Coughing is a problem that affects horses. A cough could be dry and harsh or wet and moist. It is an irritation that occurs in the throat and helps the horse clear the air passage and release the mucus. Coughs are usually caused because of allergies, viral infections, colds or the flu. Horses also get a cough if they develop certain respiratory problems such as equine influenza, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia or lungworm. If your horse is coughing, ensure that you get it treated before it gets too serious.
The appropriate treatment depends on the cause of the cough. The vet may recommend a lot of different medications which include decongestant, anti-inflammatory or antibiotics to alleviate the horse’s cough. These medications can be given orally, by injection or have to be inhaled. The horse with also have to be given vitamin C, E, selenium and antioxidants supplements in order to strengthen its immune system. Sufficient rest and nursing is important to ensure quick recovery. Keep monitoring the horse’s health for any changes and keep it as comfortable as possible. If it is cold and shivering, cover it with more blankets. If it begins sweating and gets a high fever, cool him down. The horse may loose its appetite when its ill so just feed it smaller portions of food. Make the meals wet and soft, soak feeds or hay for at least 30 minutes in order to remove the dust. Entice the horse with treats such as apples and molasses ensure that it drinks plenty of fresh water.
There are a lot of precautions that owners can take to prevent horse coughing and other respiratory infections. These include:
- The horse’s stable is well ventilated – always keep the top half of the stable door open
- Feed the horse pellet or cubed hay or beet-pulp-based or grain-free feed
- Clean stables thoroughly
- Change bedding regularly and check for bedding soaked with urine – use fresh shavings or shredded paper instead of straw
- Avoid feeding your horse moldy or dusty hay.
- Ensure that horses are kept warm and dry in cold and wet conditions as well as after exercise
- If the horse starts coughing, stop riding him immediately, stable it and keep it warm.
- Boost its immune system with immune-boosting supplements and antioxidants
- Make sure that vaccinations are updated to prevent infections
- De-worm the horse regularly