Wetting/Soaking Hay for Horses with Respiratory Problems

Q:My vet recommended I soak my mare's hay for an hour, but I see you indicating just to wet it down. Is it just unnecessary to soak her hay or is it actually harmful in some way? 


A:There have been some published reports that soaking hay for an extended period of time results in a loss of nutrients. But if the goal is to eliminate dust particles in the breathing zone of the horse while the horse is eating hay, we have found that thoroughly wetting the hay immediately prior to feeding virtually eliminates the dispersion of particles while eating. 

Editor's Note: Soaking hay to reduce levels of certain carbohydrates is often recommended for horses with metabolic issues, particularly those with a history of laminitis. For more information, see the article "Cutting Down on Carbs (For Your Horse)."

Learn more about managing respiratory problems and read more Q&A with Dr. Millerick-May, Dr. Ed Robinson, and Dr. Bob Stenbom in our free on-demand webinar: Managing Non-Infectious Respiratory Problems!

About the Author

Melissa Millerick-May, MS, PhD

Melissa Millerick-May, MS, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) at Michigan State University.

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