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Why Is My Horse Coughing?



(April 24, 2012)

A coughing horse requires all of your attention. Equine coughs should not be taken lightly, so consult your vet at the earliest to reach a proper diagnosis and administer the correct treatment.

Causes of Coughing in Horses

The main problem that arises is with the diagnosis itself and figuring out the cause of the cough. There are several possible causes that could offer some insight and answer the question, ‘why is my horse coughing?’ such as:

• Low immunity
• Influenza
• Allergies
• Blockages of the airways
• Bacterial or viral infections

Types of Horse Coughs

Your horse may cough only at particular times or when performing a certain activity. In such cases, it becomes easier to diagnose the causes of the illness. Some types of horse coughs include:

• Coughs induced by exercise – Many horses cough only when exercising or working. This can be likened to human asthma, where the airways are stressed during any activity. If the coughing attacks get too severe or become chronic, it may be time to retire your horse from work.

• Coughs that occur when the horse is in his stable – This is a common problem and can be linked to your horse coughing when eating, after eating, when lying down or when you are cleaning the stable. Changes of season can also bring on this type of cough. Generally, a dry wheezing cough, it should not last for more than a week or two. If it persists for longer than four weeks, it will be considered a chronic cough and will require antibiotics or other medication to treat it.

• Allergy induced coughs – Allergic coughs in horses are dry and heaving in nature and may be accompanied by breathing difficulties. Horses are especially sensitive to mold. Some allergies may also cause coughing and you may even notice a runny nose in your horse.

• Coughs caused by an infection – Bacterial or viral infections could result in severe coughing attacks in your horse. Pneumonia, upper respiratory tract infections and pleuritis can affect your horse and may even prove fatal if not treated in time. Symptoms of infections include a loss of appetite, fever, rapid heart rate, and a runny nose. When the infection is bad, your horse may also cough up mucus. Common treatments for this type of cough include antibiotics (for bacterial infections only), tracheal washing, and scoping.

• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – This causes the most severe form of coughing in horses. The disease is often triggered by dust, pollen and mold that leads to an allergic reaction, coughing and a build up of mucus in the airways.

There are different ways to prevent a horse from coughing:

• Keep stables well ventilated.
• Clean the stables often.
• Change your horse’s bedding regularly.
• Feed only fresh or water-soaked hay. Look out for moldy or dusty hay.
• Keep your horse warm in winter and dry in wet weather.
• Keep up to date with your horse’s vaccination schedule.
• De-worm him regularly.
• Boost his immunity with vitamin supplements and antioxidants. Speak to your vet for diet recommendations and supplement prescriptions.

Submitted by N on April 24, 2012 at 01:35

 

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