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  • Author or Editor: Richard P. Hackett x
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Objective—To determine the phase and quantitate the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the genioglossus, geniohyoideus, hyoepiglotticus, omohyoideus, sternohyoideus, sternothyroideus, and thyrohyoideus muscles of clinically normal horses during strenuous exercise.

Animals—7 clinically normal adult horses (2 Thoroughbreds and 5 Standardbreds).

Procedures—Bipolar electrodes were surgically implanted in the aforementioned muscles, and horses were subjected to an incremental exercise test on a high-speed treadmill. The EMG, heart rate, respiratory rate, and static pharyngeal airway pressures were measured during exercise. The EMG was measured as mean electrical activity (MEA). The MEA values for maximal exercise intensity (13 or 14 m/s) were expressed as a percentage of the MEA measured at an exercise intensity of 6 m/s.

Results—MEA was detected during expiration in the genioglossus, geniohyoideus, sternohyoideus, and thyrohyoideus muscles and during inspiration in the hyoepiglotticus and sternothyroideus muscles. Intensity of the MEA increased significantly with exercise intensity in the genioglossus, geniohyoideus, and hyoepiglotticus muscles. Intensity of the MEA increased significantly in relation to expiratory pharyngeal pressure in the geniohyoideus and hyoepiglotticus muscles.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Once exercise intensity reached 6 m/s, no quantifiable additional increase in muscular activity was detected in the omohyoideus, sternohyoideus, sternothyroideus, and thyrohyoideus muscles. However, muscles that may affect the diameter of the oropharynx (genioglossus and geniohyoideus muscles) or rima glottis (hyoepiglotticus muscle) had activity correlated with the intensity of exercise or expiratory pharyngeal pressures. Activity of the muscles affecting the geometry of the oropharynx may be important in the pathophysiologic processes associated with nasopharyngeal patency.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


We examined the electromyographic activity of the costal portion of the diaphragm and the transverse abdominal and external oblique muscles in 6 chronically instrumented awake adult horses during eupneic breathing, during 2 levels of hypercapnia (fractional concentration of inspired CO2; FI CO2 = 0.4 and 0.6), and during 2 levels of hypocapnic hypoxia (FI CO2 = 0.15 and 0.12). Using the inert gas technique, we also measured the end-expiratory lung volumes of the 6 horses during eupnea, 6% CO2 challenge, and 12% O2 breathing. During eupneic breathing, phasic electrical activity of these 3 muscles was always present and was preceded by the onset of mechanical flow. At progressive levels of hypercapnia, the magnitude of inspiratory and expiratory electrical activity increased, and for the expiratory muscles, this recruitment coincided with significant (P < 0.05) increases in peak expiratory gastric pressure. However, during hypocapnic hypoxia, differential recruitment patterns of the respiratory muscles were found. The electrical activity of the diaphragm increased in magnitude and occurred sooner relative to the onset of mechanical flow. The magnitude and onset of abdominal expiratory activity failed to increase significantly during these episodes of hyperpnea and this pattern of activity coincided with decrements in peak expiratory gastric pressure. Despite alterations in muscle recruitment patterns during these hyperpneic episodes, end-expiratory lung volume remained unchanged. Thus, we conclude that adult horses respond similarly to awake dogs during peripheral and central chemoreceptor stimulation.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Repeatability of measurements of peak and mean tracheal and pharyngeal pressures in exercising horses was determined. Five athletically fit horses were subjected to repeated (n = 5) standardized exercise trials. Static pressures in the trachea, nasopharynx, and mask were determined. At least 96% of all mean pressure measurements were within 5 cm of H2O of the mean value for any horse. Peak pressure measurements were less repeatable, but at least 96% of all measurements were within 10 cm of H2O of the mean peak measurements for any horse. In 10 horses galloping at 14 m/s, the 95% confidence interval for peak treacheal and pharyngeal inspiratory pressures ranged from —40 to —50 cm of H2O and —20 to — 26 cm of H2O, respectively. During expiration, the 95% confidence interval for peak tracheal and pharyngeal pressure at the same speed ranged from 15 to 28 cm of H2O and 10 to 24 cm of H2O respectively. During inspiration, horses with induced laryngeal hemiplegia had static pressure measurements generally outside that range. We conclude that determination of tracheal and pharyngeal pressures is a potentially useful adjunct for assessment of the proximal portion of the respiratory tract.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research