Horses breathe the same air we do, which often contains pollen, allergens, pollutants, and airborne diseases. Additionally, horses’ respiratory and lung systems are like that of people, meaning they may experience many of the same respiratory issues that affect us.
What differentiates us is lung capacity – horses have a lung capacity nearly eight times that of humans. While we inhale and exhale about seven or eight liters of air per minute, horses move roughly 60 liters in the same amount of time.
As you would expect, the horses’ larger lung capacity can lead to serious health conditions that affect their athletic performance and their quality of life. Equine salt therapy is a natural, drug-free treatment to help horses combat respiratory and skin conditions.
Equine salt therapy may seem like a new trend, but its human counterpart, halotherapy, has been becoming more popular in the United States over the last 10 years. In Europe, halotherapy has been a proven treatment for over 150 years.
Health Conditions Salt Therapy for Horses Can Treat
Horses may breathe the same air as humans, but they are exposed to far more of it than us and face it with no protection against wind, dirt, mud, and other environmental factors.
The air quality in stables and barns plays a significant role in the respiratory health of horses as well. Dust, mold, and other airborne irritants thrive in these structures. A clean respiratory system helps clear airways and improves lung function in horses.
Take a look at some of the respiratory and skin conditions equine salt therapy has helped address.
- Equine Asthma – Formerly known as recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), equine asthma is caused by hypersensitivity in the lungs to airborne dust and molds.
- Heaves – A common, performance-limiting breathing condition that results from spending extended periods in a confined, dusty environment. Heaves often lead to equine asthma.
- Inflammatory or Allergic Airway Disease (IAD) – A heterogeneous group of noninfectious, inflammatory conditions that occur in 22%-50% of athletic horses.
- Lower Airway Disease (LAD) – Contamination of the lower respiratory tract with bacteria can lead to many lower airway diseases, such as equine pleuropneumonia.
- Dermatitis – Atopic equine dermatitis is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens and can be seasonal or year-round depending on what climate your horse is in.
- Boils – Similar to an abscess, a boil results from an infection in the skin. They can cause temporary lameness in some horses.
- Ringworm – An infection of the skin or hair caused by one of several types of fungus. The most common are Trichophyton equinum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
- Hives – Also known as urticaria, hives are groups of itchy eruptions of localized swelling in a horse’s skin.
- Mud Fever – Most common in winter, mud fever is most often caused by bacteria and occurs when a horse is exposed to persistent wet, muddy conditions.
Salt therapy for horses is a non-invasive treatment that can help reduce the effects or symptoms of various skin and respiratory conditions.
Equine salt therapy treatment is typically conducted in a stable, mobile trailer, or portable unit containing a halogenerator. A halogenerator grinds pure-grade sodium chloride into microscopic particles and is crucial to the effectiveness of salt therapy for horses.
The micron-sized particles are released into the air. As the horse breathes in the dry salt aerosol, the salt penetrates deep into the respiratory system – lungs, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli.
The highly concentrated dry salt acts as an antibacterial agent to clear secretions, bacteria, and pollutants from the respiratory tract. Accelerating mucus clearance helps open breathing passages and improves lung function. Breathing in salt particles helps inhibit the further growth and reproduction of bacteria.
Chronic coughing and wheezing associated with certain respiratory conditions can take a toll and cause irritation. Cleansing the horse’s respiratory system also helps to soothe it from the inside out.
When treatment is performed in an enclosed container without a hose and mask, any dry salt that is not inhaled by the horse falls onto their skin. As the aerosol permeates the epidermis, it works to absorb excess oils, which helps reduce skin irritations and treat skin diseases or other dermal conditions.
Benefits of Equine Salt Therapy (Salt Therapy for Horses)
Veterinarians, trainers, and owners around the world have uncovered the benefits of equine salt therapy. This drug-free treatment helps performance equine athletes improve and maintain performance.
Fortunately, this natural treatment isn’t just for performance horses. The following are just some of the health benefits all horses may experience with this treatment:
- Improved lung function
- Increased oxygen-carrying capacity
- Clearer airways
- Reduced inflammation
- Soothed respiratory and skin irritations
- Strengthened immune system
- Reduced travel sickness
- Minimized anxiety
- Improved cardiovascular performance
- Increased stamina
- Raised energy levels
- Enhanced recovery from transport and wounds
Horses who receive equine salt therapy treatment have demonstrated faster recovery from anxiety or travel sickness. The time each session lasts is shorter than what is recommended for humans, but horses usually receive treatment for a few consecutive days.
Equine Salt Therapy for All Horses
Salt therapy for horses may provide more immediate benefits for performance horses, but the treatment is beneficial for every horse (regardless of its profession). Your horse doesn’t even need to be suffering from a current respiratory or skin condition to experience the health benefits.
A consistent regimen of salt therapy can keep your horse healthy and in optimal shape, while possibly preventing more serious issues from developing. Whether you’re a horse owner, trainer, or veterinarian, we know you care about the health of your horses.
Equine salt therapy is a safe and natural way to help improve the respiratory and skin health of your horse. As a pioneer in providing access to salt therapy for horses, SALT Chamber has partnered with horse lovers around the world to create equine salt therapy rooms.
Take the time to schedule your free initial consultation with SALT Chamber and learn more about equine salt therapy.
SALT Industry Pioneer | Wellness Collaborator | Culture & Leadership Strategist | ‘Distinctioneer’ |