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Keywords:

  • equine;
  • larynx;
  • ultrasound

Nasopharyngeal and laryngeal evaluation is important when examining horses with upper airway signs for poor performance. Currently endoscopy is the most common method to evaluate the equine upper airway. Ultrasonography of the equine larynx has not previously been described. Using six cadaveric specimens and four standing horses, the ultrasonographic appearance of the equine larynx was established. A scanning technique, including useful acoustic windows and the normal ultrasonographic appearance at each site, is described. Ultrasound allowed visualization of portions of the hyoid apparatus, laryngeal cartilages, associated soft tissues, and intrinsic and extrinsic laryngeal musculature, that are not seen using endoscopy. Additionally, real-time ultrasound allowed observation of the movement of the vocal folds and the arytenoid cartilages during respiration. In three horses with arytenoid chondritis, ultrasonography aided in the diagnosis and localization of arytenoid abcessation and perilaryngeal inflammation. The establishment of this technique will serve as the basis for future investigations in the evaluation of clinical patients with upper airway abnormalities.