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1.  Objective classification of different head and neck positions and their influence on the radiographic pharyngeal diameter in sport horses 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:118.
Various head and neck positions in sport horses are significant as they can interfere with upper airway flow mechanics during exercise. Until now, research has focused on subjectively described head and neck positions. The objective of this study was to develop an objective, reproducible method for quantifying head and neck positions accurately.
Determining the angle between the ridge of the nose and the horizontal plane (ground angle) together with the angle between the ridge of nose and the line connecting the neck and the withers (withers angle) has provided values that allow precise identification of three preselected head and neck positions for performing sport horses. The pharyngeal diameter, determined on lateral radiographs of 35 horses, differed significantly between the established flexed position and the remaining two head and neck positions (extended and neutral). There was a significant correlation between the pharyngeal diameter and the ground angle (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient −0.769, p < 0.01) as well as between the pharyngeal diameter and the withers angle (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient 0.774, p < 0.01).
The combination of the ground angle and the withers angle is a suitable tool for evaluating and distinguishing frequently used head and neck positions in sport horses. The ground angle and the withers angle show significant correlation with the measured pharyngeal diameter in resting horses. Hence, these angles provide an appropriate method for assessing the degree of head and neck flexion. Further research is required to examine the influence of increasing head and neck flexion and the related pharyngeal diameter on upper airway function in exercising horses.
PMCID: PMC4041040  PMID: 24886564
Horse; Equine pharynx; Head and neck position; Pharyngeal diameter; Upper respiratory tract
2.  Pharyngeal diameter in various head and neck positions during exercise in sport horses 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:117.
In equine athletes, dynamic stenotic disorders of the upper airways are often the cause for abnormal respiratory noises and/or poor performance. There are hypotheses, that head and neck flexion may influence the morphology and function of the upper airway and thus could even induce or deteriorate disorders of the upper respiratory tract. Especially the pharynx, without osseous or cartilaginous support is prone to changes in pressure and airflow during exercise. The objective of this study was to develop a method for measuring the pharyngeal diameter in horses during exercise, in order to analyse whether a change of head-neck position may have an impact on the pharyngeal diameter.
Under the assumption that the width of the epiglottis remains constant in healthy horses, the newly developed method for calculating the pharyngeal diameter in horses during exercise is unsusceptible against changes of the viewing-angle and distance between the endoscope and the structures, which are to be assessed. The quotient of the width of the epiglottis and the perpendicular from a fixed point on the dorsal pharynx to the epiglottis could be used to determine the pharyngeal diameter. The percentage change of this quotient (pharynx-epiglottis-ratio; PE-ratio) in the unrestrained head-neck position against the reference position was significantly larger than that of any other combination of the head-neck positions investigated. A relation between the percentage change in PE-ratio and the degree of head and neck flexion could not be confirmed.
It could be shown, that the pharyngeal diameter is reduced through the contact position implemented by the rider in comparison to the unrestrained head and neck position. An alteration of the pharyngeal diameter depending on the degree of head and neck flexion (represented by ground and withers angle) could not be confirmed.
PMCID: PMC4057621  PMID: 24886465
Horse; Equine pharynx; Head and neck position; Pharyngeal diameter; Upper respiratory tract
3.  Metabolic syndrome: is equine disease comparable to what we know in humans? 
Endocrine Connections  2014;3(3):R81-R93.
This review summarizes similarities and differences between the metabolic syndromes in humans and equines, concerning the anatomy, symptoms, and pathophysiological mechanisms. In particular, it discusses the structure and distribution of adipose tissue and its specific metabolic pathways. Furthermore, this article provides insights and focuses on issues concerning laminitis in horses and cardiovascular diseases in humans, as well as their overlap.
PMCID: PMC4068110  PMID: 24894908
metabolism; obesity; diabetes; cardiovascular; inflammation
4.  Non-genomic action of beclomethasone dipropionate on bronchoconstriction caused by leukotriene C4 in precision cut lung slices in the horse 
Glucocorticoids have been proven to be effective in the therapy of recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) in horses via systemic as well as local (inhalative) administration. Elective analysis of the effects of this drug on bronchoconstriction in viable lung tissue offers an insight into the mechanism of action of the inflammatory cascade occurring during RAO which is still unclear. The mechanism of action of steroids in treatment of RAO is thought to be induced through classical genomic pathways. We aimed at electively studying the effects of the glucocorticoid beclomethasone dipropionate on equine precision-cut lung slices (PCLS).
PCLS were used to analyze ex-vivo effects of beclomethasone on inhibiting bronchoconstriction in the horse. The inhibiting effect was measured through instillation of a known mediator of inflammation and bronchoconstriction, leukotriene C4. For this, the accessory lobes of 13 horses subjected to euthanasia for reasons unrelated to the respiratory apparatus were used to obtain viable lung slices.
After 30 minutes of PCLS incubation, beclomethasone showed to significantly inhibit the contraction of the bronchioles after instillation with leukotriene C4. The EC50 values of the two contraction curves (LTC4 with and without BDP) differed significantly from each other (p = 0.002). The possibility of a non-genomic rapid mechanism of action seems likely since transcriptional activities require a longer lag period.
In human neuroendocrinology, high levels of glucocorticoids have been proven to function via a non-genomic mechanism of membrane receptors. The concentration of beclomethasone used on the lung slices in our study can be considered as high. This allows speculation about similar rapid non-genomic mechanisms of high-dosage inhaled glucocorticoids in the lower airways of horses. However, further assessment on a molecular basis is needed to confirm this.
PMCID: PMC3485115  PMID: 22963524
Beclomethasone; Horse; Leukotriene; Non-genomic membrane receptors; Recurrent airway obstruction; RAO; Precision-cut lung slices; PCLS

Results 1-4 (4)