Written by: Sarah Spooner BBS MSc MMII
Nebulisation is a long-standing method of treating acute & chronic respiratory conditions – in both Humans & Equines. Nebulisation is the conversion of liquid medication to aerosol for inhalation direct to the site of the problem – the lungs.
It is not uncommon to know a human asthmatic, and recent studies show that up to 81% of horses examined for poor performance, showed signs of Inflammatory Airway Disease*. (Nolen-Walston, R.D., Harris, M., Agnew, M.E., Martin, B.B., Reef, V.B., Boston, R.C., and Davidson, E.J. (2013) Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, April 15, 2013, Vol. 242).
In the past, the commonly recommended course of treatment has been for the horse to ‘live out in the fresh air’ 365 days of the year and avoid having them living in enclosed environments, with bedding & potentially dusty forage whilst also commonly taking oral medications. This is just not a feasible option for many modern horse owners, and certainly is difficult for those competition horses who must live in stables & enclosed environments whilst competing. This has often led to respiratory conditions potentially holding back horses from achieving their full potential in their competitive lives.
Not only this, but the effects of the body absorbing and processing medications systemically (orally, intra-muscular or intra venous injections) in the long term, can be challenging for the animal & costly for the owner.
Before the concept of Flexineb Equine Nebuliser devices was introduced, it was not uncommon for forward thinking & respiratory conscious Veterinarians worldwide to begin using Human Nebulisers to administer medication to horses. The understanding being that Nebulisation was the Gold Standard in respiratory care and of course less systemic affects for the horse. Particularly when it came to the use of Corticosteroids, to help reduce inflammatory responses in the respiratory tract.
This was a novel approach certainly, however the loud compressor in the nebuliser, tubes & hoses can lead to the horse becoming frightened and also requires the owner to attempt to hold a human nebuliser mask to one nostril, whilst also negotiating with a potentially frightened horse due to the loud noise of a compressor! Similarly, the question was asked of how effective this treatment option really was as the nebulisers aerosol was designed for human lungs with a capacity of about 6 litres of air, and not that of a horse which is roughly 55 litres of air. Was it really capable of being effective for the animal?
The introduction of MDI (Metered Dose Inhalers) is also quite commonplace in equine use & utilised with a spacer device, allowing the owner to administer several puffs of Human Inhaler to the horse via a spacer. This does also require one nostril to be held closed, for the horse to inhale the treatment through the spacer device. This can however, become quite costly, as a horses lungs would be roughly 10 times the size of our human lungs, thus if a human would take 2 puffs twice daily, then a horse would potentially take 20 puffs twice daily….. you can do the maths!!
Flexineb has been designed using Vibrating Mesh Technology, which is a technology commonly used in Human medicine – in Acute Care & ICU settings. It is an exceptionally effective technology at converting liquid into aerosol for inhalation, & highly sensitive. Flexineb provides excellent quality aerosol, which is so important – as if the aerosol is too large in particle size, the lung can struggle to absorb it & if it is too small it is also difficult to absorb. Flexineb delivers aerosol whereby 71% of the aerosol, is a size which the lower lung can absorb & the remaining 29% of medication will be delivered to the upper respiratory tract & trachea. This aerosol analysis is carried out by Spraytech Analysis, & Nortev the manufacturers of Flexineb, are one of very few human & veterinary nebulisation companies to have invested in this technology.
Flexineb is completely silent, with an exceptionally comfortable, Flexineb rubber mask which is comfortable for the horse to wear, particularly with the sensitive nerve endings & thin skin of the face. It is fully adjustable for all head sizes, and 3 mask sizes are available Foal, Standard & XL.
Flexineb was designed, with the input of many key leading veterinarians & horse trainers ensuring as an end user of Flexineb, you have an excellent, efficient and easy to use product to help manage equine respiratory disease in a practical & effective way.
Flexineb allows both veterinarians and owners to deliver low doses of medication to the horses airways, specifically targeting the animals respiratory issue. This allows regular treatment as prescribed by the veterinarian to be delivered at home & efficiently with less systemic effects on the animal’s body due to targeted, low dose drug delivery. Efficient & cost effective, Flexineb allows the delivery of Antibiotics, Corticosteroids to manage airway inflammation, Bronchodilators in the case of horses with laboured & difficult breathing, Mucolytics to allow the breaking up & liquifying of mucous and other natural product options to help maintain optimum lung health.
Designed & Developed in Ireland, Flexineb is available through Haygain in the UK and a Network of Global Distributors Worldwide.