Tying Up Or Azoturia

What is it?

Tying up or azoturia is a muscle metabolism problem. A horse becomes tied-up when his muscles have been overworked.
The areas typically affected are the neck, back, shoulders, zones of previous trauma and areas where other muscles have attempted to compensate for those already affected.

What are the symptoms?

Obvious discomfort, muscle stiffness
Difficulty in movement. The horse may refuse to move
Muscle hardening/contracting with hindquarter spasms, mostly in croup area
Elevated pulse and respiration
Sweating
Short, stiff gait
Brown colored urine

Where does it come from?

The cause is not fully understood but is thought to be related to the buildup of glycogen in the muscles of a horse that is fed a high energy ration. During exercise, the glycogen in the muscles is used up and lactic acid replaces it. This causes swelling and damage to the muscle tissue.

Conditions that cause a horse to tie up include: exertional stress, nutritional deficiencies, plant toxins, and genetic defects of carbohydrate metabolism (Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy or PSSM and Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy or EPSM).

How is it diagnosed?

A blood test will show elevated levels of the muscle enzymes creatine kinase (CK) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) during or immediately after a tying up episode. Strenuous exercise can elevate these enzymes up to 4 times normal while most tying up episodes result in a 10 fold rise or greater.

How is it treated?

If you suspect Azoturia, stop exercising the horse and move her to a box stall. Do not force her to walk.
Call your veterinarian.
Provide fluids.
Remove grain and feed; provide only hay until signs subside.
Your veterinarian may prescribe pain killers, muscle relaxants, corticosteroids and/or tranquilizers.
If the problem recurs, have the horse evaluated for a specific cause of recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis.

How is it prevented?

Warm up and cool down your horse properly with at least 15 minutes of walking.
Don’t exercise the horse to a point where he becomes stressed.
Provide turnout as frequently as possible.
Feed a low or no-carbohydrate diet with high fat.
Keep electrolyte levels in balance and at at optimal levels through good nutrition or supplementation.

Snake Bites: Are You Prepared?

Snake bites can happen anywhere. There are several species of snakes in the US that can cause injury to your horse. A lethal dose of venom depends on body weight so bites are not often fatal in horses, but can cause intense pain, nausea, muscular weakness and shock.

Certain factors affect the severity of the injury. Take the following factors into consideration when determining the potential danger of the bite.

Type of venom: Some snakes are deadlier than others.

Location of the snake bite: Bites to the head, face and areas of major blood supply are far more serious than those to limbs and body and more likely to be fatal. Many horses are bitten on the face as they sniff to investigate.

Size, condition and age of the horse: smaller, younger horses are more at risk, as are older horses and those in poor health.

Poisonous snakes fall into two categories: the elapine snakes, which include the cobra, mamba and coral snake and viperine, which include the pit vipers, such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, and moccasins. The most common snakes encountered in the U.S. are the copperhead and various types of rattlers.

The venom of elapine snakes is mainly neurotoxic which affects the nervous system and kills its target by paralyzing the respiratory system. These snakes are less common in the US.

Viperine snakes, located throughout the Americas, have long, hinged fangs that strike, penetrate, and withdraw. The venom of these snakes is mainly hemotoxic and causes massive damage to blood vessels and tissue loss even if the victim recovers.

Nonpoisonous snakes have small teeth rather than fangs. They also have a rounded head which is about the same size as their body and round pupils. Poisonous snakes have a triangular head that is larger than their body and elliptical pupils.

Rattlers usually attack when they are startled. Rattlers coil before striking with a strike distance of one-third to one-half of their overall length.

Poisonous snakes may not inject poison when they bite. Many snake bites in horses are thought to be nonvenomous because the snake has to put a lot of biological work into making its poison and does not want to waste it. Because the snake can sense the size of the horse, it bites only to get away. This may be another reason why horse deaths from snake bites are not common.

If a horse is bitten, there are a few steps to take. If riding, prevent the horse from looking down and slowly him back away. You want to avoid further strikes. Try to confirm the snake bite and attempt to identify the snake, but do not waste time looking for the snake. Your primary concern is your horse.

Viperine snake bites cause immediate swelling. Horses bitten on the nose or muzzle can swell so much that their nostrils almost close and breathing can be difficult or impossible. Seasoned trail riders and ranch hands carry two six-inch pieces of old garden hose that can be lubricated and inserted into the nostrils of a snakebitten horse; more than one animal has been saved with this simple procedure. The hose allows the horse to breathe until the swelling subsides with treatment.

