OBJECTIVE To determine the pharyngeal and laryngeal distribution of radiopaque contrast medium administered orally or via nasopharyngeal catheter to standing horses.
ANIMALS 5 healthy adult horses.
PROCEDURES A crossover study was conducted. Radiopaque contrast medium (12 mL) was administered orally and via nasopharyngeal catheter to each horse. Pharyngeal and laryngeal distribution of contrast medium was determined by examination of radiographs obtained immediately after administration of contrast medium, compared with those obtained before administration. Regional distribution of contrast medium was graded. Endoscopic examination of the nasopharynx, laryngopharynx, and larynx was performed to confirm radiographic results.
RESULTS Examination of radiographs obtained after nasopharyngeal administration revealed contrast medium in the nasopharynx (n = 5), oropharynx (2), laryngopharynx (3), and larynx (5) of the 5 horses. Examination of radiographs obtained after oral administration revealed contrast medium in the oropharynx (n = 4) and larynx (1) of the 5 horses. Endoscopic examination confirmed radiographic findings and was found to be sensitive for detection of contrast medium in the laryngopharynx, whereby detection rates were higher for both administration methods.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that medication administered by use of a nasopharyngeal catheter will result in topical distribution within the nasopharynx, including the dorsal surface of the soft palate, and larynx, although distribution should be evaluated in horses with clinical airway disease to confirm these findings. Oral administration did not result in consistently detectable topical laryngeal distribution but could be used for selected conditions (eg, palatitis).