Did you know...
In a recent study 84% of horses were found to have Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD)*?
Another study showed 14% of horses suffer from severe Equine Asthma**?
Allergens, such and mould and fungal spores found in hay lead to respiratory disorders such as IAD and Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO), also known as COPD.
How does it show itself?
In most cases it doesn't, and may go undetected. You may however see the following:
- Occasional coughing
- Reduced performance (e.g. reluctance to respond to aids)
- Mucus from the nose
Why does it matter?
IAD and RAO in general can be detrimental to the horse’s comfort and can hinder performance.
How can Haygain help?
A recent study*** found steaming hay using a Haygain hay steamer reduced the incidence by 63%. The dust in hay is a key cause of respiratory inflammation. Steaming hay with a Haygain hay steamer eliminates respirable dust particles, killing mould, bacteria, fungal spores and mite faeces.
Reducing stable dust and ammonia off-gasing is also important. Haygain's ComfortStall sealed, orthopaedic flooring reduces bedding requirements by up to 75% and, being sealed and hydrophobic, removes ammonia off-gassing caused by urine.
* Pirie R. S. Recurrent airway obstruction: a review. Equine Veterinary Journal. 2014;46(3):276–288. doi: 10.1111/evj.12204.
**Dr. Julie Dauvillier and Dr. Emmanuelle van Erck-Westergren, 2013, 2014
***American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, June 2016, “The Prevalence of Fungi in Respiratory Samples of Horses with Inflammatory Airway Disease” by Dr. J Dauvillier and Dr. E Westergren
Why Not Soaking?
Soaking hay in water wets airborne particles to keep down dust, but there are a number of obvious disadvantages to this method:
- It is a physically arduous, cold, wet and messy task
- It uses 60-100 litres of water
- Soaking leaves live micro-organisms in the hay; these quickly multiply, particularly in warm, damp conditions, thereby compromising the hygienic quality of the forage
- Soaking hay reduces respirable particles but leaches nutrients out of the forage and, as with partial steaming, bacteria levels increase by two to five-fold. This produces poor quality, more contaminated forage which can raise the risk of enteritis and colic. High losses of WSC, protein and minerals occur when hay is soaked for as little as 10 minutes
- These nutrients in the waste water produce a post-soak liquid 9 times more polluting than raw sewage which must not be disposed of in storm drains.