One of the most common conditions experienced by horses under intense athletic exertion is Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH). EIPH occurs when capillaries rupture under the physical stress of intense activity and results in bleeding into the horse’s airways. In extreme cases blood is present in the nostrils, though most often the bleeding is only detectable via an endoscopy performed by a veterinarian.

While the breeds most afflicted by EIPH are racing horses–Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Standardbreds, Arabians, etc.–any horse undergoing intense physical training and activity in any discipline can be susceptible to EIPH. While various medications have been used to treat and prevent “bleeding,” some studies have shown that supplementing your horse’s diet with Omega-3 essential fatty acids can aid in EIPH prevention naturally.

During exercise, heart rate is increased, blood thickens, and packed cell volume increases. Because of these reasons, flexibility of the red blood cell membranes becomes crucial.

A study at the University of Kentucky found that Omega-3 fatty acids can lower a horse’s heart rate during exercise, while the a University of Texas study showed that Omega-3s can lower cortisol levels during exertion, lowering stress levels and subsequently lowering a horse’s blood pressure.

In addition, Wild Gold Omeg-3 fatty acids supplemented in your horse’s feed can contribute to increased elasticity of cell membranes, facilitating the free flow of blood through the narrow vessels of capillaries in the lungs and muscles. While this allows for an improved blood supply and oxygen delivery, it can also minimize bleeding by preventing the capillaries from bursting.