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Vet J. 2008 Sep;177(3):334-44. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Equine recurrent airway obstruction and insect bite hypersensitivity: understanding the diseases and uncovering possible new therapeutic approaches.

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Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK.


Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) and insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) are allergic conditions that are commonly encountered in the horse. Whilst complete allergen avoidance is an effective management strategy for both diseases, this may not be achievable in all cases and treatment options are therefore required. The inflammatory response is the main therapeutic target for glucocorticoids given to horses with RAO and severe cases of IBH, whilst the bronchodilators used in RAO primarily target airway smooth muscle. Such drugs are effective in most but not all individuals and there may be unwanted adverse effects. This article will review how knowledge of drug action and the pathogenesis of RAO and IBH can be utilised to identify potential targets for novel therapeutic agents that, in the longer term, may be safer and/or more effective in managing the allergic horse.

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