Maximal respiratory function is essential for optimal athletic performance. Issues such as allergic reactions to dust/pollution and conditions such as exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) or “bleeding” can have a significant impact on lung function and the welfare of the horse. Allergic reactions to dust and debris entering the lungs results in an inflammatory response, causing mucous production and narrowing of the airways. EIPH is the escape of blood cells into the lungs from the capillaries where gas exchange occurs, and subclinical disease is extremely common.
PulmonAID is a nutritional supplement designed for all performance horses to help maintain the normal integrity and function of the lungs.
*Wright, RJ 2005, ‘Make No Bones About It: Increasing Epidemiologic Evidence Links Vitamin D to Pulmonary Function and COPD’, Chest, vol. 128, no. 6, pp. 3781-3783.
EIPH is defined as bleeding from the lungs of horses during exercise. The condition is most frequently identified in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses performing high-speed exercise, but cases can also occur in horses used for other disciplines such as western performance, eventing, show jumping and polo.
Increased blood pressure in lungs and considerable negative pressure within pleural cavity
High-intensity exercise causes a large increase in blood pressure within the blood vessels of the lungs (pulmonary vasculature) and marked negative pressure within the pleural cavity, which is the space that lies within the pleurae, the two thin membranes that line and surround the lungs. Pulmonary arterial and venous blood pressures will increase three- to four-fold during strenuous exercise because of increased cardiac output.
Pulmonary capillary stress failure
Deep within the lung, thousands of tiny air sacs termed “alveoli” interface with capillaries, forming what is known as the blood-gas barrier. The blood-gas barrier is incredibly thin (only 50 nanometres thick!) to allow oxygen to diffuse from the alveoli into the blood. The dramatic increase in blood pressure within the lung during intense exercise places a lot of pressure on the pulmonary capillaries and causes them to rupture, termed “pulmonary capillary stress failure”.
Subclinical disease is extremely common, but some of the clinical signs associated with EIPH are: