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Lehmann, Beatrice; Merle, Roswitha; Klier, John and Gehlen, Heidrun (2016): Besitzerbefragung zur chronisch-obstruktiven Bronchitis bei Warmblütern unter Verwendung eines Online-Fragebogens. In: Pferdeheilkunde, Vol. 32, No. 4: pp. 357-366

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Within the scope of this study, a survey of horse owners on chronic obstructive bronchitis (COB) was performed with the help of an online questionnaire. The data obtained provided new insights into the frequency and duration of exacerbations of the disease, developments in the performance levels of the COB patients, and the extent to which the horses could be put to competitive use. This study analyzed the diagnostic and therapeutic measures implemented, as well as the measures taken to optimize the stabling systems. In total, 266 completed questionnaires were evaluated, of which 129 cases dealt with warmblood horses. Warmbloods were evaluated as a special group due to the high prevalence of the disease. According to the results of the study, COB in Warmbloods is a chronic progressive disease, in which the performance levels of horses is impaired over the course of the disease. Following the onset of COB, there was a significant increase in the number of horses that were subsequently only usable as pleasure horses (p=0.001). Competitive success decreased by approximately 30% among the patients, in comparison to their success previous to their development of COB. A successful therapy for COB patients is only achieved through the lifelong optimization of stable management and through environmental control. Merely 13% of the horse owners surveyed rated a solely medicative therapy as effective. In the population studied, an adequate optimization of stable management was implemented in only 46% of all cases. A total of 91% of the patients experienced exacerbations of the disease on average every six months. During these episodes the clinical symptoms persisted in the affected patients for an average period of eight weeks. Therefore, the avoidance of exacerbations of the disease through long-term environmental control measures should be the highest priority for the horse owner. In the exploration of new therapeutic methods, the focus should be on causal treatment options such as immunotherapy, since a complete avoidance of allergens is hardly feasible in the conventional German stabling systems.

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