Horse owners in the United States face a difficult task as wildfires become more frequent in the west. The potential for smoke and ash from major wildfires to travel hundreds of kilometers is possible. It can travel hundreds of miles following wind patterns, causing damage to natural areas as well as the animals and people who live there. Your responsibility as a horse owner is to ensure that your horses are safe from the harmful effects of smoke and ash. It’s challenging to do this when the air is thick and cloudy, and ash settles on your pastures. Experts say there are ways to reduce horse health.
Know the risk
Wildfire smoke exposure poses a health risk depending on the fuel used. However, when inhaled, liquid droplets mixed with solid particles can cause severe damage.
Inhaling smoke may cause minor irritations to the airways. Experiencing long-term or prolonged exposure can result in persistent coughing, nasal discharge, and breathing difficulties. Particulates can also cause a decrease in immune system function and make it harder for horses to remove pollen and bacteria naturally from their lungs.
Horses with a preexisting condition, such as a chronic respiratory disease, will experience worsening symptoms.
Know how can you protect them from Jungle fire.
To protect horses and livestock from wildfire smoke and ash, the Veterinary Medicine Department of the University of California has created guidelines.
You may want to ride your horse, but avoiding working out in smokey conditions is best. Smoke will increase your horse’s respiratory rate, which means breathing in more smoke. These particulates can irritate the horse’s airway, making breathing more difficult. If the smoke is horrible in your area, you might consider taking your horse to an indoor arena.
Give much water to your horse.
Water is vital for horses’ health. Your horses may need extra water during smoke exposure, and large water tanks should be placed near your horse’s dining area. A good way to prevent inhalation of particles is to drink water while eating or immediately afterward.
Horse down your pasture
If you see the ash on the ground or other surfaces, your horse’s pasture is likely affected by wildfire debris. Horses who are forced to graze in ash-covered areas should be concerned. Initial findings by the University of California Davis indicate that horses can eat grass and other forage affected by wildfiresash.
Horses could inhale the ash when they eat. It is recommended that horses are allowed to access the pasture by re-wetting it with a lawn sprinkler, and this makes particulates less breathable.
Use your barn when required.
It’s best to keep horses inside the barn during thick haze. Although smoke might be present in the area, any protection you can offer your horse will make it worth it. Wait for the wind to shift and smoke to dissipate before you turn your horses loose.
Provide Additional Care to Airway Compromised Horses.
Horses with chronic respiratory conditions may need medication to protect them against wildfire smoke and ash. Ask your vet about the benefits of bronchodilator medications and nebulized medication. There are a variety of medications your veterinarian might prescribe, such as steroids, supplements, or antibiotics.
Taking up training again shouldn’t be rushed.
Horses that have been exposed to wildfire smoke need time to heal. Even though it may be tempting to ride your horse on the first day smoke-free, recent exposure could still impact their lungs.
The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine suggests giving horses two weeks of rest once all smoke has left their environment. The air quality indicator provided by most weather stations can be used to determine when the smoke has officially left your region.