Can COPD in horses have a genetic component or affect the quality of colostrum? If you were going to supplement the mare's colostrum because you are concerned about quality, what would you use?
Here's the situation: My mare has mild respiratory issues; the vet diagnosed her with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She is fed steamed hay to keep her from coughing. The mare doesn't have problems in turnout areas unless there is hay available, and fresh grass doesn't seem to bother her. She is strictly monitored to ensure she doesn't go into areas that might cause symptom flare-up. With this management plan, we’ve kept her relatively problem-free. However, the mare’s two-year-old colt is starting to develop a mild cough, especially at shows. I am concerned that he is developing the same problem as his dam, so I now feed him steamed hay, too. This mare is pregnant again, and I was wondering if COPD is hereditary or possibly a manifestation of low-quality colostrum due to the mare's condition even though she is mostly symptom-free.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not hereditary. Some people speculate that it might be, but since there are known environmental triggers (dust, mold, and
other allergens), it's probably more of an environmental reaction.
COPD will not affect colostrum quality unless the mare stops eating because of it. If she does, or if someone did have worries about colostrum quality, having the foal transfused with plasma will alleviate those concerns. I will add that there's evidence that giving supplemental vitamin E can help with boosting immunity levels. If you choose to supplement with a vitamin E product, try Nano-E, a natural-source product that has incredible bioavailability. It's a liquid, so it's easy to administer either in the feed or orally.