• horse;
  • equine;
  • sinusitis;
  • diagnostic techniques;
  • compartments affected


Reasons for performing study: There is a lack of objective information on the value of ancillary diagnostic techniques used to investigate equine sinus disease, and also on which sinus compartments are commonly affected in this disorder.

Objectives: To record the ancillary diagnostic findings used to investigate equine sinus disease and to document which compartments are affected.

Materials and methods: The clinical case records of 200 consecutive cases of sinus disease, including subacute (<2 months' duration) primary (n = 52); chronic (>2 months' duration) primary (n = 37); dental (n = 40); traumatic (n = 13); sinus cyst (n = 26); sinus neoplasia (n = 10); dental related oromaxillary fistula (n = 8); mycotic sinusitis (n = 7) and intra-sinus progressive ethmoid haematoma (n = 7) were retrospectively examined.

Results: Nasal endoscopy showed exudate draining from the sino-nasal ostia in 88% of cases and a sino-nasal fistula was present in 15% of cases. Sinoscopy was performed in 79% of cases and was of great diagnostic value. More recently, 22% of cases had fenestration of the ventral conchal bulla performed to allow sinoscopy of the rostral sinus compartments. Radiography was performed in 97% of cases and showed intra-sinus fluid lines to be common (69% prevalence) in subacute primary sinusitis. Radiographic dental apical changes were not specific to dental sinusitis, e.g. 29% of chronic primary sinusitis cases had radiographic dental changes. Scintigraphy was performed in 20% of cases and was helpful in identifying dental apical changes when radiography was inconclusive. Overall, the caudal maxillary (78% involvement) and rostral maxillary (61%) sinuses were most commonly affected, with the ventral conchal sinus (VCS) (54% involvement) and conchofrontal sinuses (48%) less so. The VCS showed the greatest tendency to contain inspissated pus (present in 46% of all affected VCS).

Conclusions: Nasal endoscopy, sinoscopy and skull radiography are of great value in diagnosing the presence and causes of equine sinus disease.