Attitudes of Australian veterinarians about the cause and treatment of lower-respiratory-tract disease in racehorses

Prev Vet Med. 2000 Aug 10;46(3):149-59. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5877(00)00150-1.


A questionnaire was administered to members of the Australian Equine Veterinary Association to investigate their attitudes and behaviours regarding the cause, diagnosis and treatment of lower-respiratory-tract disease in racehorses. The most-important perceived risk factors related to the level of exposure and resistance to infectious agents, whereas factors associated with racing and climatic factors were lower ranked. By far the most-commonly implicated primary cause of disease was respiratory viruses. However, specific diagnostic tests (such as viral serology or virus isolation) were rarely performed. By far the most-common diagnostic procedure was auscultation (without a rebreathing bag). The relative importance of diagnostic procedures was influenced by the proportion of total workload comprising horse work. Many respondents believed that bacteria become secondarily involved in disease; accordingly, antibiotic therapy was the most-commonly reported therapy. However, bacteriology of lower-airway-fluid samples was not commonly performed. The most-commonly used antibiotics were the potentiated sulphonamides (either alone or in combination with mucolytics or bronchodilators), followed by procaine penicillin and penicillin combined with gentamicin. Mainly, treatment would appear to be based on empirical beliefs rather than exhaustive investigation of individual cases.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Horse Diseases / diagnosis
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Horse Diseases / etiology*
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia / veterinary*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterinarians* / psychology
  • Veterinary Medicine


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents