Horses can suffer from a number of different upper airway conditions.

Does your horse sound a bit unusual when undergoing strenuous exercise? Does it gulp, ‘roar’ or whistle?

If this is the case in your horse, endoscopy may be appropriate. A camera and light source at the end of a long tube is passed down the airway to examine vital structures involved in respiration, especially the larynx. The symmetry and function of the larynx and the soft palate can be examined accurately in this way.

Endoscopy is also useful in cases where a horse has had a recent nose bleed or has another upper respiratory problem. In the case of strangles, endoscopy is useful when wishing to visualise the guttural pouches; perform guttural pouch washes or take samples.

Lung washes may be performed for the investigation of coughs, chronic lung disease or poor performance.

Endoscopy can also be useful when samples are required from deeper within the airways as there is a biopsy channel through which a catheter may be passed. Your horse may require a sedative for the procedure but this can be done in a standing horse without the need for a general anaesthetic.