Clenbuterol: More Than a Bronchodilator

Clenbuterol is a beta-2-adrenoceptor agonist, therapeutically prescribed to horses with inflammatory airway disease (IAD) and recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, commonly known as heaves).

It is widely known that the use of this drug has been exploited due to its ability to burn fat whilst preserving lean muscle tissue. Sadly, this practice can severely compromise the horse’s health.

Clenbuterol, being highly stimulating, can adversely effect the temperament and behaviour of the horse. It has also been shown to deplete the body’s levels of taurine and potassium- which may lead to cramping (amongst other undesirable side effects). Animal studies have also demonstrated that the drug depletes zinc levels and causes irreversible damage to cardiac tissue.

Negative effects upon stallion fertility have also been postulated. The drug has been shown to permanently damage the sertoli cells in the testes-these are the cells where sperm is produced.

In the case of preventing and managing airway disease- there are many steps which can be taken to reduce the need for the drug. These include practices during feeding and stable management which reduce airway irritation and inflammation in the horse. The strategic use of several permissible nutritional supplements can help to alleviate airway inflammation, spasm and mucous production.

For a horse not currently in competition, correctly prescribed herbal medicine provides many therapeutics to support immune function, reduce mucous production, thin mucous and treat respiratory tract infection- all which may help to rectify breathing difficulties in the horse.

OPTIMise your horse’s long term health, whilst supporting its best possible performance. Let OPTIM EQUINE help you…

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