It’s time to give respiratory systems a boost!
For many of us, our horses come in for winter, and with it come the challenges of keeping stabled horses healthy. Not least among those is the challenge of maintaining clear, healthy airways over winter. So should we be thinking about our horse’s respiratory health as they come into their stables? Most definitely, yes!
Causes of Respiratory Problems in Horses
Dry hay will often have a high dust burden, while both hay and haylage can contain endotoxins, mould and fungal spores. Straw bedding is known to be dusty, but it’s not the only culprit. All organic bedding can contain dust, and while the dust free option of rubber matting decreases the risk of dust, it increases the risk of irritation from ammonia, which can damage mucous membranes. Little wonder that the stabled horse is exposed to greater levels of dust and respiratory stress than its pasture kept cousin. However stabling horses is a practical reality for very many.
How Can We Maximise Respiratory Health?
- Choose a dust extracted bedding and low dust forage from quality haylage or soaked hay.
- Stables must be well ventilated, but without draughts, to ensure good airflow.
- Particular attention to ventilation should be paid to ventilation in American barn style stabling, where several horses share airspace – this can be an issue if your horse is on a low dust regime, but the neighbour is bedded on straw and eating dry hay!
With the competitive season continuing all year round, providing valuable nutritional support to the lungs is ideal if your horse is prone to allergies and respiratory sensitivity. With subclinical respiratory stress increasingly being recognised as a limiter to athletic performance, whatever you have planned for your horse, make sure you manage your horse to maintain clear lung health.
What are the signs of respiratory stress?
The typical signs seen include:
- Laboured breathing
- Nasal discharge
How can we manage this?
- Use a dust free regime for stabled horses, and even for those wintering out, ensure forage offered is good quality and free of dust and spores
- For stabled horses provide a period of daily turnout, ideally during and following mucking out, as this is when dust levels are at their highest in the box
- Provide feed and water from the floor to encourage natural drainage
- Don’t forget your own respiratory health. Consider wearing a dust mask when mucking out, as respiratory stress is recognised in those working in stables
What about targeted nutritional support?
It is recommended to maintain respiratory health by feeding a complex supplement containing:
- Powerful antioxidants such as blueberry and rosehip to support a healthy respiratory function. Research has shown that oxidative stress plays a key part in respiratory challenge in horses, and therefore providing natural antioxidants in the diet to flush out those toxins is recommended
- Herbs and natural extracts with known activity for respiratory health to ensure you’re providing highly targeted support. Echinacea is probably the best known, and furthest researched, and is one natural approach where the chemical constituents and their actions are pretty well understood. Another herb to look out for is liquorice which is known to soothe the linings of the respiratory tract
- Bio-available form of sulphur, such as MSM (methyl sulphonyl methane) as this essential nutrient is indicated for supporting the delicate tissue lining of the respiratory tract, which is easily compromised during respiratory challenge
- A fast acting supplement that’s safe to compete on with targeted immune support
Why Choose NAF 5 Star Respirator Boost
Choose NAF Five Star Respirator Boost for your horse – the clear way to performance, fast. Knowing that you are feeding your horse a brand that you can trust is vital to ensuring you too can focus on being at the top of your game with peace of mind that your horse is ready for whatever challenge lies ahead and adhering to Clean Sport.
Respirator Boost contains both MSM and Echinacea making it an ideal choice for those concerned by respiratory challenges and provides valuable nutritional support to the respiratory mucosal immune system and the delicate capillary blood vessels that surround the lungs. Research shows that by supplementing the diet with naturally sourced anti-oxidants, the horse’s lungs can be given valuable support. Respirator Boost contains a concentrated solution of natural anti-oxidants, alongside herbs such as ginger, rosehip and blueberries, chosen for their targeted support of healthy lung function. Echinacea is also included for immune system support and essential oils in Respirator Boost help maintain clear airways.
NAF go above and beyond to ensure you know exactly what you are buying for your horse. Not only do NAF carry the BETA NOPS logo, the standard quality audit in place to minimise the risk of naturally occurring prohibited substances, we are also UFAS and GMP+ accredited so knowing whether your product is FEI legal has never been easier.
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