Supplements for the Horse Respiratory System

What supplement can I use as a bronchodilator for endurance race horses in a dusty environment? Ahmed

Dear Ahmed,

Unfortunately, there are no over-the-counter respiratory supplements with bronchodilator activity. The prescription medications Ventipulmin or Aeropulmin (clenbuterol) are the only FDA-approved solutions to relieve bronchospasm in the horse.

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That’s not to say there aren’t some very good supplements available to support healthy lung function in horses. One of the best ingredients for respiratory tissue is MSM, with proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Vitamin C and N-acetyl cysteine also target the tissues that line the respiratory tract and provide excellent antioxidant support. Other potent antioxidants include Grape Seed Extract, Super Oxide Dismutase and Bioflavonoids, which are active substances in plants that protect cells from oxidative stress. SmartBreathe is an outstanding respiratory supplement that contains these ingredients as well as others, and is available in a highly-palatable pellet form.

There are also some herbs that provide either soothing relief to airways or expectorant-like activity. Look for supplements containing plants such as licorice, garlic, elecampane and marshmallow. Note: some competitive riding associations forbid specific ingredients. If you are showing, please check with your association for rules and regulations.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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One comment on “Supplements for the Horse Respiratory System
  1. Susanne Mitchell says:

    Thrilled that it now comes in pellets!

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