If you have a horse that is prone to respiratory problems things can get worse at this time of year, so here are Dr David Marlin’s top tips for Respiratory Health
1. Don’t muck out the stable when the horse is in. This creates a lot of dust and can contribute to the development of equine asthma. If you suffer from asthma you may want to consider wearing a dust mask.
2. Make sure you lift unsealed rubber mats and clean underneath. Urea in urine is converted by bacteria to produce ammonia which is a respiratory irritant. If you can smell ammonia then it’s at a level that will cause irritation of the respiratory tract.
3. In cold weather put on a heavier rug rather than close up the stable ventilation such as doors or windows.
4. Don’t ignore occasional coughs. A horse that coughs, even if only once or twice a day or at the start of exercise is highly likely to have airway disease. Speak to your vet.
- An in-depth article – Why Does My Horse cough
- Podcast – Horse Cough
- Video – Does Your Horse Ever Cough? In the Warm-Up, In the field, When Eating…Ever?
5. Consider using low-dust bedding. There is no such thing as “dust-free” bedding but some beddings are better than others.
- Video on horse bedding quality and respiratory health
- Click here to read the full horse bedding tested article.
- Click here to watch the bedding survey results webinar.
6. Vitamin C is the horse’s main lung antioxidant defence. However, in horses with chronic airway disease such as equine asthma and in older horses or horses with Cushings (PPID) or horses in hard work, the levels of Vitamin C can be significantly reduced. Feeding a supplement high in ascorbyl monophosphate or ascorbyl palmitate can bring the levels back to normal. L-ascorbic acid should not be fed as its highly unstable in storage and poorly absorbed.
- Read this article focusing on Vitamin C for horses
- Here is an article about Vitamin and Micromineral Requirements
7. Feeding haylage or soaking and or steaming hay is ideal to reduce respiratory irritation from moulds, bacteria, pollen, dust or forage mites and dust and can help reduce the risk of the development of equine asthma or improve symptoms in horses with the condition.
Important Articles to help you in the care of your horse’s Respiratory Health
- ARTICLE – Spring Associated Respiratory Disease is coming!
- ARTICLE – Respiratory supplements for horses reviewed
- ARTICLE – Mycotoxins – a hidden danger in your horse’s environment and feed?
- ARTICLE – Respiratory problems in horses: How to recognise, manage and avoid them