Fear The Fungi
Written by CRM
Monday, 28 January 2019 18:04

Just-released 3-year study cites steamed hay as critical to preventing IAD, a stealth equine ailment that affects over 80% of horses.

Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD) affects huge numbers of horses and often goes undetected while impacting their performance. A three-year research project published by The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine expands extensive past research confirming IAD’s prevalence. Older studies identify over 80% of the general horse population as having it. Conducted by a group of equine sports medicine veterinarians in Belgium, this new research studied over 700 active sport horses referred for performance issues or possible respiratory problems:  88% were diagnosed with IAD.

The study also cited Haygain steamed hay as critical to preventing IAD: horses fed steamed hay were 65% less likely to develop the condition than those fed dry hay. Led by Dr. Julie Dauvillier, the study is the first to connect fungi in the horse’s respiratory system with high incidence of IAD. Along with many inhalable irritants, fungi are present in even top quality hay. High temperature hay steaming kills fungi, hence its effectiveness in preventing IAD.

“This paper highlights a major piece of the puzzle of equine airway diseases: the role of fungi,” explains Dr. Van Erck-Westergren, co-author of the study. “In human medicine, fungi are known to cause many respiratory inflammatory conditions such as allergies, infection, asthma, etc. In equine veterinary medicine, we can find publications that relate the role of fungi in pretty nasty, potentially life-threatening diseases such as fungal pneumonia or guttural pouch mycosis but barely anything else. Our paper shows for the first time that ubiquitous molds, including fungi, cause chronic lower airway inflammation which is deleterious for the health and performance of our horses.”

Along with dry hay, straw bedding had a high correlation to IAD incidence. Dry hay and straw bedding “cannot be recommended in performance horses,” Dr. Van Erck-Westergren states.

The complete study, Fungi in Respiratory Samples of Horses with Inflammatory Airway Disease, is available online at the link below.

Haygain

To learn more about hay steaming, visit Haygain USA’s booth during select weeks of the HITS circuits in California and New York. The innovative, research-driven horse health company’s sponsorship of these meccas of equestrian excellence reflects a commitment to helping horse owners achieve and maintain optimal equine health and well-being.

Flagship product, the Haygain Hay Steamer, was developed 10 years ago in conjunction with the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, England. Horsemen throughout Europe were quick to embrace the benefits, while Olympic show jumpers Beezie Madden and Lauren Hough were among the first Americans to incorporate it into their horses’ everyday routines, at-home, at tournaments and while travelling the world.

As the prevalence of conditions on the Equine Asthma Spectrum, especially Inflammatory Airway Disease, has become better understood, proactive horse owners are following their lead.
Haygain’s one-hour steaming cycle virtually rids hay of respirable dust, fungi and other molds, bacteria and other inhalable irritants that jeopardize the horse’s vulnerable respiratory system. It’s a system that can’t be strengthened or improved through training or conditioning. So, protection is the priority, which explains the spiraling popularity of hay steaming throughout the States.

Haygain added ComfortStall Sealed Orthopedic Flooring to its roster two years ago. For respiratory health, it’s an ideal addition to hay steaming because it drastically reduces the need for stall bedding. Shavings and straw are hay’s partners in crime when it comes to producing dangerous air quality in the barn – for horses and their people. Because it’s seamless and sealed to the wall, ComfortStall also eliminates another big respiratory health risk: ammonia accumulation that occurs when urine seeps and festers under stall mats.

ComfortStall’s benefits go beyond respiratory. Its firm, yet cushioned surface accelerates recovery, from surgery, regular work-outs and everything in between. Plus, the proprioceptive benefits of standing on ComfortStall are a form of 24/7 physical therapy that builds and maintains muscles and supports joint health and longevity.

The Flexineb E2 System delivers aerolized drugs and natural therapies to the horse’s airways. It is silent and its flexible mask fits comfortably and seals well to maximize inhalation.

Stop In For A Steam

The heavenly scent wafting from Haygain Hay Steamers greeted exhibitors at the company’s booth during Week I of the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit in Thermal, California, and will return for Week VIII, March 12-17. ComfortStall will provide its unique cushion and energy-rebound for visitors, who can also check out the Flexineb E2 Nebulizer.          

In New York, Haygain will be on site during weeks V, July 24-28, and VIII, Sept. 3-8, of the HITS Saugerties Series, aka “HITS On The Hudson.”

Sales representatives Kaitlyn Zaleski, in California, and Ryan Murphy, in New York, will be on hand to demo the equipment and provide complimentary steamed hay to those who want their horses to experience its scientifically proven respiratory, digestive and appetite-inducing benefits. Free steamer trials are also available by arrangement with Kaitlyn (862-703-1150) or Ryan (336-362-7507).

“We’re excited to partner with HITS,” says Haygain CEO Edzo Wisman. “Their show circuits attract the top horsemen and health-conscious horse owners in every division. Whether it’s a trainer at the pony ring or an international contender in the HITS Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix or the HITS Coachella AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, we share common ground in prioritizing the best possible care of our horses.”

For more information on Haygain US, visit www.haygain.us. To read the complete study: “Fungi in Respiratory Samples of Horses with Inflammatory Airway Disease,” click Study Link or visit https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jvim.15397