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Measurement of respiratory function by impulse oscillometry in horses

by E van Erck, D Votion, T Art, P Lekeux
Equine Veterinary Journal ()
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REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: Due to technical implementations and lack of sensitivity, pulmonary function tests are seldom used in clinical practice. Impulse oscillometry (IOS) could represent an alternative method. OBJECTIVES: To define feasibility, methodology and repeatability of IOS, a forced oscillation technique that measures respiratory resistance (Rrs) and reactance (Xrs) from 5 to 35 Hz during spontaneous breathing, in horses. METHODS: Using 38 healthy horses, Rrs and Xrs reference values were defined and influence of individual biometrical parameters was investigated. In addition, IOS measurements of 6 horses showing clinical signs of heaves were compared to those of 6 healthy horses. RESULTS: Airtightness and minimal dead space in the facemask were prerequisites to IOS testing and standardisation of head position was necessary to avoid variations in Rrs due to modified upper airway geometry. In both healthy and diseased animals, measurements were repeatable. In standard-type breeds, the influence of the horse's size on IOS parameters was negligible. An increase in R5Hz greater than 0.10 kPa/l/sec and R5Hz>R10Hz, combined with negative values of Xrs between 5 and 20 Hz, was indicative of heaves crisis. CONCLUSIONS: IOS is a quick, minimally invasive and informative method for pulmonary function testing in healthy and diseased horses. POTENTIAL RELEVANCE: IOS is a promising method for routine and/or field respiratory clinical testing in the equine species.

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