Bad Bedding? Straw Hard On Equine Lungs

by | 12.27.2018 | 11:21am

Straw bedding and dry hay can be risk factors for inflammatory airway disease (IAD) in performance horses, a new study shows.

Julie Dauvillier, Fe ter Woort and Emmanuelle van Erck‐Westergren, who represent the Equine Sports Medicine Practice in Waterloo, Belgium, studied the role of fungi in IAD. Horses affected with IAD generally have poor performance, a cough and excess mucus in the airways.

The researchers used 731 horses that were used for racing, sport and leisure riding in their study. The trio collected data, observed environmental conditional and collected samples from bronchoalveolar lavages and tracheal washes. Fungal cultures were positive in 55 percent of the horses; horses that had fungal elements in their tracheal wash samples were twice as likely to have IAD.

Horses bedded on straw were 90 percent more likely to have fungi in their tracheal wash than those bedded on other materials; horses bedded in wood shavings had only a 40 percent risk of fungi in their wash.

Hay and straw are naturally contaminated with fungal spores during harvest; storage can increase fungus proliferation. Steaming did help reduce the fungal particles hay, but soaking did not decrease the amount of fungal spores dramatically.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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