Stress From Exercise And Travel That Deplete The Immune System Of Horses
Excessive physical activity on a daily basis as well as travel, particularly long-distance travel, could put immense stress on horses due to which their immune system could become affected. Studies have even revealed that the first training season for young untrained racehorses can lead to abnormal modifications in the innate immune system and inflammatory response. Hence, there is a need to take proper precautions and make efforts to strengthen the immune system of horses.
Here is a brief discussion about how stress from exercise and travel could affect the immune system of horses and the most effective ways to restore a strong and healthy immunity.
Effect of Stress and Travel on the Immune System of Horses
Long-Distance Commercial Travel
One research study conducted to characterize the stress responses, progressive dehydration, and water consumption pattern of horses that are transported long distances have revealed startling results. The findings of this study have suggested that adult mares and geldings are often deprived of access to water and feed for several hours during commercial transport.
As a result, horses are likely to develop severe dehydration and fatigue, due to which the ability of their body to fight disease-causing agents could be reduced significantly. Regular long-distance travel could put the horses at risk of a compromised immune system due to factors such as the lack of nutrients, inadequate rest, and stress.
This study also found that horses that were penned under harsh sun had a slightly greater dehydration response than that of the transported horses. Moreover, transporting healthy horses for longer than 24 hours in hot weather without frequent access to drinking water could cause severe dehydration. Also, transportation for more than 28 hours even with regular access to water could be harmful to the health and immune system of horses as it could lead to intense fatigue.
Effect of Stress
Exercise and training for events, travel, and entertainment purposes have been recognized as the causes of stress in horses. Studies have shown that excessive exercise could significantly alter the activities of the immune system of horses and make them susceptible to develop diseases.
Exercise can produce a dual effect on the immune system of horses. Moderate training generally produces a beneficial effect on the defense mechanisms of the body. However, intense exercise may produce a suppressive effect, causing a decline in the ratio of CD4+ and CD8+ immune cells, and diminished lymphocyte functions. There may also be a decline in the cytolytic activities of natural killer cells in response to brief periods of high-intensity exercise, overtraining, and prolonged exhaustive exercise.
Immune Response in Racehorses
Studies have revealed that the first training season can lead to abnormal modifications in the innate immune system of horses and the inflammatory responses in young untrained racehorses. Molecular and hematological investigations have revealed that the expression of interleukins, Transforming Growth Factor α and β, tumor necrosis factor α, and interferon γ genes are adversely affected in horses that undergo intense training for races.
This study has also highlighted the long-term adjustment in the oxygen transport capability that could be traced back to the adaptation of the body to intense exercise. Moreover, the changes observed in the functions of granulocytes and inflammatory cytokine gene expression confirm a major role of the innate immune system in response to the complex and stressful stimuli experienced during the training period.
It is important for horse owners to recognize these issues linked to commercial training and travel and ensure their horses receive the necessary nutrients in order to avoid the impact of these activities on their immune systems. They should also ensure the horses get adequate rest, feed, and water at frequent intervals during transportation to minimize the effect of these activities on their health.
Supplementing the nutrition of horses with BioPro Armour could help strengthen their immune system and help minimize the impact of travel, fatigue, and stress on their immune system.
BioPro Armour is the 100% natural supplement specifically formulated to help support the immune system of horses and protect them against diseases. Made from Thymic proteins, this supplement could modulate the immune responses in horses and help them fight allergies, and infections while speeding up healing after injuries.
BioPro Armour offers a safe and effective way for horse owners to help ensure the optimum health and immune systems of their horses.