Last Updated on August 3, 2022
The question of can a horse survive aspiration pneumonia depends on the severity of this condition and how quickly treatment is started. Aspiration pneumonia is a serious respiratory problem of horses normally caused by the inhalation of food, water, saliva or other material. Let’s find out everything you need to know about can a horse survive aspiration pneumonia!
What Is Aspiration Pneumonia?
Aspiration pneumonia in horses is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs. This normally occurs when foreign material contaminates the lungs. This creates a rapid build-up of bacteria within the lungs, leading to infection.
Signs of aspiration pneumonia in horses include respiratory symptoms such as irregular, rapid breathing and coughing, and a reduced appetite. Horses with aspiration pneumonia will normally be suffering from a high temperature and will lose weight quickly. As the condition develops, discharge from the nose will be seen and this is often purulent.
Your veterinarian will diagnose aspiration pneumonia in horses. By analysing the clinical signs and taking diagnostic tests. This may include samples of pus taken from the nose to identify the causative bacteria. Samples of fluid may be taken from the chest or ultrasound scans can be performed to analyse the severity of the disease.
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How Do Horses Get Aspiration Pneumonia?
Horses get aspiration pneumonia when foreign material is inhaled into the lungs. The most common reason for this is when the horse cannot swallow normally and the oesophagus is blocked. This leads to food, water and saliva travelling into the respiratory tract rather than into the stomach.
There are two main risk factors for aspiration pneumonia in horses. The first of these is choke when the oesophagus becomes blocked with food material. This leads to food and saliva travelling into the lungs causing aspiration pneumonia.
The second cause of aspiration pneumonia in horses is when medications are administered orally. If the horse does not swallow this medication in the normal manner it may inhale it into the lungs instead. This can also occur in young foals that are not suckling normally and are being fed either by a bottle, bucket or via stomach tube.
For this reason, horses that have suffered from severe choke are often routinely given a course of antibiotics to guard against aspiration pneumonia. If your horse has choked, it is vital to watch out for any respiratory problems, as these may be an early sign of aspiration pneumonia. If you suspect that your horse is having any respiratory problems, it is vital to seek veterinary help immediately, as this condition can quickly deteriorate.
Can A Horse Survive Aspiration Pneumonia?
The question of can a horse survive aspiration pneumonia depends on the severity of the condition and how quickly treatment is initiated. Aspiration pneumonia is a very serious illness and treatment can be intensive and long-term. If treatment is delayed for any reason, the chances of the horse surviving start to reduce.
Treatment of aspiration pneumonia in horses normally requires a period of hospitalisation. This is because it is more effective to administer some antibiotics intravenously, and the horse may need a chest drain to drain any pus and fluid away from the lungs. Horses with aspiration pneumonia often also require intensive nursing care, including intravenous fluid therapy.
Horses with aspiration pneumonia will need to be given a variety of medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to help reduce pain and inflammation. Samples will be taken to identify the causative bacteria, which will help the veterinarian choose the most appropriate antibiotics. Respiratory symptoms can be eased by using bronchodilators and expectorants.
These medications may be required for weeks or even months, and the prognosis is not good if a severe build-up of pus in the chest cavity has occurred. Even if the horse makes a recovery, it will require an extended period of rest to allow the lung tissues to heal and repair.
The key to successful treatment of aspiration pneumonia in horses lies in prompt diagnosis and treatment. This is a condition where prevention is always better than the cure, so horse owners must take care to avoid choking in their horses as much as possible. If you feel that your horse is at risk of aspiration pneumonia following a bout of choke, it is a good idea to discuss whether a course of prophylactic antibiotics may be helpful.
So, as we have learned, the question of can a horse survive aspiration pneumonia depends on the severity of the condition and how quickly treatment is initiated. Horses can recover from a mild case of aspiration pneumonia if is it treated promptly and aggressively. In more severe cases, the prognosis is poor, especially if a severe build-up of bacteria in the lungs occurs.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on can a horse survive aspiration pneumonia! Have you ever had a horse that was diagnosed and treated for this serious condition? Or maybe you’re worried that your horse might have aspiration pneumonia and you are unsure if he needs veterinary treatment? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
How Long Does Choke Last In Horses?
Some cases of choke in horses resolved spontaneously in a matter of minutes. Others may take longer to resolve, and some horses with choke will need veterinary treatment. Severe cases of choke in horses will require intensive veterinary management, including intravenous fluid therapy, to prevent dehydration.
Can A Horse Get Pneumonia From Choking?
When a horse has choke, the oesophagus is blocked. This means that the horse cannot swallow food, water or saliva. In some instances, material that cannot be swallowed will be inhaled into the respiratory system and can cause pneumonia.
How Do You Know If Your Horse Has Aspiration Pneumonia?
A horse with aspiration pneumonia will show severe symptoms of the respiratory system. This will include an increased respiratory rate and difficulty breathing. In some cases, food material may come out of the horses nose.
How Do You Treat Aspiration Pneumonia In Horses?
Aspiration pneumonia in horses is a severe and debilitating condition that requires requires aggressive veterinary treatment. Your horse will need to be hospitalised for intensive management, including intravenous fluid therapy, antibiotics, pain relief, and potentially a chest drain.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE