In contrast to other athletic species such as people and greyhounds, which switch from nasal breathing at rest to oral breathing during exercise, the horse is an obligate nasal breather even during strenuous exercise. Dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) is a condition that occurs during exercise when the caudal border of the soft palate becomes displaced to a position above the epiglottis, resulting in obstruction of the rima glottidis during expiration. DDSP is considered to be the most common equine dynamic upper respiratory tract obstruction and is most prevalent in racehorses, but can also occur in sport and pleasure horses. This article gives an overview of DDSP and describes the more common treatments currently applied in the UK.
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