The leaves have changed, and the air is cooler here at Oak Haven Acres. We must be on high alert to the fluctuations in the weather as horses can be equally affected by the cold and flu season. Equine respiratory issues are not uncommon in horses. One of the amazing things about our boarding facilities is that we are continually monitoring and looking for any health problems that can be detrimental to their well-being.
Our staff veterinarian, Dr. Cole Younger, is always a phone call away. When I hear any noisy respiration, weird gurgling noises, or see sluggish behavior, I call him for help. Equine respiratory problems are something we deal with often. Our elderly horses often have compromised immune systems, so time is of the essence. The sooner we catch an infection, the better the chances of a full recovery.
Equine Respiratory Issues: Signs Of Restricted Airflow
We get new horses to our boarding facility frequently. One of the first things we do is make sure they are healthy. It shocks people to learn that equines have many of the same health problems that they suffer. I always listen to their breathing and observe them while they trot.
When there is a restriction in the airways, it causes noises as they try to breathe. There is a high-pitch, raspy sound that is undeniable to the trained ear. Equine breathing becomes labored when there is any swelling and infection present. If we notice anything off in their breathing, we know to immediately call in the veterinarian.
When I was first learning about equine respiratory issues, the veterinarian used the metaphor of a water hose with a kink. The water will still move through the clogged hose, but the flow is greatly diminished. The obstruction is limiting the function. When the blockage is removed, the water can flow freely. The horse’s bronchial tubes are restricted from infection, and it’s like that blocked hose. We must remove the obstruction to allow air to flow fully.
Besides noises, coughing, and nasal discharge, another thing I often see in a horse with respiratory issues is the horse tires quickly. When there is infection ravaging their body, they cannot get enough oxygen, and their muscles must work harder. Every cell within the equine depends on adequate air to breathe. It’s not uncommon to see fatigue and energy that comes in short bursts.
Treating Respiratory Infections
Additional equine respiratory issues are respiratory infections. An infection typically causes constriction of the bronchial tubes is treated in horses, much like it is in humans. A steroid can help to reduce any inflammation, and a fast-acting inhaler can quickly improve their breathing. A round of antibiotics can clear any infection that is producing these symptoms. Plenty of rest is needed and constant monitoring. The symptoms usually improve in a few days. However, if things don’t improve, then further testing is required to evaluate the root issue.
The Equine Respiratory Issue Could Be Chronic Sinus Problems
Chronic sinus problems: also common causes of equine respiratory issues. An additional issue that we face that can also plague horses. Horses life their life daily with hay, dust, and debris all around them. Because of this, it’s often easy to develop these issues. It’s essential to help those with chronic sinuses to have fresh airflow. We ensure that we keep fresh air coming in and out of the barn during all seasons.
If sinuses are a common concern and constant constriction is an issue, then a routine bronchodilator medication is necessary. Our goal is to bring relief in the short term but to manage the condition for the long haul.
Let Us Help With Aging Horses and Their Care
One of the reasons why so many people turn to Oak Haven Acres is because keeping their horses healthy and happy is challenging. Jugging a career, family, and life can be overwhelming without having an aging animal to consider. Equine respiratory issues are often dangerous when they occur in older horses, so prompt medical attention is needed.
I’ve dedicated my life to helping aging equines live their life to the fullest. Together with the medical help of Dr. Cole Younger, we go the extra mile. Let us provide boarding for your equine and give you peace of mind. Our constant supervision and loving approach make this the perfect place for your horse to live out their years.