EIPH refers to exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage. Horses with unusually high blood pressure may develop EIPH after strenuous exercise. Thoroughbred race horses often develop EIPH and draft horses utilized to pull heavy loads may also experience EIPH.
With EIPH, the high blood pressure within the walls of the vessels leading from the heart to the lungs results in blood being released into the airways. Many cases of EIPH occur internally with no external signs of bleeding. However, some horses immediately display signs of bleeding after exertion. Veterinarians may utilize an endoscope to pass a tube through the nose to examine the airways. Radiographic imaging may determine if the upper rear portion of the horse’s lungs have begun to solidify.
Thoroughbred race horses are suspended from racing for a number of days depending upon the number of past EIPH episodes. Some trainers and owners will administer Lasix to horses that have experienced a previous episode of EIPH. The author of Merck Manuals believes that Lasix is beneficial. However, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association believes that there is no proof that administering Lasix to a horse before strenuous exercise will halt bleeding; however, the association states that Lasix is known to lower blood pressure.
Bio Bleeder is a new scientifically formulated medicine specifically created for horses with EIPH. The manufacturers of the medicine claim that the medicine is distributed utilizing natures own delivery system. The manufacturer advertises the medicine as completely safe for competitions. The medicine must be administered by a license veterinarian. It is a non-prohibited diuretic and can be utilized for race horses.
Nasal dilator bands are often utilized to reduce RBC counts in bronchoalveolar fluids. Owners and trainers have tried vitamin K or aminocaproic acid which falls into the category of procoagulant agents to no avail. Vets may also prescribe antihypertensive drugs; however, these have not proved beneficial. Bronchodilators, prolonged rest and anti-inflammatory drugs have not been helpful either.
*Photo courtesy of Out in Front by Paul Kehrer at Flickr's Creative Commons.
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