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Equine Asthma

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.

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