Guttural Pouch

Unique to the horse family are air-filled cavities, known as guttural pouches, which connect the back of the throat to the middle ear cavity. The guttural pouches help equalize pressures around the ear drum. Guttural pouch disease commonly causes a nasal discharge; it may cause swallowing problems when the head is down or noisy breathing. Causes of guttural pouch disease include:

  • Empyema: accumulation of infection caused by upper respiratory infections
  • Mycosis: fungal infection, commonly Aspergillus
  • Tympany: anatomical defect causing air trapping within the guttural pouch


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