An endoscopic examination by means of a flexible fibre-optic scope allows the veterinarian direct visualisation of a range of internal structures, including the upper airways and larynx, the trachea and bronchi, the stomach and proximal small intestine (gastroscopy) and the uterus, bladder and urethra. In most cases these examinations can be performed in the standing animal under restraint and either in the horses own stable or at the hospital. Abnormalities are identified and when necessary samples can be collected for further analysis.
Along with the use of portable fibre-optic endoscopes, video-endoscopy units at the Randwick Equine Centre allow closer inspection including frame by frame assessment of moving structures as well as providing a permanent record in both video and still images.
Endoscopic examination of the upper airway structures is essential to accurately diagnosing problematic respiratory conditions such as, “roarers”, entrapped epiglottis, pharyngitis and chondritis.
An endoscopic exam of the upper airways is indicated when any of the following are present:
• nasal discharge
• respiratory noise (at exercise or rest)
• facial swelling
• respiratory distress
Some respiratory conditions are only evident at exercise. Such situations require Dynamic Respiratory Endoscopy (whereby the horse is "scoped" whilst working at speed) to achieve the correct diagnosis.
Dynamic Respiratory Endoscopy
This is one of the most important advances in equine veterinary practice in recent years. It is an endoscopic examination of the horse’s upper airway whilst under race or strenuous exercise conditions. It allows a very close and accurate assessment of your horse's airway when it matters - i.e. when he/she is working hard. This takes the guess work and uncertainty out of assessing the relevance of subtle abnormalities as well as diagnosing certain important abnormalities which appear normal at rest. This “on board” endoscope is comfortably worn attached to the bridle with the recording device attached to a specially designed saddle cloth.
The video recording of the airway is then viewed frame by frame by experienced clinicians and specialist surgeons to ensure the correct diagnosis is made and the most appropriate management, medical and surgical options are discussed. It is a vital part of ensuring the best possible outcome for you and your horse.
Download the pdf below for a detailed article outlining the procedure in more detail.