Recent years have shown some of the highest numbers of wildfires across the country. While the obvious immediate threat is the fire itself, the secondary threat of hazardous smoke can be serious as well. The wind can create diminished air quality hundreds of miles from the origin of the fire, affecting respiratory health for humans and animals alike. Although these catastrophic events are beyond our control, there are options to help our horses maintain their best respiratory health through the crisis.
The Air Quality Index, or AQI, is a ranking system by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 0-500 with associated color codes. A higher number indicates a greater risk of pollution-related health concerns. Smoke is not the only factor for air quality, so the AQI measures ground-level ozone, particulate matter, heat, and humidity.
- Green (AQI 0-50) – Air quality is good. All outdoor activities are okay.
- Yellow (AQI 51-100) – Moderate air quality. Reduce the intensity of activities for horses currently recovering from respiratory issues.
- Orange (AQI 101-150) – Unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups. Limit activity for horses with a history of respiratory illness.
- Red (AQI 151- 200) – Unhealthy air quality for all. Reduce the intensity of activity for all horses.
- Purple (AQI 201-500) – Hazardous air quality. Limit activity, and skip riding altogether.
Effects of Poor AQI
The AQI was developed for humans, but poor AQI can create similar effects on our horses (along with most other animals). This may be as mild as allergy-like reactions such as watery eyes and irritated respiratory tract. But without taking proper health measures, it can undoubtedly progress into worse conditions such as a cough, nasal discharge, and inflamed respiratory tract. Monitor your horse closely during higher AQI exposures and beware if dietary adjustments must be made.
Supplements That Can Help
Cavalor’s Bronchix Liquid contains a blend of essential oils and plant extracts to help alleviate bronchial problems in horses. Specifically, this supplement provides fast relief for irritation in the upper airways. It helps relieve coughing and congestion, making coughs more efficient and beneficial. Bronchix Liquid can also be used to clear the respiratory tract before intensive effort such as just before a ride. This is a great addition to your horse’s feeding routine during a season of poor AQI to help fight off any irritation that could otherwise occur.
If you live in an area that is frequently exposed to poor AQI, or if your horse has a history of respiratory illness, you may need a more complete supplement.
Cavalor’s Bronchix Pure helps soothe and clear the respiratory tract, while also increasing the body’s natural immune response and resistance to respiratory problems. That combined with relief for both upper and lower airways (both bronchial and pulmonary issues) makes this a more complete supplement for longer-term respiratory support.
Another option is SynAir from SynNutra, which works to support healthier lungs, improve oxygen exchange, and aid healing in damaged lungs. This supplement was specifically designed for horses at risk of EIPH (Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage) and thus is a beneficial option for respiratory health and healing.
Especially if your horse has battled respiratory problems in the past, adding immune support to their diet can be tremendously beneficial to fight off the poor AQI effects. Even if your horse has no prior history of illness, providing immune support can help them maintain good health and proper bodily functioning, even in bad air quality. The best way to cure an illness is to prevent it in the first place, right?
Aleira from Arenus is a non-medicated supplement, designed to maintain optimal respiratory function for horses who have chronic respiratory conditions. It helps treat difficulty breathing, allergies, hives, or dermatitis, all of which may flare up during poor AQI. The addition of Omega-3 fatty acids provides added support for the immune system, so it can work its magic in fighting off these conditions. Aleira contains multiple other ingredients including algal-DHA, antioxidant-rich mushrooms, Vitamin C, and MSM help reduce inflammation and further boost immune response.
Horses exposed to hazardous AQI or within close proximity of fire might need more than just a supplement. Inhaled smoke and particulate matter can leave behind damage that requires more intensive healing efforts.
Flexineb’s E3 Equine Nebulizer helps alleviate respiratory problems in horses via aerosolized medications and natural therapies. Direct inhalation of the medicine into the respiratory system provides immediate and necessary relief from irritation or inflammation. The nebulizer is available in multiple sizes and is silent, cordless, and lightweight to prevent distressing the horse during use. The fast and efficient delivery of medication to your horse’s airways and lungs makes this a superior treatment choice after smoke exposure or an allergy flare-up.
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Learn more about common respiratory ailments, including allergies, and how the Flexineb Equine Nebulizer can help here.