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CONGENITAL deformities affect 1 to 4 per cent of foals (Platt 1973) and are a common cause of fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in horses (Huston and others 1977). Congenital malformations of the equine head, including choanal atresia, are uncommon. In cases of bilateral complete choanal atresia, affected neonates present with complete upper airway obstruction and severe, life-threatening dyspnoea. Unilateral or incomplete atresia is generally unrecognised until later in life when the horse is put into training (Gaughan and DeBowes 1993). As with many congenital diseases of horses, the heritability of choanal atresia remains unknown. This short communication describes a case of bilateral choanal stenosis in a foal, diagnosed using CT.
A seven-month-old, 210 kg Oldenburger warmblood filly was presented to the equine clinic of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, for evaluation of stridor induced by physical stress and exercise intolerance, which had been present since birth. The owner reported that none of the filly's full or half siblings had shown abnormal respiratory signs.
The filly was of normal size for its age and breed and had a body condition score of 4/9 (Henneke and others 1983). The preliminary clinical examination was unremarkable. Routine haematology, biochemistry and arterial blood gas analysis at rest were within normal limits.
External assessment of the head showed normal symmetry of the supporting bones of the face. Percussion of the paranasal sinuses elicited no pain and normal resonance. Airflow was subjectively assessed as being equal at both nostrils, and there was no …