Last Updated on June 1, 2022
What are the symptoms of pneumonia in horses? And is it possible for a pony to have pneumonia without a fever? Let’s find out!
What Is Pneumonia In Horses? Is It Possible For A Pony To Have Pneumonia Without A Fever?
Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs of horses. There are many different causes of pneumonia, and this disease can vary widely in terms of severity and survival rate.
The main causes of pneumonia in horses are infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungal spores. Pneumonia can also occur as a result of aspiration when fluid or contaminated material such as saliva or food enters the lungs. This type of pneumonia is more common in foals.
Other risk factors for pneumonia in horses include transportation, stress, pre-existing illness, and prolonged confinement. Horses and foals that are laid down for long periods can also develop hypostatic pneumonia due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.
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How To Prevent Pneumonia In Horses
Pneumonia is generally not contagious between horses, but there are certain precautions you can take to minimize the risk of pneumonia in horses. Transporting horses over long distances greatly increases the risk of pneumonia, so it is vital to keep stress to a minimum during this time. Take regular stops to allow your horse to walk and graze, to reduce fluid build-up in the lungs.
Horses should also be vaccinated against common respiratory infections, as these can lead to secondary pneumonia. Good biosecurity measures will also reduce the transmission of respiratory disease.
Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of pneumonia in horses, such as PPID (Equine Cushing’s Disease), Inflammatory Airway Disease, and Equine Metabolic Syndrome. If your horse is in a high-risk category, it is important to stay aware of the symptoms of pneumonia in horses.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Horses?
The signs of pneumonia in horses vary according to the type of pneumonia and the severity of the disease. However, all types of pneumonia will lead to the horse becoming dull and depressed, with a persistent fever. You may also see some nasal discharge, either clear or purulent.
If a horse has viral pneumonia, as a result of infection such as equine influenza, swelling of the lymph nodes of the throat can also occur. This leads to a reduced appetite and a persistent cough.
Is It Possible For A Pony To Have Pneumonia Without A Fever? Bacterial pneumonia can have the same symptoms as viral pneumonia, but with the addition of a yellow or cream-colored nasal discharge.
The type of pneumonia that arises after a horse has been transported for a long distance is called shipping fever. In this situation, the horse may lay down more than usual, and be reluctant to move. He may stand with his elbows twisted outwards, in an attempt to reduce pressure on the lungs.
Aspiration pneumonia is one of the most severe forms of pneumonia in horses, and has a very specific set of symptoms. The respiratory rate will be increased, and the horse will take deep, labored breaths. The heart rate will be elevated, and the mucous membranes will have a bluish tinge.
When a horse has aspiration pneumonia, one of the most notable symptoms is a sweet-sour odor to the breath.
Is It Possible For A Pony To Have Pneumonia Without A Fever?
All types of pneumonia in horses have a common set of symptoms, with the horse appearing dull and depressed, and a persistent fever. A fever, or high temperature, is a classic sign of pneumonia in horses and it would be very unlikely to come across a case of pneumonia in a pony that did not have a fever.
However, in a very mild case where treatment was initiated quickly, it could be possible to have a fever so mild that it is barely detectable.
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How Is Pneumonia In Horses Treated?
The intensity of treatment required for pneumonia depends on the severity of the disease and the initial cause. A mild case may be resolved by a course of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication, whereas more severe cases may necessitate supportive care such as intravenous fluid therapy.
Bronchiodilators may be used to dilate the airways, helping the horse to breathe more easily. Corticosteroids may also be administered to reduce inflammation of the airways.
Sick foals with pneumonia can also be treated with oxygen therapy, and physiotherapy can be used to help remove fluid build up from the lungs.
Summary – Is It Possible For A Pony To Have Pneumonia Without A Fever?
So, as we have learned, pneumonia is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs of horses. The symptoms of pneumonia vary widely from case to case, depending on the initial cause and severity of the disease. It is highly unlikely that a horse could have pneumonia without a fever unless it is a very mild case that is treated straight away.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on is it possible for a pony to have pneumonia without a fever! Has your horse or pony ever suffered from pneumonia?
What Does Pneumonia Look Like In A Horse?
When a horse has pneumonia, it will have difficulty breathing, with increased respiratory rate and effort. It will also have a fever and be dull and depressed. Many horses with pneumonia also have a reduced appetite.
Can Pneumonia Be Present Without Symptoms?
In horses, it would be very unlikely for pneumonia to be present without symptoms. In the early stages of the disease the clinical signs can be quite subtle, but they will quickly develop into classic pneumonia.
What Are The Signs Of Silent Pneumonia?
Silent pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that occurs in humans, when the symptoms are very mild. This type of pneumonia is not seen in horses.
Can A Horse Survive Aspiration Pneumonia?
A horse can survive aspiration pneumonia, but it may require a long and intensive period of treatment at a specialist equine hospital. Aspiration pneumonia is one of the most serious forms of pneumonia in horses, and the prognosis in severe cases can be poor.
The reason for the severity of aspiration pneumonia is the risk of lung abscessation. If this occurs, it is very difficult to treat successfully.
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