Equine Sinusitis

Equine Sinus


Equine Sinuses

Sinus or sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull and part of the respiratory system. They are extensive air-filled cavities in the horse. They have evolved in such a way that they allow the horse’s head to achieve the size required to accommodate its large array of molars and pre-molars, with minimal weight addition. They are located on each side of the head, above, below and between the eyes, and extending down the face to a point level with the end of the very obvious facial crest.

Sinusitis or Sinus Infection is the inflammation of all the sinus cavities on one side of the horse’s head. There are two majorly causes of infection-

  • Primary Sinusitis – in which a bacterial infection invades the delicate lining of the sinus and causes a build-up of pus in the sinus cavity, mainly indicated by unilateral nasal discharge and are diagnosed by endoscopy, radiological interventions, anf sampling of fluid from the sinuses.
  • Secondary Sinusitis – arises from a diseased cheek tooth, these infections are resolved by ifected tooth extraction. They show similar but severe signs like Primary Sinusitis infected horses, and have malodorous breath.

Common Conditions related to sinus are as follows-

  • Progressive Ethmoid Hematoma
  • Wounds and Fracture
  • Sinus Cysts
  • Cancer and fungal infections are less common, which typically develop in older horses and have mixture of clinical signs, outward swelling, persistent mucous discharge, trickle of blood from the nose, sometimes bad odour and show depression and fever.
  • Guttural Pouch Myscosis
  • Surgical Intervention works best in Benign tumor, while in Malignant severe
  • Blunt Force Trauma


  • Endoscopy
  • Nasal Sampling
  • Radiological Techniques – Xrays, CTs and MRIs


Once the infection is identified, in the preliminary stage it can be treated with antibiotics, and in severe cases, Flushing/ Lavage of sinuses is done, sedating the horse, and a small hole is drilled in the facial bone to access the sinuses for flooding.

Secondary Infection has is also treated with antibiotics and flushing.

In the case of neoplasia, surgical intervention is required, to remove the mass.

I work well under pressure as long as it isn’t sinus pressure


Published by TheGeekVeterinarian

Veterinarian by Profession, Blogger by Passion

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