Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining, often occurring during an upper respiratory infection, caused by either bacteria or viruses. It can also be a complication of tooth infection, allergy or certain infectious diseases.

Horses, to a certain extent, are airheads – they have three pairs of sinuses in their heads, with one of each of the pairs on either side of the head. Only two of these, called the maxillary and the frontal sinuses, are commonly affected with infections and other problems. The frontal and maxillary sinuses communicate with each other, and to make matters even more complicated, the maxillary sinus contains the roots of the last three cheek teeth.

Sinusitis can affect any age horse. Older horses are more likely to have sinusitis from tooth root infections. Young horses are more likely to have a sinus cyst or a primary infection. It is rare, but both young and old horses may also have a tumor in the sinus.

What to Watch For



Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the sinusitis, the desired outcome, and in some cases, the age of the horse.

Home Care

Preventative Care

Be sure to have your veterinarian do a thorough dental examination on your horse every year. You may be able to treat dental problems before they cause a sinus infection.