Intense pain, nausea, muscular weakness, and shock follow a typical snakebite. It is important to quiet the horse down. Increased heart rate causes higher blood flow and the dispersal of the poison to larger areas of the body.

A wide constricting band (handkerchief or shredded clothing) should be placed about two inches above the bite if it is on the leg. The band should only be tight enough to compress the veins and lymphatic vessels and not the arteries. Your goal is to keep the venom in the bite area. This band should be as tight as the band a nurse applies when drawing blood.

Wash the bite with soap and water. If possible, trailer the horse to its stall. If you have to travel, walk the horse slowly to the nearest trailer. Do not cut the bite area or try to suck venom from a bite by mouth. Do not apply cold or hot compresses.

Antivenin has proved useful in horses even when given 24 hours after a head bite. There are some potential problems with antivenin, however, because it is produced in horses and therefore anaphylactic shock can occur. A veterinarian may use epinephrine to help lessen the threat of reactive shock to the serum. Corticosteroids and fluids may be necessary to counteract the effects of shock, and good management will be required to treat the tissue damage that may result.

If you have seen the horse bitten, diagnosis is easy. But many times, you’ll find a horse in his stall or at pasture with a severely swollen leg and showing signs of shock. Snakebites can be hard to locate on the body because of hair, bleeding, or swelling, but a close examination should reveal fang marks. The appropriate antivenin must be used for individual snakes. Many states have Hot Line numbers in your area. Be sure to have epinephrine available.

The goal of snakebite treatment focuses on three areas: prevention of the absorption of venom (with the constricting band), neutralization of any absorbed venom (with the use of antivenom) and fighting the effects of the venom by maintaining cardiorespiratory function.

Shock is the most common problem following snakebites. Corticosteroids may be used to counter the shock and minimize tissue destruction. Broad-spectrum antibiotics should be given and since many snakes’ mouths contain bacteria. Intravenous fluids containing dextrose and DMSO (a potent antioxidant) can be given if needed. A tetanus shot should also be considered.

The actions taken during the first hours following a snakebite will improve your horses outcome. Be prepared for snakebites and you’ll lessen the potential complications.

Senior Horse Care

So the old girl is getting old. Happens to all of us. But a senior horse doesn’t have to be an inactive horse. With some minor adjustments to your regular routines, you can help your old friend stay healthy and engaged through her senior years.

Older horses are prone to weight loss, thyroid disfunction and liver or kidney problems. Yearly blood tests after age 15 can help identify any abnormalities before they progress.

An older horse may need more frequent dental care. Your equine dentist may need to float your horse’s teeth more frequently so she can easily chew her food. But even with good dental care, your horse may have trouble eating. If you notice that she’s leaving food behind, consult your veterinarian for nutritional advice. Nutritional supplements formulated for older horses may help your horse through the normal physical, hormonal and metabolic challenges of aging.

Older horses don’t have as much fat around their bones as younger horses and can get chilled more easily. Consider blanketing your older horse during cold weather. Learn how to get a good horse blanket fit here. Also be aware that she may not regulate heat as well as she used to, so care should be taken during hot weather.

Just like people, horses need to stay active in order to stay healthy. Exercise keeps us all young! Keep your horse active and engaged.

Keep up a regular grooming regimen and don’t neglect a Daily horse checkup. Her feet will still need to be trimmed regularly. Pick her feet and check for bruises. Brush her regularly and keep an eye out for any unusual lumps.

A regular deworming and vaccination schedule is vital for an older horse. Horse parasites and diseases can affect an older horse more quickly than a young one, and recovery can be slower and more difficult.

Holding up that big body for 15 or 20 years can make the joints a little arthritic. There are a lot of supplements available for increasing mobility and managing pain. Talk to your vet before starting any new supplement.

Keep your older horse healthy and active into her senior years and you’ll both benefit from the experience.

Ringbone

What is it?

Ringbone is a common term for osteoarthritis of the pastern joint (high) and/or coffin joints (low). Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of the joints. Cartilage serves as a “cushion” between the bones of the joints. When a horse has significant high ringbone it can be seen on the front and sides of the pastern as hard lumps or a “ring” of extra bone around the front and sides of the pastern.

