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Pharmaceuticals That Help In Speedy Recovery Of Respiratory Disease

Updated: May 8, 2023

Pharmacological agents are of use in speeding up the horse's recovery from respiratory tract infections and lower respiratory tract inflammation and alleviating the symptoms of heaves. Bronchodilators such as clenbuterol and albuterol open closed airways, relieving bronchospasm, and stimulating mucociliary clearance.

Mucolytics (e.g. Sputolysin and Acetylcysteine) break done tenacious secretions and help clear airways blocked with mucous plugs. Antibiotics may also be required if primary or secondary infections are present. A course of nebulized cromolyn sodium may be of benefit to sensitized horses which are likely to be unavoidably exposed to sub-optimal environmental conditions. Anti-inflammatory agents such as corticosteroids may also be of benefit to horses suffering from small airway disease.

Nebulization is being used increasingly to treat and prevent respiratory problems in horses. Most people are familiar with medications that are nebulized or converted into an aerosol and inhaled. Cromolyn sodium is a product widely used with horses. However, there is a range of other agents being used. These include antibiotics, bronchodilators (substances that relieve airway spasms), mucolytics (substances that break down mucus), and corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory agents).

Nebulization can also be used to prevent drying of the airway. The latter involves the inhalation of physiological saline, not water. Special attention must be given to maintaining hygienic practices when using aerosol therapy. However, it should be emphasized that nebulization is not a panacea; it requires extra time and equipment. In many instances, oral and injected medications can be more appropriate than using nebulization.

Pharmacological agents are beneficial in that they enhance recovery and minimize complications, but it must be remembered that signs of clinical improvement with the allergic disease will be short-lived unless proper alignment is given to the stable environment.


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