an anatomical dysfunction or growth of a mass or abscess. Horses with upper respiratory tract disease will usually have a decrease in performance or make a noise when performing, secondary to the decreased diameter of the airway. The noise can be described as a rattle, wheeze, whistle or roar depending on the underlying cause of the noise. Horses can also have nasal discharge that is mucoid and white or blood tinged.

Learn more in the July issue!