The pastern and coffin joints are located in the lower limb of all four legs. The coffin joint is located within the hoof. Above that is the pastern joint, located between the top of the hoof and the fetlock. Learn more about horse hoof anatomy here.

What are the symptoms?
Horses develop a shortened stride and bobbing lameness, particularly when turning. In the active stage, heat and swelling around the joints may be present.

Where does it come from?
The most common cause is abnormal joint stress. This causes joint surface damage and subsequent bony development. Abnormal conformation, poor shoeing, unbalanced hooves and working on poor surfaces can cause stress. Other causes include trauma or laceration to the joint and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD).

How is it diagnosed?
X-rays of the leg are the best way to diagnose the disease. The joint surfaces are usually very smooth, but when ringbone is present extra bone is seen on X-ray.

A thorough lameness exam is also important. The test should be conducted on hard and soft ground, jogging straight and in circles. Nerve block tests are also used.

How is it treated?
Equine ringbone treatment involves lifelong management. The goal is to decrease inflammation in the joint and save cartilage.

First, the horse’s hoof must be balanced to decrease stress on the joints.

Anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids, along with synthetic joint fluid called hyaluronic acid may be injected into the joint to reduce inflammation and replenish the joint fluid.

Oral equine joint supplements may be given daily to help develop more cartilage and joint fluid. These include chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, MSM and oral hyaluronic acid.

Other Intravenous products may be used to increase joint fluid, reduce inflammation and strengthen cartilage.

Herbal supplements may be given in feed to help support the joint. Yucca and devil’s claw are common herbal anti-inflammatories. Use these with care to avoid allergic reactions and colic.

Low-level exercise is best for horses with this condition. Walking gently around a pasture helps stimulate circulation and decrease inflammation. Soft footing is better than hard, but too soft causes overflexion of the joint and increased inflammation.

Physical therapy is also available for these horses. Warm therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic offer help.

Keep an eye out for a promising new therapy called extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). It’s not clear how this therapy works, but it’s the subject of much research right now. We’ll keep you posted.

How is it prevented?
Hoof balance, proper trimming and shoeing, footing and exercise are critical factors in managing ringbone. Hard footing increases trauma on the joints, while deep footing increases the flexion of the joints leading to possible overflexion and damage to the joint capsule.

Reduce Exposure To Barn Dust

How much barn dust is too much?

Horses that spend much of their time in barns are exposed to a lot of airborne dust. This can cause a variety of respiratory problems. A recent Tufts University study suggested that up to 25 to 80 percent of stabled horses have some sort of respiratory disease.

Where does all this dust come from? Mainly shavings, sawdust, manure, hay, animal hair and dander, and silica from dirt in indoor arenas. Much of this dust contains small particles that cause inflammation in the lungs. And horse barn dust affects people, too.

The solution? Avoid dust. But that’s usually easier said than done.

If possible, turn your horse out. That’s the fastest, easiest way to improve the air your horse breathes.

If your horse must be stabled, be sure there is adequate ventilation. It’s tempting to shut the barn up tight when the weather gets cold, but it’s not necessary and can be harmful. Strive for excellent ventilation without drafts.

Hay is usually the biggest dust-maker. Here are some tips for reducing hay related dust:

Try not to store hay above the stalls.
Wet all hay that is fed indoors. If possible, feed closer to ground level.
Feed a good quality, low dust alternative forage product like kiln-dried hay cubes.

Bedding is often a source of dust, too:

Avoid straw in favor of paper or shavings.
Use a minimum of quality bedding and muck out daily.
Move your horse outside while you’re mucking.
Avoid deep litter.
Rubber matting can reduce the amount of bedding needed.

Other dust suppression tips:

Sprinkle the barn aisle with water when sweeping or raking.
Use a HEPA approved vacuum to clean the barn.
Use an organic dust suppressant to keep dust down in indoor arenas.

Avoid and control dust whenever possible. Efficient ventilation, adequate pasture time and a sensible cleaning program will keep dust at acceptable levels.

Prevent Horse Dehydration

Horse dehydration is not just a summer problem. It can happen any time of year, but it’s much more common in the hot, humid summer months.

Horses are more susceptible to dehydration than other animals. Because they have significant muscle mass, they generate a tremendous amount of muscle heat and sweat profusely when worked hard in warm temperatures. This causes your horse to lose body fluids and the ionized minerals (electrolytes) that they contain.

