California Wildfires: Keep Horses Healthy in Smoky Conditions

Wildfires continue to burn in California, renewing concerns about the effects of smoke-filled air on equine health.

"Exercise (in a smoky environment) or excessive exposure to smoke may compromise a horse for weeks or months to come," said David Wilson, BVMS, MS, of the University of California, Davis, Center for Equine Health.

Tevis officials consulted Wilson and John Madigan, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, also of Davis, before making the decision to cancel the 100-mile horse race that runs from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, Calif. (For more on this see "California Wildfires: Tevis Cup Endurance Race Cancelled.")

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Wilson and Madigan authored an online article with tips to help horse owners protect their animals from damage caused by breathing the smoky air.

Recommendations include:

  • Limit exercise
  • Provide plenty of water where the horse eats
  • Soak hay in water
  • Consult your local veterinarian to determine when exercise is appropriate, for special instructions, or possible treatment.

Read more at "Wildfire Smoke and Horses: Recovering from Exposure."

A July 13 bulletin from the Tahoe National Forest noted 18,721 acres are involved in fires, with only 25% contained. At that time the estimated containment date was August 1, 2008.

About the Author

Marsha Hayes

Marsha Hayes has been covering endurance, trail, and other equine topics since 2005. She believes every horse has a story.

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