In a recent article by Dr. Frederick Harper, Extension Horse Specialist, University of Tennessee, Ammonia, Foals Don’t Mix in Just Horses, May 1998. Dr. Harper talks about the danger from respiratory diseases in the foal from 2-6 months of age.  The exposure caused by Equine high protein diets, such as alfalfa, in which urea volatizes to ammonia, is one of the major causes.  Reducing the level of ammonia foals are exposed to in their environment, can greatly improve the chances of avoiding these problems.  Dr.  Harper mentioned a few minerals such as lime and sodium bisulfate and a commercial stall product that are used to reduce ammonia in bedding.  Another study, at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, indicated that the gasses in horse urine may carry equine influenza and other viruses.

Teague Mineral Products, Adrian OR, makes a commercial stall refresher product, Keep ‘ER Fresh™, from a variety of the mineral zeolite, called Clinoptilolite or “clino”.  It is a rock formed from volcanic ash falling into an alkaline lake millions of years ago during the Tertiary age.  It has a unique porous honeycomb crystalline structure.  When it comes in contact with ammonia, an exchange of cations contained in this structure occurs, and ammonia is absorbed and locked into the crystals.  This exchange is measured with a term called CEC (cation exchange capacity).   The higher the CEC of any one deposit, the more absorption and retention of ammonia is possible.  Different deposits vary greatly in their CEC.

The ideal application of these products is under the bedding.  This keeps dustiness to a minimum and creates a barrier “floor” for ammonium adsorption.   When the bedding material is changed, more zeolite can be added to the “floor” without removing the soiled zeolite because the ammonia that it has adsorbed is locked up from cation exchange.   This application has been used by the Houston Livestock Show in years past.  Keep ‘ER Fresh™,  made from Teague’s zeolite deposits in Eastern Oregon, controlled odors from 5,000 pens of cows, horses, chickens and other animals that draw the public to the show each year.  Officials from the show have had favorable comments about reduction of allergic reactions to dust and odor, since using zeolite.  Locally, it is available at D&B Supply.  Stable Boy™ also made from the Teague zeolite, is marketed on the eastern coast of the US, Canada and the UK.

Keep ’ER Fresh™ is pH neutral and won’t harm the animal’s skin. The silicate that is intrinsic to the mineral structure is not free silica and is not known to cause respiratory problems.  All in all, “clino” zeolite is one of the safest products on the market for horse stall and pens, and gives a great advantage in locking up ammonia and adsorbing odors.