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Mammals (other)
Spontaneous pneumomediastinum in three adult horses
  1. Sarah Smith1 and
  2. Celia M Marr2
  1. 1Equine Referral Hospital, Langford Vets University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Rossdales Equine Hospital, Newmarket, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah Smith; sarah1.smith{at}


The report describes the diagnosis and management of spontaneous pneumomediastinum in three horses which were presented with acute-onset increased respiratory effort. Pneumomediastinum was evident radiographically without evidence of internal or external trauma. Two horses had no obvious inciting cause and one horse had chronic interstitial pneumonia. All horses developed echocardiographic changes consistent with right heart dysfunction. Radiographic evidence of pneumomediastinum resolved in 14–21 days along with all other clinical abnormalities. Despite the severity of the initial clinical signs, all cases reported made a rapid and complete recovery, suggesting that, as in human beings, spontaneous pneumomediastinum in horses is a benign condition with a good prognosis.

  • thoracic medicine
  • respiratory disease
  • pulmonary/thoracic medicine
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  • Contributors The cases were patients of both authors. The manuscript was devised and written by both authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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