The effects of equine rhinovirus, influenza virus and herpesvirus infection on tracheal clearance rate in horses.
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The response of horses exposed to three common respiratory viruses was studied by measuring tracheal mucociliary clearance rates in the trachea. Tracheal clearance rates (TCR) were determined before, during illness and following recovery in horses exposed to equine rhinovirus (ERhV-2), equine influenza virus (EIV) and equine herpesvirus (EHV-4) by means of lateral scintigraphs made following an injection of technetium-99m sulphide colloid into the tracheal lumen. In six horses exposed to ERhV-2, TCR remained within normal limits. Exposure to EIV resulted in reduced TCR in six of seven horses, with TCR remaining below the 95% confidence limits of normal values for each horse for up to 32 days despite the resolution of clinical signs. Moderate changes were observed in six horses exposed to EHV-4, but significant reductions in TCR were evident in three animals. Measurement of TCR was a useful, minimally-invasive technique which demonstrated that respiratory viruses may cause persistent changes in TCR, even though clinical signs are not evident.
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