It's not just the owners coughing and sneezing and feeling rotten at this time of year! As we prepare to stable our horses more over this winter it is more common to hear that dreaded horse cough from our equine friends as they spend more time indoors.
The causes of winter coughs tend to be either environmental or an infection. Environmental causes include dust, mould or spores from hay or bedding, which get into the lungs and cause inflammation in the airways. Some respiratory diseases in horses are commonly vaccinated against eg, Equine Influenza, keeping vaccinations up to date is important in reducing spread of disease and severity of symptoms. Management changes to reduce dust in your horse’s environment is beneficial in all cases but especially important in horses with allergic airway disease.
Although herbs should never be used as an alternative to any veterinary medication a horse might need, they can certainly help in the treatment of many conditions and especially during the recovery process. Pro-Equine offers two supplements to help reduce the frequency and intensity of coughing. Airway and Pro-Breathe. Both FEI approved, herbal extracts soothe the airways and relax bronchial spasms. Selected herbs also fight viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. Some of our selected ingredients and their uses are listed below.
Couch grass: is valued for its mucilage rich rhizome helping to clear congestion. One of the chemical constituents, agropyrone, has been shown to have strong antibiotic properties.
Echinacea: Is the best known herb to support the horses body's defences. Echinacea works by stimulating the immune system to produce an increased number of virus-attacking white blood cells.
Garlic: can be used to protect from the symptoms of coughs - it contains a substance that helps to clear mucus in the airways. A natural antibiotic helps to both protect and fight infections.
Red Clover: is an expectorant helping to clear the lungs of mucous with the added bonus of antimicrobial properties.
Liquorice: Its anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties can soothe irritated lung tissues and help to expel mucus.