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Category: Respiratory problems

Many horses will have an episode of coughing at some point in their life. In most cases this will resolve without any treatment. The most common respiratory problem in horses and ponies is recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), this is caused by exposure to allergens, such as moulds and dust which causes coughing and breathing difficulties. Another common condition is summer pasture associated recurrent airway obstruction (SPARAO), where the allergens that cause lung damage are pollens. It is not uncommon for horses to suffer from both RAO and SPARAO which can be very difficult to manage.

Other serious respiratory diseases are bacterial and viral infections, such as equine influenza and Strangles. These diseases are highly contagious and can spread very quickly between horses, therefore it is essential that they are recognised and treated early. Other infections include bacterial pneumonia, herpes virus, adenovirus and rhinovirus among others.

If your horse has been coughing for more than a couple of days or is unwell in any other way with a cough, runny nose or respiratory difficulties, you should contact your vet for advice.

Whistling and roaring

Many horses of all types and ages have been observed to make an abnormal noise upon exercise. These horses and ponies are often referred to as whistlers or roarers. The noise produced can vary from barely audible to a loud

Respiratory problems in your horse – not a good wheeze!

Horses and ponies can be susceptible to a number of conditions that affect the respiratory tract. The causes of these can be very varied - from infections and allergies to anatomical defects. The seriousness of the conditions also varies: some

Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO)

Recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), previously known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and commonly knows as heaves or broken wind, is a common chronic respiratory disorder seen in horses and ponies. In less severe cases the problem may go undetected,

Choke – oesophageal obstruction

Every owner will at some time have to deal with an emergency involving their horse, so it is essential to know how to deal with such emergencies before they arise. When you think your horse is unwell or in pain