Upper Airway

LLH back.jpg

 IDDSP back.jpg  Epiglottal Entrapment back.jpg


Upper airway obstructions are a common cause for poor performance in horses.  The 3 most common upper airway disorders affecting equine athletes are left laryngeal hemiplegia, intermittent dorsal displacement of the soft palate, and epiglottic entrapment (pictured above from left to right).  In each of these conditions, normal airflow is compromised due to collapse of tissue into the airway resulting in partial airway obstruction, vibration of the obstructing tissue, and turbulent airflow.  Horses with left side laryngeal hemiplegia make a high-pitched inspiratory noise and develop poor performance.  Horses with intermittent dorsal displacement of the soft palate often make a deep rattling or gurgling noise during expiration, especially during intense execise, and show signs of severe exercise intolerance.  Horses with epiglottic entrapment generally do not make a noise during exercise but exhibit decreased performance.