Do Arabian Horses Have Breathing Problems?

The Arabian horse also known as the Arab horse is a popular and highly regarded horse breed throughout the world.

Arabian horses are widely accepted, well appreciated, and a breed known for their endurance, physical dominance, strength, and because of larger nostrils they are able to take wind and air in more efficiently.

Besides their physical characteristics, friendly nature, being part of the ancient horse breed, Arabian horses have some health issues as well.

And in this particular blog post I’ll talk specifically about; do Arabian horses have breathing problems?

Yes, the breathing problem in Arabian horses usually occurs because of diseases like horse heaves, lungs disorder, general infections, and pollen allergies. These issues not only make a healthy horse less active, also their breathing rate increases while resting. If you experience anything unusual with your horse, immediately consult with a veteran.

Why Do Arabian Horses Have Breathing Problems?

Following are a few problems that might cause your Arabian horse breathing problem.

Horse Heaves

Having breathing problems in horses, specifically Arabian horses is usually caused by your horse having horse heaves.

Horses have a respiratory condition similar to Asthma (a respiratory allergy in humans). Unfortunately, horses that go through Heaves cannot be cured permanently but in the early stages, it can be managed.

If you are curious which are the signs/symptoms of having heaves in a horse here are the following;

  • Nasal Discharge
  • Coughing
  • Increased Respiratory Rate
  • Trying Abdominal Breathing
  • Inactiveness
  • Chest Noise

If you notice any of the symptoms in your horse it’s better you run some tests so even if you find any health issue other than breathing things can be managed easily.

You might also think here which are the possible reasons that heaves can occur in a horse.

The reaction of some allergic particles is mostly responsible for horse heaves. Horses inhale these particles from their food (hay or straw).

There are many allergic particles such as molds, which are the main reasons behind horse Heaves. Molds are a form of fungus and they produce naturally where there is moisture.

When the horse consumes its straw or hay, molds and other particles are inhaled, which results in Heaves and other respiratory disorders.

Along with symptoms and causes here is a detailed video on treating heaves by an expert.

2. Lung & Airway Disorders

Lung and airway disorders may also cause breathing problems in Arabian horses. Unlike humans and a few other animals, horses can only breathe through their noses, which means they can’t inhale or exhale through their mouths.

While inhaling, horses might inhale viruses, bacteria, or other particles that may block the nasal cavity.

As a result, horses will face lungs and airway disorders because they are not able to inhale properly. And due to the lack of oxygen supply in the blood, other organs like the liver and heart might also take some damage.

Following are the symptoms that appear due to lung and airway disorders in a horse:

  • Dry Coughing
  • Mucus or Blood from Mouth
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Discharge from Nose
  • Rapid Breathing During Rest

These are some common symptoms that show your horse is going through some sort of lung and airway disorder.

And below are the few reasons lung and airway disorders can occur in your horse.

Lung and airway disorders result from inhaling viruses, bacteria, fungi, or pesticides. Horses mostly inhale these particles while they are eating.

In most cases, these disorders are faced due to viruses rather than bacteria or pesticides. The types of these disorders vary from age to age, so you have to consult a veterinarian (vet).

3. General Infections

General infections may also cause breathing problems for your Arabian horse. General infections are also known as airway infections and are caused by viruses and bacteria.

If the infections are caused by viruses, they’ll spread and will affect other horses in contact.

Following are some common symptoms of general infections in Arabian horses:

  • Noise from Lungs
  • Coughing
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Increased Breathing Rate
  • Decreased Performance
  • Illness

If you see any of these symptoms in your Arabian horse, you have to see the vent and take a proper treatment. If the infections are due to bacteria, the cure might be easier than infections caused by viruses.

Causes of General Infections

As we said earlier, general infections are caused by different types of viruses and bacteria. However, these infections from viruses are more deadly because they spread from one horse to the other.

Also, viruses will weaken the immune system of the horse, resulting in decreased overall performance.

4. Pollen Allergies

Pollen in summer is also allergic to horses. You never know when your horse inhales pollen from its hay or straw. Inhalation of pollen increases when the hay or straw is completely dry.

As a result, the horses face breathing issues due to the reaction that starts taking place inside their respiratory system.

Symptoms of Pollen Allergies

The symptoms of pollen allergies are almost similar to what we see in horse Heaves.

But the only difference is, Heaves are caused due to molds, while pollen allergies are caused by inhaling pollen and other viruses.

Causes of Pollen Allergies

Pollen allergies are caused by pollen grains present on straw or hay. In summers, the amount of pollen grains on plants is way more than we see in winters or mild weather.

If you supply high-quality food with moisture (wetness), it will lower the chances of your horse inhaling pollen grains.

5. Vocal Cord Problems

Vocal cord problems are lung structure problems that result in severe asthmatic attacks. If your horse has faced asthmatic attacks or similar allergies and is now facing breathing issues, there might be problems with its vocal cords.

These problems are termed physical problems and are not common among Arabian horses.

Causes of Vocal Cord Problems

Vocal Cord problems result due to certain allergies, especially asthmatic attacks. These are severe allergies that damage the lungs.

If not, they still damage the airways structure of the respiratory system, causing difficulty while breathing. As a result, the horse has to use extra energy to breathe, which makes it feel tired.

Following are the symptoms that you will see in a horse with vocal cord problems:

  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Noise from Lungs
  • Whistling or Roaring Sound
  • Decrease in Stamina and Performance

So, these are a few common reasons why your Arabian horse is having breathing problems. Some of them are curable, while some are not. Visit a vet for a proper check-up and treatment of your horse.

How To Diagnose Horse Breathing Problems?

To diagnose Arabian horse breathing problems, you first have to identify the cause behind them.

If your horse is having horse Heaves, then we are sorry to say that there is no cure for this problem.

However, there are some medicines or vaccines that you can give to your horse for some betterment.

Apart from this, the following are a few measures you can take to reduce the breathing problems faced by your horse:

  • Make sure to keep the surroundings dust-free
  • Try moisturizing the hay or straw every time you feed it to your horse
  • Take extra care of its grooming
  • Provide vaccines and antibiotics regularly
  • Try to keep your horse in an open space with plenty of oxygen
  • Take care of ventilation around your horse

These are a few measures you can take to cure breathing problems with your horse. Also, make sure to visit a vent regularly for a proper check-up of your horse and do whatever the vent prescribes you.


So, these were the common reasons why your Arabian horse is having breathing problems. You have to check the signs and symptoms to identify the cause of breathing problems in your horse.

In our opinion, it is better to see a vent and take a prescription from him.

Also, make sure you take care of proper ventilation of your horse so it stays safe from such types of problems.