Epiglottal entrapment Overview
Epiglottal entrapment (EE) is a common upper respiratory tract obstructive disorder of horses. From a survey of data compiled from endoscopic examinations of horses taken at rest, the prevalence of EE is 0.75 to 3.3%. EE occurs when the aryepiglottic folds (which are normally positioned just below the horse's epiglottis) become displaced during expiration, resulting in abnormal respiratory noise and exercise intolerance in affected horses. The entrapment may be intermittent and relieved upon swallowing, however most cases are usually associated with persistent entrapment.
Clinical signs of EE are highly variable and are similar to signs seen in many other upper respiratory tract conditions affecting horses. The most frequent presenting signs include coughing after eating, exercise intolerance with abnormal breathing noises during exercise and intermittent gurgling.
The most common complications involving surgical correction of EE include reentrapment (occuring in 4 to 15% of horses), and dorsal displacement of the soft palate (occuring in 10 to 15% of horses).