Category Archives: Medical

Have you heard of Cicatrix Syndrome?

Many of you asked if our Bucket Fund mare , Olivia, actually had Cicatrix Syndrome and therefore her tracheostomy was a life-saving measure that needs to stay open.

First off, thank you for making me aware of Cicatrix Syndrome.

And, correct, Olivia does come from Texas where this syndrome persists (along with Florida).

But, according to the vets at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center what Olivia has is not that.

How can they know?  Well, immediately upon intake, they did a test to see if Olivia could breathe with the tracheostomy covered as they, too, wanted to know if this was because of Cicatrix Syndrome.  She could.  She could breathe normally.  So, they determined that whatever caused this hole to be cut in her throat,  it wasn’t Cicatrix Syndrome.

Also, the hole is much larger than a normal tracheostomy, so the vets are stumped as to why she has this hole in her throat.

Having said that, WHAT IS Cicatrix Syndrome?

Cicatrix Syndrome

Here is a link to the original story.

Click image to go to original story

What is Nasopharyngeal Cicatrix Syndrome?
Nasopharyngeal cicatrix syndrome (NCS) is a respiratory condition in which a horse’s larynx (the tube-shaped organ that contains the vocal cords – sometimes called the voice box) and throat become inflamed and irritated due to unknown reasons. The cicatrix refers to a scar that has developed due to the formation of fibrous tissue within a wound. 

In instances of NCS, long-term inflammation thickens the airway by causing layers of scar tissue to form. Without treatment, this process will often continue until the horse is unable to breathe comfortably or entirely. In the case of a full airway blockage, a permanent tracheostomy (often called a tracheotomy) is warranted in order for the horse to breathe freely. The procedure, known as a tracheostomy, is when a surgical opening is created through the neck and into the trachea (windpipe), through which a breathing tube is inserted either permanently or temporarily. 

Veterinarians and horse owners attribute the cause of NCS to various factors. Since most horses are diagnosed with the condition during summer months, it’s reasonable to consider that seasonally-linked irritants such as pollen, insects, algae, mold or bacteria are at least partially responsible for some of the inflammatory response.

Nasopharyngeal cicatrix syndrome (NCS) carries aggravating symptoms such as coughing, nasal discharge, exercise intolerance, flared nostrils, increased heart rate and an extended head and neck. Some horses are labeled roarers because of their extra loud breathing. If a horse develops such symptoms, including noisy breathing, it is advisable to schedule a veterinary appointment to determine if the horse is suffering from a narrowed or constricted airway. 

One unresolved question is why this condition is mostly seen in horses living in Texas and the panhandle region of Florida. Veterinary specialists have been trying to determine why Northern horses present less with nasopharyngeal cicatrix syndrome, though these numbers may be slowly changing. One recent suggestion points toward environmental spraying programs that have been conducted in some states, but not in others. Aside from geography, risk factors that may cause some horses to develop NCS over others include age and exposure to pasture. For example, high pasture turnout greatly increases the likelihood of developing NCS, while a split between turnouts and stall-time appears to have no impact on the development of this condition.

Nasopharyngeal cicatrix syndrome (NCS) is a respiratory condition seen most often in horses living in south-central Texas and the panhandle area of Florida.
Symptoms of Nasopharyngeal Cicatrix Syndrome in Horses
Nasal discharge
Noisy breathing
Extending head and neck
Exercise intolerance
Flared nostrils
Increased heart rate
Causes of Nasopharyngeal Cicatrix Syndrome in Horses
Unclear or undetermined
Environmental factors 
Irritants and allergies
High pasture turn-out
Diagnosis of Nasopharyngeal Cicatrix Syndrome in Horses
The most effective way to diagnose NCS is by taking a close look at the structure of the horse’s throat. This can be done during a procedure called an endoscopy, which uses a camera to determine the existence of inflammation, scar tissue, structural aberrations, and lesions.

These changes may continue to develop and lead to loud or difficult breathing. Upper airway endoscopy is necessary to secure the diagnosis, but also to measure the thickness of the tissue. A biopsy may also be taken to check the health of the tissue.
Treatment of Nasopharyngeal Cicatrix Syndrome in Horses
Surgical treatment may be the best way to make the horse more comfortable. One type of procedure may simply reduce scarring, but in more advanced cases of NCS, and if the airway is constricted enough to cause labored breathing, a tracheostomy may be warranted.

Other options are available, though results appear to be generally negligible. Success varies from horse to horse. Anti-inflammatories, throat sprays, corticosteroids, and other treatments are available through the veterinarian. Removing the horse from the current living environment may be helpful if environmental allergies were found to be causative.
Recovery of Nasopharyngeal Cicatrix Syndrome in Horses
If your horse is diagnosed with NCS, please refer to the veterinarian for the best program for ongoing treatment and care. Some may have the condition resolved surgically, while others may rely on daily anti-inflammatory treatments to keep an open airway. Pay careful attention to any new respiratory sounds or unusual posturing such as a constant stretch or elongation of the neck.


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Have you heard of COAT DEFENSE? I’m going to try it on Ethel Merdonk.

Thursday, April 8th, 2021 | Filed under Medical

Ethel Merdonk Wonky Donkey is one of the new jennys who arrived from the kill pen in Texas.  During the first few days here, I noticed that she scratched herself A LOT.  Mostly she used the joints of the metal connecting panels that I have in their paddock.  It made a distinctive, resonating, sound – so I always heard when she was scratching herself against it.

As I was able to get closer to her and actually touch her, I could see the flaky skin and bald areas.  Although she has stopped the constant scratching considerably – probably due to less stress and good food – she still has her skin condition.

I’m thinking it is rain rot or some fungus.  My first line of defense was to grab my fungal shampoo.  However, I cannot yet bath her and I’m out of all of my other Rain Rot cures…

Ethel Merdonk is on the left – the darker jenny. When she came she was quite nervous … but she is settling in nicely. She can wear a halter now and comes up for cookies and scratches. (Her friend is the much younger Princess Buttercup Pebbles).

You can see the flaky skin on her chest and how she has rubbed her hair away.

She also has dry, patchy spots under her mane.


And then I saw COAT DEFENSE advertised as a popup on my FB page.  Usually I hate those ads because clearly they were listening to me discuss the need for a rain rot skin cure…


Anyway… this time, since I was all out of what I needed (and shopping), I decided to click on the ad.  The description said it was a natural cream that you could leave on – which was exactly what I needed because she is still quite wild and a bath is out of the question.

So I took the bait and ordered off of the FB ad, which I swore I’d never do again.

However, when my package promptly arrived, I was quite pleased with the contents thus far.

My tub came today (I love the fragrance) and the box was filled with informative sheets, plus a coupon for the human varieties!

This was on the FB ad. It said it was natural and treated rain rot or skin fungus.


The package inserts were very informative.  Lots of instruction on how to use the products and for which ailments.  Also, I received a flyer on canine/cat products.

What I liked the most were the natural ingredients created for a human to rid herself of skin allergies – who then created the same for her dogs, cats and horses.

There were several informative flyers inside the package – plus a coupon for the human products!

The flyers were great! Very informative.


Tomorrow I start using Coat Defense Paste on Ethel Merdonk.  I will keep you posted!


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