Horses with asthma will need lifelong environmental and dietary management geared to reducing the horse’s exposure to dust and mold as well as improved ventilation.
- Clean the stalls and barn common areas at least once per month while horses are turned out.
Tip: When you’re done cleaning, wait at least an hour before bringing the horses back in. This allows any chemical products to dry and any dust particles to settle before the horses enter their stalls.
- Avoid clutter, which can collect dust without your realizing it.
- Use low-dust bedding options, such as shavings, peat, shredded paper or cardboard. Avoid straw, which can be very dusty.
Tip: Horses don’t actually need bedding. If the stall has rubber matting and there is a comfortable place for your horse to lie down outside, consider avoiding bedding altogether.
- Avoid using a hay net. Hay nets encourage horses to bury their noses in the hay, which increases the likelihood that they will breathe in dust particles.
- If you feed hay, consider soaking or steaming it before giving it to your horse.
Tip: Do not soak hay for longer than 30 minutes as this can promote bacterial growth.
- Consider switching to pelleted feed or, season permitting, turning them out on a grass pasture.
- Air circulation is important. Keep the stable doors and windows open as much as possible.
Tip: Keep a thermometer near the stable. Horses are comfortable at indoor temperatures down to around 10°C, so you can probably keep the windows and doors open for longer than you think.
- Store hay and straw well away from any horses with asthma.
- As much as possible, keep horses with asthma turned out.