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Extensive Nasal Septum Resection in Horses Using a 3-Wire Method


Address reprint requests to Aimie J Doyle, DVM, MS, West Wind Veterinary Hospital, 51136 Range Road 212, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada T8G 1E7. E-mail:


Objective— To describe a surgical technique for, and report outcome after, extensive nasal septum resection in horses with congenital or acquired septal diseases.

Study Design— Retrospective study.

Animals— Horses (5) with nasal septal deformity.

Methods— Under general anesthesia, obstetrical wires were preplaced around the ventral, caudal, and dorsal aspects of the nasal septum by combinations of manual guidance (ventral and caudal wires) and use of a trephine hole on the dorsal mid-line (dorsal and caudal wires). The rostral part of the septum was incised with a scalpel and the ventral, dorsal, and caudal septal incisions were made with the preplaced wires. After septum removal, the nasal cavity packed with a tampon and a temporary tracheotomy was performed.

Results— The diseased nasal septum was completely removed in all horses. It was possible to direct the caudal cut at a sufficient angle so that the remaining stump was in a wide part of the nasal passage, where it would have minimal effect on airflow. Four horses healed, and returned to intended use but continued to make a slight respiratory noise during exercise. At 13 months after surgery, 1 horse with a concurrent wry nose was retired from race training after 2 additional surgeries failed to relieve exercise intolerance at high speed.

Conclusions— The 3 wire-cut method of nasal septum resection was technically easy to perform and safe, allowed return to function in most horses, and produced an excellent cosmetic appearance.

Clinical Relevance— This technique for nasal septum resection allows removal of a large portion of the nasal septum and provides a safe alternative to conventional techniques of nasal septum resection in the horse.