Archive for the ‘Respiratory Issues’ Category

Should You Cut Back On Hay Bedding?

February 18, 2013

Reduce hay bedding with SuperStall by IGK EquestrianAre you using hay in your stalls? According to an article in The Horse, dust particles, mold spores and fibrous plant materials found in hay can cause severe respiration irritation when inhaled by horses. Together, these irritants can result in shortness of breath, coughing and other symptoms which can impact training and exercise. In addition, a recent university study shows that mature hay for bedding can be dangerous for pregnant mares in the third trimester due to fescue toxicity. Here are four safety tips for horses bedded on hay:

 1. Wet the hay: A study conducted at the University of Edinburgh suggests wetting hay before it is put in stalls can significantly reduce dust concentration. The most effective way of limiting dust is by immersing hay in water and then immediately putting it in the stall. If not done right away, the hay will dry which could allow respirable dust levels to increase.

2. Remove horses while mucking: The study concluded dust levels are higher when there is a lot of activity in the barn. Therefore, remove horses while mucking out stalls or during any other frequent activity.

3. Test mature hay for toxins: It is not uncommon for horses to eat their bedding. Tall fescues may contain high levels of the toxin ergovaline. This could cause problems for pregnant mares and their unborn foal. Ergovaline tests can cost up to $50 per sample, but it is money well spent to protect your mare.

4. Select alternative bedding: Reducing the amount of hay used for bedding can reduce the risks posed by dust irritants and/or fescue toxicity. SuperStall® Foam Mattress by IGK Equestrian features a waterproof industrial top cover which creates a “moisture tray” that allows all liquids and manure to be captured on top and easily removed. This not only results in a cleaner, drier environment but it also reduces the amount of hay and other bedding needed in the stall.

Which bedding would you choose to keep your horses safe?

Advertisements

Promoting Safety and Good Health in the Barn

January 15, 2013

SuperStall is healthy beddingAlthough time consuming, building or renovating a barn can be an exciting project. You’ll want to design a barn that is safe and promotes good health and well-being for both horses and people.

According to a recent article in The Horse, veterinarians suggest avoiding attaching a newly constructed barn to an indoor arena. Although this is a convenient set-up, the dust produced in the arena can be harmful for horses. Dust interferes with breathing and can also lead to Inflammatory Airway Disease or IAD, a condition that causes coughing, nasal discharge and exercise intolerance.

If this isn’t realistic, or you are renovating a barn that is already attached, than limiting the amount of hay and sand in the stall will help reduce dust. These materials not only produce dust, but can also create an uneven surface, which could cause slippage. Wood shavings should also be minimized in the stall due to the risk of ingestion, which can cause serious digestive problems, including colic.

Concrete covered with rubber provides a nonslip surface that is comfortable and gentle on the horses’ joints, and is easy to clean. Frequent cleaning is important to help protect horses from oral-fecal diseases such as Salmonella infection, which can occur when moisture is trapped underneath the mats.

When it comes to building or renovating your barn, consider SuperStall™ Memory Foam Mattress by IGK Equestrian. SuperStall is a one-piece wall-to-wall, foam mattress system that features a waterproof woven top cover. The top cover creates a “moisture tray” that allows all liquids and manure to be captured on top and easily removed with the bedding. This not only reduces the amount of bedding needed to provide comfort, but also reduces the risk of slippage and disease risk.

How do you keep your horse healthy and safe in the barn?

 

Dust Control in your Arena

July 26, 2012

 

Have you noticed your arena is dustier than usual? You’re not alone. Arena dust is more apparent in the summertime, especially with the hot, dry weather we’ve been experiencing lately. Riding just exacerbates the problem because the more you ride, the more your footing breaks down, eventually becoming airborne and creating dust.

Constant inhalation of dust can cause serious respiratory problems for horses and riders. Here are some ways to reduce and sensibly manage dust in your arena for everyone’s safety.

1. Water: The most common method of controlling dust is through watering. The key is to water heavy and seldom, rather than frequent and light for the best results. Watering is cost-effective, readily available and highly effective if done properly. However, in large arenas you could be using up to 3,500 gallons of water a day just to keep dust under control.

2. Salt: Another common dust suppressant is the addition of salts to your footing.  Salt additives work best in high humidity because they draw moisture from the surrounding area, which helps to effectively suppress excess dust. The downside of this tactic is that eventually the salt will wash away making reapplication a constant nuisance.

3. Wood: An additional buffer that helps to control dust in the arena is wood shavings or pieces.  Wood helps to slow the breakdown of sand while also helping your arena retain moisture. After some time, just like salt, the wood pieces will break down, but with regular watering you should be able to minimize dust for an extended period of time.

4. Footing: The best way to combat dust in your arena is to eliminate it altogether.  This can be easily achieved by using a dust-free footing, such as TruStride® or LiteStride®, manufactured by IGK Equestrian.  These arena footings eliminate the need for watering, reduce maintenance requirements and provide adequate support for both horse and rider.  Did I mention both TruStride® and LiteStride® are dust-free and reasonably priced? Now that’s a long-term investment sure to minimize dust and maximize riding potential in your arena.

How do you effectively manage dust in your arena?

Respiratory Issues In The Ring

June 4, 2012

I recently came across this article in The Horse on clinical signs of common respiratory issues in performance horses. Most of us are already vaccinating against influenza, herpes virus and other equine respiratory diseases, but plenty of other conditions can interfere with breathing and cause under performance in the ring. According to the author, Dr. Jean-Yin Tan, up to half of performance horses have been affected by Inflammatory Airway Disease or IAD, a condition that causes coughing, nasal discharge and exercise intolerance. Dr. Tan cites dust as a leading risk factor for IAD.

That’s a real problem in sand arenas, where dust is an ever-present, environmental nuisance. Owners of these facilities go to a great deal of trouble and expense to keep sand from erupting into a dangerous respiratory threat to both horses and riders. The usual remedy is water, and lots of it — up to 3,500 gallons a day — just to keep dust under control.

Of course, the easiest way to rid your arena of dust is to install dust-free footing. Both TruStride® and LiteStride® arena footing by IGK Equestrian eliminate the need for watering while providing a supportive and responsive riding surface. And that makes everyone breathe easier.

What kind respiratory issues have you experienced in your arena?


%d bloggers like this: