Approximately 22 to 50 percent of athletic horses will suffer from Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD) at some point in their lives. As one of the most common conditions inhibiting horse performance, IAD should be monitored closely in order to take the necessary steps to stave it off when symptoms emerge.
A horse that has been exhibiting a recurring cough or increased nasal discharge may be suffering from IAD. The condition affects the lower respiratory tract, making increased work or exercise difficult for the animal. A sensitive rider will be able to recognize if their horse is displaying uncharacteristic sluggishness or malaise during activity. If you suspect your horse has a case of IAD, your vet will be able to make a diagnosis relatively easily.
Fortunately, IAD is a completely curable disease. While much is still unknown about what exactly causes the condition, it is believed that inhaled allergens combined with an increased bacterial presence are the main contributing factors to the development of IAD. Keeping your horse in a stall increases its chance of developing IAD due to the increased presence of particulate matter in that environment. Irritants from bedding, hay and dust can all incite IAD symptoms.
As such, one of the most important treatment techniques is to remove as many of these irritants from the horse’s environment as possible. Symptomatic horses should be kept on pasture instead of in a stall. This has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of eliminating IAD-related health issues. In addition, try trading out straw bedding for alternative materials such as wood chips or shredded cardboard.
In addition to cleansing the horse’s environment, there are certain medical treatments that can help as well. A simple cough syrup can provide temporary relief, while corticosteroids and bronchodilators will work to open up the airways and help clear mucus from the respiratory system. A vet will be able to tell you the best method for treating your horse’s particular case of IAD. However, cough syrup can always be used for a quick soothing effect.
Finally, it may help to switch up the horse’s feed supply. Hay is naturally full of mold spores. If you fear these spores are causing your horse’s IAD, you can try soaking or steam-heating the hay. However, doing so often makes the food unpalatable to horses. Try to source the freshest hay possible and feed it to your horses from the ground to encourage natural mucus draining.
Air Power™ is an all-natural aid in the relief of minor coughs due to irritation.
U-7™ Gastric Aid is a vitamin/herbal blend that helps promote a healthy equine digestive system including the foregut and hindgut.