How to manage equine asthma?

Equine asthma is a non-infectious inflammatory airway disease that is often triggered by environmental allergens such as fungal spores found in hay and straw. Equine Asthma can also be brought on by other external factors such as pollen, field allergens and dusty environments. In most cases, it is very treatable both short term and long term.

For horses to thrive, their respiratory health must function properly, pumping massive amounts of air in and out of the body effortlessly. Whilst there are many names and acronyms that have been used over the years to describe airway conditions characterised by inflammation and airway hyperactivity, the most important consideration is how to treat this condition. Just like humans, horses are individuals and react differently to different types of treatments. We would always encourage you seek veterinary advice and discuss your horses’ specific symptoms with your vet.

However, there are still a number of ‘best practice’ improvements that can be made to help your horses along; both through management and environmental changes.

How to help.

Feeding good quality forage and bedding using a product with as little dust as possible is always preferable. At Baled, our Hay, Haylage and Straw is:

  1. Dedusted
  2. Destoned
  3. Disinfected (Straw Only)

This process ensures all product is removed of any unwanted particles and the level of dust is reduced.  As always, animal health and welfare is at the forefront of our minds. A healthy animal is generally a happy one too!

If Horse Owners do not have access to top quality forage, they will often turn to soaking or steaming hay. The primary reason for this is to control dust and mould within the feed. Typically, soaking hay is not always as effective as steaming as owners often leave hay soaking for more than 30 minutes, affecting on the nutritional value of the forage. However, this is definitely the cheaper alternative compared with steaming, which is incredibly costly.

Although hay steamers are effective in reducing approximately 99% of airborne respirable dust, mould, fungi, and bacteria in hay and haylage, the biggest disadvantage of using this method is the purchasing and usage costs, particularly if you only have one horse. The set up and maintenance of hay steamers can also be incredibly time consuming for owners too which can be off-putting for horse-owners leading busy lives.

Putting your trust in a supplier of hay, haylage and straw which has already been dedusted, destoned and disinfected where necessary, not only ensures your horses get the highest quality product, but saved on time too.

Stable Management

In addition to choosing the best forage and bedding for your horse, there are lots of tweaks to your process that can be made to help your horse along.

Our three top tips are:

  1. Don’t muck out when your horse is in the stable area: Mucking out when your horse is in the stable will cause an increased flow of dust particles in the stable, so make sure your horse is well away from the stable when you are mucking out, and allow time for your bedding to settle before putting them back in their box.
  2. Ensure Good Ventilation – Make sure your stables have good ventilation. Keep windows open as wide as possible all year round, even if this means rugging your horses up more in the winter.
  3. Consider your horses routine: Depending on the type of allergy, looking to let horses live out semi-permanently or even permanently can be a great option to help keep horses airway clear.

If your horses are having trouble with Equine Asthma, and you want high quality but cost-effective feed and bedding, get in touch today.