The Impact of Omega-3s on Horses with Lower Airway Disease

Researchers found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can reduce signs of chronic lower airway disease in horses.

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Chronic lower airway diseases, such as recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) and inflammatory airway disease (IAD), are all too common in horses today. Reducing dust in the diet and environment can benefit these horses, but Purdue University researchers found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation will reduce signs even further.

For the purpose of their study, the researchers used an algae-based omega-3 supplement that also contained vitamin C, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), and a mushroom complex.

“Algae is the richest source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and this is a vegetarian and renewable source of DHA (unlike fish, which is the other common source of DHA and EPA),” said Laurent Couëtil, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor in the Purdue University Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Specifically, the team aimed to evaluate the algae supplement’s impact on horses with RAO or IAD housed in a low-dust environment, based on changes in visual analog scores (VAS) for cough, lung function, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF)

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Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as a certified equine acupressure practitioner. She also hosts a blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse. Once an avid barrel racer, she now enjoys giving back to the horses who have given her so much.

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