Invariably, horses must spend time inside their horse stall. Appreciating the consequences that result from inadequate stall maintenance, which creates poor air quality, is imperative to the health and longevity of your animals. A poorly maintained stall can lead to serious health issues for your horse.
Stall confinement can lead to respiratory problems, especially when horses remain in the stall for long periods. Inadequately maintained horse stalls are a primary cause of breathing issues in horses. Here is how you can improve the air quality in your horse stalls and avoid these problems.
Cause of Respiratory Problems in a Horse Stall
Bacteria are responsible for respiratory and breathing ailments in horses. A horse stall is a natural breeding ground for the particles that contain them. They are inherently a part of their feed, bedding and foot materials. Poor maintenance practices in a horse stall allow these harmful bacteria to proliferate.
When foot traffic, or any type of air movement disturbs the bacteria, they become airborne as endotoxins. These harmful endotoxins compromise your horse's breathing and leads to serious respiratory issues over time. Here are some preventative measures that will reduce the amount of bacteria, and therefore the prevalence of harmful endotoxins in the air within your stable.
- Air Circulation
Circulating the air inside the stable is one way to help reduce the elements that create respiratory problems in horses. However, you must use caution. Blowing bacteria filled air around inside the horse stall is not a wise solution. All you do is circulate the problem whipping up dust in a whirlpool effect. This actually makes the problem worse. Floor fans, even upright types, will move the air around, but they also send harmful particles into the air that would otherwise not become airborne.
When you set up a ventilation system for your horse stalls, make sure it circulates the air, but does not stir up dust. The best way to reduce the dust factor, but still keep the air moving, is to use ventilation fans that pull air out of the entire stable. The fans should be situated at least midway from the floor to the peak of the roof. Two fans at adjacent ends of the barn, will help circulate air, bring in fresh air, and keep the air inside the stalls from becoming stale and breeding bacteria.
- Clean & Dry
Damp bedding and feed are very prone to bacteria. Bedding needs to be changed at least every day and often twice daily during the hot, humid summer months. While lightly wetting hay for feeding helps keep the number of airborne bacteria down, it should be cleaned immediately after feeding.
The manure produced by horses is full of natural bacteria, which begins to dry almost immediately. If left in the stall for more than a couple hours, the bacteria will become airborne, resulting in endotoxin release into the air. This situation almost instantly compromises the air quality for your horses. Be vigilant with your schedule of keeping the stalls clean and dry.
Since the consequences of poor air quality in a horse stall is so important, be sure to keep the air fresh and the area clean and dry. Your horses will breathe better and you won't have to deal with serious respiratory problems caused by poor air quality in your horse stall. Check out a stall dealer, like Rarin' To Go Corrals, for more help.