The acute phase protein serum amyloid A (SAA) has been shown to be a useful inflammatory parameter in the horse, but studies showing SAA responses to specific respiratory disease etiologies are limited. The goal of this study was to evaluate SAA responses in horses with infectious and noninfectious respiratory diseases as well as healthy, control horses. Two hundred seven horses were grouped into the following categories: equine influenza virus (EIV), equine herpesvirus-4 (EHV-4), Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (S. equi ss equi), inflammatory airway disease (IAD), and healthy controls. Serum amyloid A concentrations were determined for all horses on serum using a stall-side lateral flow immunoassay test. Serum amyloid A levels were found to be significantly greater for infectious respiratory diseases (EIV, EHV-4, S. equi ss equi) and horses with IAD when compared to control horses. There was a significant difference between viral and bacterial infections and IAD. Although SAA values from horses with S. equi ss equi were significantly greater when compared to horses with viral infections (EIV/EHV-4), the wide range of SAA values precluded accurate classification of the infectious cases. In conclusion, SAA is more reliably elevated with infections of the respiratory tract rather than noninfectious airway conditions. This can facilitate early detection of respiratory infections, help track disease progression, and aid practitioners in making recommendations about proper biosecurity and isolation of potentially contagious horses.