Cardiorespiratory Causes of Poor Equine Performance

In order for a horse to reach his athletic potential, his cardiorespiratory system must function properly.
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Editor’s note: This article is part of’s ongoing coverage of topics presented at the 2012 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, held May 30 – June 2 in New Orleans, La.

A number of body systems must run properly to ensure a horse performs at the top of his game; a malfunction in just one system can decrease performance and cause potentially serious health risks to the horse.

During a recent veterinary meeting, one researcher discussed how the cardiac and respiratory systems impact equine performance, and when malfunctions in any of these areas can affect a horse’s performance.

"In the field of exercise physiology horses demonstrate exceptional athletic capability in comparison to many mammalians studied," said Emmanuelle van Erck-Westergren, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECEIM, during a presentation at the 2012 American College Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, held May 30 – June 2 in New Orleans, La

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Written by:

Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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