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  • Author or Editor: Clayton D. Chilcoat x
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Objective—To evaluate the association among clinical signs, results of cytologic evaluation of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and measures of pulmonary function in horses with inflammatory respiratory disease.

Animals—9 healthy horses, 5 horses with inflammatory airway disease (IAD), and 9 horses with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Procedure—Clinical examination, lung function tests, and BAL were performed on each horse.

Results—Standard lung mechanics of horses with exacerbated COPD differed significantly from those of healthy horses; however, there were few differences among horses with IAD, horses with COPD during remission, and healthy horses. Most variables for forced expiration (FE) in horses with COPD or IAD differed significantly from those for healthy horses. Results of clinical examination had low to moderate sensitivity and predictive values for a diagnosis of COPD (range, 67 to 80%). Results of FE tests had high sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values for a diagnosis of COPD (79 to 100%), and results of standard lung mechanics tests had low sensitivity and predictive values (22 to 69%). Percentage of neutrophils in BAL fluid was highly sensitive (100%) but moderately specific (64%) for a diagnosis of COPD.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Clinical examination is moderately accurate for establishing a diagnosis of COPD. Forced expiration tests can specifically detect early signs of airway obstruction in horses with COPD and IAD that may otherwise be inapparent. Cytologic evaluation of BAL fluid allows early detection of inflammatory respiratory disease, but it is not specific for COPD. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62: 538–546)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine whether administration of glucocorticoids provides additional benefits to environmental management of horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO).

Animals—28 horses with RAO.

Procedure—Horses were classified as having mild, moderate, or severe RAO. Within each category, horses were randomly assigned to receive inhaled fluticasone propionate, inhaled control substance, or oral administration of prednisone. During the 4- week study, horses were maintained outdoors and fed a pelleted feed. Clinical scores, pulmonary function, results of cytologic examination of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and adrenal gland function were determined before and 2 and 4 weeks after initiation of treatment.

Results—Clinical score and pulmonary function of all RAO-affected horses improved during the treatment period. After 4 weeks, clinical scores and pulmonary function of horses treated with a glucocorticoid were not different from those for the control treatment. In horses with severe RAO, treatment with fluticasone for 2 weeks resulted in significantly greater improvement in pulmonary function, compared with pulmonary function after treatment with prednisone or the control substance. Treatment with a glucocorticoid for 4 weeks and a low-dust environment did not have any effect on cellular content of BALF. Treatment with prednisone for 2 weeks resulted in a significant decrease in serum cortisol concentration, compared with concentrations after administration of fluticasone or the control substance.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Environmental management is the most important factor in the treatment of horses with RAO. Early treatment with inhaled fluticasone can help accelerate recovery of horses with severe RAO. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1665–1674)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research