Equine Asthma Syndrome


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Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), frequently referred to as heaves, negatively impacts horse health, performance, and welfare. Due to similarities between RAO and human asthma, a group of American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) specialists recently updated its recommendations for RAO diagnosis and treatment. Those recommendations include adopting “equine asthma syndrome” to better describe a spectrum of chronic airway inflammatory disorders—from mild inflammatory airway disease (IAD) in young athletes to severe RAO generally observed in horses over 7 years of age.

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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