Expert Opinion

Jeffie Roszel, VMD study of respiratory damage of 20 New York City carriage horses

Holly Cheever, DVM: In November of 1985, Dr. Roszel (a cytopathologist) conducted a study on 20 of New York Citys carriage horses concerning the degree of respiratory damage incurred by the horses in their heavily polluted environment. This study, which was never published to my knowledge, was conducted at a time when the horses were restricted to Central Park, and therefore had much less exposure to vehicular traffic fumes than they do now in the early 1990s.

The purpose of the study was to determine if horses sharing the same urban environment as humans would show the same pathological changes in their respiratory system. Her results, based on endoscopy and tissue sampling, showed that, in fact, horses do show similar lung damage and changes, including a large amount of dust contained on alveolar macrophages: equine cells migrate more slowly and are less numerous relative to human cells). There was also a much greater level of mucus production compared to the lungs of horses kept on pasture.

It would be interesting or depressing to again study lung tissue of New York City s carriage horses how that they are exposed to a much greater amount to exhaust fumes. Logically, they would show greater damage, and would therefore illustrate to an even greater degree that horses should not be driven in areas where they are exposed to high volumes of vehicular traffic.

Jeffie Roszel, VMD
University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School graduate
Currently: chairperson of the Dept. of Pathology [early 90s]
Oklahoma State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Stillwater, OK 74078

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