11: Infectious Respiratory Diseases

Action Point: Understand the most common infectious respiratory diseases and how to prevent them from occurring.

Rationale: Respiratory conditions are fairly common and can have a significant impact on individual horse health and performance and, in the case of infectious diseases, can be easily spread. Prevention is the best measure in ensuring respiratory health.

Management decisions play a significant role in maintaining respiratory health and protecting horses against infectious disease. Best practices include, developing a vaccination schedule in consultation with a veterinarian, and implementing biosecurity protocols, i.e. isolate all newly arriving horses, and isolate horses with clinical signs immediately.

Respiratory  system diseases fall into two categories. (1) Infectious upper respiratory tract disease (IURD) primarily affect young horses and often occur in the form of an outbreak. The most common IURD conditions to be aware of are equine influenza virus, equine herpes virus, equine rhinovirus, sinusitis, and strangles. (2) Infectious lower respiratory tract disease (ILRD) affect any age of horse. Includes pleuropneumonia, lungworm, and parascaris equorum.

Respiratory Diseases in Horses: What You Can Do to Prevent Them

Slater, J. D. & E.J. Knowles. (2012). Ch. 14: “Medical nursing.” In K.M. Coumbe (Ed.), Equine Veterinary Nursing. p.246-285 John Wiley & Sons Incorporated 

Future post: non-infectious respiratory system diseases

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