Has your horse started to cough during and after feeding? Rather than going away, does is seem to be getting worse? Then your horse may well have a respiratory problem. Respiratory problems are unfortunately very common in horses, but there are a number of things that can be done to either improve or prevent them. Such asreducing dust and providinghorse respiratory supplements. Allergies are a common cause of breathing problems in your horse and these can be a result of inhaling dust, ammonia, pollen or mould spores.
Contact your vet if the problem is ongoing
Your vet will carry out an initial exam and run blood tests to ensure that there's no long-standing infection. They may also want to assess the health of your horse's internal organs. If allergies are suspected, the vet may also carry out allergy testing. This can be as simple as skin testing or a blood draw. Skin testing involves injecting small amounts of potential allergens under your horse's skin and watching how his body reacts.
Begin treatment if tests are positive for allergens
If your horse has tested positive for common moulds and allergens (which tend to be found in dust and hay), listen to your vet's advice regarding recommended treatments. This diagnosis is not uncommon, so try not to worry too much. Your vet will suggest ways to help alleviate your horse's condition.
Horse respiratory supplements
Try administering horse respiratory supplements as recommended by your vet. These supplements are designed to ease breathing and can prove very helpful in some cases. I have friends who have used Respiratory Horslyx. It works to keep airways clear of mucus, to assist the horse to breathe more easily and to reduce respiratory irritation. It also has plenty of vitamins and minerals in it to support and maintain a strong immune system. This maximises a horse's ability to fight any infectious challenges.
Removing the cause of the allergy
Once you know the cause of your horse's allergy, it's essential to remove this from his environment. Rather than simply treating the allergy, you need to minimise exposure to the dust and mould that are contributing to your horse's breathing problems. One of the easiest ways to do this is to keep your horse outside as much as possible. When he needs to be inside, he should be in a stall that is kept well ventilated. If possible, leave a window open. Make sure your horse is not kept in a barn where hay is stored too. Hay is a professional dust collector, so think about spraying it down with water and letting it get really saturated before feeding. You may also want to think about changing your horse's bedding to a low dust and dust free type of bedding. Pine shavings are a good option as they are lower dust than straw or pine sawdust. Fortunately, my horse Henry does not suffer from respiratory problems (and I hope he never does). I have a number of friends whose horses have trouble breathing easily and it's not nice to see. It can cause a great deal of stress not just in the horse!