Dust Suppression for Equine Health with Big Sprinkler

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 3:12pm

Two horses in an exercise arena with a white picket fence and a wheeled sprinkler cart from Big Sprinkler in the foreground being used to suppress the dust

It’s true that in most parts of America we no longer need horses to manage day-to-day activities. Most people no longer use them as transportation or for farm equipment. However, necessary or not, you’ll still find a deep and abiding love for them wherever you go.

Trail riding, polo, rodeo events, livestock shows, dressage, and horse racing are only a few of the popular activities in which horses become partners with their riders. Keeping the equine half of the partnership healthy is as important to successful activities as the health of the human partner. In fact, at times it’s more difficult since the horse can’t talk and tell a doctor when they begin to feel under the weather.

One simple way to keep horses feeling well is to keep their living and exercise areas free from unnecessary dust. While the dust itself may not be harmful, letting it build up results in accumulation in the horse’s nasal passages, sinus cavities, and lungs. This can create some problems and intensify others.

Common Equine Ailments Due to Dust

We talked about dust accumulation with veterinarian Dr. Brett Boatsman D.V.M. who works at Neel Veterinary Hospital in Oklahoma City. He reminded us of an interesting fact we hadn’t thought of prior to our conversation.

“One of the big things most people don’t think of is that horses are obligate nasal breathers,” Dr. Boatsman said. “This means they can’t breathe through their mouths. And of course, if you’re working in a super dusty environment, you’ll have all that dust in your nose when you blow it. The same thing happens to horses – they’ll have all that in their nasal cavities too.”

He went on to discuss two common ailments related to dust that equine patients face. The first is when the nasolacrimal duct becomes clogged with dust and must be flushed.

If you are like us here at Big Sprinkler, you’re probably not be familiar with the official names for horse body parts. We do know the main function of the duct is to drain tears away from the eyes allowing them to clear the eyes of foreign material and drain it to the nostrils.

“There is a tear duct that runs from the eye down through the sinus cavity to the nostril,” Dr. Boatsman said. “There’s a little opening in the nostril. In dusty climates, you’ll see dust in that duct and the tears from the eyes can’t drain through the duct. It will cause the eyes and the whole area to matt up with mucus.”

As humans who suffer from allergies and common cold symptoms, we can understand this kind of ailment. However, as noted earlier, horses can’t use the option to breathe through their mouths – they must breathe through their noses. This causes the horses additional suffering. To correct it, a veterinarian must step in.

“You have to sedate the horse and stick a little catheter up the duct inside the nose and thread it in there,” Dr. Boatman said. “You have to take sterile water and flush the duct. You have to keep flushing it until it the sterile water comes out of the eye area.”

Another common health issue intensified by dust is called heaves. Heaves is also known as recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is “a chronic, non-infectious airway condition … that occurs in horses more than six years of age and is the result of an allergic reaction to inhaled particles” as defined by The Equine Hospital at Colorado State University.

While the dust does not cause heaves, it causes , symptoms that cause the horse to be unable to exercise at a normal level, much like asthma in humans. There is no cure for heaves, but the No. 1 treatment for this condition is to remove as much dust, including the allergens, from the horse’s living environment.

How Big Sprinkler Can Help

One popular and simple way to keep dust under control in an equine arena is by using water. You simply coat the dust particles, causing them to stick together and become heavier than the air so they don’t blow around.

Changing the footing, or the material under the horses’ feet in an arena, can be incredibly expensive. Using chemicals can be costly, a danger to the environment, and cause additional health problems for both humans and horses. However, water is relatively inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and generally readily available. You can learn additional information on our blog about how and why water is used for dust suppression.

Getting the right amount of water onto the footing of your equine space can be tricky. For both indoor and outdoor arenas, you want to make sure you get the ground wet enough to suppress the dust, deep enough so it doesn’t dry out too quickly, but not so much that you have muddy areas or puddles.

“You have to make sure not to overwater and make it muddy,” Dr. Boatsman said. “It will put too much stress on the tendons as the horse is trotting through there.”

This is where using a Big Sprinkler product can help. If you are interested in setting up a sprinkler to handle your dust suppression duties and then walking away, one of our traveling sprinklers might be the perfect product for you. The Reel Green RG20 and the Reel Green RG25 can both be set up to use the pressure from the hose to retract the reel and then turn themselves off when they’re finished watering.

Other great options we offer are wheeled sprinkler carts. Each of the carts is made in the United States and the sprinkler heads are made of top quality materials. The wheeled carts make it easy to move them from place to place and the quality of the sprinklers ensures you won’t be worrying about leaks for years to come.

Each of the models starting with the 1000F, moving up with the 1250K, and even the 1500H are able to handle a larger amount of water and will, therefore, output a larger diameter spray. Check out each of the product pages to learn more about the specific benefits for each model.

Interested in Learning More?

If you own, board, train, or care for a horse, we know their health is important to you . We’re here to help you find the best solution for you and your equine partner’s needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information about using Big Sprinklers for dust suppression or any other irrigation issue you might be facing. We’re looking forward to finding a solution.