What could be triggering asthma at this time of year?

Muddy unicorn

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Horse lives out 24/7 and is retired for now - we turned him away for several months to see if a niggling soft tissue injury improved enough for him to do light hacking.

He developed asthma last summer for the first time (at the age of 11). We assumed there was an environmental trigger as it first started when he moved fields at the height of summer. He never coughed - the only sign was his breathing rate shooting up to mid-30s. We eventually got his breathing back to normal with steroids via a nebuliser. He was weaned off the steroids last November and had been fine all the way through the height of the summer until late September when he suddenly started breathing really fast again. He was back on the nebulised steroids and his breathing went down to 14/minute - a little higher than normal but not significantly so.

It’s probably not linked, but he also developed sweet itch for the first time this summer (now resolved), but was the only horse out of 14 across 30 acres to be affected.

I’ve been away for a few days so went to see him today and his breathing was up into the mid-30s again. He was looking happy otherwise, is grazing fine and playing with the other geldings. I’m waiting for the vet to call me to discuss what we do next but I’m puzzled as to what’s causing it to flare up now. Last summer we assumed that pollen must be the trigger, but that can’t be the case now and he’s out 24/7 so no dusty stable or dry hay to worry about. Has anyone had anything similar with their horse?
 

CanteringCarrot

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Can you do an allergy test? Might help you figure out/treat it.

My horse with allergies/equine asthma only really has an issue this time of year. Every year. He has an airy stable with attached small paddock but moves less and spends more time in his stable in the winter. I usually have to soak his hay or feed haylage. He has a dust allergy so being in more, being tacked up in the main stable where the horses are primarily all in, and being ridden primarily in an indoor school, must just tip him over the edge. So I usually nebulize and feed him Balsamic Air. It's also possible there's musty stuff/mold in the air when it's constantly wet here too. He's also sensitive to that.

He also developed an insect sensitivity this summer and rubbed half of his mane out. So that was fun.
 

Muddy unicorn

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There‘s still enough grass in the field so he’s not on any forage at all at the moment. Last winter when he was stabled at night he had soaked hay.

It can’t be dust/spores as he’s out 24/7.

When he was having diagnostic tests last summer, the specialist vet said allergy tests probably wouldn’t tell us much as she thought it was almost certainly pollen of some sort (as it started in mid-summer), but there’s no pollen around now so it can’t be that…
 

Muddy unicorn

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Thanks - what's strange is that it didn't happen last winter when he was stabled and I'd have thought there'd be more triggers. I was hoping that living out would help his injury, his hocks and his asthma :confused:
 

cowgirl16

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Another one whose horse was affected by temperature - if the wind shifted round to a northerly direction, I knew he was in trouble. Damp south westerly winds didn't make any significant difference to him - but cold dry northerlies - disaster!
 

CanteringCarrot

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Ok, so now I'm going to be keeping track of the weather when my horse exhibits symptoms. Really figured it was the dust for him since he's allergic, but now I wonder if there are other influences that are weather related, but only this time of year.
 

GoldenWillow

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There's often a trigger of mould or fungal spores in Autumn but I would have thought we would have been past that by now for it to be the cause. I've noticed the gorse around has started flowering again this week (fortunately not a trigger for mine) have you noticed any changes like that?
 

Muddy unicorn

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There's often a trigger of mould or fungal spores in Autumn but I would have thought we would have been past that by now for it to be the cause. I've noticed the gorse around has started flowering again this week (fortunately not a trigger for mine) have you noticed any changes like that?
No flowering plants in his field at all at the moment - the field is large and open and on a gentle slope - there are trees around the edge but no real build up of leaves/vegetation. I’ve spoken to our vet who’s just as baffled and says the environment he’s living in should be absolutely perfect. We’re starting him back on the nebuliser so fingers crossed we get it back under control soon
 

windand rain

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Pine tree in the cedar family have pollen in Winter. I get asthma from cold air too but much exacerbated by dander and short coat shedding
 
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