Next to colic, the most common medical problems of the horse affect the respiratory tract. Whether it be the pneumonias the can affect young foals, the “shipping fevers” of adult horses that are now transported across the world, or the “strangles” that – rightly or wrongly – strikes fear in the heart of horseowners everywhere, if you own a horse long enough, you’ll eventually have to deal with some sort of problem involving the breathing apparatus.
Fortunately, for most horses, like most people, respiratory diseases are often self-limiting. Viral respiratory diseases affect mostly young horses, usually in crowded housing situations, and, just like when you pack young kids together in schools, young horses occasionally come down with the equine equivalent of the “common cold.”
Of course, some problems are more serious. For some horses, disease of the respiratory tract is a life-threatening problem, one for which thorough diagnostic work and aggressive treatment is warranted.
My “Concise Guide to Respiratory Disease in the Horse” was written with the help of a lot of genuine experts in the field. If you’re interested in the horse’s respiratory system, you’d probably enjoy the book (which was written at the request of a publisher in the UK). If you’re interested in a briefer overview, there will be lots of information for you on this site, too!