Your horse usually sweats in an attempt to cool himself. When faced with the choice of overheating or dehydrating, the body chooses to dehydrate, using up water to keep cool. But there is a limit to the horse’s water reserves, and as he begins to run out of body fluid, his temperature climbs.
A dehydrated horse without sufficient fluid to stay cool may suffer a 3 degree increase in temperature per hour of moderate exercise.

Your horse can lose up to four gallons of fluid per hour when he works hard in hot weather. If the air is dry, sweat evaporates quickly and cools the horse. But if the air is humid, sweat won’t evaporate. Your horse stays hot and clammy and sweats even more in an attempt to cool off.

Check for these common symptoms of horse dehydration:

Pull out a pinch of skin on your horse’s neck or shoulder. If it springs right back into place, he’s not very dehydrated. If he is moderately dehydrated, the skin will stay elevated a few seconds after you pull it out. The more dehydrated he is, the longer the skin will stay elevated.

Dry, red mucous membranes inside the nose and mouth.

Dry, muddy colored gums.

Membrane under the horse’s eyelid should be pink to pink-yellow. Red indicates stress. Brick red indicates severe stress. Blue membranes indicate a critical situation.

Capillary refill time will decrease. Press your finger into your horse’s gums just above his front teeth. The gum will turn white because you’ve pressed the blood out. Normal color should return within one to four seconds. The longer the refill time, the more dehydrated your horse.

Dull, glazed eyes and wrinkled eyelids.

Thick, lathered sweat.

Increased temperature (over 102) that doesn’t return to normal after exertion. Learn the safest way to take your horse’s temperature here.

Shallow panting, muscle tremors and weakness, weak pulse, depressed attitude.

Horse dehydration can also trigger muscle cramps (tying up or horse colic) since fluid and electrolytes necessary for proper muscle function are depleted.

Overweight Horse? Follow These Tips

Plump. Chubby. Rotund. Portly. Do any of these words describe your horse? An overweight horse is subject to a variety of equine health problems, so you may need to adjust your horse’s diet to maintain optimal weight.

Given the opportunity, an overweight horse will eat more than he needs. It can be hard to deny that imploring look, that pleeeeease feed me look. But excess equine poundage puts a strain on almost every body system. Your horse will be better off if your keep his weight down and his exercise levels up.

Keeping your horse at the optimal equine weight is not always easy. Some horses are “easy keepers”, requiring minimal calories to maintain their best weight. And some horses, as they approach middle age, begin to retain unneeded weight (a nice way of saying “get fat”) due to reduced activity and metabolic slow down.

The excess weight carried by an overweight horse causes a number of negative effects, including:

• Increased stress on the heart and lungs

• Greater risk of laminitis or equine founder.

• More strain on feet joints and limbs

• Worsened symptoms of arthritis

• Less efficient cooling of body temperatures

• Fat build-up around organs; interferes with normal function

• Greater lethargy and more easily fatigued

Measuring Up

Fitness is a subjective measurement, so equine health care professionals use a “Body Condition Scoring” system to measure a horse’s level of condition.

A horse’s physical condition is based on the look and feel of six key confirmation points: neck, withers, crease of the back, tailhead, ribs and shoulder girth. Scores range from 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese).

The Scores

Score of 1: Poor. Animal extremely emaciated. Ribs, spine, hips and tailhead protruding prominently. Bone structure easily noticeable, no fatty tissue can be felt.

Score of 2: Very Thin. Animal emaciated. Slight fat covering over Ribs, spine, hips and tailhead protruding prominently. Bone structure faintly noticeable.

Score of 3: Thin. Fat buildup on spine. Slight fat cover over ribs. Spine and ribs easily discernable; tailhead and hip joints slightly discernable, lower pelvic bones not discernable. Withers, shoulders and neck accentuated.

Score of 4: Moderately Thin. Slight ridge along back; faint outline of ribs discernable; hip joints not discernable. Withers, shoulders and neck not obviously thin.

Score of 5: Moderate. Back is flat; ribs not visually distinguishable but easily felt; fat around tailhead beginning to feel spongy; withers appear rounded over spine. Shoulders and neck blend smoothly into body.

Score of 6: Moderately Fleshy. May have slight crease down back; fat over ribs spongy, fat around tailhead soft. Fat beginning to be deposited along side of withers, behind shoulders and along sides of neck. Not a fat horse, just kind of beefy.

