The airway fluid analysis – methods and interpretation for the athletic horse
Respiratory inflammatory diseases are considered one of the main causes of poor performance and health impairment in athletic horses. Inflammatory airway disease (IAD), recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) and exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) are the main diagnosed disorders, and respiratory secretion analysis is considered one of the most sensitive diagnostic methods for these diseases. Tracheal aspirate and bronchoalveolar lavage are considered important diagnostic tools and have been largely utilized in research as well as in clinical settings. Currently, many studies have been done to improve these techniques, allowing a significant progress in result analysis and interpretation. The present article aims to review the diagnostic methods in attaining respiratory tract secretions, collection techniques, preparation and interpretation of cytological samples, as well as enzymatic analysis of these fluids are described with the purpose to gain efficiency in the diagnosis of equine respiratory diseases.