An Anatomical Study of the Dorsal and Ventral Nasal Conchal Bullae in Normal Horses: Gross Morphology and Histological Features

T J Froydenlund, P M Dixon, S H Smith, R J M Reardon

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: The morphology of the dorsal (DCB) and ventral (VCB) nasal conchal bullae, including their cellulae, drainage and histology, are poorly described. The recent recognition that these bullae can become infected, causing chronic unilateral nasal discharge has stimulated interest in these structures. A more complete understanding of their anatomy would be useful in the diagnosis and treatment of their disorders.

OBJECTIVES: To document the structure, drainage and histology of the equine DCB and VCB.

STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive.

METHODS: Fourteen fresh cadaveric horse heads, were transected sagittally midline and dissected to expose the nasal conchal bullae. The dimensions of each bulla, the number of drainage apertures, the number of cellulae and orientation of the septae were recorded. Representative samples were collected for histopathology.

RESULTS: The mean lengths of the DCB and VCB were 77.7 mm (range 48-105 mm) and 57.1 mm (range 34-86 mm) respectively; equivalent to 13.8% and 10.2% of skull length, respectively. The mean widths of the DCB and VCB were 28.5 mm (range 21-35 mm) and 28.2 mm (range 13-41 mm) respectively; equivalent to 5.1% and 5% of skull length respectively. The median number of drainage apertures from the DCB and VCB were 2 and 1 respectively. The median number of cellulae within the DCB and VCB were 3 and 2, respectively. No communications were identified between the DCB and VCB and the adjacent paranasal sinuses. Histology revealed that the bullae consisted of ciliated, pseudostratified, columnar epithelium supported by a glandular submucosa often overlying turbinate bone and, variably, hyaline cartilage.

CONCLUSIONS: The morphology of the equine nasal conchal bullae is quite variable. The DCB is generally a more complex structure than the VCB, containing more septae, cellulae and drainage apertures. This more detailed description of DCB and VCB anatomy will hopefully facilitate successful treatment of their disorders. Ethical animal research: Research ethics committee oversight not currently required by this conference: the study was performed on material obtained from an abattoir.

SOURCE OF FUNDING: None. Competing interests: None declared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue numberSuppl 48
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


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