Dust and mold spores are everywhere in our barns. It's in our alleyways, stalls, and even our feed.
Dust is a part of our lives when it come to having horses but where do we draw the line on how much dust we and our horse's are willing to live with?
Most often the sneaky particles are traveling up in our horse's airwaves through the hay we feed them. It is said that all "sun-cured" hay has mold and dust, no matter how good the quality appears.
DID YOU KNOW
Feeding hay in nets and racks will NOT decrease the risk of ingesting dust and mold spores? (with the horse eating off the ground, the natural nasal secretion will more easily run forward with the pull of gravity.)
Although horses have a few natural defense mechanism's not all spores can be stopped by the rapid open and close of the nares or the moist mucous membranes that collect foreign materials and if these two fail even the white blood cells enlisted to attack these particles may be to late.
When the nasal passage and air wave are irritated by these little alien beings it can sometimes cause an allergic reaction, resulting in a inflamed nasal passage, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) also known as "heaves", or worse airway obstructions that make oxygen exchange difficult and can lead to Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) or "bleeders" ultimately resulting in poor performance in equine athletes.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT THESE POTENTIAL ISSUES?
Use water as a dust suppressant
Keep human activity to a minimum
Use only the best quality hay or alternative
Consistency in the quality of the forage we feed is very important but almost next to impossible to control with cut hay.
Dust in horse stable study: https://thehorse.com/121194/reducing-your-horses-exposure-to-dust