"Equine Asthma” – integrative biologic relevance of a recently proposed nomenclature

Stephanie R Bond, Renaud Leguillette, Eric Richards, Laurent Couetil, Jean-Pierre Lavoie, Martin James, Robert Pirie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The term “equine asthma” has been proposed as a unifying descriptor of Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD), Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO), and Summer Pasture Associated Obstructive Airway Disease. Whilst the term will increase comprehensibility for both the lay and scientific communities, its biological relevance must be compared and contrasted to asthma in human medicine, recognizing the limited availability of peer-reviewed equine-derived data, which are largely restricted to clinical signs, measures of airway obstruction and inflammation and response to therapy. Such limitations constrain meaningful comparisons with human asthma phenotypes. Suggested minimum inclusion criteria supporting the term asthma, as well as similarities and differences between IAD, RAO and multiple human asthma phenotypes are discussed. Furthermore, differences between phenotype and severity are described, and typical features for equine asthma sub-categories are proposed. Based on shared features, we conclude that mild/moderate (IAD) and severe (RAO) equine asthma are biologically appropriate models for both allergic and non-allergic human asthma, with RAO (severe equine asthma) also being an appropriate model for late-onset asthma. With the development of new biologic treatments in humans and the application of more targeted therapeutic approaches in the horse, it would appear appropriate to further investigate the allergic (Th-2) and non-allergic (non-Th-2) phenotypes of equine asthma. Further research is required to more fully determine the potential clinical utility of phenotype classification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2088-2098
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date7 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


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