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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Dynamic Endoscope Expands Ability To Diagnose Equine Breathing Issues

June 26th, 2017

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Oregon State University has a new state-of-the-art scope for diagnosing upper airway disorders in horses.

The portable Optomed dynamic endoscope allows veterinarians to see a horse’s airway under a variety of conditions, in any environment. The custom-made scope is so new there are only a few currently being used in this country.

“The endoscope will allow us to examine the upper airway of client horses in real time during their normal activity,” says Dr. Erica McKenzie, specialist in equine internal medicine and sport horses. “It is especially useful with horses where we cannot duplicate their specific exercise on the treadmill, or when they cannot be safely trained to the treadmill.”

The dynamic scope is inserted into the horse’s nostril and, once it is properly placed, locked securely into place by a special nose band that fits comfortably over or under the bridle. A specially-designed saddle pad that houses the recording device is then placed on the horse’s back. A saddle or sulky harness easily fits over the pad. Once all the equipment is in place, the horse can follow its regular exercise routine. A real-time video of the horse’s airways can be watched on a mobile screen. The video can also be recorded on a flash drive for viewing later.

The dynamic endoscope allows the airway to be observed during all types of exercise and movement, including ridden horses. It will help veterinarians diagnose previously unidentified upper airway disorders such as noisy breathing during exercise and exercise intolerance. It was purchased, in part, with a donation from the Willard L. and Ruth P. Eccles Foundation.

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