Home / Coughing is a Sign of Respiratory Disease

Did you know....
 

It is commonly believed that it’s okay for a horse to cough a few times when warming up. It’s not. It indicates respiratory disease, which is much more common than you think!

Respiratory problems often go undetected. In mildly asthmatic horses, a respiratory problem may only become apparent when the horse is asked to perform athletically.


In a recent study 84% of horses referred for a regular health check, were found to have Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD)*

Another study showed 14% of horses suffer from severe Equine Asthma.**


Are you sure he doesn't cough?

 

Horses do not cough regularly like people and it is very unlikely that you will always be with your horse when he coughs.
 
Furthermore, coughing is not the only sign, any of the following symptoms may also indicate respiratory disease:
  • Nasal discharge
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased respiratory effort
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Respiratory noise at rest or during exercise
  • Poor recovery after exercise
  • Lower or poor performance

How can Haygain help?

A recent study*** found steaming hay using a Haygain hay steamer reduced the incidence of IAD by 63%. The dust in hay is a key cause of respiratory inflammation. Steaming hay with a Haygain hay steamer eliminates respirable dust particles, killing mold, bacteria, fungal spores and mite faeces.

Reducing stall dust and ammonia off-gassing is also important. Haygain's ComfortStall sealed, orthopedic flooring reduces bedding requirements by up to 75% and, being sealed and hydrophobic, removes the risk of ammonia off-gassing caused by urine.

* Pirie R. S. Recurrent airway obstruction: a review. Equine Veterinary Journal. 2014;46(3):276–288. doi: 10.1111/evj.12204.

**Dr. Julie Dauvillier and Dr. Emmanuelle van Erck-Westergren, 2013, 2014

***American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, June 2016, “The Prevalence of Fungi in Respiratory Samples of Horses with Inflammatory Airway Disease” by Dr. J Dauvillier and Dr. E Westergren

Why Not Soaking?

Soaking hay in water wets airborne particles to keep down dust, but there are a number of obvious disadvantages to this method:

  • It is a physically arduous, cold, wet and messy task
  • It uses 60-100 litres of water
  • Soaking leaves live micro-organisms in the hay; these quickly multiply, particularly in warm, damp conditions, thereby compromising the hygienic quality of the forage
  • Soaking hay reduces respirable particles but leaches nutrients out of the forage and, as with partial steaming, bacteria levels increase by two to five-fold. This produces poor quality, more contaminated forage which can raise the risk of enteritis and colic. High losses of WSC, protein and minerals occur when hay is soaked for as little as 10 minutes
  • These nutrients in the waste water produce a post-soak liquid 9 times more polluting than raw sewage which must not be disposed of in storm drains.