Horses and Fire Season Smoke!

An unfortunate reality this summer is forest fire smoke. Ugh! Here in Central Oregon we have had more than our fair share of smoke over the last few days. I woke up last night with a dry throat and scratchy eyes and I bet our livestock are feeling it too. Here are a few tips and articles that might provide some helpful hints and peace of mind while we deal with the realities of a smoky fire season!

A few simple things to keep in mind

1. Things to look for -  especially in older horses

If a horse has been exposed to smoke and they begin to exhibit symptoms such as coughing, lethargy, elevated heart rate, nasal discharge, and fast, shallow breathing it's time to call the vet. 

2. How much work should your horse be doing in this smoky air?

Limit exercise when smoke is visible. Don't have your horse do activities that increase the airflow in and out of the lungs. This can trigger bronchoconstriction (narrowing of the small airways in the lungs). (From UC Davis)

3. Horses are tough -  so does this smoke really matter?

The effects of smoke on horses are similar to effects on humans: irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, aggravation of conditions like heaves (recurrent airway obstruction), and reduced lung function. (From UC Davis) 

Here are some great articles with more useful information

The Horse - Wildfires Dealing with Smoke Inhalation

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine -  Wildfire Smoke and Horses

Madalyn Ward, DVM -  Horse recovery following smoke inhalation

Colorado State University -  Wildfire Preparedness for Horse Owners

Men's Health -  Interesting article on humans working out in polluted air and various studies.

Finally, thank you to all the men and women out their fighting fires!

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