RESPIRATORY ranks second only to orthopaedic disease as a cause of poor performance in athletes (racehorses at least). If they can’t breathe properly, how can we expect them to run and jump at speed? Typically, vets divide respiratory disease conditions along geographical lines – upper versus lower regions of the respiratory tract (URT and LRT respectively). The former comprises nostrils, nasal passages, pharynx (throat) and larynx (voice box); the latter trachea (windpipe) to lungs. I’m going to focus on the URT here, but firstly a short reminder about the importance of good LRT function.

Respiratory infections have been much in the news during recent pandemic times and it might go without saying here that ‘there’s nothing better for horses, as for ourselves, but to spend time outside – in the fresh air’.