Score of 7: Fleshy. May have crease down back; individual ribs can be felt, but noticeable filling between ribs with fat; fat around tailhead soft; fat deposited along withers behind shoulders and along neck. Warning: overweight horse in the making!

Score of 8: Fat. Crease down back; difficult to feel ribs; fat around tailhead very soft; area along withers filled with fat; area behind shoulder filled with fat; noticeable thickening of neck; fat deposited along inner thighs. Officially an overweight horse.

Score of 9: Extremely Fat. Obvious crease down back; patchy fat appearing over ribs; bulging fat around tailhead, along withers, behind shoulders and along neck; fat along inner thigh may rub together; flank filled with fat. This is an severely overweight horse.

For most horses, body condition scores in the Moderate to Moderately Fleshy range, (scores of 5 and 6) are ideal. Of course, certain horses may carry more or less weight successfully, but any horse rating more than 8 may be considered an overweight horse and a candidate for an equine diet plan.

An Equine Weight Reduction Plan

You need to begin with a sound horse nutrition plan and a regular exercise program. But any equine weight loss plan must be implemented gradually so you don’t stress your overweight horse.

When you increase the amount of exercise, you increase your horse’s metabolic rate and he’ll burn more calories. When you shift to a lower calorie diet, your horse will utilize his fat reserves as fuel. But be sure that the reduced rations provide all the needed nutrients.

Here are some guidelines to get you overweight horse on the road to good health:

Be Patient: Weight reduction should be a slow, steady process so as not to stress the horse or create metabolic upsets.

Decrease Food: Make changes in both the type and amount of feed gradually. Reduce rations by no more than 10% over a 7 to 10 day period.

Increase Exercise: Gradually build time and intensity as the horse’s fitness improves.

Drink Up: Provide plenty of clean, fresh water for your horse.

Feed Carefully: Select horse feeds that provide plenty of high-quality fiber but are low in total energy.

Measure Carefully: Measure feeds by weight rather than volume to determine appropriate rations.

Choose Carefully: Select feeds that are lower in fat since fat is an energy-dense nutrient source.

Make A Switch: Switch or reduce the amount of alfalfa hay fed.

Replace with a mature grass or oat hay to reduce caloric intake.

No Cheating: Feed overweight horses separately from others so there’s no chance of double dipping in his neighbors food.

Extreme Measures: In cases of extreme obesity, pasture time may need to be limited to control caloric intake.

A Balanced Diet: Consider age and activity level when designing a horse diet. Make sure your horse’s vitamin, mineral and protein requirements continue to be met. A supplement may be added to the ration to compensate for lower-quality, less nutrient dense feeds.

Looking Good!

Keeping your horse in top condition through a sensible diet and exercise program will prevent a number of weight related health conditions. Your veterinarian or equine nutritionist can help you design a program that will work for you and your healthy horse.

Mud Fever And Rain Scald

What is it?
Mud fever is a skin condition usually associated with wet and muddy conditions. This condition is also called scratches or dew poisoning, pastern dermatitis, grease heel, or greasy heel.
Rain Scald is the name given to the same condition when seen on the body, head and neck areas.

What are the symptoms?
Signs vary, but usually the skin of the legs and the stomach become inflamed and scaly and, in severe cases, the horse may develop a high temperature or fever.

The skin may crack and weep with pus. The hair falls out in small patches and hard scabs form. Bacteria thrive beneath these scabs, and so gentle removal is an important part of the treatment process. Horses with may stamp their feet in response to the pain. In severe cases, sores may cover the entire leg and produce lameness.

Mud fever affects most horses and ponies during winter and early spring. It results in painful sores and scabs, which in severe cases can make a horse lame. It most commonly affects the pastern and heel area but can also affect the upper leg, the belly, and in some cases the neck area (Rain Scald). Non-pigmented skin tends to be more severely affected.

Where does it come from?
Mud fever is principally caused by the bacterium Dermatophilus Congolensis which penetrates the damaged or mud or water-softened skin. This germ is widespread and can survive in soil, infect scabs and items of tack, brushes, rugs, boots and stable walls.

Mud fever can so be caused by fungal organisms. Photosensitization, chorioptic mange mites, contact dermatitis and other conditions also contribute to some cases.

