Allergic coughing in horses If you walk through the stables attentively, you will hear horses coughing again and again. This is not unusual, especially in winter. At this time of year, paddock access is severely restricted or completely cancelled in many horse farms. The horses lack fresh air and exercise. To make matters worse, they often stand in their box for 23 hours a day and are exposed to dust or ammonia during this time. Just on the "shorter days During the winter time there is often no time for a longer ride with the horse; exercise is thus mostly only possible in the indoor riding arena. But in the worst case, even the indoor riding arena is not watered and dusty. Sensitive horses begin to cough quickly under these circumstances. Now the question arises: Is the cough an acute infection or a chronic inflammation of the lower respiratory tract?? In the case of chronic inflammation, it is necessary to check whether or not it is accompanied by an allergy. In this expert tip, we take a closer look at allergy-related coughing.
What is allergic horse cough??
To be able to answer this question it is first of all important to know what generally causes an allergy. According to the definition, an allergy is a hypersensitive reaction of the immune system to substances in the environment (dust, pollen, mold spores), which often manifests itself in the form of irritation of the skin and mucous membranes. Horses with sensitive respiratory tracts can develop an allergic reaction to certain stimuli. This takes place deep in the lungs, which is accompanied by the formation of mucus. A possible symptom is the typical dry cough, which occurs especially at the beginning of work.
– INFO TO GO – Allergic cough in horses – Always consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis of an allergic cough. – No training in dusty environments: Always make sure that horses with allergies have well-watered floors and sufficient fresh, unpolluted air. – Herbal mixtures such as MASTERHORSE BRONCHORAPID and MASTERHORSE BRONCHODURE can provide optimal support in the prevention and treatment of respiratory problems if used in time.
Differentiation between acute and chronic coughs
The term acute cough covers all acute inflammations of the bronchial mucosa, often caused by viruses or bacteria. Stress, dust or heavy ammonia exposure from bedding can increase the occurrence of an acute cough.
Chronic cough, also called RAO (recurrent airway obstruction) or formerly COB (chronic obstructive bronchitis), is a permanent, quasi self-perpetuating inflammation that can lead to damping off. Here, too, the causes are manifold.
The immune system reacts hypersensitively to hay dust, mold spores, and other allergenic particles in the stable or stall. Indoor air. Chronic irritation of the respiratory tract results in permanent mucus production. A disturbance of the body's own cleaning function of the lungs. The chronic irritation of the respiratory tract leads to permanent mucus production. A disturbance of the body's own cleaning function of the lungs. The formed mucus is very tough. Can be coughed up with difficulty. In addition to coughing, the symptoms of COB in horses include difficult breathing, in advanced cases with the typical "steam groove" on the flanks, excessive mucus secretion from the nostrils and breathing noises. The horse is severely limited in its physical performance due to the inadequate oxygen supply. Chronic respiratory diseases can also develop when acute diseases are not treated or are not treated adequately.
Causes of an allergic cough
The main causes of allergic coughing are unfavorable environmental factors such as allergenic dust, for example due to insufficiently watered floors in riding halls or riding arenas, and in feed (especially in hay and straw, but also in grain). House dust and storage mites (in muesli, grain, hay, straw) or molds accelerate such a course additionally. There may also be a genetic cause. Such pre-stressed horses are more susceptible to allergic reactions.
The "typical allergy sufferer" is usually more than five years old. Often middle-aged horses in stalls, fed with hay and standing on straw. More rarely, pollen from various plants in the summer cause an allergic cough. The reaction to normally harmless substances can become so strong that the horse is massively affected. If the owner does nothing, there is a risk of narrowing of the airways, destruction of the alveoli and thus permanent damage to the lung tie.
Diagnosis "cough due to allergies
In many cases, this diagnosis is not immediately apparent: The horse's lungs have a very large reserve capacity and can compensate for restrictions for a long time. A slight restriction of the lung performance leads only with maximum load to performance losses. Symptoms such as the typical coughing up at the beginning of training or bilateral, viscous nasal discharge are more noticeable. Further complicating matters is the fact that all of these signs can occur in varying degrees of severity. In case of doubt, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian quickly in order to counteract possible damage to the lungs while this is still possible.
Successful prevention of allergic coughing
In order to prevent allergic coughing, it is important to work in an environment with as little dust as possible. Under physical exertion, the horse inhales and exhales deeply, drawing the allergen-laden dust particles deep into the lungs, where they can cause serious damage. If in doubt, it is therefore advisable to go horseback riding rather than spend time in allergen-laden, dusty riding halls. Optimally, susceptible or affected horses should breathe deeply in and out of fresh air for at least 15 to 20 minutes to support the body's lung cleansing system and thus the removal of mucus.
Soaking the hay results in the leaching of important vitamins and minerals. (Read our expert tip "Wash hay") In any case, these must be supplied again via a horse supplementary feed. This can be done via a vitaminized mineral feed such as z.B. MASTERHORSE BASE occur. The contained zinc as well as the B vitamins. Vitamin A also support the regeneration of mucous membranes.
Coughing is a sign of a problem with the respiratory tract, which should definitely be investigated. If this is not done, it can lead to health restrictions and reduced performance. In the case of a cough caused by allergies, this means minimizing exposure to dust before pathological changes occur in the lungs. Optimally, the horse can live almost symptom-free. Being successful in sports as well.