Get access

Bronchial collapse during bronchoalveolar lavage in horses is an indicator of lung inflammation


  • Partial data were presented to the 2010 Veterinary Comparative Respiratory Conference.


Reasons for performing study

The bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) procedure can return variable volumes of fluid, possibly depending on the presence of bronchial collapse during fluid aspiration and on the severity of lung inflammation.


We tested the hypothesis that horses with bronchial collapse during BAL are at higher risk of having severe lung inflammation.

Study design

Prospective field study.


Bronchial collapse was graded using a new simple scoring method (0, 1 or 2) during a standardised BAL procedure in the field on 131 horses with normal, mild/moderate or severe lower airway inflammation on cytology of BAL fluid.


Of the 131 horses, 37 (28%), 55 (42%) and 39 (30%) horses had bronchial collapse scores of 0, 1 and 2, respectively. There was a difference in collapse scores between all the BAL inflammation categories (P<0.001). Severe collapse had a positive predictive value of 0.95 for both mild/moderate and severe BAL inflammation, with a prevalence of 63% and 20%, respectively. The BAL fluid return volume in the horses with severe collapse scores was lower than volumes in the partial (score 1/2) and no collapse (score 0/2) groups (P<0.001). The BAL fluid volume was negatively correlated with BAL neutrophil percentage (P<0.001).


Airway collapse during BAL is associated with airway inflammation and neutrophilia.

Potential relevance

During a standardised BAL procedure, clinicians can expect lung inflammation in horses that have bronchial collapse and bronchial collapse in horses with lung inflammation. Lung inflammation may be a contributing factor in the mechanism of bronchial collapse during BAL in horses.

The Summary is available in Chinese – see Supporting information.