Owners Reluctant to Change Asthmatic Horses’ Environments

Researchers found that owners of horses with severe asthma struggle to implement recommendations for a dust-free equine environment.
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Owners Reluctant to Change Asthmatic Horses’ Environments
More than half the owners of SEA-affected horses in a recent selective study showed poor compliance with veterinary recommendations for managing the horse’s environment, said veterinarian Joana Simões. | Photo: Thinkstock

Veterinarians don’t treat equine asthma with medications alone. They also recommend lifestyle changes for the horse—from soaked hay and low-dust bedding to ventilated barns and lengthy turnout. Unless treatment plans include these environmental changes, horses will continue to experience the coughing, nasal discharge, and poor performance related to severe equine asthma (SEA). And that’s exactly what’s happening as large percentages of owners neglect to implement those changes, according to British researchers.

More than half the owners of SEA-affected horses in a recent selective study showed poor compliance with veterinary recommendations for managing the horse’s environment, said veterinarian Joana Simões, who is a doctoral student in the faculty of veterinary medicine at the University of Lisbon in Portugal.

Only 15% showed good compliance, and less than 8% followed all recommendations for environmental changes to improve their horses’ health, Simões said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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