Upper respiratory diseases in horses
IN Chinese medicine the cough and colds come from a situation where the animal is unable to seek shelter as sometimes occurs in paddock kept animals. Often they have only a small area to exercise and graze (which is an unnatural situation because horses graze and move from place to place frequently (if they can).
Being restricted in a paddock may lead to "invasion of cold and wind", especially at change of season (between summer and autumn and less so between winter and spring.
The end result is a cold, (shown in the picture), with discharge from the nose being the most common symptom which is often due to a virus around that is opportunistic when the immune system of the horse is challenged. This weakens the immunity of the animal,especially weanlings and yearlings and can be followed by a bacterial infection.
( It may also be due to a low calcium diet or high oxylate diet in younger horses as happened in Matamata this last autumn, possible due to the continued growth of kikuyu grass pastures (high oxylate) when the absence of early frosts kept the grass growing rapidly.)
If this situation is not treated promptly with Cough and Cold Formula which eliminates the "wind-cold" and builds the immunity with herbs which stimulate the adrenal-thyroid axis which is the basic support mechanism for the immune system making recovery strong and quick. For instance in the "old days" because this condition is difficult to treat with conventional drugs (Potassium iodide or trimethoprim,) the animal may be "turned out" in the back paddock where it may recover if its innate strength is strong enough. If the animal doesn't recover at this stage, the disease (perverse energy in chinese medicine ) goes deeper; first as a sore throat and later as bronchitis or pneumonia after which if the animal recoverds it is likely to have a long standing cough especially if it is worked. It is far harder to treat when the disease has gone deep and other herbs may be required that work on the bronchii and lung.
Early treatment is therefore recommended, involved using Cough and Cold Formula for three to five days because the herbs used are heating and drying, they also contain high calcium levels. Diet is important in young growing horses.( If you have questions please log in to our Animal Care community section on the main webpage. Please be specific about a particular horse and remember , we have not seen the animal so we rely on your information to make suggestions of actions you can take