Empyema of the guttural pouch (auditory tube diverticulum) in horses: 91 cases (1977-1997). Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To identify features of guttural pouch (auditory tube diverticulum) empyema in horses and compare findings of uncomplicated guttural pouch empyema with guttural pouch empyema complicated by chondroids. DESIGN: Retrospective study. ANIMALS: 91 horses with guttural pouch empyema. PROCEDURE: Medical records of horses with guttural pouch empyema were reviewed. RESULTS: The most common owner complaint and abnormal finding was persistent nasal discharge. Chondroids were detected in 21% (19/91) of affected horses. Streptococcus equi was isolated from the guttural pouch in 14 of 44 horses; for Streptococcus spp, in vitro resistance to sulfadimethoxine and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was detected. Retropharyngeal swelling and pharyngeal narrowing were significantly more prevalent in horses with chondroids, compared with horses with uncomplicated empyema. Ninety-three percent of affected horses were discharged from the hospital; at time of discharge, 66% had complete resolution of disease, 19% had improvement without resolution, and 15% did not have improvement. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Horses with persistent nasal discharge should be examined endoscopically for guttural pouch empyema. Treatment with lavage offers a good prognosis for resolution of uncomplicated guttural pouch empyema. Aggressive treatment with lavage and endoscopic snare removal of chondroids offers a good prognosis and may make surgical intervention unnecessary.

author list (cited authors)

  • Judy, C. E., Chaffin, M. K., & Cohen, N. D.

citation count

  • 46

publication date

  • December 1999