Coughing Disorders
Vet, Horse First Aid

From: Equestrian and Horse | Horse Ailments

See also: Tack | Clipping | Rugs | Worming | Care

Horse Picture

Coughing Disorders

A cough is a sudden  spasmodic contraction of the thoracic cavity, it can be a one off cough or on a more repetitive basis.

Causes of a cough

Allow the horse a few days to recover and try to remove or reduce the cause of the cough, for example check that  you are feeding  top quality hay and hard feed and that all the feed bins, utensils and buckets are clean.  Soak your horses  hay for at least 20 minutes as this will cause the dust and mould spores to swell up so that they cause little irritation or alternatively place your horse onto haylage.

Some cough medicines can prove affective but always consult with your vet first. For a more persistent cough  your vet may put your horse onto a bronchodilator help to alleviate the symptoms.

Heaves Or Broken Wind
This is  when the horse has to exhale twice which because the abdominal and chest muscles are having to work  together to exhale,  it  causes a heave line to form. These horses will be noticeably distressed and  as well as breathing rapidly will  show visible  difficulty in both breathing in and out. Heaves can occur in chronic cases of COPD and veterinary  treatment must be sought.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)  
This is also known as  Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO) and is a very serious condition  that is triggered by dust, mould and pollen spores. It affects the bronchioles and alveolar sacs within the horses lungs. When the dust, mould or pollen spores enter they cause an allergic reaction which  causes the horse to produce an increase in the  levels of   fluid and mucus, this in turn   builds up and  causes an obstruction  of the airways making  it much more difficult for the horse to breath. To remove the mucus and fluid build up the horse coughs and  depending on the severity of the COPD this can be a  mild cough or  severe  repetitive coughing.


Try to remove as many causes of COPD as possible for example