Horses and Respiratory Disease: Tips to Protect Your Horse

Protecting your Horse from Respiratory Disease
By Earl Gaughan, DVM, Dipl. ACVS Jun 30, 2014

Topics: Respiratory System Biosecurity Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) Influenza Other Respiratory Problems

Avoiding nose-to-nose contact with horses from other farms can help prevent the spread of infectious respiratory diseases like equine herpesvirus and equine influenza.

Although respiratory diseases are rarely fatal, they are costly for the performance horse. A general rule of thumb is one week off for every day the horse is running a fever—often costing you weeks of training and showing time. Here are some quick tips to help keep respiratory disease out of your barn.

1. Biosecurity—Show grounds and racetracks can be an ideal environment for viruses and bacteria due to the high volume of horses that move in and out of them. You can help protect your horse by taking a few simple measures to help minimize his contact with these viruses and bacteria:

Disinfect your stall prior to using it. Mild antibacterial soap/disinfectants and warm water will kill most harmful viruses and bacteria that can affect your horse. Be sure to clean the walls, doors, bars, and floors—anywhere his nose and mouth can touch.
Avoid nose-to-nose contact with other horses. One of the ways respiratory diseases, such as equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus, are transmitted is from nose-to-nose contact.
Do not share equipment with other horses without properly disinfecting. This includes bits, brushes, buckets, hoses, etc.
2. Vaccinate regularly—Keep your performance horse, and any horses he comes in contact with, on a regular vaccination schedule.

Have your horse properly vaccinated by a veterinarian at least two weeks prior to the start of your show season.
Talk with your veterinarian about an appropriate vaccination booster schedule. Most performance horses will need to be vaccinated for respiratory diseases such as equine influenza and equine herpesvirus at least bi-annually.
3. Adequate ventilation—It is important to provide adequate ventilation during transport, as well as at home. Ammonia (from urine) and dust can irritate the horse’s respiratory system, making them more susceptible to disease. Keep your barn and arena well-ventilated with clean, natural air, and do your best to remove wet bedding and dust daily. When you are traveling, the same principles apply—dust and ammonia in the trailer can irritate your horse’s trachea, bronchi, and lungs and create what some call “shipping fever.” To help avoid this, consider letting your horse out of the trailer in a safe, secure location to breathe fresh air and move naturally every three to five hours during a long trip.

4. Use medications under veterinary supervision—If you suspect your horse may have contracted or been exposed to a respiratory disease, contact your veterinarian immediately. Respiratory diseases are often less severe if caught early and treated appropriately.

5. Allow your horse to rest as much as possible—Just like humans, horses’ immune systems tend to weaken when they are overworked and overstressed. A couple days of turnout and rest after a show can be one of the best preventative measures.

For more educational information and record-keeping tools that can keep your performance horse on track, talk with your veterinarian about the Merck Animal Health’s Horse Care for Life program.

Shirts, Coats…what size???

Measuring Your Dog

Clothing Measuring Guide

In order to find the right size of clothing for your dog, please complete the following measurements with a measuring tape. If you don’t have a measuring tape use a piece of string or a shoe lace, measure them and then measure the string with a ruler or tape measure. We have included to a printable 7″ Tape Measure, you can tape them together. Be sure to use the LONG inches lines and match them up if you are taping them together otherwise your measurement will be incorrect.


Is the size of your dogs chest, at the widest point, which is generally found directly behind the front legs and up and over the back, or alternatively the thickest part of the body or trunk. Take into consideration the amount of fur your pup has.

It is our opinion that this is the most important measurement for clothing. As with humans, if it doesn’t fit around the chest, it won’t fit! Next important measurement is the length unless you have a breed with a large neck.


The Length measurement is from the base of the neck (where their collar sits) to the base of the tail (where the tail is attached).
This is the most common measurement for clothing, however the back length will not matter if the chest measurement is not appropriate. Do not go by weight if it is a clothing item. The lengths stated are the length of the item, this is more of a guide to how long the item will be on your pet’s back. The dog should be standing for this measurement, sitting can add inches.


The neck measurement is taken around the dogs neck where their collar would naturally sit. For sizing a collar, the collar should be at least 2″ longer than the neck size. This measurement is necessary for large neck dogs such as pugs, and small neck dogs such as chihuahua’s and greyhounds.
Every designer has their own sizing. Every apparel, collar or footwear items has that vendors size chart posted. Use the measurements rather than weight as just with humans, weight does not dictate a specific size. We make every effort to accurately describe all items on, however if you need more information please feel free to contact us.

Other Major Sizing Considerations
• Don’t buy a size for your pooch based on your estimation of your dog’s size, always measure you dog according to the product’s size chart.
• Does the fabric have give? Is it a knit or cotton, will your dog be able to move with ease? It’s also important to keep garment’s fabric in mind when determining a size as some materials can stretch when worn multiple times.
• If measurements fall between two sizes, please select the larger size.
• Make sure to always compare the picture and product description to ensure you’re going to get what’s pictured and described. For example, dog coats tend to be full length, whereas dog jackets tend to be shorter and many shoppers may not know this important distinction.
• Unless you have no other guide, do not estimate your dog’s size according to weight. Take the extra 3 minutes to measure your dog. In the vast world of dog breeds, weight can be a deceiving measurement.
• Lastly, after measuring your dog, if you’re still not sure, give us a call, we don’t want you to receive an item that is the wrong size. Many of our suppliers do not accept returns, and we have to abide by their policies.


Posted by Randi Case, DC, CCSP        Caring For Animals of NJ

Is Your Dog’s Bed Toxic??

Toxic Chemical Found in Dog Beds and Toys:        Triclosan Alert


Posted by Randi Case, DC, CCSP

What do your toothpaste, your athletic socks and your dog’s bed have in common? They most likely contain triclosan, a powerful anti-microbial chemical incorporated into a broad array of consumer products. Triclosan is also turning up as a contaminant in rivers across North America, and in the bodies of more than three-quarters of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Should we care? The FDA evidently thinks so. On April 8, the agency launched a safety review of this now ubiquitous chemical. “Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation,” the FDA press release states. “Other studies have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”

Triclosan belongs to a class of synthetic chemicals that scientists term endocrine disruptors, for their ability to interact with organisms’ hormone systems. A 2006 study found that even in extremely low doses, triclosan interferes with thyroid function in frogs and leads to premature leg growth in tadpoles. Evidence now strongly suggests that hormone-mimicking chemicals like triclosan effect similar outcomes in all animals with backbones — frogs, dogs and humans alike. They can interfere with everything from insulin regulation to brain function.

Since its first use as a medical scrub in 1972, triclosan has infiltrated all aspects of our everyday lives. It’s the germ-killing chemical of choice in soaps, cosmetics, clothing, kitchenware, toys and, not least, dog beds. If you own anything that advertises itself as antimicrobial, antifungal or antibacterial, there’s a good chance that triclosan is the magic ingredient.

It’s magic we can do without. Although “antimicrobial” sounds like a useful property in trash bags and cutting boards, there’s no evidence that household use of triclosan keeps us any healthier (with the possible exception of toothpaste, where it can help prevent gingivitis).

The soap industry has already begun to mobilize against any hypothetical regulation of triclosan, and the famously slow-moving FDA may take years to act. Still, this latest announcement gives us cause to think twice before stocking up on antibacterial chew toys.