We invented the FLAIR® Nasal Strips as a result of our experiences as equine veterinarians. For years we noticed that working horses experienced a collapse of their nasal passages when breathing in during exercise. We also knew that unlike humans, horses only breathe through their nostrils. Our basic understanding of airflow dynamics helped us appreciate that partial collapse or narrowing of the nasal passages caused by negative pressure of inhalation during exercise increases resistance to air flow. We hypothesized that increased resistance in the nasal passages causes increased negative pressures within the lung, subjecting the fragile capillary membranes deep in the lungs to greater risk of leakage or rupture. We believed this to be a factor in “bleeding” or exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (“EIPH”).
In the mid 1990’s, we wondered if it was possible to improve air flow in the horse by applying an external nasal passage support similar to the BreatheRight® strip used by human athletes. Our review of the equine research literature revealed a void in the knowledge regarding the role of the nasal passages in the horses’ breathing and respiratory health. When we initially proposed our theory to veterinarians, many responded that such a support would not work because of the unique nasal anatomy of the horse. When we further suggested the possibility of using nasal strips to reduce bleeding, some equine respiratory experts scoffed at our challenge to traditional beliefs about equine respiratory physiology and the cause of bleeding. In fact, one of our biggest obstacles to pursuing the development of nasal strips was our own veterinary training that the throat was the primary site of resistance to breathing in the horse.
Despite the obstacles, we continued to seek a solution for supporting the respiratory health of working horses without the negative effects known for some drugs. The solution came in the form of a self-adhesive strip weighing less than an ounce that provides a benefit that is now supported by more scientific evidence than most other pieces of equipment used on horses.
Now, over 10 years later, we are pleased that our initial “what if”question has provoked significant University and private clinical research. More than 7 separate clinical studies, several physiology and veterinary textbook articles, numerous symposia, presentations, discussions and debates confirm our original hypotheses. We have been awarded over 15 U.S. and international patents directed to the discovery that by supporting the external wall of the nasal passages, nasal strips reduce upper airway resistance in horses during exercise. Perhaps most importantly, we found that through the reduction of upper airway resistance, FLAIR Strips optimize horses’ performance and help horses stay healthier by protecting the lungs, reducing bleeding, reducing fatigue, and recovering more quickly after exercise. After their introduction at the 1999 Breeder’s Cup races and the 2000 Olympics, the Strips have been regularly used for training and competition by world class professional horsemen as well as amateur owners around the world.
We are pleased that the drug-free benefits of FLAIR Strips are available at a time when there is public outcry, both from horse enthusiasts and the public at large, to stop the use of drugs in human and animal athletes. We believe the Strips are a simple and cost effective tool for supporting the long term health of equine athletes that endure the rigors of training and performance with undaunted enthusiasm and heart without regard to their own best interests.
We invite you to use FLAIR Strips and experience the benefits for your horse. We also invite you to share your experiences by coming back to www.flairstrips.com and submitting your story, so that other people can learn from you.
As horse health care specialists, we share your passion for these wonderful animals. We thank you and support your dedication to provide the optimum care available for your horse.
Edward L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
James R. Chiapetta, DVM, JD
Co-Inventors FLAIR® Nasal Strips