Monday, May 14, 2007
Fires in North Florida
We are once again under a fire alert and smoke is in the air. While there is a large fire near lake City and one in Georgia burning through the Okefenokee swamp.....we haven't had many in Jacksonville ....YET. In 1998 we had a huge number around us requiring constant evacuation and shuffling of horses from barn to barn. What I have seen lately is an increase in respiratory cases seen in our practice. Depending on the location and wind direction , the smoke levels can vary drastically. What should you do? At this time it depends on your horse. If you have one with any respiratory compromise than you must be careful as there may not be enough lung reserve in your horse to handle the stress. One way to manage these compromised horses in to keep them in
during the worst parts of the day and let them out at night when the dampness in the air can reduce the smoke levels. If you have alot of smoke in your area and can't evacuate your horses you can also put A/C in the stall.....don't laugh. In 1998 I had an owner with a severe COPD horse that was having a very difficult time. She put plastic sheeting over the windows and put an A/C unit in the stall window and sealed it up during the day. This worked amazingly well during the rough month of fires. The use of inhalers can also help , such as albuterol and if inflammation is involved, triamcinolone. These are administered through an aerochamber, but this can be done using an old plastic milk jug with the bottom cut out. Place this end over the hoses nose and the inhaler in the small opening and give 5 metered doses.
We will have to watch the progression of the fires and hope for rain.