FLAIR® Strips FAQ

flair strips faqs

What are FLAIR strips?

A FLAIR strip is a self-adhesive, drug-free, support that promotes optimum respiratory health of equine athletes. FLAIR strips support the nasal passages of the horse during exercise, improving the horse’s airflow when it needs oxygen most. By reducing airway resistance resulting from physical exertion, the FLAIR Strips help promote peak performance and prevents injury to the lungs.

How do FLAIR Strips work?

The FLAIR Strip fits 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) above the opening of the nostrils. FLAIR Strips are constructed of FDA-approved medical-grade components including a non-irritating adhesive. Each strip is composed of three plastic springs that provide a precise level of force to help hold open the horse’s nasal passages.

Why should my horse use FLAIR Strips?

Unlike humans, horses cannot breathe through their mouths. As a result, all horses experience some level of nasal tissue collapse during physical exercise. This partial “collapse” reduces the size of the airway, forcing the horse to work harder to breathe. Clinical studies, conducted in both private and university settings, found that FLAIR Strips mechanically stabilize the size of the nasal passage opening, allowing oxygen to flow freely.

FLAIR Strips support nasal passages and maintain the airway during training or strenuous workouts.

What are the health benefits of FLAIR strips?

Studies have shown that FLAIR Strips reduce lung stress and the incidence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), or bleeding in the lungs. Most competitive horses experience some degree of EIPH, though the bleeding may not be visible. Continued episodes of EIPH can lead to permanent lung damage, scarring, and inflammation, increasing a horse’s vulnerability to secondary infections and illness. FLAIR Strips significantly reduce EIPH during heavy exercise.

How do FLAIR Strips compare to Lasix* for reducing bleeding?

In a number of controlled scientific studies, FLAIR Strips have been shown to be as effective as Lasix for reducing bleeding.

Why would I use FLAIR Nasal Strips instead of Lasix for bleeding?

Lasix is a drug, generically known as “furosemide”, which is a diuretic. When given to horses it “tricks” the kidneys into producing more urine than normal. This in turn removes water from the blood, reducing the volume of plasma (the watery part of the blood as opposed to the red blood cells) in the circulation. But, because Lasix is a systemically administered drug, it does not reduce blood volume only in the lungs, it does so throughout the body. This causes dehydration, weight loss, and electrolyte loss. The last thing your horse needs when working hard is the loss of electrolytes. Another reason to use FLAIR Strips instead of Lasix is that because Lasix is a drug, with repeated use of most drugs tolerance usually develops. This may mean that over time you have to use larger and larger doses to get the same effect. Or alternatively, if you keep using the same dose then the effect you get becomes less and less. In contrast, the mechanical support provided by FLAIR Strips for treatment of bleeding is that it is more likely to be equally effective each time it is used without the undesirable side effects.

Is there a benefit to using both FLAIR Strips and Lasix to reduce bleeding?

In one clinical study of horses racing in California, the answer appears to be yes. Severe bleeders showed a further reduction in bleeding of 65% when they raced with both a FLAIR Strip and were treated with Lasix, compared to being treated with Lasix alone.

How will FLAIR Strips impact my horse’s performance?

Healthy horses perform better. If your horse bleeds as most do when working hard, the irritating effect of blood in the airways will be reduced by FLAIR Strips and your horse’s lungs will stay healthier. In addition, FLAIR Strips reduce the energy required to take in oxygen. By reducing the amount of energy a horse spends just to get enough oxygen, FLAIR Strips enable horses to expend more energy on the task at hand. FLAIR Strips can also increase a horse’s stamina, allowing him to perform at full strength for longer periods of time, without becoming fatigued. Horses wearing FLAIR Strips use five to eight percent less energy at high speed and during recovery. Riders and trainers notice their horses are more relaxed, look fresher and catch their breath faster when wearing a FLAIR Strip.

When should I use FLAIR Strips?

For best results, use FLAIR Strips to maintain normal airflow through nasal passages during any heavy exercise, whether in training or in competition. FLAIR Strips are designed to stay attached for a full day of exercise. They should be applied to a clean, dry muzzle 20 to 30 minutes prior to starting a workout. After exercising, slowly peel the FLAIR Strips off, starting at the corners, and work your way carefully toward the center.

Who uses FLAIR Strips?

Trainers and competitors at all levels of competition in every discipline, including jumping, endurance, reining, polo, barrel racing, eventing, flat and harness racing, and others, are using FLAIR Strips to keep their horses healthy as an integral part of their training, conditioning, and performance regimens.

How will my horse respond to FLAIR strips?

Most trainers and competitors will notice a difference in either the “feel” or “sound” of their horse when they use FLAIR Strips. The most common statements shared are that “my horse had more air,” “he cooled down faster,” or “she just seemed calmer.” Still others state horses wearing FLAIR Strips are “quieter” or “less stressed.” As always, consult your veterinarian to ensure optimal care of your horse. Ask your veterinarian to tell you about the significant science behind FLAIR Strips. If your veterinarian is unaware of the science have them look at the abstracts of the science at http://www.flairstrips.com/research.html or contact us for full copies of the studies.

Will FLAIR Strips help a horse with upper airway problems?

Clinical studies have not been conducted to objectively prove FLAIR Strips provide benefit to horses with upper airway diseases. However, numerous people have used FLAIR Strips on horses affected with laryngeal hemiplegia (both before and after surgery) and say that their horse breathes easier and makes less noise. This make sense because FLAIR Strips have been proven to improve airflow dynamics through the upper airway in normal horses.

Will FLAIR Strips help a horse with lower airway disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD or “heaves”)?

Clinical studies have not been conducted to objectively prove FLAIR Strips provide benefit to horses with lower airway disease. However, many horsemen using FLAIR Strips report that horses that are heavy or have lower airway disease are more relaxed and breathe easier when using Nasal Strips. This makes sense since in many lower airway diseases the elasticity of the lungs and the ability to draw air in is reduced. By reducing upper airway resistance, less effort is required to move air through the nasal passages into the lungs so compromised lungs have an easier time drawing air in.

Where can I buy FLAIR strips?

FLAIR Strips are available through veterinarians, tack stores, catalogues and online through veterinarian/equine supply companies. Click here for a list of retailers in the Unites States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

What regulatory bodies have approved the use of FLAIR Strips?

Federation Equestrian International ( FEI)
USA Equestrian (formerly American Horse Shows Associaztion, AHSA)
National Reining Horse Association (NRHA)
United States Combined Training Association (USCTA)
United States Equestrian Team (USET)
United States Polo Association (USPA)
National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA)
American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)

FLAIR Strips have also been approved for flat and harness racing in most states and provinces in North America with the exception of:
Thoroughbred racing in New York.

Got a question that’s not listed?

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*”Lasix” is trademark owned by Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH for the generic drug furosemide. More recently the trademark name used for the equine version of the drug has been “Salix” which is owned by Intervet, Inc. Because the name Lasix has historically been used when referring to the drug for horses, it is the name many horsepeople recognize and so we use it here.