My Horse is Coughing – Why?

How Oxidative Stress May Be the Hidden Culprit Behind Your Horse’s Respiratory Concerns

My horse is coughing, why?

Unlike other common health conditions that affect our horses, coughing is often difficult to identify the cause of. The truth is, there are a number of infectious and non-infectious respiratory diseases that may be to blame. However, what you may not have realized, is they each share one thing in common: oxidative stress.

Firstly, we must understand that health is not only the absence of illness. It’s the balance of internal and external forces upon the body. Without this balance, your horse cannot enjoy a true state of health.

Coughing is a common sign of an imbalance in your horse’s respiratory system. Rather than merely suppress it as a symptom, we want to look to the source and cause.

Indeed, the equine respiratory system is a complex and impressive structure. Anatomically, it’s divided into two distinct parts: the upper respiratory tract and the lower respiratory tract.

  • The upper respiratory tract includes the nostrils, nasal passages, pharynx, and trachea.
  • The lower respiratory tract includes the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli in the lungs.
In a state of balance, your horse’s respiratory tract circulates air for the purpose of gaseous exchange, which supports life and allows the entire body to function. However, when overwhelmed by oxidative stress, allergies, illness or disease may arise, impairing your horse’s respiratory health and limiting their quality of life.

Horse Coughing and Oxidative Stress

To better understand the impact of oxidative stress on the equine respiratory system, Polish researchers A. Niedzwiedz and Z. Jaworski examined the oxidant-antioxidant status in the blood of horses with symptomatic recurrent airway obstruction (RAO).

Human studies have already shown that oxidative stress occurs in many human respiratory conditions, including obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. The researchers sought to determine if oxidative stress plays a similar role in horses.

A total of 14 horses, seven of which are RAO-affected, were exposed to moldy hay and straw for 48 hours. The results of blood collected from the horses supported their hypothesis, that RAO in horses is associated with systemic oxidative stress.

The results further confirmed the view of equine health practitioners that chronic equine respiratory diseases, such as RAO, are caused by environmental, immunologic, and genetic factors which result in disturbances in the oxidant-antioxidant balance.

The Next Step In Selecting Your Horse Coughing Solution

Within the cells of your horse’s body, there is a constant interaction between two powerful molecules: free radicals and antioxidants. Oxidation describes the chemical reactions caused by oxygen-containing free radicals, which can be stabilized by the equal presence of antioxidants.

Restoring the balance of oxidants and antioxidants is the key to overcoming respiratory conditions. This is possible with Nrf2 activation, a range of formulated products that can reduce oxidative stress by 40% within 30 days.

If you're ready to transform your horse's health by making small but effective shifts in your care routine - click here and get connected with one of our amazing Core Wellness Coaches today!

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