This upper airway disease is a result of entrapment of the epiglottic cartilage within the aryepiglottic fold, which is the mucosal tissue that would normally reside underneath the epiglottis. The problem is usually secondary to an excess amount of aryepiglottic tissue, inflammation of the aryepiglottic tissue, hypoplasia (“stunted growth”) of the epiglottic cartilage, or some combination of these. Clinical signs include rattling, wheezing, or gurgling when the horse is exercising, particularly when the horse exhales. More rarely, food and water may be seen coming from the horse’s nostrils.
Video endoscopy, dynamic endoscopy.
The aryepiglottic tissue can be transected using several methods. However, we prefer to transect the tissue axially (in the middle) with a diode laser fiber passed through the endoscope, which can be performed with the horse under standing sedation with local anesthesia. This method is least likely to injure the soft palate, which would potentially result in severe complications.