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Respiratory problems in horses

Acupressure may provide some welcome relief.
“You can take the horse out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the horse.” Domesticating and stabling horses has radically changed their natural environment and can lead to some serious health issues. Respiratory difficulties are reported to be the leading health problem in domesticated horses.
Signs of trouble 
Indicators of respiratory problems range from being very subtle to extremely severe. At the first hint of any pulmonary issue, start by immediately consulting your  veterinarian for recommendations.
Coughing indicates a respiratory irritation that may be caused by an environmental allergen such as dust, a mild cold, or a viral contagion that is inflaming the lungs. Other indicators of pulmonary illness can include: 
• yellow or thick nasal discharge (a clear fluid nasal discharge is most likely normal) 
• shortness of breath 
• low energy level 
• labored breathing 
• wheezing, raspy or congested breathing 
• heaving chest 
• flared nostrils 
• swollen lymph nodes under the jaw 
• elevated body temperature.
Respiratory health and overall wellness
Horse guardians need to be constantly conscious of how well their horses are breathing, since any airway issue affects the animal’s health. When the lungs are undermined at all, the horse’s immune system can become generally compromised.
An active, athletic horse needs a lot of oxygen. For example, a horse in training or competition requires the following air capacity to support top performance:
While at rest: 5 liters of air per breath; 12 breaths per minute; 60 liters of air per minute
While at work: 12 – 15 liters of air per breath; 150 breaths per minute; 1,800 liters of air per minute
Acu pressure points in a horseHow equine anatomy helps 
There are many ways you can help prevent respiratory problems. Luckily, the horse’s anatomy provides the first line of defense.
• His nostrils, along with long nasal passages and trachea, serve to protect the bronchioles and alveolar sacs of the lungs.
• The secretion of mucus and other beneficial substances along the air passages provides a liquid barrier that protects the tissues.
• The lining of the airways has a multitude of microscopic projections that sweep dust particulates and other irritants into the back of the throat so they are not inhaled.
Immunity and TCM 
Maintaining a strong immune system combined with table/barn cleanliness and other methods of equine care are the next best defenses against pulmonary diseases. Many horse guardians are turning to TCM, a powerful resource for supporting the horse’s immune system. Acupressure, which is based on TCM, offers guardians a specific method of helping their horses breathe and avoid airway disease.
Specific acupressure points, also called acupoints, are known to support the lungs and immune system. These points are invisible pools of Chi located along energetic pathways known as “meridians.” When we apply finger pressure to an acupoint, we are stimulating the movement of Chi and blood along the meridians. This enhances and balances the flow of life-promoting energy and nourishment throughout the horse’s body.
We may have taken our horses out of the country, but health support tools such as acupressure, holistic veterinary care, good stable/barn hygiene and other equine management techniques will help maintain his immunity and wellness. If a horse receives the benefits of an acupressure session every fifth or sixth day, spends most of his time turned out or working in a natural environment, and is allowed to graze on grasses or dust-free grass hay, then he will fulfill the promise of a strong and active life!