Thank you to Boehringer-Ingelheim for organizing another great client webinar!
Dr. Jason Brownridge has summarized some of the key points touched upon that may help prevent and treat Equine Asthma:
Controlling the dust in a horse's environment is the most important step.
A leaf blower, used in stables to keep the barn clean, should be avoided. They can cause dust particles to remain in the air for up to 4 hours.
Consider alternatives to feeding dry hay. Feeding baleage (or wet haylage) is possible for horses, if proper vaccination for botulism is maintained. We have stables feeding silage bales with success.
If using a hay steamer, make sure it reaches close to 100 C.
If a hay steamer isn't in the budget, soaking hay for 10 minutes in water before feeding is an effective alternative.
If possible, avoid putting dry round bales into shelters. Dr. Sarah Shaw referred to them as "spore-huts". A horse should not have its head inside one of these hay shelters for extended periods of time.
Consider feeding omega-3 fatty acids to any horse at risk of equine asthma. Examples would be flax oil or fish oil. Combined with a low dust environment, omega-3s can improve clinical recovery from asthma...and they'll give your horse a nice, shiny coat!!
In general, straw bedding is dustier than shavings. However, we do have a client who is now selling dust extracted straw from Straw Boss, in compressed, plastic-wrapped bales.
Wetting the alleyways before sweeping can help decrease dust.
Horses suffering from summer asthma may need to be kept in a climate-controlled stall (air conditioned) when the heat and humidity increase.
Milverton-Wellesley Veterinary Services can provide many options for the treatment of all stages of asthma, including:
Steroid inhalers, such as the new Aservo equihaler, are often very beneficial to decrease lung inflammation.
Expectorants, such as Sputolysin and Super Iodide, can be used to make mucous thinner (less viscous).
Bronchodilators, such as Clenbuterol, may be indicated for horses in severe respiratory distress.