Owner Diligence Key To Equine Asthma Management, But Many Won’t Implement Management Changes

Scientists in Portugal have discovered that many horses suffering from equine asthma aren’t given a fair shake at disease management for one reason: their owners are reluctant to follow vet advice to reduce the horse’s exposure to environmental irritants, reports EQUUS magazine.

Dr. Joana Simões and a team of scientists examined 39 horses that were diagnosed with severe equine asthma (SEA), also known as heaves. Heaves is triggered by environmental factors like dust and mold, and is characterized by coughing, labored breathing, and airway inflammation. Reduction of exposure to triggers normally allows the symptoms to subside.

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The horses’ owners were given a questionnaire asking how the horse was housed and fed, and what respiratory issues he showed. A veterinarian then offered six management recommendations, which included things like soaking hay before feeding and turning horses out as much as possible. Each strategy was directly correlated with equine asthma improvement.

One year later, the researchers contacted the horse owners again to see if they had followed through on the veterinary recommendations. They discovered that only three of the 38 owners had implemented all six recommended strategies for keeping their horse healthy, and only six owners were utilizing five of the recommended measures. About half of the owners had adopted one or two control strategies. Horses that did not have management changes remained symptomatic and required medical treatment.

Simões notes that it may be difficult to implement every suggested control strategy, like increased barn ventilation, but some of the strategies required only that a horse owner change their daily routine. Some horse owners responded that implementing things like soaking the affected horse’s hay was too time consuming or that they could not get the horse’s caretaker to comply.

The scientists believe that some lack of compliance may be because the disease can only be managed and not cured – there is no quick fix or pill to solve severe equine asthma. The research team suggests that horse owners may be more inclined to better manage the condition if they understood the disease and its progression more completely.

Read more at EQUUS magazine.

The post Owner Diligence Key To Equine Asthma Management, But Many Won’t Implement Management Changes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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