Equinews.com - Full Article
By Kentucky Equine Research · October 21, 2008
Even the cleanest, best-quality hay is likely to contain a moderate amount of fine material. When a horse plunges its head into a pile of hay or pulls mouthfuls out of a hay net, it inhales countless small particles of dust, mold spores, and fibrous plant material. Collectively known as the respirable dust concentration, or RDC, these fine particles can cause severe airway irritation in sensitive horses. Heaves, broken wind, and recurrent airway obstruction are terms for the condition that can manifest as mild coughing or severe bronchial spasms that preclude any sort of training or exercise. Management steps—wetting or soaking hay, selecting alternative bedding materials, and removing horses from stalls during periods of peak activity—have been used to minimize RDC impact. The goals of this study were to establish the result of soaking hay on RDC in the horse’s breathing zone; to find out the usefulness of short immersion as opposed to longer soaking periods; and to investigate how management of one stall influences the RDC in a neighboring stall...
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