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Medical records of 21 horses with summer pasture-associated obstructive pulmonary disease were reviewed, and history, signalment, clinical signs, radiographic signs, clinicopathologic data, and therapeutic response were determined. Most affected horses were used as pleasure horses, and for the most part, remained at pasture when not in use. The mean age (± SD) was 13.7 ± 3.6 years. Clinical signs included intermittent nasal discharge, cough, tachypnea, labored expiratory effort, and crackles and wheezes on auscultation. Radiography frequently revealed interstitial patterns in the lung fields; in horses with chronic disease, pulmonary overinflation was evident. Hemogram was usually normal, and transtracheal wash fluid was characterized by nondegenerate neutrophils.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To determine whether horses with summer pasture-associated obstructive pulmonary disease (SPAOPD) have increased concentrations of antigen-specific IgG and IgE in tracheal lavage fluid, compared with values in clinically normal horses.


8 horses (6 females, 2 geldings; 6 Quarter Horses, 2 Appaloosas), 14 to 23 years old and with previous diagnosis of SPAOPD, served as the principal group; 8 horses (2 females, 6 geldings; 1 Quarter Horse, 7 Thoroughbreds), 6 to 9 years old, with no evidence of respiratory tract disease, served as the control group.


Data were collected twice during a 1- year period: when all SPAOPD-affected horses were manifesting clinical signs of disease (July), and when all SPAOPD-affected horses appeared clinically normal (February). On each occasion, clinical evaluations were performed and blood and tracheal lavage fluid samples were collected. Transtracheal lavage supernatant was evaluated for mold antigen-specific IgG and IgE concentrations.


Median IgE relative antibody unit (RAU) values were significantly higher in control, compared with principal, horses. The SPAOPD-affected horses had increased concentrations of specific IgG for only 1 antigen, during winter sample collection.


Antigen-specific IgG and IgE RAU values were not increased in SPAOPD-affected horses when these horses were manifesting clinical signs of disease. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1408–1411)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To evaluate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease of horses in Louisiana by assessing the signalment, history, environmental factors, clinical signs, and treatment of such horses.


Epidemiologic mail survey.

Sample Population—

83 of 240 veterinarians contacted by mail agreed to take part in the survey. Veterinarians contacted were listed as mixed-animal or equine practitioners in the 1991/1992 directory of the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association or had submitted a specimen from a horse to the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory within the past 2 years.


The survey contained 47 questions designed to elicit information from owners and veterinarians about horses reported to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Questions were included to evaluate age, breed, sex, vaccination history, respiratory disease history, environment of primary activity, level of exercise, primary residence (pasture or stall), condition of pasture or barn, type and condition of feed, clinical signs, concurrent conditions, and treatment regimen prescribed. Information from the returned forms was analyzed by using a microcomputer program designed for epidemiologic data.


Of the 83 veterinarians who agreed to participate, 31 returned 71 completed questionnaires for horses affected with COPD. Most affected horses were mature in age, kept on pasture, and had developed clinical signs during the summer months. The most consistent clinical signs were dry coughing, slight serous nasal discharge, labored expiratory effort, and flaring nostrils.

Clinical Implications—

Summer pasture-associated obstructive pulmonary disease appears to be precipitated by factors different than those associated with the traditionally diagnosed form of COPD and, thus, successful management measures may also vary. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:248-251)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare responses of bronchial rings obtained from healthy horses and horses affected with summer pasture-associated obstructive pulmonary disease (SPAOPD) to selected mediators of airway hyperreactivity in vitro.

Sample Population—Bronchial rings from 6 healthy horses and 6 horses affected with SPAOPD.

Procedure—Bronchial rings obtained from each group of horses were mounted in organ baths and attached to force transducers interfaced with a polygraph. After applying 2g of tension, each ring was allowed to equilibrate for 45 minutes in Tyrode's solution at 37 C. Cumulative concentration-response relationships to graded concentrations of selected mediators (10–8 to 10–4 M ) were determined and analyzed for significance at each concentration.

