It is important to treat the upper and lower respiratory tracts as a single unit, as lower respiratory tract diseases can often cause upper respiratory functional disorders, whereas upper respiratory obstructions could be a factor in lower respiratory problems. The present study aimed to investigate the hypothesis that asthmatic diseases may be an underlying cause of dorsal displacement of the soft palate in horses. Pleasure or sport horses (n = 57) with a history of asthmatic disease were incorporated in the study. All horses were examined in the exacerbation phase of the asthmatic disease. Bronchoalveolar cytology and tracheal lavage bacteriology were performed in all cases. The upper respiratory tract was evaluated at rest in all horses and during exercising endoscopy in 11/57 with severe equine asthma. Binomial tests with P ≤ .05 significance were used to establish estimated intervals of the measured frequencies of dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) occurring in the studied groups. It was observed that more than 60% of horses with mild or moderate equine asthma and more than 79% of horses with severe equine asthma are presented with DDSP during resting endoscopy examination. During the exercising endoscopy, DDSP was detected in all cases of severe equine asthma. These findings support the proposed hypothesis that DDSP was common in horses with equine asthma. Both increasing negative pressure in the airways due to bronchoconstriction and inflammatory processes could be factors in the development of DDSP. The consequent step would be to investigate the same population of horses in the remission phase of the equine asthma.
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