From trips across the state to flights around the world, today's horses are regular globetrotters. And while most horses arrive at their destinations happy and healthy, some will arrive with some unwelcome baggage: a fever and possibly even clinical disease.

At the 2014 British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Sept. 10-13 in Birmingham, U.K., Imogen Johns, BVSc, Dipl. ACVIM, MRCVS, reviewed the diagnosis, treatment, and management of transportation-associated fevers in horses and shared tips on how to prevent them from occurring.

"Horses are typically transported in enclosed spaces with variable ventilation and can be exposed to high levels of inspired irritants such as ammonia from bedding and dust and molds from hay and bedding," said Johns, a senior lecturer in equine medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, in Hertfordshire, U.K.

Additionally, traveling horses commonly become dehydrated, which further compromises their ability to clear irritants from their airways and can lead to a lower respiratory tract infection, she said.

Johns said two recent studies suggest that 6.6-10.9% of horses that travel will develop a fever within the first 12 to 24 hours after transportation.

"Medication history available for one of these studies suggests that the majority of these horses recovered without antimicrobial treatment, suggesting that the fever was a transient (short-lived) event," she said.

The study results also suggest that owners should seek veterinary attention for fevers that last for more than 24 hours after arrival and/or are accompanied by clinical signs of disease, Johns said. This could