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Sinusitis in Horses

The horse's head is about 50% sinus cavity (a fact that brings a new definition to the term "air-head" for some horses). The main sinuses are called the "frontal" and the "maxillary." The frontal sinus is in the area between the eyes and back, and the maxillary sinus is from the eyes down and associated with the teeth. The sinuses mostly are interconnected via a complicated network of passages within the bones that create them. As said before, the main connection to the nasal passage is via the maxillary sinus by way of the naso-maxillary opening; the right maxillary sinus drains into the right nasal passage and the left maxillary sinus drains into the left nasal passage. The naso-maxillary opening is halfway from the nostril to the end of the nasal septum, so drainage from a diseased sinus comes from the nostril on the same side as the affected sinus.

Sinus infection: notice that the eye is almost closed from pain and inflammation

Sinus infection post surgery: happy horse - eye wide open. A drain goes from the sinus into the nose
The most common cause of a sinus infection in the horse results from an infected tooth root. The average horse has six pairs of cheek teeth on each side (a pair is one top and one bottom). There are three premolars and three molars, with an occasional horse having an additional premolar often referred to as a "wolf-tooth" as the first cheek tooth. Any injured tooth (broken or cracked from trauma) can develop an infected root, but the third and fourth cheek teeth (the fourth premolar and first molar) are predisposed to the development of infected roots without any history of trauma.

Additional information

Accumulation of (muco)purulent exsudate within the sinus cavities caused by an inflammation.
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