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As horses suffering from this condition often struggle to effectively exhale and empty the lungs, over-inflation may occur, leading to emphysema. Without proper treatment and management this condition can lead to damage to the lung tissue and non-reversible reduced lung function.
Allergic bronchitis in horses, also known as heaves or recurrent airway obstruction, is a chronic, non-infectious airway condition that is caused following exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust or fungal spores. Common causes of exposure are hay and straw. This condition causes the airways to become obstructed, leading to difficulty breathing. This increased respiratory effort may lead to the development of a heave line due to enlargement of the abdominal muscles.
Often owners may first notice an occasional cough which often progresses to a frequent, deep cough. Other symptoms may include:
The severity of clinical signs may vary. Often the horse may suffer from exercise intolerance while in more severe cases, the horse may suffer from dyspnea at rest.
This is a non-infectious condition that is caused by an allergic reaction to inhaled allergens such as molds. The exposure to this allergen leads to the small airways of the lung tissue to become obstructed due bronchoconstriction. This is caused by the inflammation of the tissue lining these airways and the constriction of the smooth muscle surrounding them. The most common causes of allergies in horses are from reaction to hay and bedding.
Your veterinarian will first observe your horse from a distance to check for abnormalities that may not be visible while restrained, they will note your horse’s respiratory rate and watch the character of the respiration. As horses suffering from this condition often need to work harder to expel air due to the narrowed airways they may notice your horse appearing to heave in order to exhale air. Your veterinarian will then examine all the major organs and auscultate the lungs, heart and digestive system. If your horse is suffering from a severe case of allergic bronchitis, your veterinarian may make a diagnostic based on the symptoms alone. Further diagnostic tests may be deemed necessary; these tests may include:
Your horse many require medical treatment. To support the recovery it is vital to make environmental changes to prevent relapse. Your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroids and bronchodilators, these can be given orally, by injection or through aerosolized drug preparations. Aerosolized drug preparations have shown to be more effective than other forms of administration with reduced risk of adverse reactions.
Bronchodilators reduce inflammation, clear mucus and relieve the muscles in the airways, which may allow your horse to breath easier. Corticosteroids reduce or prevent the body from releasing inflammatory chemicals, therefore reducing inflammation.
Supportive care should include offering highly palatable food to prevent weight loss and provide energy for healing, and ensuring adequate hydration. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be offered to support the immune system. Provide your horse with a warm, dry environment to recover in. Ensuring the environment is at a good temperature will reduce the need for the respiratory system to provide thermoregulation, allowing the body to rest and recover.
Your horse’s long term recovery will depend on the management of his environment. While there is no cure for this condition, good environmental management can lead to full recovery.
Ideally your horse should be kept outdoors with access to fresh air and away from dust roads. However, if this is not possible the stable should be adequately managed to provide your horse with clean, dust free air.
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Allergic Bronchitis Average Cost
From 239 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000
0 found helpful
my horse is 20 has allergic bronchitis I give her dex for around 5 to six months during the summer then her bronchitis seems to go away when the cold weather here in florida comes about, She doesnt need the dex for around 6 months or so until june the summer starts again. Can I give hr a antihistamine powder in her feed to go along with the dex?
Aug. 11, 2018
You should speak with your Veterinarian regarding any additional treatment on top of the current treatment prescribed; there may be a specific reason your Veterinarian has not recommended the use of antihistamines in Jenny’s case. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Aug. 11, 2018
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