Solving the problem of asthma in thoroughbreds

Asthma in thoroughbred race horses becoming more common

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A 2018 study by Purdue University found a high rate of thoroughbreds suffer from performance-hampering symptoms of asthma.

Eighty-percent of thoroughbreds tested for the study exhibited mild to moderate symptoms.

Researchers said the condition is largely caused by breathing in dust from hay in stalls and stables.

Reducing dust could reduce the risk of asthma.

“Essentially what we found is it doesn’t take a lot of it to make them essentially have a slight irritation or mild asthma,” Laurent Couetil, Purdue University Equine Sports Medicine Center Director, said.

Equine asthma symptoms are very similar to asthma in humans. The ability to run is impaired.

“It’s just like it is in people,” veterinarian Kevin Dunlavy, of Kentucky Equine Medical Associates, said. “It impairs their ability to breathe, it results in inflammation.”

Veterinarians say respiratory illness is the second most common medical problem among thoroughbreds, and veterinary advancements are producing more diagnoses.

While not diagnosed with asthma, Omaha Beach and Derby winner Country House are both staying out of the Preakness due to different types of breathing problems.

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