Ammonia is created by the bacterial breakdown of urea in urine in bedding.
This creates a heavy gas with a distinctively pungent smell which has long been recognised as a very unpleasant environmental hazard in the stable. But in recent years research has begun to show that it can have a real and serious impact on the health and performance of stabled horses.
In 2010, The Horse Trust announced initial results from University of Glasgow research that “confirmed that stabling horses results in increased exposure to environmental ammonia and that this is associated with respiratory problems”.
At the same time, ammonia in contact with hooves has
been shown to attack the keratin in the hoof wall, creating cracks and openings that admit bacterial infections causing potentially serious diseases such as white line and seedy toe.
We believe that Bedmax shavings can help combat the health risks posed by ammonia in the stable in two important ways:
1. Aeration and urine management
We cut our shavings larger because larger shavings create a deeper and more aerated bed. With greater air spaces between them, Bedmax shavings allow urine to drain down from the surface, away from the horse’s hooves, legs and lungs.
2. Ammonia suppression
Research suggests that a deep, aerated bed also helps to reduce the formation of ammonia in the first place. Research also indicates that the natural antibacterial properties of the pine we use to make BDMAX shavings may also attack and/or mitigate the micrococcus ureus organism that transforms urea in urine into ammonia.
“If the bedding is deep enough that the urine soaks through to the floor without appreciable accumulation on the surface, ammonia odor will be diminished. Reducing aerial ammonia will promote long- term respiratory health and provide yet another step in ensuring that equine athletes lead long, productive careers.”
Kentucky Equine Research