The hottest summer on record for any state in the history ofAmericahas resulted in horrific wildfires in the centralTexasregion. Over 1,400 homes and farms have been destroyed, and many people and horses have been exposed for days to severe smoke and ash in the air. Those owners with a holistic horse health program are looking for ways to naturally counteract the ill effects of smoke inhalation.
The respiratory tract has a system for clearing minor amounts of dust, pathogens, and pollen. First, a protective layer of mucus coats the lining of the nose, trachea, and bronchial tubes. Next, tiny leaves of tissue called cilia sweep debris back upwards to be swallowed or blown out the nose. Any irritation quickly increases the production of mucus and the activity of the cilia.
3 Steps to Support Your Horse’s Respiratory Tract
Continuously breathing smoke and ash overwhelms the respiratory tract’s ability to clear the foreign material. In addition, hot smoke can burn away the cells that produce the protective mucus as well as the cilia.
Luckily there are 3 steps you can take to protect your horse from the effects of smoke inhalation.
1. Support Mucus Production
Probiotics help support the body’s ability to produce protective mucus. In cases of smoke inhalation, feed probiotics, such as acidophilus, at therapeutic levels (6 to 10 capsules per day).
2. Support the Respiratory System
Allow your horse to lower his head and cough as necessary. This helps clear debris from the respiratory system. Feed your horse on the ground and never give cough suppressants or antihistamines, which can dry out respiratory membranes. If heavy smoke is hanging in the air, you can filter the air your horse breathes by hanging a wet rag over his nose to trap some of the larger particles.
3. Reduce Inflammation and Heal Damaged Membranes
To rapidly reduce inflammation and heal damaged mucus membranes, feed Vitamin C, preferably in natural forms, such as in Citrus C/Q. This supplement will also help protect delicate respiratory tissues. In more severe cases, a product such as Bleeder’s Blend will soothe the lining of the respiratory system and speed healing. Noni juice, XANGO mangosteen juice, and blue-green algae are also natural antioxidants that can speed the healing of damaged tissues.
Although smoke damage mostly affects the respiratory tract don’t forget to support your horse’s digestion. These horses are stressed, and probiotics will help prevent stress colic.
Soak feed and hay to make sure your horse gets plenty of water in case a sore throat slows down drinking. Give your horse plenty of time off to allow his lungs to heal, up to two to three weeks for full recovery.