Smoky air makes breathing difficult and can exacerbate equine asthma. Learn how to support your horse’s respiratory health via nutrition and reduce airway irritants during fire season.
Posted by Clair Thunes, PhD | Aug 24, 2020
Q. I live in an area plagued by wildfires. Thankfully, we haven’t been directly impacted, but we have experienced very low air quality. I always worry about my horses’ health, because they’re in stalls breathing unfiltered air. Is there anything nutritionally I can do that might help protect them?
A. Having lived in Northern California for many years during large wildfires, I understand your concerns firsthand. A horse’s respiratory system is the main limiter of performance.
While it’s possible to improve cardiac function and muscle mass, as well as the strength and skill to perform certain expectations, the respiratory system cannot be greatly improved through exercise. The ability to transfer oxygen across lung membranes into the bloodstream sets the upper limit on how much oxygen is available to reach muscle tissues. Muscles need oxygen to metabolize fuel stores of fats and carbohydrates using aerobic metabolism...