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A disease of the lower airways causing cough and exercise intolerance in horses

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  • Horses live, eat, and work in a dust - laden environment.
  • Some horses work in urban areas, which are polluted.
  • Dust and air pollutants contribute to SAID.
  • Dust is composed of molds, bacteria and their toxins, minerals, insect parts, and various chemicals – all stuff things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
  • Air pollutants are mostly gases, like ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, but particulate matter, such as heavy metals, carbon, and smoke, contribute to pollution exposure in urban horses.
  • Air within the stable can be polluted with ammonia, bacterial byproducts (e.g. endotoxin), molds and other chemicals which irritate the airways.

How Allergens Cause SAID

  • The horse’s lung is huge – it samples thousands of gallons of air in just a few minutes of intense exercise.
  • Dust particles enter airways and are trapped on their inner surface.
  • Dust, gases, and chemicals severely irritate the sensitive airway lining.
  • The airways, which are active living issue, mount a rapid and aggressive defense called inflammation.
  • The extent of this reaction appears to depend on the susceptibility of the horse.
  • Some horses mount a stronger, more prolonged defense reaction, which can cause more harm than good.
  • It has been speculated that viral infections can precipitate SAID.
  • Airway inflammation results. Mucus and cellular debris accumulate within the airways; the airway walls thicken, constrict or collapse.


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