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New advances in the management of Equine Asthma

Well one positive thing to say about 2020 is that the weather seems to have been on our side most of the time! The long, hot days have been wonderful but
also brought with them high pollen counts, and as a practice we unfortunately saw a high number of Equine Asthma cases at the height of the summer. Coupled with thoughts of increased stabling as the colder and shorter days approach us, it seems there are respiratory challenges around every corner for some horses.

What is Equine Asthma?
Previously know as heaves, dust allergy, RAO, COPD and broken wind, Equine Asthma is one of the most common equine respiratory
diseases. Simply put, it is the inflammati on of the lower airways. Horses and ponies affected by Equine Asthma respond differently to the presence of airborne particles or allergens in their everyday environment, such as dusts and pollens found in hay, straw and bedding, compared to their unaffected
counterparts. What does Equine Asthma look like? Equine Asthma commonly presents with a
cough, with or without nasal discharge, exercise intolerance and in severe cases laboured or difficulty breathing. Diagnosis can usually be made by your vet with a clinical exam, but sometimes a scope and lavage of the airways are also necessary to confirm a diagnosis or rule out a bacterial cause. Treatment is similar to humans with asthma, bronchodilators and/or steroids which are either inhaled by the horse with a nebuliser/ inhaler or given orally in feed.

New treatments available

Over the summer, we started to use the Aservo Equihaler®. It is an exciting new product available for the the treatment of horses and ponies with severe Equine Asthma. The product contains an anti -inflammatory medicine called ciclesonide which is a type of corticosteriod. It is delivered in a clever ‘Soft MistTM’ which is activated when it reaches the lungs. If you would like more information about this
product, or advice if you think your horse or pony might be suffering with Equine Asthma, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01271 879516 / 01409 331009.

What can you do to help your affected horse or pony?

Reducing an affected equine’s exposure to allergens through daily
management will really help. Things to consider include:

  • During the warmer months, ride early
    in the morning or in the evening when
    the pollen and heat is lower.
  • Remove wet bedding daily, being sure to use dust free bedding.
  • Don’t turn out in dry, dusty paddocks
  • Make sure their stable isn’t dusty,is free of cobwebs and has good ventilation.
  • Feed good quality hay or haylage, soaking or steaming hay


As autumn approaches, we are winding down on the breeding front. Despite the later start to the season, slightly hampered by Covid-19 we have still been busy at Torch Equine, helping in whatever way we can with the next generations. Our vets have been busy scanning, collecting stallions, inseminating mares, assisting with coverings and foalings.

We are very happy to report on the whole it’s been a successful season with the majority of our fresh, chilled and frozen inseminated mares successfully getting pregnant. This year we have been doing our bit helping with rare breeds. Vets Becky and Paul have had the pleasure of successfully scanning and inseminating the lovely Suffolk Punch Florence owned by Amanda and Gary Taylor. Florence has been confirmed pregnant, so we are all very excited for 11 months time.
Suffolk Punches are a rare breed with less than 72 female Suffolks remaining in the UK and fewer than 300 in the world, with
only 29 foals born in the UK in 2019. Find out more about Florence soon on our Facebook page.

The Torch Equine Tooth Fairies

Dental work is such an important part of any equine’s essential preventative care programme over the course of a year. Regular check-ups will keep your horse’s
teeth in good condition and identify any abnormalities or problems in the early stages – a key factor not only in their health and wellbeing but also in enjoying a successful ridden partnership together. Did you know, all of our vets carry an extensive dental kit with them in their car as a matter of routine?
They are trained and equipped to deal with all dental issues, from routine check-ups through to advanced procedures, and are
able to provide sedation, pain relief and local
anaesthesia as needed to allow thorough examination and treatment, plus minimal stress
and discomfort for your horse. We also have digital radiography equipment for imaging if required, plus the surgical facilities
for advanced techniques requiring general anaesthesia, should the need arise.
Routine dentistry work can be booked on a zone visit day as part of our Zone Visit Scheme; book the designated day for your area to receive
reduced call out rates. Multiple dental bookings are also eligible for discounted rates – speak to our team to find out more.


Those taking advantage of our Equine Total Healthcare Plans and Total Worming Programme should by now have received a reminder that the third
and final faecal worm egg counts for the year are now due to be returned to us please.
Please use the pre-paid envelope to post them to us, or drop them to any of our Torch branches. If you need a new envelope, drop Charlotte Southcott a line
on 01271 879516 and she will send one out to you.

If you would like to find out more about the money saving opportunities available to you through our preventative healthcare plans, do give our friendly
team a call or find the information on our website.

We are pleased to report that we are fully up and running at our new
branch in Holsworthy. Open Mon – Fri, 08:30 – 17:30, our staff are on hand to book appointments,
dispense medicines and off er friendly help and advice. We also have a secure collections box outside the practice which is accessible 24 hours a day, in addition to our boxes in Bude and Bradworthy. Pop in for a socially distanced chat or call us on 01409 331 009.

We look forward to seeing you soon at Unit 3 West Devon Business Units, Neet Way, Holsworthy Industrial Estate EX22 6ES.

October is upon us which means that it is now mandatory to microchip your horse, pony or donkey, regardless of their age. Let’s hope this new legislation goes some way to helping the plight of so many equines in the UK by making their ownership traceable through the new Central Equine Database, and therefore prosecution more straightforward and successful.

Microchipping is a procedure that can only be carried out by a vet. However it is considered
a routine procedure so eligible for reduced call out fees via our Zone Visit Scheme. More information about this new law can be found at: gov.uk/government/news/compulsory-microchipping-to-improve-horse-welfare