Take a deep breath - Lower airway disease in Sports Horses
Competition horses are under perfect conditions to develop allergic lower airway disease: they travel frequently and long distances to shows, where they perform the intense exercise and are exposed to hot or cold conditions, as well as the varying quality of hay and straw. Management strategies for equine asthma are relatively simple on paper: adapt the environment and treatment with corticosteroids and bronchodilators. However, for these equine athletes travelling across the world and competing at a high level, treatment and management must be adapted to the demands of their sport. Any medication should be administered in consideration of the withdrawal times. The sports medicine practitioner will need to help the team surrounding the equine athlete, decide when and how to treat the lower airways, how to adapt the show schedule if needed and how to help the horse reach its best possible performance.
- Take a deep breath: although the management of these horses and their show schedule can be quite complex, very simple strategies will help improve these horse's airways:
- - Environmental management is key (if you take away only one thing from this talk let it be this!)
- - Complete evaluation and exercise tests help decide wether the show schedule needs to be adapted.
- - Use doping positive medication respecting the withdrawal times.
- - Use non-doping treatments and strategies when an important competition is coming up.