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  • Author or Editor: Ashley L. Behan x
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Objective—To use noninvasive respiratory inductance plethysmography (RIP) to investigate differences in breathing patterns between horses with and without recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) during the onset of airway obstruction induced through confinement to stables.

Animals—12 horses with no history or clinical signs of respiratory disease (control horses) and 7 RAO-affected horses.

Procedures—The study involved 2 phases. In phase 1, the optimal position of RIP bands for recording pulmonary function was investigated in 12 control horses. In phase 2, 7 RAO-affected and 7 control horses were confined to stables. Respiratory inductance plethysmography bands were applied to horses for 24 h/d to record respiratory rate and total displacement in 4-hour periods for 7 days or until RAO-affected horses developed signs of severe RAO that persisted for 2 consecutive days. Lung function was measured once daily.

Results—In phase 1, thoracic and abdominal cavity displacements were best represented by RIP bands positioned at intercostal spaces 6 and 17, respectively. In phase 2, pulmonary function indicated airway obstruction in the RAO-affected group on the final 2 days of stable confinement. Respiratory rate and total degree of respiratory displacement measured by RIP did not differ between the RAO-affected and control groups, but the SDs of these decreased significantly within 8 hours after stable confinement began in RAO-affected horses. Respiratory inductance plethysmography and pulmonary function findings became highly correlated as severity of disease progressed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The decrease in the SDs of RIP measurements indicated a lower degree of variability in breathing patterns of RAO-affected horses. This loss of variability may provide an early indicator of airway inflammation.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research