A review of the effects of environmental pollution on the equine respiratory tract: considerations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games


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Abstract

Chemical pollutants, for example ozone, have been demonstrated to have detrimental effects on the cardiorespiratory system in human beings. Inhalation of pollutants may therefore impact on the performance of athletes at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Horses will also be exposed to these pollutants contained within the large volume of air they inhale during exercise. Opportunely, the equine events will be staged outside of Athens and as a result the concentration of atmospheric chemical pollutants is likely to be lower than that experienced by many of the human athletes. The horses' housing environment should also be carefully considered as a source of pollutants, as certain bedding materials can release dust, mould spores and irritants that may induce airway inflammation. In order to achieve the highest level of performance it is essential that both horse and rider be in good health and therefore the influence of environmental pollutants on lung function should to be minimized.

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