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Animals 2015, 5(4), 965-977; doi:10.3390/ani5040394

Reducing Respiratory Health Risks to Horses and Workers: A Comparison of Two Stall Bedding Materials

1
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Opistontie 10 a 1, 32100 Ypäjä, Finland
2
Ypäjä Equine College, Opistontie 9, 32100 Ypäjä, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kirrilly Thompson
Received: 14 July 2015 / Revised: 28 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 8 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [118 KB, uploaded 23 October 2015]

Simple Summary

In this study, the effect of wood shavings and peat was examined on stable air quality and health of horses and stable workers. The ammonia level in the boxes in which peat was used as bedding was non-existent or very low. The respiratory symptoms in horses increased regardless of the bedding material at the beginning of the stud. The health status of the horses on peat bedding returned to the initial level in the end of the trial but horses in stalls bedded with wood shavings continued to be symptomatic. The hooves of the horses in stalls with peat bedding had a better moisture content. The results suggest that peat is a better bedding material for horses and people working or visiting horse stables than wood shavings.

Abstract

Stable air quality and the choice of bedding material are an important health issue both in horses and people working or visiting horse stables. Risks of impaired respiratory health are those that can especially be avoided by improving air quality in the stable. The choice of bedding material is particularly important in cold climate conditions; where horses are kept most of the day and year indoors throughout their life. This study examined the effect of two bedding materials; wood shavings and peat; on stable air quality and health of horses. Ammonia and dust levels were also measured to assess conditions in the stable. Ammonia was not detected or was at very low levels (<0.25 ppm) in the boxes in which peat was used as bedding; but its concentration was clearly higher (1.5–7.0 ppm) in stalls with wood shavings as bedding. Personal measurements of workers revealed quite high ammonia exposure (5.9 ppm8h) in the boxes in which wood shavings were used; but no exposure was Animals 2015, 5 966 observed in stalls bedded with peat. The respiratory symptoms in horses increased regardless of the bedding material at the beginning of the study. The health status of the horses in the peat bedding group returned to the initial level in the end of the trial but horses bedded with wood shavings continued to be symptomatic. The hooves of the horses with peat bedding had a better moisture content than those of the horses bedded with wood shavings. The results suggest that peat is a better bedding material for horses than wood shavings regarding the health of both horses and stable workers. View Full-Text
Keywords: bedding material; respiratory health; peat; wood shaving bedding material; respiratory health; peat; wood shaving
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Saastamoinen, M.; Särkijärvi, S.; Hyyppä, S. Reducing Respiratory Health Risks to Horses and Workers: A Comparison of Two Stall Bedding Materials. Animals 2015, 5, 965-977.

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