Tufts Equine Respiratory Health Lab is the only place in New England offering a complete respiratory workup for equine athletes of all levels, from 10-goal old ponies and D3 Pony Club horses to future Derby winners, Grand Prix dressage horses and beloved backyard companions.
Our Lung Function Laboratory was the first in the country to develop routine lung function testing in clinical patients. We are at the forefront of understanding, diagnosing and treating horses with inflammatory airway disease (IAD). By utilizing our advanced equipment and expertise, we can test and evaluate before developing a comprehensive plan to help your horse return to its peak performance.
As pioneers in the industry, we have successfully demonstrated a link between respiratory viruses and equine asthma, explored the significance of coughs in different populations of horses, established the importance of biomarkers in the diagnosis of equine asthma, quantified the effect of albuterol on treadmill performance and airway reactivity, and examined lung function in aging horses.
Today, Tufts Equine Respiratory Lab has grown to offer expertise in the following services:
The bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) allows us to see deep within the horse’s lungs to determine if there is inflammation and if so, what the inflammation looks like. The BAL is sometimes called a lung wash.
Equine asthma, whether IAD or heaves, is usually treatable, but not necessarily curable. It can take a lifetime of management, but with an accurate diagnosis, proper treatment and environmental improvements, most horses can return to athletic function.
Clinical history is critical to diagnosis. The horse with overt heaves, or recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) will have a history of having had a recurrent breathing problem, characterized by outwardly evident difficulty breathing.
Dr. Daniela Bedenice is a veterinary internist and one of the few large animal veterinary specialists in the country who is dual board-certified in both Large Animal Internal Medicine and Emergency and Critical Care. Dr. Bedenice co-leads the Tufts Equine Respiratory Lab and is at the forefront of understanding, diagnosing and treating horses with respiratory conditions. She also provides intensive care for both newborn and adult horses, llamas, alpacas and small ruminant species. Dr. Bedenice grew up in rural Germany where she trained and cared for many horses. After earning her veterinary degree from the Free University of Berlin, Dr. Bedenice initially worked in private practice followed by specialty training in large animal internal medicine, critical care and respiratory medicine after moving to the United States. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School, Dr. Bedenice has published extensively in the field of comparative respiratory medicine and evidence-based therapy, as well as newborn and adult intensive care. She is Course Director of Clinical Pharmacology and leads or contributes to multiple veterinary courses focused on respiratory topics, gastrointestinal disease and neurology, and to clinical services specializing in large animal internal medicine. At home, Dr. Bedenice operates a small farm with thirteen alpacas and three German Shepherds.
Dr. Melissa Mazan co-leads the Tufts Tufts Equine Respiratory Lab and is a world-recognized expert in the field of equine asthma. Dr Mazan’s work led to the creation of the first clinical lung function laboratory in North America where lung function testing is regularly used to help improve equine performance. Dr. Mazan earned her B.A. at Yale University and her DVM from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She is board-certified in the America College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Large Animal). Dr. Mazan teaches courses on respiratory medicine and pathophysiology, as well as exercise physiology at Cummings School where she was drawn by the opportunity to combine research, clinical work and teaching. She also developed the first veterinary telemedicine teaching service in the United States for working equids in Fez, Morocco. Dr. Mazan’s interest in equine health and performance began when she was a member of the Varsity Polo Team at Yale University and the Captain of the Polo Team at the University of Oxford, and when she was managing her own barn and competing as a junior in equitation and Pony Club.