Equine asthma is now used to collectively describe airway disorders which may have been known previously as:
- IAD- Inflammatory Airway Disease
- COPD- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- RAO- Recurrent airway obstruction
We often see this condition spike at two different times of year:
- Spring/Summer- pollen and spores can cause irritation to your horses airway and with higher temperatures and humidity this can cause worsening symptoms
- Winter- Horses are being brought into stables and are exposed to straw/dusty hay leading to clinical signs
What are the clinical signs??
- Nasal discharge- this can be serous or thick and cream/yellow coloured
- Cough- generally present but not always! Can also commonly be worse during exercise
- Increased respiratory rate
- Increased respiratory effort- flanks and abdomen contracting to expel air
- This can lead to development of a heave line as breathing out should be a passive process (not requiring muscle contraction)
How do we diagnose equine asthma?
- A thorough clinical exam including careful auscultation (listening using a stethescope) of your horses lungs and heart, temperature may also be taken
- History is very important- have there been any management changes? Any changes to the hay? Any exposure to dust or have they been harvesting in the field next door?
- Endoscopy may be recommended- this is when we place a camera down into the airway and we can visualise for any signs of infection. We are also then able to take samples (tracheal wash and broncho-alveolar lavage) from the airway to confirm if your horse is suffering from asthma and whether any secondary infections are present.
How do you treat equine asthma?
- Treatment varies between cases according to the severity of the episode, how chronic the condition is (e.g. have they had it before and how recently) and if secondary infection is confirmed or suspected
- Management is hugely important- ventilation, dust free bedding, soaking hay for a short time (1 hour) can all help reduce dust spores in the environment.
- Medications such as bronchodilators (ventipulmin), steroids (dexamethasone/prednisolone) and mucolytic agents (sputolosin) may be prescribed
- In repeat cases and long term management cases inhaled medications can also be prescribed
What should I do if I think my horse might be having an asthma attack/flare up?
- Please call us urgently- this is an emergency and can be very distressing for your horse. We provide a 24hr/365 days a year service and will endeavour to get to you as quickly as is possible.
I hope this has given everyone a little bit of information about equine asthma! Wishing you all a great weekend! Alex x
Winter is approaching rapidly and with it a change in weather, grass quality and your horse’s diet and management regimes. The aim of feeding horses at any time during the year is to maintain condition and ensure they are getting the appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals and calories in their diet. This is even more important in winter when we lose the nutrition gained from the grass. Here are my tips for winter feeding:
In 2018 the government announced that all horses, ponies and donkeys are legally required to be microchipped by October 2020.
Choke is one of the most common emergencies equine vets attend and the team at Ridings Equine Vets have seen an increase in cases over the last few weeks. Here is a list of the most common things the cases that we see are choking on and some tips on how to avoid it happening to your horse.
Choke is a common equine emergency and the team at Ridings Equine Vets have been seeing a spike of cases over the last few weeks. While the majority of chokes are straightforward it is vital horse owners are aware what to do if their horse has choke to avoid any potentially fatal complications.
This weekend we have seen further relaxation of the COVID-19 government guidance with the opening of pubs, bars and restaurants. It would almost seem to many that the threat of corona virus has gone away…. but the fact is the virus still remains and it is important that horse owners remain vigilant and continue to take sensible precautions against corona virus. Here are some useful suggestions:
Do you know your flu vaccination rules for competitions? Lots have changed recently, and different organisations have rules that do not match. In some cases some venues have different rules too!
I’ve put together a list of organisations and their current rules for vaccination – many of you will already know about these if you attend their events, but please check if you are not sure!
This is not a complete list but I’ve summarised Pony Club, Riding Club, BD, BSJA, BE and FEI below.
This weeks blog has been inspired by the several eye cases we’ve had over the last few weeks! We’ll go through some of the common eye conditions we see and why it is so important for them to be checked by a vet….
According to recent studies over 50% of horses in the UK are overweight. I can easily believe this as myself and the team at Ridings Equine Vets take our role in educating horse owners about weight loss very seriously. It’s not an easy task to get horses to lose weight and sometimes it may seem like there is no reward for such hard efforts. So I thought it would be useful to look at some of the problems that overweight horses are more likely to suffer from…
We regularly see horses with choke – including a couple recently, so here is some information for anyone who wants to know more!
What is choke?
Choke is any condition – usually a blockage – that stops food and saliva passing