CT features of alveolitis and sinusitis in horses

Henninger W, Frame EM, Willmann M, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2003;44:269-276.

Sinusitis is a common disorder in horses and may result from trauma, dental diseases, or space-occupying lesions. Radiography can only provide a limited amount of information. Computed tomography (CT) has been documented as an alternative imaging method. Eighteen horses (mostly Warmblood) with signs of chronic sinusitis were examined preoperatively with CT to assist in diagnosis of the underlying cause. There was a group of common CT features in horses with dental disease and sinusitis. The first molar was the most frequently affected maxillary cheek tooth. Hypoattenuation of the cementum, destruction of the enamel, and filling of the infundibular cavity with gas were the most frequent CT findings associated with caries. Gas bubbles within the bulging root area or fragmentation of the root in combination with swelling of the adjacent sinus lining were the most important CT features of dental decay. CT findings associated with sinusitis included excessive thickening of the respiratory epithelium in the rostral maxillary sinus; the caudal maxillary sinus was less often involved. The infraorbital canal, the nasomaxillary duct, and the frontomaxillary aperture were usually involved. The maxillary bone, however, especially the facial crest, was involved in nearly every horse, being characterized by endosteal sclerosis, thickening, periosteal reaction, and deformation leading to facial swelling in chronic infections. CT images allowed identification of involvement of individual teeth more clearly to reveal the diseased one for treatment. Three-dimensional imaging allowed improved understanding of the extent and severity of the pathologic change.