Exercise‐induced pulmonary haemorrhage in the horse: results of a detailed clinical, post mortem and imaging study. VIII. Conclusions and implications

M. W. O'CALLAGHAN, John Pascoe, W. S. TYLER, D. K. MASON

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45 Scopus citations


This paper reviews a series of clinical, post mortem and imaging studies on exercise‐induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) performed on 26 Thoroughbred racehorses. Post mortem techniques included routine gross, subgross and histological examination; coloured latex perfusions of pulmonary and bronchial circulations; and microradiography and computerised tomography scans of lungs with contrast injected vasculature. The major lesions were multiple, separate and coalescing foci of moderately proliferative small airway disease accompanied by intense neovascularisation of the bronchial circulation. As a result of bronchial artery angiogenesis, the systemic circulation dominated the vascular supply of the air exchange structures in affected areas, producing an apparent left to right shunt. Extensive areas of sequestered haemosiderophages indicated previous haemorrhage from vessels apparently supplied by the bronchial arteries. Diffuse and focal parenchymal destruction and connective tissue reactions in affected areas were considered to be secondary to localised haemorrhage and macrophage‐induced damage. The aetiology of EIPH was not determined, but the multifocal, small airway‐centred lesions indicated that low grade bronchiolitis, possibly of viral origin, was a factor. Gravitational effects also appear to contribute to dorsal distribution of the lesions. The mild focal and subclinical lesions confined to secondary lobules are thought to evolve into the serious lung pathology observed in EIPH cases through the effects of localised hypoxia induced by maximal exercise and partial airway obstruction. Once initiated, a vicious cycle of increasing inflammatory damage and further local bleeding is set in motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-434
Number of pages7
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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