Results—Acetylcholine, histamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and leukotriene D4 induced concentrationdependent contractile responses in bronchial rings. Prostaglandin F induced weak and inconsistent contractile responses. The other 2 agents, norepinephrine and substance P, did not induce concentrationdependent responses. Considering the overall groupdrug effect, acetylcholine, histamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and leukotriene D4 were effective in inducing consistent concentration-dependent contractile responses in both groups. Only 5-hydroxytryptamine and histamine induced significant responses in contractility between groups. The response of bronchial rings from horses with SPAOPD to 5-hydroxytryptamine was significantly greater than those from control horses, whereas the response to histamine was significantly lower. Significant responses were evident at concentrations ranging from 10–6 to 10–4 M for both drugs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Because the airways of horses with SPAOPD had increased responsiveness to 5-hydroxytryptamine in vitro, treatment modalities using 5-hydroxytryptamine antagonists should be investigated to address this phenomenon. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:259–263).

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To describe the seasonal pattern of clinical exacerbation of summer pasture-associated recurrent airway obstruction (SPA-RAO) in relation to climate and aeroallergens in horses.

Animals—19 horses with SPA-RAO and 10 nonaffected horses.

Procedures—Daily examinations were performed on all horses while they were kept on pasture for 3 years. Onset and progression of clinical exacerbation based on a clinical score of respiratory effort were evaluated in relation to changes in maximum temperature, minimum temperature, mean temperature, maximum dew-point temperature, minimum dew-point temperature, and delta dew-point temperature. Seasonal pattern of clinical exacerbation was evaluated in relation to aeroallergen counts (20 types of fungal spores and 28 types of pollen).

Results—Seasonal pattern of clinical exacerbation of SPA-RAO was associated with increases in temperature (heat) and dew-point temperature (humidity), counts of fungal spores, and counts of grass pollen grains. Seasonal pattern of clinical exacerbation paralleled and was associated with increases in counts of specific types of fungal spores, particularly Basidiospore, Nigrospora, and Curvularia spp.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although a causal relationship could not be determined, the seasonal pattern of clinical exacerbation of SPA-RAO was associated with hot and humid conditions and high environmental counts for fungal spores and grass pollen grains. It is not known yet whether these are aeroallergens that cause clinical exacerbation of the disease.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To correlate clinical score, intrapleural pressure, cytologic findings of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and histologic lesions of pulmonary tissue in horses affected with summer pasture-associated obstructive pulmonary disease (SPAOPD).

Animals—8 adult horses affected with SPAOPD and 6 adult horses without evidence of respiratory tract disease.

Procedure—Clinical score, change in intrapleural pressure (ΔPpl) during tidal breathing, results of cytologic examination and bacteriologic culture of BALF, and results of histologic examination of pulmonary parenchyma were evaluated.

Results—Clinical scores for SPAOPD-affected horses (median, 5.75; range, 4.0 to 7.5) were significantly greater, compared with clinically normal horses (median, 2.0; range, 2.0 to 3.0). Cytologic examination of BALF from SPAOPD-affected horses revealed predominantly nondegenerate neutrophils. Histologic lesions were identified throughout pulmonary tissue and included severe accumulation of mucus and neutrophils within the small airways, metaplasia of bronchiolar goblet cells, and mild peribronchial infiltrate. Histologic examination of specimens collected via percutaneous biopsy was predictive of disease and corresponded to findings at postmortem examination. Clinical score and δPpl were highly correlated with mucus accumulation in the airways of affected horses. Peribronchial inflammatory infiltrate correlated with percentage of neutrophils in BALF of affected horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Clinical scoring and ΔPpl provided valid estimates of disease severity. Findings from cytologic examination of BALF of SPAOPD-affected horses varied, although, in most instances, it was diagnostically useful. Severe mucus accumulation in the airways was the most remarkable histopathologic finding in SPAOPDaffected horses. Examination of biopsy specimens collected from pulmonary parenchyma was consistently useful in diagnosing SPAOPD. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:167–173)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research