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As the weather becomes less hospitable, the susceptibility to respiratory infections rises. Chinese medicine aptly asserts that “damp cold invites disease in”. Consequently, stables often encounter a surge of cold-related ailments from autumn to spring.

To pre-emptively fortify your horse’s immunity against the cold-borne pathogens emitted by afflicted equines, consider administering immune-boosting herbs like OKAPI Immuno herbs.

However, stress also holds a pivotal role in this scenario, as stress can weaken the immune system’s ability to fend off pathogens.

Hence, especially during winter, it is crucial to evaluate potential stressors and explore opportunities for stress reduction.

This could encompass optimising group dynamics by temporarily segregating specific horses, enhancing roughage management through additional feeding stations and implementing slow feeders (such as hay nets or racks). Additionally, supporting stress alleviation via free movement, like allowing horses to roam freely in indoor arenas or outdoor paddocks even in cold weather, can be beneficial. However, even with a robust immune system, when the environment is rife with coughing, one’s horse may succumb – a familiar experience for many.

Hence, it’s wise to keep expectorant cough herbs and a jar of honey within the stable’s medical supplies, ensuring readiness when coughing commences. The cough herbs can be steeped in hot water to make a tea, followed by the addition of honey when the mixture cools. When combined with a “gentle program”, this regimen aids in expelling cold infections early on. In cases where the infection is accompanied by a high fever or if a seemingly benign infection persists for over 2-3 weeks despite interventions, it becomes essential to seek veterinary attention. The vet may recommend inhalation or medication containing expectorants. It’s advisable to limit the use of bronchodilators as much as possible, as long as the horse maintains normal breathing patterns. Coughing serves as a vital reflex for expelling loosened mucus from the respiratory tract. Suppressing this reflex can permit mucus to infiltrate the lower airways, potentially leading to chronic respiratory issues. Therefore, the approach of encouraging mucus dislodgement and coughing through the use of herbs, inhalation, or medication, combined with a relaxed exercise regimen, stands as the most effective strategy for navigating the colder season. This approach benefits not only us but also our equine companions, ensuring their well-being throughout the chilly months.