TierWohl – Respiratory diseases

Diseases of the Respiratory Tract

caused by faulty stable management and unsuitable bedding

Atemwegserkrankung bei Pferden

It is an unpleasant experience for anyone who rides or keeps horses to discover that their ‘gallant steed’ is broken-winded. The reason for this broken-windedness or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder , in the unanimous opinion of the veterinary practitioners who treat the condition, is inadequate stable management and/or the resulting increase in the ammonia content in the air and the litter. The aggressive ammonia vapours corrode the mucous membranes of the horse’s respiratory organs.  

As in modern times horses generally spend more time standing indoors than roaming freely outdoors – which actually goes against their nature – diseases of civilisation which originate from the aggressive effects of ammonia on the respiratory tract are occurring in horses with ever greater frequency. These include colds, coughs and an increased susceptibility to allergies.

The growing frequency of such pathological conditions is shockingly reflected in the parallel increase in the consumption of equine medicaments.


The most important rules for good quality air in the stable – here's all you need to do!

  • Make sure you have the right litter mattress in your horse's stable.  

  • Muck out every day! Make sure that wet patches are completely removed, remove or sieve out dung and add a sufficient quantity of clean straw. This way you will reduce the ammonia content in the air. 

  • Make sure you use a dust-free litter! 

  • Make sure you are feeding your horse dust-free roughage as far as possible! Tip: soak the hay (and straw) in a basin before feeding. '

  • Make sure you have a good quality of air in the stable without any draughts, so that your horse doesn’t catch a cold.

  • It is good in all cases to have a window in the stable (though here again you should ensure that there are no draughts). Ideal for equine health are stables with an outdoor paddock adjoining.

hoof disease horse

In parallel to conditions of the respiratory tract which are located in the upper body, the ammonia has an equally negative effect down below, in attacking the horse’s hooves.