• horse;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • heaves;
  • environment;
  • respirable dust;
  • thermophilic actinomycetes


Airborne dust concentration (ADC) was measured in 2 different horse management systems using an Andersen cascade impactor in the box-stall, and a personal Marple cascade impactor attached to the halter to measure ADC in the breathing zone. The levels of aeroallergens implicated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were measured by radioallergosorbent-inhibition immunoassay. A conventional management system (System C) utilising hay feed and straw bedding, and a recommended environment (System R) utilising wood shaving bedding and a complete pelleted diet were studied. In the stall, total and respirable ADC (geometric mean) were significantly higher in System C (2.55 mg/m3; 0.44 mg/m3, respectively) than in System R (0.70 mg/m3; 0.20 mg/m3, respectively). In System C, the total and respirable ADC in the breathing zone (17.51 mg/m3; 9.28 mg/m3) were much higher than in the stall, but values in both regions were similar in System R (0.52 mg/m3; 0.30 mg/m3). Major aeroallergens were significantly higher in System C than in System R: Micropolyspora faeni (1423 ng/m3 and 705 ng/m3), Aspergillus fumigatus (1823 ng/m3 and 748 ng/m3), and mite allergens (1420 ng/m3 and 761 ng/m3). Measurement of ADC with personal samplers indicates that the very high inhalation challenge in the breathing zone is not reflected in measurements of stall air quality. When compared with System C, System R produced only 3% of the respirable dust burden in the breathing zone and a decreased aeroallergen challenge.