This Week in Horse Health News Presented by MediVet Equine

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

This week in horse health news, we’re focusing our attention on the devastating and heartbreaking brushfires that are ongoing in Australia. It’s been estimated that over one billion animals, primarily wildlife and livestock, have already lost their lives as a result of these fires. Health concerns from fire are pretty obvious, but the massive amount of smoke produced from these fires poses a health concern as well. Here are a few articles about both and how we can help treat and protect our equine charges.

An article on the treatment of horses burned in a major grass fire has been made available for free. Many peer-reviewed journal articles are only available with paid access to the journal, but in the midst of the devastation of the current brushfires in Australia Equine Veterinary Education is giving open access to the article “Findings and strategies for treating horses injured in open range fires” by Elizabeth Woolsey Herbert so that it can be easily referenced by veterinarians who may be dealing with similar injuries currently. The article was originally published in September 2017 and describes the treatment of horses with significant burn injuries from the Pinery brushfires in South Australia in November 2015. [Equine Veterinary Education]

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and vice versa. Though fire is the more imminent threat, smoke inhalation can be detrimental to health too.  While the fire itself poses an immediate threat to the lives of any being in its path, the smoke produced in these brushfires contains particles that can irritate and damage the lungs after it is breathed in. Horses, even with their huge lung capacity, are of course not immune to the respiratory distress caused by smoke. One previous study found that horses who continued to exercise in an area affected by wildfires exhibited coughing both at rest and during exercise and showed signs of inflammation in their respiratory tract similar to that of asthma. In order to avoid respiratory damage from its advisable to keep animals inside when possible and keep outdoor exercise to a minimum. [How wildfire smoke affects pets and other animals]

Smoke is just one cause of air pollution and air pollution in general may be linked to Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) in horses. Researchers from the Ontario Veterinary College are beginning to investigate the link between air pollution and EPIH in racehorses running at Woodbine and Woodbine Mohawk Park. Over the next two years, they will scope thousands of horses and draw samples from track veterinarians while monitoring the air quality data from weather stations close to the track. EIPH can shorten the career of racehorses and sporthorses or, at worst, lead to death from a hemorrhage. [Air pollution’s link to pulmonary hemorrhage in horses under scrutiny]

As horse owners and competitors, we want to give our equine athletes every opportunity to feel and perform their best. Keeping up to date with the latest news in horse health and medicine is an important part of that, and it’s why Medivet Equine is bringing you the latest in horse health news each week.

Following the medical model of “do no harm”, MediVet Equine develops scientifically based therapeutics enabling the horse to call on its own healing ability, thus achieving its full performance potential. MediVet Equine provides effective, all natural, drug free products and lab services designed to optimize the overall health of performance horses. They specialize in regenerative treatments that help the body heal itself to get stronger naturally. Boyd Martin has several of his top competitive mounts on MediVet ACS, and has had terrific results!

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