Smoke from forest fires in the western states the last few months can be a real health issue for your horse. With a mixture of both liquid and solid particles in the air, this can cause problems in your horses respiratory tract and eyes, even causing problems with their breathing. The smoke is unhealthy and carries soot, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide as well as other substances but there are some things you can do to keep them healthy and safe.
- Limit activity for your horse when there is visible smoke in the air. Apply any air-quality advisories that you are applying to yourself to your horse as well.
- Be sure that your horse is getting enough fresh water. This will help to keep their airways clear and to help clear anything out that may already be there.
- You will want to contact a veterinarian if your horse is having trouble breathing; be sure that your horse has not developed any disease or infection. Your horse can contract pneumonia, bronchitis and constriction of the airways just as you can. Be watchful if smoke is a problem in your area.
- It may take up to six weeks for a horse to heal from any smoke-induced injury. Your horse should not be heavily exercised during this time. This will only aggravate the condition and take longer for healing to take place.
- If there is nasal discharge, a fever, labored breathing or persistent cough a veterinarian should be contacted. There are bronchial dilators and other such treatments that can be prescribed to hydrate the horse's airways and this will reduce inflammation.
If you live in an area where smoke is prevalent, you will want to watch for any problems with your horse. Remember that if smoke is giving you a scratchy throat or itchy eyes, it may be causing this same effect in your horse. There are products your veterinarian can prescribe that will make your horse more comfortable. The veterinarian can also run tests to see if there might be a secondary bacterial infection present. It is important to do these things early and not wait.
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