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If your horse shows symptoms of coughing, throwing (secretions coming out of the nose) and difficulty in breathing out, especially during exercise, it may have emphysema. In concrete terms, this chronic disease, also known as “obstructive deep airway disease”, affects horses that are generally older than 7 or 8 years of age, and manifests itself in particular through breathing difficulties. The cause of these difficulties is clearly identified, it is a hypersensitivity to the dust and mould contained in the hay. If your vet concludes that it is indeed emphysema, he will prescribe a treatment to relieve your horse, which will have to be accompanied by drastic changes in his lifestyle.
Emphysema is the result of chronic inflammation of the lungs, which causes an overproduction of mucus in the horse’s airways. This mucus is not evacuated in sufficient quantities, making it difficult for your horse to exhale.
In addition to the symptoms already mentioned, emphysema can manifest itself in different ways. Emphysema can lead to an increase in respiratory rate, shortness of breath during exercise, marked contraction of the abdominal muscles when exhaling, dilation of the nostrils, or weight loss (the horse will burn more energy to exhale air from its lungs).
To relieve this disease in, your veterinarian may prescribe several treatments:
In addition to medical treatment, it is important to adapt your animal’s lifestyle in order to limit its exposure to dust, which is the main cause of this disease in horses.
In particular, make sure you :
Emphysema is a chronic disease of the horse which requires a life-long, sometimes expensive, treatment as well as a change in your horse’s lifestyle. It is also listed as a redhibitory defect and can therefore justify the cancellation of a sale.