Nasopharyngeal Cicatrix in Horses: What to Know

Researchers believe nasopharyngeal cicatrix is the result of an environmental agent, possibly found in pasture, but they still don’t know for sure what causes it, how to best manage it, or why it generally affects horses in a specific part of Texas. Here’s what you should know.
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nasopharyngeal cicatrix
Researchers believe nasopharyngeal cicatrix is the result of an environmental agent, possibly in pasture, but no one knows for sure what causes it or why it generally affects horses in such a localized geographic region. | Photo: iStock

Some horses in a narrow region of Texas have developed a condition known as nasopharyngeal cicatrix, which causes scarring of the upper airway. Researchers believe this disease is the result of an environmental agent, but no one knows for sure what causes it or why it is so localized.

Canaan Whitfield, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, ACVSMR, an assistant professor of large animal surgery at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (TAMU CVM), in College Station, has seen many horses with this condition.

“Symptoms are variable and depend on the stage and severity of disease,” he said. “In early stages, you might see nasal discharge, coughing, difficulty swallowing, and other similar signs

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