• Corticosteroids;
  • Cortisol;
  • Horse;
  • Laminitis

Background: Efficacy of inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP) for management of recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) has only been evaluated after several weeks' treatment.

Objectives: To compare efficacy of (1) 3-day treatments with FP to dexamethasone (DEX) for management of RAO; and (2) FP and DEX to no treatment in prevention of acute RAO exacerbations.

Animals: Nine RAO affected horses.

Methods: Crossover studies in RAO-affected horses compared (a) 3-day treatment of RAO exacerbation with FP (3 and 6 mg q12h) and DEX (0.1 mg/kg q24h) and (b) FP (6 mg q12h) and DEX (0.1 mg/kg q24h) to no treatment for prevention of acute exacerbations of RAO. Treatment efficacy and unwanted effects were judged from maximal change in pleural pressure (ΔPplmax), serum cortisol (COR), bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cytology, and subjective scores for respiratory distress and lameness.

Results: In treatment trial, DEX and FP (6 mg) significantly decreased ΔPplmax by 48 and 72 hours, respectively; FP (3 mg) had no significant effect. DEX decreased COR more than did FP. In prevention trial, both DEX and FP (6 mg) prevented the increase in ΔPplmax that occurred in untreated horses. Both treatments decreased COR to the same degree. FP and DEX had no effects on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cytology and there was no evidence of laminitis.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: FP (6 mg q12h) is as effective as DEX for prevention of acute exacerbations of RAO and lower doses should be evaluated. High-dose FP is not as effective as DEX for treatment of RAO exacerbations.