The successful permanent placement of a metal breathing tube through the neck of a horse has been described by researchers in Brazil.
The circumstances leading to the placement of the permanent tracheotomy in the mare, and the surgery involved, are described in a clinical report in the journal Acta Veterinaria Brasilica.
The seven-year-old horse from the city of Russas, in the state of Ceará, was seen by veterinary hospital clinicians at the Federal Rural University of the Semi-arid Region. The mare was making loud respiratory noises and was affected by shortness of breath.
At home, she had spent her days outdoors on native pasture, but was stabled at night.
The owner told the veterinarians that the mare had experienced respiratory difficulties for 20 days. She had been treated on the property with clenbuterol, bromhexine hydrochloride and benzylpenicillin procaine-based treatments, but there had been no improvement.
Clinicians at the hospital found the animal had a heart rate of 68 beats per minute and a respiratory rate of 20 breaths per minute. She had pale mucous membranes and normal intestinal sounds. The horse’s appetite was normal.
An endoscopic examination was performed, which confirmed the veterinarians’ suspicions that the horse was affected by hemiplegia. The paralysis affected both sides and was quite advanced.
Laryngeal hemiplegia is a progressive upper airway problem in horses. It can occur through degeneration of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, a fungal infection in the guttural pouch, or irritation in the region. However, in many cases, the cause remains unknown. Some research suggests that this disease has a genetic component.
Jéssica Monique dos Santos Lima and other members of the clinical team opted to carry out a surgical tracheotomy procedure. Beneath a 5cm skin incision, a tunnel leading to the trachea was formed and sutured. A hole was formed in the trachea.
The horse received courses of penicillin and an anti-inflammatory drug following her surgery. She remained in hospital to receive the medications, and to have the wound cleaned regularly while it healed.
The metal tracheostomy cannula was then placed in position. The mare was able to be discharged 36 days after being hospitalized. The surgical wound had healed entirely, and there was no inflammation or infection.
The procedure proved efficient in improving the mare’s breathing difficulties and improved her quality of life, the researchers said.
Permanent tracheostomy in a horse: a case report. Jéssica Monique dos Santos Lima, Bismark Alves da Silva, Edson Teixeira Pereira, Alex Carlos da Silva França, Heider Irinaldo Pereira Ferreira and Ana Luiza Cordeiro Gondim Guimarães. Acta Veterinaria Brasilica, Vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 10–14, https://doi.org/10.21708/avb.2022.16.1.10246