Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Arytenoid Chondritis & Epiglottiditis

These are problems of the upper airway (cartilage at the back of the throat) that result in inflamed, swollen, thickened, deformed and possibly paralyzed tissue that is diagnosed with endoscopy. They commonly occur in race horses in active race training.

While bacterial infection may cause this problem, in some cases it is more of a mysterious inflammatory disorder. Physical trauma from inhalation of airborne debris coming off a race track surface may be a contributing cause.

Prognosis & Relevant Factors

Guarded. Depends on the severity of the inflammation and involvement of the arytenoid cartilages. If there is chronic disfigurement and scarring of the epiglottis or larynx, then performance limiting respiratory obstruction may continue.

Damage to the epiglottis may result in dorsal displacement of the soft palate which may also be performance limiting.

PREVENTION

Diagnose and treat upper respiratory problems promptly to prevent permanent damage. Maintain good ventilation and racing conditions to reduce likelihood of all respiratory conditions.
Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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