What Are the Treatments for Equine Asthma?

Written by leigh wittman
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What Are the Treatments for Equine Asthma?
Dusty environments can exacerbate asthma in horses. (horse image by milemarsovac from Fotolia.com)

Like people, horses can suffer from asthma. Equine asthma is an incurable condition, but it can be managed and its symptoms mitigated with a variety of treatments. It is essential that horses with asthma are under the care of an experienced veterinarian to ensure that it receives the most effective method of treatment.


Magnesium is a mineral that is known to relax muscles. It is effective as an equine asthma treatment because it relaxes the muscles in the constricted airway and reduces the tension of the bronchi. This allows the horse to breathe easier. Because magnesium is a mineral that is naturally found in a horse's body, large amounts of magnesium can be safely administered if smaller doses do not sufficiently manage the asthma attack. To be effective in the treatment of equine asthma, magnesium must be administered via a mist that can be inhaled. This mist can be obtained from a veterinarian who specialises in large animals.


Albuterol can be administered to horses via a mist that can be inhaled. Albuterol is extremely effective in reducing the inflammation of the bronchi, thereby alleviating the symptoms associated with an asthma attack. Though albuterol is one of the treatments of choice for an asthma attack, its effectiveness is short-lived, typically lasting about 30 minutes. If the asthma attack does not completely subside within a 30-minute period, it is not typically advisable to administer more albuterol. Instead, magnesium may be administered. Some veterinarians prefer to administer albuterol and magnesium simultaneously to better alleviate asthma symptoms.

Environmental Changes

Preventing an asthma attack may be the best way to manage equine asthma. Make environmental changes to decrease the likelihood of an asthma attack. Keeping the horse away from a dusty environment is a crucial change. Instead of leaving the horse in a dirt ring, keep the horse in a grassy pasture. Swap out pine bedding for less-dusty pellet or recycled paper bedding, both of which can be purchased at feed stores. Place the horse's hay in a feeding rack, as opposed to simply placing it in a bucket or on the ground. This can reduce the amount of airborne dust around the animal.

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