After spending three wonderful days at the race track in Tulsa Oklahoma I noticed that EVERY SINGLE horse that was running was on Lasix. Even though it is a very effective drug if you can decrease the chances of bleeding by increasing the flexibility of the red blood cell walls, in a more natural way, I would see that as a huge plus. Take a look at the information below for some interesting information.
~ Tabitha Smith
Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), also known as “bleeding” or a “bleeding attack”, refers to the presence of blood in the airways of the lung in association with exercise. EIPH is common in horses undertaking intense exercise, but it has also been reported in human athletes, racing camels, and racing greyhounds. Horses that experience EIPH may also be referred to as “bleeders” or as having “broken a blood vessel”. In the majority of cases EIPH is not apparent unless an endoscopic examination of the airways is performed following exercise. However, a small proportion of horses may show bleeding at the nostrils after exercise, which is known as epistaxis.
EIPH has been reported to occur in a variety of racehorse breeds including:
- Racing Thoroughbreds (both flat racing and steeplechasing or jump racing)
- American Quarter Horses (incidence of 50-75%)
- Standardbreds (incidence of 40-60%)
- Arabians, and Appaloosas
EIPH has also been reported in the following:
- Polo ponies
- Endurance horses
- Draft horses that pull competitively
- Barrel Racing
- Pole Bending
EIPH is now considered to be an inevitable consequence of moderate to intense exercise in horses and other athletic animals. The lowest intensities of exercise which have been reported to cause EIPH are intense trotting (40-60% maximal oxygen uptake)and cantering at speeds of 16–19 miles per hour (26–31 km/h).
DID YOU KNOW??
Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the flexibility of cell walls. Increased flexibility of the RBC membranes is crucial, especially during exercise, when heart rates increase, blood thickens and packed cell volume rises. Increased elasticity of RBCs allows easier passage through narrow blood vessels in the lungs and muscles, thereby improving blood supply and oxygen delivery. Improved elasticity of RBCs may reduce the incidence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) or bleeding. Promising results in human medicine have led researchers to explore the effects of a combined dose of DHA and EPA on reducing signs of EIPH and pulmonary inflammation in horses.
Scientists at Kansas State University reported a reduction of EIPH (bleeders) in Thoroughbreds after being fed a diet enriched with high Omega 3 for 83 days. Other studies have reported increased RBC membrane fluidity during exercise in horses fed a diet enriched with DHA and EPA for four weeks, indicating that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce
the incidence or severity of EIPH.
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It occurs less frequently in stallions than mares or geldings, and it is associated with airway inflammation and with increasing age.
The affliction occurs when blood enters the air passages of a horse’s lung, due to fractured lung capillaries. Blood is sometimes evident discharging from a horse’s nostrils (epistaxis), however, epistaxis usually only occurs in 5% of bleeders. If a horse does not exhibit epistaxis but is suspected to have EIPH, an endoscopic exam is performed soon after the horse is exercised.
Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), also known as “bleeding” or a “bleeding attack”, refers to the presence of blood in the airways of the lung in association with exercise. EIPH often occurs in horses that race at high speeds. The number of horses with EIPH increases in proportion to speed and intensity. It is rare in endurance horses or draft breeds.(Hinchcliff & 2007 95) Sudden death in horse athletes can be caused by Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH).
Based on surveys of horses examined endoscopically following racing, around 40 to 70% of horses have been reported to have blood in the trachea following a single post-race examination. One of the more recent and larger studies found an overall prevalence of just under 60%. The time at which the examination is carried out can determine whether or not blood is seen. The usual time for examination is 30–40 minutes following exercise. If the examination is carried out too soon after exercise then blood may not have progressed Horses from the dorso-caudal (top and back) of the lung into the trachea. If the examination is carried out too long after exercise then any blood may have moved up the trachea and been swallowed and boost therefore not be visible at the time of examination. In one study (Birks et al. 2002), when horses were endoscoped on at least three separate occasions following racing, all horses had blood in the trachea on at least one occasion.
Epistaxis (blood coming from one or both nostrils) is much less common. In a survey of over 220,000 horse starts in UK Flat and National Hunt (jump) racing, 185 cases of epistaxis were identified giving a frequency of 0.83/1000 starts. Similar frequencies have been reported for epistaxis in Japan (1.5 per 1000 starts) and South Africa Legend (1.65 per 1000 starts). However, a study of racehorses in Korea reported a much higher frequency (8.4 per 1000 starts).
It is believed that nearly all horses experience EIPH when exposed to strenuous exercise, and it has the potential to decrease lung function over time. However, there are no documented cases of bleeding in wild horses when rounding up with helicopters from mountain tops in pens miles away.
Epistaxis is diagnosed when blood is visible at either or both nostrils during or following exercise. To confirm whether the blood is from the upper or lower airway requires further examination by endoscopy, although in some cases it is not possible to determine the location. In the majority of epistaxis cases, the blood originates from the lung. Epistaxis during or following exercise can less commonly occur as a result of upper airway hemorrhage, for example following head trauma. Poor athletic performance, frequent swallowing, and coughing in the immediate post-exercise recovery period may be suggestive of EIPH. But, a definitive diagnosis can only be made by endoscopic examination of the trachea. In the case where no blood is visible in the trachea, EIPH in the small airways may still be present and can be confirmed by a broncho-alveolar lavage.