Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD is a condition on the severe end of the Equine Asthma Spectrum, where it is essentially
interchangeable with the terms Heaves and Recurrent Airway Obstruction.

Horses who suffer COPD for a long time can develop “heave lines” – a line of abdominal muscle
built up from the effort to exhale. Left untreated, COPD can cause remodelling of the smooth
muscles lining the respiratory tract. These muscles can thicken and lose their elasticity. It can
cause a vicious cycle of hyperreactivity to inhaled particles that are virtually everywhere in the
horse’s environment.

Recurrent Airway Obstruction, heaves and Severe Equine Asthma are other names for COPD.