Five Types of Horse Coughs You Should Recognize

Posted by Rhonda Grice on

Five Types of Horse Coughs You Should Recognize

 

It’s a fact that all horses cough at some time or another.  It could be something as simple as dust in the nose,  but it’s important to recognize five of the types of horse coughs so you will understand if your horse is in distress or merely coughing up a bit of mucus.

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When a horse coughs it can alert you to disease or infection so pay attention and gather the necessary information. 

The particular sound or actions of a horse cough doesn’t always let you know how significant the problem may be.  It could be a simple fix or a more serious respiratory tract problem.  Some of these problems are even chronic problems that can lead to long-term health issues.

What are The Most Common Types of Horse Cough?

An Occasional Cough

An occasional horse cough can be wet or dry.  It’s usually residual effects from an illness in the past three months.  Many times, just like in humans, the cough lasts longer than the actual illness.

Wet Cough That Keeps Repeating

If your horse coughs a lot and keeps coughing, yet it subsides once they are back in their stall or pasture, you have a wet repeating cough.  This is usually RAO (recurrent airway obstruction), also known as heaves.  It is an allergic reaction to airborne antigens.

Warm Up Cough

Sometimes mucus collects behind the horse’s larynx yet the horse is otherwise healthy.  A few coughs are usually all it takes to get it up and the horse won’t cough again.

Arena Cough

This horse cough is almost the same as a warm-up cough.  Four or five coughs are usually all there will be and this is most common in the winter.

A cough with Outstretched neck or Strange Body Position

When you see your horse coughing with an outstretched neck or they are standing in a strange position this means the horse is distressed and has a foreign object lodged in its airways.  Most horses can cough this up but if not be sure and call the vet immediately.

Horses sometimes get a twig or some other object lodged in their throat which causes this type of coughing.

What Illnesses Can Cause Horse Coughs

There are many illnesses that cause this problem and below are the main seven.

  1. Inflammatory airway disease
  2. Influenza
  3. Pleuropneumonia bacterial infection
  4. RAO (Heaves)
  5. Rhino pneumonitis (caused by herpes viruses)
  6. Strangles (distemper)

The causes listed above, of course, need to be attended by a good veterinarian.  As you can see from the list, horses get some of the same illnesses that people do. 

Horse coughs that are illnesses need plenty of rest and care after the illness to give them time to recover completely.  Besides rest and care, it’s important to keep them in a clean environment as much as possible.  The less dust flying up, the easier it is for a horse to breathe and keep the coughing down.

Horses get sore from coughing just like humans so it’s important to give them as much of an advantage as possible.

Good herbal health can help with everyday care for your horse and often times that alone can ward off more serious problems.  Horse coughs are a sign so keep that in mind the next time your horse coughs.

 

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