Breathe Easy: Purdue Develops Test For Equine Respiratory Issues

by | 12.19.2018 | 7:16am

Respiratory issues are the most common equine illness after lameness. A new test developed by researchers from Perdue University can help identify what is causing the breathing complication, which can lead to athletic performance decline.

Laurent Couëtil, director of Purdue's Equine Research Programs and Equine Sports Medicine Center, developed the test with engineers on Purdue's campus. The test measures horse's lung function and then helps diagnose the condition.

To get baseline information, a pneumotachometer is attached to a mask around a horse's nose that measures the flow of air during breathing at rest. To calculate the change in pleural pressure, lung compliance and pulmonary resistance, esophageal pressure and airflow are measured.

Then, the horse is sedated and a nasotracheal tube and esophageal balloon are inserted. The horse's lungs are them manually inflated, then a vacuum reservoir causes forced expiration. The data from this test is collected by a computer that determines forced expiratory volume, forced expiratory flow and forced vital capacity in the lungs.

Purdue is the only place in the world that uses this lung function test, says Couëtil. He is exploring the possibility of using this diagnostic tool in private equine hospitals.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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