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It is often dismissed as normal and not a big deal if the horse has to cough one, two or more times when it first trots in the riding hall or on the riding arena. After all, a lot of horses do that and it won't be too dramatic. However, a regular cough, even if it is only at the beginning of a training session, is not normal. Rather, it should be seen as an indication that the horse is ill and that there is an increased risk of an acute or, in the worst case, an already chronic respiratory disease. Acute bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi, often caused by viruses and bacteria. This form of respiratory disease can be treated, while chronic bronchitis cannot be treated and is usually preceded by an acute illness that was not treated or was treated incorrectly.
Equine asthma is an umbrella term for respiratory diseases in horses. It is divided between Reurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO = Severe Equine Asthma) and Inflammantory Airway Disease (IAD = Mild to Moderate Equine Asthma). Many horse owners are familiar with the terms COPD and COB still known. Mild to moderate equine asthma primarily affects younger horses and is the second most common cause of performance intolerance. According to studies, 80% of all horses are affected. The severe form of equine asthma (RAO) occurs more frequently in horses older than 10 years. Cough is a sure sign of equine asthma, even if it occurs rarely.
In addition to inflammation of the bronchi caused by viruses or bacteria, there are other reasons why a horse coughs. One of the most common causes of cough disorders in horses is husbandry. Excessive dust exposure from bedding or roughage can promote and cause respiratory problems in horses. Poor stall management can also be a cause of coughing. Because too high a concentration of ammonia due to too infrequent or insufficient mucking out of the horse box can be a trigger for a cough. Ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent odor, produced by the decomposition of nitrogenous matter in horse droppings and horse urine. Furthermore, a high quality forage is essential. Hay, straw or haylage must be low in dust and, most importantly, free of mold! Bedding or roughage stored in the stable aisle is also a sign of suboptimal stable management, because the horses breathe in dust with every manure, bedding or feeding, which strains the respiratory system and can impair lung function. Tip: If the storage of straw and hay in your stable is on the stable lane, it is best to ensure that your horse does not stand in the stable lane while manure and feeding the hay. If it is not possible to optimize the husbandry in a stable, a change of stable should be considered for the well-being of the horse. Open stables and active stables are ideal for horses with respiratory problems, as the horses spend a lot of time in the fresh air, the level of dust is low and the horses move more.
If we talk about a NaCl solution, we are usually talking about a physical saline solution with 0,9% salt/sodium chloride. The low salt content of the isotonic saline solution (0,9% NaCl) corresponds to the concentration of the body cells. This means that the upper and lower airways are moistened and at the same time protected from drying out. In addition, foreign bodies such as dust particles, viruses or bacteria are transported out of the respiratory tract. A higher salt concentration is referred to as hypertonic and is useful for stubborn, viscous mucus. Water is withdrawn from the cells so that the mucus on the cells dissolves and can be transported away. A brine is a solution that contains at least 1,4% dissolved salts. The higher concentration of salt means that secretion is removed more effectively, but it can also have an irritating effect due to the removal of moisture. Therefore, brine inhalation should be used as a cure and in a mask nebuliser, such as the SaHoMa®-II, the maximum brine concentration should be 3,5%. In brine chambers or brine trailers, the inhalant is distributed throughout the room and brines of 6% to 8% are also common here.
The human lung has a volume of only 6 to 7 liters and is therefore many times smaller than the lungs of a horse. The lung volume of a horse is about 40 to 55 liters - so it is significantly larger. It quickly becomes clear that a horse inhaler needs to be more powerful than a human inhaler in order for the contents to reach the lower respiratory tract. In addition to the trachea and the lungs, the lower respiratory tract also includes the bronchi and alveoli. With regard to supportive and preventive treatment, the droplet or particle size, performance, fit and material of nebulizers are crucial.
The Droplet size the particle should ideally be smaller than 5 µm on average in order to reach the lower respiratory tract. With the SaHoMa®-II, the particle size was determined using a cascade impactor by the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM in Hanover and is 3,92 µm MMAD. Ideally, horses with respiratory diseases should be inhaled daily. Then it is of course an advantage if the horse inhaler works faster. Depending on the addition of medication or the filter, the Performance be weakened. A higher output and a shorter inhalation time is more comfortable for horses that do not like to stand still. Thanks to the Fitting with a closed mask, none of the inhalant can escape through the sides. Thanks to the sealing ring, the SaHoMa®-II sits perfectly and gently encloses the nostrils. Unfortunately, with an open mask, there is a greater likelihood that aerosols and sometimes medication that is to be nebulized will be lost. After a phase of getting used to the inhalation device and especially to breathing in the mask, it is not a problem for many horses and the inhalation is enjoyed. Especially when dealing with animals is a shatterproof Material essential and enormously important in order to avoid accidents. The SaHoMa®-II mask is made of Makrolon, a transparent, biocompatible, robust and durable material.
Essential oils should never be used in one Meshnebulizers such as the SaHoMa®-II or an ultrasonic nebulizer such as the Air One or Air One Flex from Hippomed. An extreme effect of the essential oils on plastic, plastic and the nebulizer unit render the materials unusable and eat them up and although these are absolutely robust materials. During inhalation, the essential oils penetrate deep into the respiratory tract and have an aggressive effect there, which can lead to irritation of the mucous membranes and even bronchospasm in the horse.
Yes! After each use of the inhaler, the mask and with the SaHoMa®-II the Mesh- Nebulizer unit to be cleaned. After each inhalation process, secretion is deposited and there is an increased risk of renewed infection if the cleaning is insufficient. For cleaning the ultrasonic nebulizer or the Mesh-Nebulizers should only be used with the cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer. In addition, owners with several horses with respiratory problems are advised to have their own mask/hose or a separate SaHoMa®-II for each horse Mesh-Use nebulizer unit. In this way, undesired interactions, cross-contamination or further infections can be prevented.