• horse;
  • bronchoalveolar lavage;
  • cytology;
  • guttural pouch;
  • pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia;
  • pharyngitis;
  • mucus;
  • environment;
  • pasture;
  • neutrophil


We examined the effect of stabling on upper and lower airway inflammation in 14 yearling Arabian horses that had been at pasture since birth. Horses were divided into 2 groups of 7. One group was stabled for 3 months and the other remained at pasture. The groups were then switched over for another 3 months. The nasopharynx, guttural pouches and trachea were examined endoscopically and bronchoalveolar lavage performed every month. An upper airway inflammation score was devised based on the magnitude of pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia and guttural pouch inflammation. During stabling this score remained constant, whereas it decreased during the 3 months at pasture. Stabling was also associated with a higher number and percentage of neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and with a smaller percentage of lymphocytes. There was no correlation between upper airway inflammation score and bronchoalveolar lavage cytology. During a nasal occlusion test, dorsal displacement of the soft palate occurred more times in stabled than in pastured horses, but this was heavily biased by the results from one animal. We conclude that stabling is associated with inflammation of both the upper and lower airway of young horses.