Effects of Bedding Material on Equine Lower Airway Inflammation: Comparison of Two Different Peat Beddings, Wood Pellet and Straw Pellet

Research output: Conference materialsAbstractpeer-review


Background: The effects of bedding materials on equine airway health are not widely investigated. Materials and methods: 29 clinically healthy adult horses were stalled on different beddings for 35 days each winter 2018 – 2019. Feeding, exercise or management were kept unchanged. Clinical examination was performed and tracheal wash (TW) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) samples obtained for cytological analyses at the end of each period. TW and BALF neutrophil percentages were compared with Related- Samples Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test using horses as their own controls. Significance was set at P < 0.05. 
Study premise: Ypäjä Equine College & Veterinary Faculty, UH
Results: TW mucus scores (P = 0.014) and respiratory rate (P = 0.026) were higher during the straw pellet- period compared to the Peat 1- period. TW neutrophil percentage during the straw pellet- period was higher compared to the Peat 1- period (P < 0.001). There was no difference between the wood pellet- period or the Peat 2- period compared to the Peat 1- period in TW neutrophil percentages. BALF neutrophil percentage was higher during the straw pellet- period (P = 0.005) or the Peat 2- period (P = 0.04) compared to the Peat 1- period. BALF neutrophil percentage of the wood pellet- period did not differ from the Peat 1- period. 
Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that straw pellet and loosely stored peat increase airway neutrophilia in equine lower airways compared to baled peat bedding. The results might be helpful in choosing bedding material for horses.
References: Couetil L, Cardwell J, Gerber V, Lavoie J, Léguillette R, Richard EA. Inflammatory airway disease of horses-revised consensus statement. J Vet Intern Med. (2016) 30:503–15. doi: 10.1111/jvim.13824Kwiatkowska-Stenzel A, Witkowska D, Sowińska J, Stopyra A. The effect of stable bedding materials on dust levels, microbial air contamination and equine respiratory health. Res Vet Sci. (2017) 115:523–9. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2017.09.022Siegers E, Anthonisse M, van Eerdenburg F, van den Broek J, Wouters I, Westermann C. Effect of ionization, bedding, and feeding on air quality in a horse stable. J Vet Int Med. (2018) 32(3):1234–1240. doi: 10.1111/jvim.15069
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventVCRS 2021 - Virtual congress, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 31 Oct 20212 Nov 2021


ConferenceVCRS 2021

Fields of Science

  • 413 Veterinary science
  • equine asthma syndrome
  • Horse
  • BALF cytology

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