Why does my horse have a cough?Respiratory problems represent the most common disease of internal organs in horses. To avoid chronic bronchitis, horse coughs should be treated quickly and professionally.
Recognize and treat respiratory and bronchial problems
Respiratory problems scare many horse owners. No wonder, because they represent the most common disease of the internal organs in horses and, if they become chronic, can lead to damping off and thus a significant loss of performance of the animals.
Not every cough is immediately cause for concern, as coughing in horses can have many superficial causes. So when do you need to worry and get a vet involved, and how do you prevent respiratory and bronchial problems?
Causes of cough in horses
Telling exactly why a horse is coughing is not an easy task. Similar to humans, the cough can also be due to a temporary irritation, for example due to dust in the respiratory tract. Monitor your horse closely from the first cough and consult a veterinarian if there is no improvement after two to three days.
The following causes quickly lead to irritation of the respiratory tract and thus coughing and other symptoms:
Not getting enough fresh air. Horses that are kept in closed stalls and get less than two to three hours of exercise a day are especially at risk.
spores in the feed (hay, straw, dry feed). These quickly trigger an allergy in an already irritated respiratory tract, making the situation worse for your horse.
Increased exposure to dust, for example if feed is not given moistened or the horse is left in the stall when mucking out. It is also advisable to always groom the horse outside the stable.
Infections due to bacteria or viruses. Horses with a weakened immune system are susceptible to these, for example if they are wet and draughty or malnourished.
Nutritional undersupply of the bronchial system
How to recognize the signs of bronchitis
Bronchitis is the most common respiratory disease in horses. You can recognize it by a few signs (not all symptoms necessarily occur):
Cough (initially dry, after a few days moist)
The steam groove is visible when exhaling (depression between the ribcage and abdominal muscles)
If necessary. fever, but often the acute bronchitis proceeds without any
It becomes dangerous when acute bronchitis develops into chronic bronchitis. Then there is a risk that the horse becomes "damp" and long-term losses in quality of life and performance are to be expected. The situation is especially serious if you recognize the following symptoms:
The vapor groove appears permanently, not only when you exhale
problems with breathing in general, only possible with effort
Horse starts sweating very quickly
Coughing becomes dry again (mucus has settled and can no longer be coughed up)
What do allergies have to do with bronchitis? Horses are robust animals. Usually adapt well to their environment. However, if a horse is already in poor health, for example, due to irritated respiratory tracts in the case of bronchitis, the susceptibility to allergies and hypersensitivities also increases. Stable air and "dust" (i.e. spores in food, stirred up hay and straw, etc.) promote disease and are more severe when the horse is already mildly ill.
What about nutrition – bronchitis due to vitamin deficiency?
Of course, a horse, just like other animals and humans, is susceptible to diseases especially when the immune system is weakened. This can happen for all sorts of reasons. Horses that have just come from competitions, for example, where they have been exposed to stress and have had closer contact with other horses are more at risk than their stable mates who have been able to make themselves comfortable in the pasture.
In addition to stress, vitamins also play a significant role in immune system health. Vitamins A, C, E, B complexes, selenium, zinc and essential fatty acids are especially important. Especially if your horse has bronchitis, these vitamins should be fed to facilitate a speedy recovery and avoid the transition to chronic bronchitis.
Many horse owners rely here on feeding herbs, both for prevention and acute treatment of bronchitis. Herbs and forage plants rich in vital substances play an important role as a natural food component in keeping the respiratory tract moist and clean. Has a stimulating, regulating and invigorating effect. If you want to save yourself the trouble of picking herbs, take a look at our Bronchial Liquid for horses. This can be mixed with the feed. Thus compensates for the nutritional deficiency of the bronchial system.
This is how you counteract acute respiratory problems
The good news is – there are a few things you can do to help your horse with acute bronchitis. On the one hand, stimuli from the environment should be minimized. This means that you should avoid dust in the stable even more intensively than usual and give your horse plenty of fresh air. you can moisten food to bind dust. Add to this a particularly healthy diet by adding herbs or using a liquid (like the one from Greenhero).
As with humans, inhaling essential oils can help loosen mucus. In extreme cases, a lung lavage can help, in which the horse is given saline solution intravenously to be sweated out through the lungs. However, this process represents a high load for the animal. Should therefore be avoided if possible. It is best to talk to your trusted veterinarian about this.
It would be even better if your horse never gets bronchitis or other respiratory problems. You can't guarantee this, but by avoiding the common causes at the top of the article, you'll improve the chances of a healthy horse's lungs.
Bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses can drag on, be protracted, or even turn into chronic disease. Therefore, never take a cough that lasts for more than two to three days lightly and consult a specialist.