Endoscopic detection of upper respiratory pathologies is typically performed with the horse at rest. However, endoscopy while the horse is exercising is necessary to diagnose most functional disorders of the upper respiratory tract, such as:
- dynamic collapse of the left arytenoid cartilage in horses with laryngeal recurrent neuropathy that appears mild at rest
- intermittent dorsal displacement of the soft palate
- pharyngeal collapse
- axial deviation of the aryepiglottic folds
In the past, dynamic endoscopic evaluations were performed while the horse was being exercised on a treadmill. Recently, overground endoscopy was developed as an alternative to treadmill endoscopy of the upper respiratory tract in exercising horses.
The Equine Surgery service at Illinois has acquired a Tele-View Equine Exercise Endoscope that enables evaluation of the upper respiratory tract during routine exercise while training. This endoscope is an easy-to-use method of analyzing upper airway obstruction problems during exercise.
The endoscope system is lightweight and halter-mounted. The endoscope cable is placed into the horse’s nasal cavity with the camera tip positioned above the larynx. This placement gives an excellent view of the epiglottis and larynx, both, at rest and during workouts or training sessions. The exercise video is recorded to an SD card, which can be easily transferred to a laptop computer and reviewed after completion of the test at the farm.
The convenience of this technology makes simulation of actual racing or performance conditions possible while performing the endoscopic examination. Advantages of performing field exercise tests include the ability to perform the examination in the environment in which the horse trains and is likely to be used in competition and under conditions that cannot necessarily be replicated during treadmill exercise. In addition, horses do not need to travel to our hospital in Urbana to be examined, thereby reducing both the time and costs involved.
The current cost of each overground endoscopy is approximately $300 to $350, which includes the farm call and medication necessary to complete the evaluation. If you have any questions regarding overground endoscopy at the University of Illinois, or would like to make an appointment, please contact us at (217) 333-2001.
—Santiago Gutierrez Nibeyro, DVM, MS, DACVS, DACVSMR