Horses are guinea pigs of new NCSU pulmonary test
Raleigh, N.C. - A new non-invasive test, developed by researchers at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, can detect pulmonary problems in horses.
NCSU and Tufts University in Boston are the only two U.S. locales qualified to perform the test.
Veterinarians use the test to expose recurrent airway obstruction.
"It's a pretty big problem with horses," says Dr. Sarah Gardner, assistant professor of clinical sciences and head of the new testing service. She estimates that up to 50 percent of thoroughbred and standardbred horses have inflammatory airway disease.
Veterinarians perform the test by placing a breathing mask over the horse's mouth and nostrils. The procedure applies the principles of forced oscillatory mechanics to measure airflow and lung function of the horse.
Gardner asserts the new test will provide objective and quantitative data to accurately determine proper treatment regimens, which can include inhaled steroids or anti-inflammatory medications.
"The testing is particularly helpful in diagnosing horses with inflammatory airway disease that may only have clinical signs of exercise intolerance and cough," she says.
The procedure costs $150 with a free re-evaluation to monitor responses to treatment therapies. Contact the Veterinary Teaching Hospital's Equine Medication Service at (919) 513-6640.