Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

He keeps coughing
Q: Despite medication (Ventipulmin and antibiotics) my horse has had a persistent cough for months following a cold. He lives out and the cough did improve slightly after antibiotics, only to return.

A: I think the cause of your horse's cough may be a mixed infection with bacteria viruses and other micro-organisms in the throat and lungs. The antibiotics helped initially but some part of the infection has returned causing the could to start again. The key to speedy recovery is to improve the way the body fights infection.

This can be done with herbs to boost the immune system and enhance the action of antibiotics. Simple herbs such as Echinacea (picture above) can be excellent at the start of such infections. Echinacea is an antiviral, antibacterial, immune-boosting herb. Most herbal companies can supply products containing Echinacea.

Plants such as garlic and thyme are also well known for their antiseptic properties. Often the key to success is to use such plants as food supplements early on. If keeping the airways open is of concern  some supplements and neutraceuticals can also be helpful in this regard..

Did you know Thyme has an expectorant action and antiseptic qualities making it ideal for coughs and chest infections Thymol (the volatile oil in thyme) is toxic in large quantities, so use with caution. Do not give thyme to pregnant mares.

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