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Objective—To determine variations in cytologic counts of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid attributable to month of collection, first and second aliquots, and left and right lung sites in horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO).

Animals—5 horses with RAO and 5 healthy horses without respiratory tract disease.

Procedures—Horses were housed in a stable for 5 months prior to and throughout the study. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected from the right and left lung of each horse 3 times at monthly intervals (February, March, and April). Each BAL fluid collection was performed by use of 2 incremental instillations of 250 mL of isotonic saline (0.9% NaCl) solution in the same bronchial site. Analysis of BAL fluid included volume of BAL fluid recovered, a CBC, and differential cytologic counts.

Results—Volume of BAL fluid recovered and cytologic counts did not differ in horses with RAO across time or between right and left lungs, except for the number of mast cells. Horses with RAO had significantly lower volumes of BAL fluid recovered, significantly lower percentages of macrophages and lymphocytes, and significantly higher percentages of neutrophils than did healthy horses. Despite individual variation, all horses with RAO had > 25% neutrophils throughout the study period.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite variation among horses, BAL fluid cytologic counts were repeatable over short and long periods and samples can be used for longitudinal studies as a diagnostic tool of pulmonary inflammation in horses with RAO.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To determine temporal variations of pulmonary function in horses without respiratory tract disease (controls) and horses with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and determine whether reversibility of airway obstruction after environmental control can be predicted by response to atropine administration.


7 COPD-affected and 5 control horses.


Pulmonary function testing was performed monthly during 3 consecutive months, daily for 5 consecutive days, and at 6-hour intervals for 24 hours before and after administration of atropine (0.02 mg/kg of body weight, IV) and after 5 consecutive months at pasture. Respiratory rate, tidal volume (VT), minute ventilation (VE), maximal change in transpulmonary pressure (ΔPL), pulmonary resistance (RL), and pulmonary elastance (EL) were calculated.


COPD-affected horses had a significantly higher expiratory to inspiratory time ratio (TE/TI) and ΔPL, EL, and RL than horses without respiratory tract diseases during all periods and higher VE during monthly and daily evaluations. Daily variation in VT and monthly and circadian variation in EL were significant in COPD-affected horses. In control horses, significant changes were apparent only in TE/TI during daily recordings. In COPD-affected horses, reduction in ΔPL, RL, and EL was significant after atropine administration and after maintenance on pasture.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Despite variations in measurements of respiratory mechanics in both groups of horses, values remained significantly different between groups over time. Despite individual variation, measurements were repeatable during short and long periods. Response to administration of atropine to COPD-affected horses underestimated improvement in respiratory tract function that resulted from maintenance on pasture. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60:1341–1346)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Effects of triamcinolone acetonide (ta) on pulmonary function, bronchoalveolar lavage cytologic features and serum cortisol concentration, were studied in 5 control horses and 5 horses with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd). In experiment 1, horses were brought in from pasture 3 weeks before administration of 1 injection of ta (0.09 mg/kg of body weight, im), and were stabled in dusty conditions throughout the experimental period. Measurements of respiratory rate (f), tidal volume, minute ventilation, expiratory-to-inspiratory time ratio, maximal change in transpulmonary pressure (ΔPL), pulmonary resistance (RL), and dynamic compliance (Cdyn) were obtained during quiet breathing, immediately before (baseline) and 1, 2, 3, 5, and 9 weeks after administration of ta. Pulmonary airway cells were collected by bronchoalveolar lavage while horses were at pasture, at baseline, and 2, 5, and 9 weeks after ta administration. Serum cortisol concentration was measured before and after adrenocortical stimulation with 100 IU of adrenocorticotropic hormone, 1 week prior to ta administration, and 4 and 8 weeks thereafter. In experiment 2, 4 months after ta injection, pulmonary function measurements were repeated in all horses immediately before and 30 minutes after administration of atropine (0.015 mg/kg, iv), to evaluate the reversibility of airway obstruction.

In experiment 1 at baseline, COPD-affected horses had significantly (P < 0.05) higher values than did controls for f, ΔPL, RL, and percentage of neutrophils, and had lower values for Cdyn and percentage of lymphocytes and macrophages. There were significant reductions in ΔPL and RL, and increase in macrophage percentage after ta administration in copd-affected horses only. The degree and duration of these changes varied among individual copd-affected horses, but ΔPL, and RL, values had returned to or were above baseline in all horses 5 weeks after treatment. Baseline cortisol concentration was decreased 4 weeks after ta administration, but the mean increase in cortisol values after adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation was similar to that observed prior to treatment.

In experiment 2, values of ΔPL, RL, and Cdyn, after atropine administration were similar to those of controls in the 2 copd-affected horses that had improved most after ta, but were only partially improved in the 3 other horses, indicating possible irreversible lesions in the latter.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the minimal effective dosage of omeprazole oral paste for the prevention of naturally occurring ulcers in horses starting race training.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—175 horses.

Procedure—Horses in the dose selection portion of the study were sham dose treated or received 1 mg (0.45 mg/lb) or 2 mg (0.9 mg/lb) of omeprazole/kg, PO, every 24 hours for 28 days or 4 mg of omeprazole/ kg (1.8 mg/lb; loading dose), PO, every 24 hours for 4 days, then 1 or 2 mg of omeprazole/kg, PO, every 24 hours for 24 days. Horses in the dose confirmation portion of the study were sham dose treated or received 1 mg of omeprazole/kg, PO, every 24 hours for 28 days. Gastric ulcer scores at the beginning and end of the study were compared.

Results—Sham–dose-treated horses had significantly higher ulcer scores than did horses treated with any of the omeprazole dosages evaluated. Among horses treated with omeprazole, there was no significant interaction of dose (1 or 2 mg/kg) and loading dose; therefore, the lowest effective dose (1 mg/kg) was evaluated in the dose confirmation portion of the study. In the dose confirmation study, 4 of 39 (10%) sham–dose-treated horses remained ulcer free, which was significantly different from the proportion of horses (31/38 [82%]) receiving 1 mg of omeprazole/ kg that remained ulcer free.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that omeprazole administered at a dosage of 1 mg/kg, PO, every 24 hours for 28 days was effective for prevention of gastric ulcers in horses starting race training. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1681–1684)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare efficacy and safety of paste formulations of firocoxib and phenylbutazone in horses with naturally occurring osteoarthritis.

Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Animals—253 client-owned horses with naturally occurring osteoarthritis.

Procedures—Horses were treated with firocoxib (0.1 mg/kg [0.045 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h) or phenylbutazone (4.4 mg/kg [2 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h) for 14 days. Physical examinations and lameness evaluations were performed prior to treatment and after 7 and 14 days. Clinical improvement was defined as a reduction of at least 1 lameness grade or a combined reduction of at least 3 points in scores for pain during manipulation or palpation, joint swelling, joint circumference, and range of motion.

Results—Proportion of horses clinically improved on day 14 for the firocoxib group (104/123 [84.6%]) was not significantly different from the proportion for the phenylbutazone group (103/119 [86.6%]). Proportion of horses that were improved on day 14 was significantly greater for horses treated with firocoxib than for horses treated with phenylbutazone with regard to score for pain on manipulation or palpation (P = 0.028), joint circumference score (P = 0.026), and range of motion score (P = 0.012), but not for overall lameness score or joint swelling score. No direct treatment-related adverse effects were detected during the study.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that overall clinical efficacy of a paste formulation of firocoxib in horses with naturally occurring osteoarthritis was comparable to efficacy of a paste formulation of phenylbutazone.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association