EQUUS - - Tack& Gear -

Bed­dings of all types have the po­ten­tial to be dusty. And dust can trig­ger chronic breath­ing prob­lems, such as equine asthma (also called heaves). So, what is the best bed­ding for a horse with a re­s­pi­ra­tory con­di­tion? None at all, be­cause those horses are best kept out of stalls en­tirely.

The num­ber one rec­om­men­da­tion from vet­eri­nar­i­ans is to keep horses prone to heaves out­doors con­tin­u­ally, in the fresh air and well away from all dusts and par­tic­u­lates as­so­ci­ated with an in­door barn en­vi­ron­ment. And the rec­om­men­da­tion works— nu­mer­ous stud­ies have con­firmed that liv­ing on a pas­ture is far bet­ter for heavey horses than in­door liv­ing with any type of bed­ding, for­age or in­tense man­age­ment. (The no­table ex­cep­tion is horses with pas­ture heaves, who are trig­gered by molds, but these are a mi­nor­ity of cases in very spe­cific, hu­mid south­ern lo­cales.)

Of course, if a horse with breath­ing trou­bles must be kept in­doors for any pe­riod of time—say, to re­cover from a se­ri­ous in­jury—you’ll want a bed­ding that is as dust­free as pos­si­ble. If you can see any lin­ger­ing dust in a sun­beam af­ter you bed the stall, the ma­te­rial is too dusty for a horse with re­s­pi­ra­tory trou­bles. You might have to pur­chase very ex­pen­sive, high-qual­ity shav­ings or straw for just that spe­cific horse or im­port a bed­ding that is other­wise hard to find in your area. Your ve­teri­nar­ian can help you locate a suit­able bed­ding. The ef­fort and ex­pense will be worth it to pro­tect your horse’s re­s­pi­ra­tory health while the rest of him heals.

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