You’ve likely heard the saying, No hoof, No horse, which is quite accurate. But the same could also be said of lungs: No lungs, No horse. Exercise-induced cough, allergies, and RAO (Recurrent Airway Obstruction) are all common conditions unfortunately, so it’s important we do everything we can to support our horse’s respiratory health.
Environment can be one of the biggest contributors to poor respiratory health. Horses kept indoors full or even part-time are more at risk for respiratory problems, simply because of exposure to dust and ammonia (from urine). Keeping horses outdoors is best, but in some boarding situations, you may not have much of a choice.
If horses must be kept indoors, make sure stalls are well ventilated and install fans to keep air circulating. Select stall bedding such as hemp, peat moss, synthetic material, or even shredded newspaper as opposed to shavings or straw, which are dustier. Using stall mats can decrease the need for deep bedding.
It’s important to keep stalls clean and use products to reduce ammonia, but avoid mucking stalls, sweeping aisles, or cleaning the barn while horses are indoors. It’s also a good idea to house horses away from where hay is stored.
Hay can be a problem for some horses with impaired lung function, mainly because it harbors dust and mold particles. Choosing the highest quality hay you can find is important for all horses, but especially for those with lung conditions. Wetting, soaking, or steaming flakes before feeding can also help reduce dust.
Avoid feeding large square or round bales, as horses tend to stick their noses inside as they eat, inhaling dust and mold particles.
Oats and other grains contain dust, so opting for soaked hay pellets or other pelleted feeds (which can be wet down, if needed) might be a better idea for some horses. Additionally, avoid feeding directly from stall bedding, using a rubber tub or some other sort of ground feeder instead.
Studies have shown that adding an Omega 3 source to your horse’s diet can also improve lung function. Our stone ground Organic Flaxseed is a great option.
- Anise: natural expectorant and antispasmodic
- Astragalus: anti-inflammatory, immune-building, and antibacterial
- Cayenne: breaks up congested mucus
- Elecampane: soothes bronchial passages, expectorant for lung cleansing
- Lobelia: strong anti-spasmodic properties, expectorant with broncho-dilating effects
- Mullein: nourishes and strengthens the lungs
- Peppermint: anti-congestive, anti-spasmodic, and contains expectorant properties
- Stevia: anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and contained magnesium needed for lung function
- Thyme: expectorant, disinfectant, and antiseptic
The good news is that our Breezee Respiratory Support contains all of the above (organic) herbal ingredients. This product is also free of sugar and NSC’s, making it completely safe for horses with metabolic issues.
As you can see, supporting our horses’ lung health often takes a multi-faceted approach, but many conditions can be successfully managed, allowing these horses to live long and happy lives.