How is it diagnosed?
Diagnosing this problem is often based on appearance and history. Cultures for bacteria and fungi can also be performed. Vets can confirm the diagnosis using special stains and a microscope.

How is it treated?
Keeping the horse out of the wet and mud is the first step in treatment of mud fever. Initial treatment also consists of clipping of the hair away from the infected area and use of an anti-bacterial lotion on the scabs to soften them and gently remove them. When the scabs are removed, the skin is kept clean and dry. Disinfect or dispose of all items that have come in contact. The microorganisms are long lived and contagious.

How is it prevented?
Always ensure that the legs are cleaned well after work or time in the field. Either wash off and then ensure that the legs are properly dried or leave the mud to dry and then brush it off with a soft brush. If the horse has clipped legs, it is a good idea to apply a barrier cream to prevent the skin from becoming water logged.

Control mud in the paddocks. If possible, rotate paddocks to keep horses from standing in wet, muddy ground. Electric horse fencing can be used to reroute horses through high traffic areas and manage pasture mud.

Barrier creams provide an anti-bacterial, waterproof barrier against further infection.

Leg wraps keep the lower legs dry in horses in grass, but they are not designed for deep mud.

Horse Colic Aftercare

Horse colic aftercare depends on the type and severity of the case. Of course, follow your equine veterinarian’s instructions if you’ve been given a colic recovery program.
For a mild equine colic that resolves without surgery, follow these horse care suggestions.

Food And Water: Withhold hay, grain, or grass for 24 hours after all signs of discomfort are gone.

Keep a steady supply of clean, fresh water available at all times. If the water can be kept lukewarm (temp), all the better. To ensure that your horse is drinking enough, water by buckets. Turn off any automatic waterers so you can monitor consumption.

If your horse isn’t drinking, try adding a bucket of electrolyte water in addition to her regular bucket of water. If you don’t have a premixed electrolyte powder, you can make your own:

Mix these ingredients in a five-gallon bucket and offer in addition to her regular water.

After 24 hours, feed your horse half her hay ration and a warm bran mash. If she’s not drinking as much as you’d like, increase the water in the recipe to up her water intake:

Give easily digestible foods that will not cause any gas buildup like soaked hay and fresh pasture.After the second feeding, begin to resume normal rations. It’s best to give several small meals rather than one or two large ones in case there is any unresolved blockage in her intestines.

Manure: It’s important to monitor your horse’s manure output as a part of your horse colic aftercare program. This is the best way to tell if her stomach and intestines are working normally. Output will probably decrease after a colic due to the reduced feed schedule. Once normal feeding has resumed, keep a close eye on her manure. Look at size and consistency to be sure things have returned to normal.

Exercise: Exercise gets the stomach and intestines moving and functioning. Hand walking, turnout or light exercise is ideal.

As your horse recovers, keep an eye on her vitals including temperature, digital pulse and heart rate. Monitor gut sounds, too. Equine colic aftercare is important but it’s not very difficult. It requires a little extra effort to ensure a successful recovery, but your horse will thank you!

Heaves Or COPD In Horses

What is it?
Heaves or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be caused by dusty or moldy hay, dust and molds in bedding, or pollens, dust and other irritants in the environment. Any horse exposed to respiratory irritants may develop COPD. The longer they are exposed the more severe the condition may become.

What are the symptoms?
Horses do not usually show signs of COPD until they are 6 years of age or older. The earliest signs are coughing at exercise, when eating or when exposed to dusty environments. The horse may exhibit such clinical signs as “heaving” towards the end of exhalation to push air out of the lungs through the constricted airways, coughing, wheezing, and nasal discharge.

Where does it come from?
COPD is usually caused by exposure to poorly cured, moldy or dusty feeds, and confinement to an inadequately ventilated stable environment. It’s most often seen in horses older than 6.

How is it diagnosed?
Veterinarians usually diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease based on history and clinical signs such as “heaving,” coughing, wheezing, and nasal discharge. The veterinarian may also use an endoscope to visually examine the airways for evidence of inflammation or accumulated mucus.

How is it treated?
Get your horse outside! A horse in good condition will do fine outdoors if given adequate nutrition, a good windbreak and overhead shelter. If kept indoors, the stall should be well ventilated and bedded with shredded paper or high quality shavings. Hay should be soaked to reduce dust. Some horses may require a cubed or pelleted ration. Feeding horses on the ground may assist in draining fluid collected in the trachea.