With the recent wildfires in Canada bringing smoke and particulates to areas of the country, concern over the impact of poor air quality on equine lungs has risen. Though it's impossible for equine owners to completely sequester their horses away from air pollution and smoke from fires, there are steps that can be taken to safeguard their respiratory health, reports The Horse

 Wildfires pose a danger to equine health in more ways than the immediate threat of death: smoke and inhaled particulates can wreak havoc on a horse's lungs, causing asthma, respiratory illness and infection, as well as reducing the lungs' ability to expel irritants.

A horse's lungs expel pollutants like dust and pollen daily, removing them in about 24 hours. However, if pollutants like those found in smoke make their way to the deep lung, where gas is exchanged in the alveoli, they can remain there for weeks.. Horses very close to wildfires may also have lung inflammation or damage from the hot gases.

The average respiratory rate for a horse is between 12 and 24 breaths per minute. A horse that is breathing nearly 30 breaths per minute, or one that is laboring to breathe, is in respiratory distress. Repetitive coughing, flared nostrils and white or yellow nasal discharge are also signs of distress. 

Horses that have been even mildly exposed to smoke may need two to four weeks for their lungs to fully recover. Horses with asthma or other respiratory conditions may be on the longer end of that timeframe for recovery. In the long-term, horses exposed to smoke may have impaired immune systems.

If you keep horses in an area that's impacted by wildfire smoke, water and feed should be consistently changed; either can be tainted by smoke, which will deter some horses from eating or drinking. Fresh water is of particular importance as horses must stay adequately hydrated to help clear inhaled particulates. 

Read more at The Horse

Paulick Report Icon

Source link