Equine Sinusitis Symptoms

Written by megan allyce snider
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Equine Sinusitis Symptoms
Equine sinusitis is a very severe illness for a horse. (horse image by milemarsovac from Fotolia.com)

Recognising and treating the symptoms of equine sinusitis is crucial your horse's health. Horses breathe primarily through their noses, so any blockage, impairment or discharge from the sinus area will have a heavy impact on your horse's health. If your horse displays signs of sinusitis, take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. This illness will only worsen without treatment.

Nasal Discharge

Some symptoms of equine sinusitis are a persistent pus discharge from one side of the nose. The pus will be incredibly foul-smelling if caused by a dental problem. Swelling of the face and bulging of the eyes may occur. There may be a tumour in the sinus, which is a serious complication, and requires examination by a professional. The horse may make abnormal respiratory sounds, such as crackling, wheezing, stridor (harsh breathing caused by upper respiratory obstruction) or stertor (snoring). Equine sinusitis can result in permanent discharge from the nostrils, though it is rare for both nostrils to have discharge.

Physical Symptoms

Horses with equine sinusitis will shake their heads and refuse to do general exercises due to the illness. Your horse may be too sick for physical activity, work or riding for some time, because his lungs labour under the shortage of air coming in through the blocked nasal cavities. Allow your horse to rest until a veterinarian sees him.


Equine sinusitis is extremely painful for some horses. The sinusitis can appear on its own or be the cause of a dental injury. If this is the case, the horse will refuse to take the bit. Horses that experience pain may also refuse to eat, and lose weight as a result.

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