What are the restricting airflow conditions that limit equine performance and how to fix them?
The inhalation of particulates from the environment can be detrimental to equine welfare. It is well established that dust can limit equine performance. (Gerber et al. 2010; Pirrone et al. 2007 and Couëtil et al. 2016). The horse is an obligate nasal breather. The filtering of debris and collection of foreign material is performed by the hair-lined nostrils and mucous membranes. The nasal passages maximize airflow contact with the mucous membranes.
However, there is a limit to the filtering capabilities of the nasal passages, and any missed dust or debris will pass into the large airways leading to the lungs (tracheal and bronchial tubes). Debris and any secretions sneezed out or swallowed. Any debris that escapes the primary airways will end up deep in the lungs. (Rush and Mair 2004). The combination of swelling, inflammation and thick secretions in the respiratory system increases airflow resistance, potentially leading to poor performance.