ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate and quantify respiratory mechanical dysfunctions in Standardbred horses with both poor performance and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cytology characteristic of inflammatory airway disease (IAD). A control group of healthy Standardbred horses was compared. Respiratory mechanics and breathing pattern were examined at rest and during hyperventilation induced using a rebreathing method. At rest, respiratory mechanics and breathing pattern were superimposable in both groups. In IAD horses, rebreathing increased ventilation, with larger tidal volumes and lower respiratory frequencies. During hyperventilation, IAD animals showed frequency-dependent dynamic lung compliance, and had greater viscous lung resistance and rate of dynamic work of breathing. As IAD alters pulmonary mechanics, the ventilatory load increases and horses requiring significantly higher energy for breathing may suffer restrictions in their athletic performance. This rebreathing method permits early evaluation of respiratory mechanical dysfunction in poorly performing horses with sub-clinical IAD.
The Veterinary Journal 02/2007; 173(1):144-50. · 2.24 Impact Factor