Wildfires Effect on Horses

Air pollution caused by wildfires is a concern among horse owners. Inhalation of smoke for both horses and humans can be the source of serious health problems.

Smoke contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, hydrocarbons and other unhealthy dangerous organic substances. Solid particles and liquid drops are also found in smoke which irritates eyes and respiratory organs leading to breathing problems.

You can protect your horse’s health several ways.

Always check weather and air quality advisories. The same discomfort you feel is suffered by your horse.

If you can get your horse away from the area of pollution and fire and smoke, do so as quickly as possible.

If you can’t leave the area, try to give your horse as much protection as possible.

When air quality advisories are cautionary, limit your horse’s activity and forgo exercise.

Provide lots of clean, fresh water to help keep air passageways clear and moist.

Check your horse regularly for any signs of respiratory distress. If your horse is having difficulty breathing, it can lead to infections including bronchitis and pneumonia. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

If your horse has been exposed to smoke, healing can take 4-6 weeks. During this time, keep exercise to a minimum.

If your horse shows signs related to smoke inhalation that linger or recur such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, contact your vet ASAP.

The vet will have some questions for you such as how long was the exposure to smoke, how long have symptoms been present and health history. The horse will be examined to determine if infection is present. Medications will be prescribed to reduce inflammation, clear up any infection or other problems in the horse’s respiratory tract.

Quick action on your part can save your horse from having chronic problems.

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