Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Pharynx: foreign body

Contributor(s): Christopher Brown, Timothy Mair, Nicola Menzies-Gow

Introduction

  • Inhaled foreign bodies are rare in the horse.
  • Cause: thorns, twigs and brush bristles most common; large objects less so.
  • Signs: dependent on site:
    • Nasal foreign body → unilateral acute nasal discharge and/or epistaxis, snorting and head-shyness/shaking → chronic discharge and halitosis.
    • Large pharyngeal foreign body → peracute respiratory dyspnea and acute dysphagia.

    A life-threatening respiratory obstruction may occur if a large foreign body becomes firmly lodged.

    • Small, sharp pharyngeal foreign bodies → dysphagia, nasal regurgitation, squealing and arching of neck.
  • Diagnosis: direct endoscopic visualization.
  • Treatment: removal, and antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory therapy.
  • Prognosis: generally good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Foreign body is accidentally inhaled and becomes lodged in either the nasal passages or the pharynx depending on size.

Predisposing factors

General

Pathophysiology

  • The physical presence of the foreign body causes an obstruction and irritation.

Timecourse

  • Large foreign bodies will cause acute onset clinical signs.
  • Smaller foreign bodies may result in more chronic duration of clinical signs.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Kiper M L et al (1992) Metallic foreign bodies in the mouth or pharynx of horses; seven cases (1983-1989). JAVMA 200 (1), 91-93 PubMed.
  • French D A et al (1989) Removal of a retropharyngeals foreign body in a horse, with the aid of ultrasonography during surgery. JAVMA 194 (9), 1315-1316 PubMed.
  • Bayly W M et al (1982) Epistaxis caused by foreign body penetration of a guttural pouch. JAVMA 180 (10), 1232-1234 PubMed.


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