Ammonia: So Much More than Just a Bad Smell in the Stable

The fumes of ammonia can be nauseating. Your eyes may water and your throat may close, but is this the only concern one should worry about with ammonia, or could there be bigger risks and dangers hiding within the horrendous smell? If so, how does one limit or eliminate ammonia completely?

The impact of ammonia

Ammonia gas is considered a severe respiratory tract irritant which mostly affects the upper airways. At higher levels, the ammonia may however bypass the upper airways and if so, it can cause pulmonary edema and lower inflammation. Pulmonary edema has in extremely severe cases proven to be fatal. There are many other negative effects which ammonia causes, such as interfering with the action of cilia which are microscopic hairs working as a defensive wall, preventing dust and debris from entering the respiratory tract. If levels of ammonia gas in the stable are high enough, it may very well cause respiratory inflammations for horses, and breathing problems for humans.

Recommendations for a cleaner air

It is of utmost importance that your stable is clean and ventilated. Stables should never be completely closed, not even during cold winters. A proper stable has holes in the structure which are open year-round. If not ventilated properly, the stable will smell like manure and ammonia, and if your stable smell like ammonia, the levels are too high to be considered a healthy environment for you and/or your horses.

Fans are also important as they increase the ventilation. Even if your stall has openings, you may need some effective fans to truly eliminate the ammonia gas. Remember not to place the fans on the floor, but rather mount them on walls or in the roof to avoid re-entering of particles and dust from the ground into the air again. It is also very important that you take care of soiled bedding every day. The highest levels of ammonia gas are close to the soiled bedding, especially if an ineffective bedding is used.

The bedding makes a huge difference

Perhaps the easiest and greatest difference one can make for better air quality is to use an absorbent bedding. Lucky Hooves straw pellets absorb more than four times its weight in liquid thanks to a porous structure. If we compare these numbers to normal straw pellets, they usually absorb around three times its weight, and loose straw basically does not absorb liquid at all, leaving not only a soiled ground, but also a stable with high levels of ammonia gas. Lucky Hooves straw pellets successfully bind the ammonia gas, resulting in a better all-around air quality and reduced risks for respiratory health problems.

Ammonia is a great plague for stable owners as well as horses and owners. The smell can be nauseating and bothersome, but with high quality ventilation together with fans and Lucky Hooves straw pellets, you can avoid the smell at the same time as the major health concerns caused by ammonia gas is a thing from the past.