Facts about the equine respiratory system

Respiratory health is essential to horse performance, yet it’s often under-appreciated or misunderstood. The equine respiratory system is much different from a human’s, and several factors contribute to horses becoming deficient in oxygen, even in sub-maximal levels of exercise.

Because of all the limitations, even a little bit of inflammation or obstruction anywhere in the respiratory tract has a big impact on your horse’s performance. You may not even recognize that your equine friend’s poor performance issues are related to respiratory health — coughing or nasal discharge are clear symptoms of respiratory problems, but “feeling heavy;” heavy breathing; breathlessness; lack of energy; and slow recovery times could also indicate a condition in the milder end of the equine asthma spectrum.

Some things you can do to help your horse’s respiratory health include:
• Making sure there’s good ventilation in the barn.
• Reducing dust in the barn and in your horse’s stall.
• Looking for signs of mold on the walls, especially near stored hay.
• If you use floor mats, check what is growing between and underneath them. Consider flooring that can be disinfected — or at least cleaned well.

Read more on our website at https://aaep.org/horsehealth/every-breath-horses-take-affects-every-move-they-make


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